Category Archives: Medical Play


So at work they call me the cabbage and chocolate girl… simply because the two research projects I happen to coordinate at the VA are code name CABG and Chocolate ha.

So cabbage, is really CABG, which is coronary artery bypass graft surgery (aka open heart surgery)

So what did I get to do Thursday morning? Watch a CABG, a quadruple CABG.

It was awesome.


They can usually just take an artery from the chest cavity and reroute it, but for this gentleman they also had to extract a leg vein for extra blood flow. I got to see the leg vein removal the most, but I did get to stand immediately over the open chest and beating hard to see the LIM artery being attached to revert around the coronary blood reduction.

Definitely the best surgery I have ever gotten to see. I was certainly shocked by how mellow the whole thing was. It was just over abundantly intriguing, and I was there for less than half of  the 7 hour surgery (:



So. this will be a big week for me. It is the culmination of many things. Many important things that I have been working towards for awhile.

Last night I submitted my apps to med school. That was one long finish in the making. So now is the waiting game. Apps won’t get processed until the end of July. July/August I should get back secondaries (which are pretty much just essays), and then interviews can range from August-March so that’s really the waiting game.

Today I got certified in Phlebotomy. Win! Even thought it’s just through the VA I was able to hit 25 sticks and get my certification. I’ve been working on that for a few months but it’s nice to finally have it.

My last day as an undergraduate student is tomorrow. Wow, I never really thought the day of my last final in undergrad would ever approach. I’m totally underprepared and should be studying right now. But it really just has not hit me yet that college is ending.

Graduation is in 11 days. Yeah….. still hasn’t hit me

Newfound love

So I have always been a self-described enthusiastic for clinical work. But not to stop there, I have always proclaimed my hatred for the lab. Like many other students, I think it was the minutiae of regulations and facil point deductions of Gen Chem lab and Ochem lab that made me this way. I always thought that I would suck at bio lab, and feared the two required labs I knew I would have to take my senior year. Because of my fear of lab classes I never pursued a traditional lab I dreaded signing up for Biochemical techniques, my first bio lab that I’ve been taking this quarter. Not only was it taught by a professor I’ve had bad experiences with, but it was a 4 hour lab, twice a week. 4 hours. really?

Over the past 6 weeks I have been pleasantly surprised by my experiences in lab. We’ve done some really amazing experiments, and I’ve actually gotten to perform a lot of the things I have learned about in my textbook courses.

This was a LDH purification using affinity chromatography… the colors  were caused dextran blue and Orange-G, two labeling dyes.

This was a gel electrophoresis plate we set up to separate two proteins with different amino acids…

And this gorgeous plate is a strain of JM109 DE3 bacteria that we engineered to glow hot pink… they express a protein extracted from deep sea coral that fluoresces.

It’s this stuff that I dig. Getting to see the real deal, the stuff I’ve learned about in action. It helps me to not only understand it so much better but I’ve developed an appreciation for Biochem that I never thought I would have.

A lab life is not the life for me…. but at least it is no longer a seeminly unimaginable alternative.

…..Just lurkin in lab ha.

Study Break — Pig Heart Dissection :)

So a few weeks ago my physiology professor recommended that we get to know the anatomy of the heart a little more in depth, in preparation for our midterm. Well too bad I ended up doing this after the midterm, which by the way really sucked, slightly on the unfair side of you ask me but I’m slightly biased. But alas, I wanted to do this little experiment anyways…

Step 1 was find a butcher shop that would sell me a pigs heart. Luckily I found one pretty close, and even luckier, pig hearts are pretty cheap (Mine ran $2.79). Although, both of these awesome facts were eclipsed by the fact that the guy working at the butcher shop will make throw out my week-old pact not to eat red meat anymore, as I shall definitely be returning to buy some high price, free-range beef, and to more importantly try to see his beautiful face again ( ;

Anyways, heart in hand, Step 2 was enlist a surgical assistant. Despite my initial fears that my weak-blooded roommates would throw me out of the house at the mere thought of my medical experiment, Lucia was actually stoked to help me out.

So we prepped the work space, aka. layed down pages of an old Vogue all over our Pike beer pong table (we’re not normally this sketch, but we recently lost our beloved dining room table and have a gap in the room fit to hold dance class ha)

Next was surgical equipment. again, aka. scalpel (hunting knife), kitchen scissors, latex gloves from my chem lab ha, and Fiona’s ridiculous mushroom apron from Anthropologie. Needless to say we’re pretty professional. After that we paused to marvel how cool it was we had a heart!

We found a decent guide online and then got to work. But we quickly realized that 1) the guide wasn’t that great. 2) The butcher had cut part of the top of the heart off so I was really confused. 3) We’re not professionals. So with all due respect to the pig, we kind of just cut down from what we thought was the left atria, to the left/right ventricle.

It was honestly fantastic. I mean look at all those muscle fibers. The strength and importance of this little organ is intriguing. Half-way through I also realized this was way better than a school-sponsored dissection because the heart hadn’t been preserved in formaldehyde or any chemicals for that matter, it still gushed blood when I cut through vessels.

After working through the chambers I finally found one of the semilunar valves which I was pretty stoked on given that I was still trying to figure out which side was ventral. We finished the dissection by removing the base part of the aorta (pictured below).

Lucia was kind of over it at this point, maybe it was the smell of pig heart, or the fact that I couldn’t shut up about the differenced between smooth and cardiac muscle. Either way, she came in clutch where I needed her most. I figured what better way to end a good dissection than to try a bit of your generous host. Yep, we roasted that heart right up. With a little garlic and thyme of course (:

Successful day. Definitely a reaffirmation that I will be cutting up organs for a good many years to come ( :