Wednesday, March 4, 2009


We're learning bits and bobs about the pituitary gland at the moment. I find it quite interesting, in that "oh-my-god-I'm-going-to-drown" way.

However, the prac we had this morning was bordering on the incomprehensible. The worst bit was a radiologist who showed us about 20 slides of the pituitary, all in different formats, different sections, different orientations, and (for all I know) different species. He didn't waste any time explaining anything, he just flipped rapidly from slide to slide while naming all the things he could see in each one. Unfortunately in a volume about the size of a golf ball right in the middle of your head there are about 5 major nerves, umpteen major arteries, and of course all the arcanely-named bits of the brain, all of which are crossing over and twisting up into strange shapes.

When each new slide flashed up I spent the first 10 seconds trying to figure out which direction was forward or up, which means I missed most of the names of things, and the names that I did catch meant nothing to me because they were all coined by Latin-speaking dead people. As a result, I eventually tuned out and went into La-La Land and just listened to his voice like he was telling me a soothing bedtime story.

One thing I noticed was that he seemed to be using alliteration excessively. It was like listening to a clinical version of Beowulf. Two examples were so great that I wrote them down, and these fragments constitute the entirety of my notes from the prac:
"Any insidious mass in the supra-sellar cistern gives a similar set of symptoms."

"Patients present with precocious puberty from having a hypothalamic hamartoma."
We then got to move on to another room to keep learning. This room was full of models and specimens to examine in befuddlement. One of the displays I found most intriguing was a set of X-rays of the head with numbers labelling about 30 different structures. There was an accompanying guide with names which I was examining with fervour until one of my Esteemed Colleagues pointed out that the names were itemized with letters and didn't correspond in any way to the numbers on the X-rays. For example, on the X-ray the label "A" was in the middle of the forehead. There was no "A" in the guide, but the number "1" was for the mandible (lower jaw) which, if recall my surface anatomy correctly from way back in last year, is not located in the middle of the forehead. So that was educational.

After an hour and a half of that, I was ready to not be an endocrinologist. Next specialty please!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i concur. that thingy sucked