Pig Hearts and Valentine’s Day

February 17, 2013 § 1 Comment

Hello from the comforts of my bed! It is almost midnight on Saturday night and I am settling in after a long day of studying the embryological development of the heart (which is much less exciting than it sounds). I’m not as far as I would like to be in my weekend study plan, but am more or less satisfied with what I have done. Skjalg has a hand in that. There have been so many times that I have come to him in a state of defeat and moaned about how that past 5 or so hours I spent studying were a waste of time. He always finds some way to console me and convince me that nothing was in vain. He once told me something that I find I repeat to myself quite often: “if you have learned at least one thing that you didn’t know before, then it was worth it”.

Our first midterm in a little over a week away. Once that one is over, it will just be midterm after midterm after midterm until the end of the semester. On Wednesday my friend and groupmate, Jannie, and I went to the Central Market to pick up pig hearts to dissect at home. While pig hearts aren’t exactly the same as human hearts, they are very, very similar – and we need all the practice we can get! I wish there were more opportunities to spend time with the specimens at school. They open up consultations before midterms and exams, but it is almost impossible to get anywhere near the specimens. There are 4 small rooms for all the 1st years – about 600 students. The odds are not in your favor there…

Pig hearts for sale

Pig hearts for sale

There was only one butcher selling hearts (we went to at least 5 before finding him). When we told him we wanted to buy pig hearts, he smiled and said "Full hearts? Medical students?". It must be a good business for him - we bought 4 then and there and our friend Suvi ordered 10 to pick up on Friday (with the arteries and veins intact).

There was only one butcher selling hearts (we went to at least 5 before finding him). When we told him we wanted to buy pig hearts, he smiled and said “Full hearts? Medical students?”. It must be a good business for him – we bought 4 then and there and our friend Suvi ordered 10 to pick up on Friday (with the arteries and veins intact). 

It's not every day you hold a bag of hearts in your hands...

It’s not every day you hold a bag of hearts in your hands…

 

Before we started dissecting the hearts, we played a little dress up with our doctor gear. Skjalg makes such a handsome surgeon ;)

Before we started dissecting the hearts, we played a little dress up with our doctor gear. Skjalg makes such a handsome surgeon 😉

 

Skjalg getting started

Skjalg getting started

 

Trying to orient the heart, which was really hard to do with all the vessels cut off!

Trying to orient the heart, which was really hard to do with all the vessels cut off!

 

Necessary precautions - and they worked like a charm! No time was wasted taking the gloves off and on to search for heart structure info.

Necessary precautions – and they worked like a charm! No time was wasted taking the gloves off and on to search for heart structure info.

 

Grossed out by raw pig hearts? Jannie wasn't...cracker in one hand and pig heart in the other - snack-time, med student style!

Grossed out by raw pig hearts? Jannie wasn’t…cracker in one hand and pig heart in the other – snack-time, med student style!

The next day was Valentine’s day and Skjalg and I hadn’t planned to do anything special. We’re finding out that, as med students, special occasions and holidays are always going to be lower on the priority list than school and studying. After our biochemistry lecture, I headed off to first aid with my group while he headed home. It was wet and overcast and we got lost on the way to the building where our class was to be held. There are only 6 of us taking it, since everyone else is exempt. It’s an interesting class, but frustrating because it takes almost 40 minutes to get there from the main building.

By the time I got home, I was pretty miserable. I was feeling the weight of the week on my shoulders and trudging around in the rain for an hour was not the most ideal way to spend the afternoon. Skjalg met me at the door and took off my coat. He acted totally normal as he led me to the bedroom. When I opened the door, I was completely transported. The room was glowing with candles in every corner and a stash of Valentine’s goodies were carefully placed on the bed: a card from Skjalg, red roses, chocolates, champagne with gold flakes and sushi.

For the first time since since school started, we took time off. The rest of the afternoon, evening and night were spent picnicking in bed, while drinking champagne, chatting about our lives together and watching Monday Mornings and Patch Adams.

Valentine'sSurprise Champagnewithgold BedPicnic BandSValentines#4

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