Sheep Hearts!

As some of you may have read, my A&P lab was cancelled last week due to the freak snow storm and I had to make it up. I went in early yesterday and slaughtered a sheep to use its heart in class, and also make a comfy sleeping bag, a la Bear Grills.


No but seriously.

After rock-paper-scissoring with my friend Sarah as to who would be the slicer (I only won one round but we kept hitting stalemates so I got to cut), I donned my gear and received our sheep heart. For the record, it was preserved. Once again, though this may go without saying there are pictures of animal parts being dissected in this post.

Be my valentine?

We were instructed to identify any major outer structures. I wasted a good ten minutes trying to cut all that nice delicious fat off of the heart before heaving a shrug and admitting defeat. There were no major structures to identify. It was all just grey. Grey and fat covered. I picked out where the aorta would branch out from the top, but that’s about it.

Hard at work trying to slice through that epicardium!

Hearts are tough things to try and cut through. I tried a bunch of ways to get into the darn things after I started the cut with the scalpel, but the scissors were too messy. Continuing with the scalpel would be nearly impossible because the blade was very short. So I made the executive decision to stick the forceps into the incision I had already made and prise open the cut so I could get at it more easily with the scalpel.


As you can see, my technique worked.

In the above picture, it’s sort of hard to see all the structures of the heart, but we could clearly see the atria, ventricles, valves and all associated tendons and muscles. You may have noticed that I’m still wearing a masks for dissections. The formaldehyde smell is just too strong, and it’s extremely pervasive along with the smell of (what amounts to) old meat. I was able to breathe through my nose a little bit this time, especially since breathing through my mouth fogged up my glasses and made it hard to see. There was no way I was slicing off my finger for this! I remembered to eat breakfast this time (quite a chore, seeing as my food and monetary supply is dwindling rather quickly), so I wasn’t so shaky during. However, I went to eat lunch afterwards and I couldn’t help but be a little queasy. My stomach was actually off all day yesterday, but I don’t know how much of that was related to the formaldehyde.

I talked briefly to my lab professor about why we didn’t use cow hearts for dissection. I thought that a cow heart would be much easier to see since it’s bigger, but the risk of prions that cause mad cow make it nearly impossible to obtain them, and also a huge liability. While I was cleaning up I noticed that it was a lot harder to rinse things off because of all the fat around the heart. Pretty nasty, to be rubbing your gloved fingers together and have it feel oily and slick.

A few quick updates: I’ve managed to snag Doc on my way out of accounting class last night, so I got to talk to him about the doing away with of embalming lab. However, I want to get the chance to talk to him a bit more before I comment on it in depth. I would have spoken to him today but there was a mortuary science continuing education credit class going on in the main building and I’m actually hiding from Doc right now. (Kind of. He told me to get dressed up nice and take out my “face spikes” and hand in a few resumes. Sadly, I don’t have any nice clothes up on campus and my resume is tailored to human services/social work jobs. Plus my stack of resumes is also at home. Oops.)

I got the highest grade in class on my accounting midterm! 98, baby. My friends wanted to strangle me. For those of you who don’t follow my twitter account, every Tuesday we all have our fingers crossed, hoping that class gets cancelled and we can go out to dinner. It’s a very boring class.

I have some chemistry work to catch up on (no, my paper is not done yet, thank you for reminding me), so I’ve gotta run.

Until next time!



~ by mementomorissa on November 14, 2012.

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