I have to apologize for not writing in almost a week. But honestly, my life hasn’t been all that exciting recently. So, yeah, I watched a dissection of a human heart last week but still. Just kidding. The heart dissection was absolutely amazing. A retired cardiothroasic surgeon was our guest in the anatomy lab, affectionately known as the dungeon due to it’s lack of windows, ventilation, and the overwhelming stench of formaldehyde and dead bodies. This surgeon had practiced for many years and then retired to teach biology at Hillsboro High School here in Nashville. He now is employed as a full time grandfather. But don’t think that a few years out of the OR have made Dr. Tye Finch at all rusty. In fact, this man is nothing short of brilliant. He explained to us the inner workings of the human heart in great detail, yet made the information understandable and not so intimidating. Because honestly, having a human heart on the table in front of you is pretty intimidating. Just like my experience with the brain at the beginning of the semester I was struck by the power and sheer complexity of the organ that was sitting in front of me.
Dr. Finch sat for almost an hour as we drilled him with questions about pacemakers, hypoplastic hearts, and our grandfathers’ triple bypasses. He was patient and explained everything in a way in which we could understand. And he was funny! He provided us with tricks to remember the direction of blood flow through the chambers of the heart and reminded us that, “if you are an atrium you better not get carried away!” Oh, anatomy jokes. I’m a huge dork. Dr. Finch also showed us the way in which bicuspid and tricuspid valves work by having us cup our hands and put them up to his to form the “leaflets” of the valves. Putting my little gloved hand up to Dr. Finch’s hands that have spent years putting someone’s loved one’s heart back together, made me grateful that there are people smart enough and dedicated enough to put up with 4 years of medical school (gulp) and hours of practice to operate on our most precious organ.