In med­ical school we were given a box with a skull in it that we could take home. We had to sign our souls away for the priv­i­lege. Appar­ently human skulls gen­er­ate an under­ground mar­ket. We were also given a bucket with a brain in it. It was, um, unnerv­ing. We had to know every groove and hole and sur­face on the inside and the out­side of the skull. The brain, how­ever, was not so easy to work with. Very cool in the abstract, but in real­ity, the brain is rather homoge­nous. One has to fall in love with the idea of the brain. That is worth doing, by the way.
A liv­ing brain is much more inter­est­ing. I have never oper­ated on a brain, but when tak­ing care of trauma patients I would fol­low them (mean­ing patients with brain injuries) to the oper­at­ing room when the bra­ni­acs were work­ing on them. Mostly they (brain sur­geons) were remov­ing blood clots from around the brain after some­one cracked their skull. What I loved to see was the brain puls­ing. The whole thing looks like it is on a tiny tram­po­line going up and down. It is incred­i­bly alive. We expect the heart to beat and, of course, any­thing that has an artery in it pulses, but the whole brain vibes with the rhythm of life. The liver and the spleen don‘t do that. I don‘t have any big point here, and I am sure if a neu­ro­sur­geon read this her eyes would be rolling, but for us lowly gen­eral sur­geons, the liv­ing brain still inspires wonder.
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One Response to Cerebral

  1. Bobbi says:

    Oh I agree. I once assisted at a surgery where the surgeons were mapping out seizure foci, it was amazing!!! Love this post, again should be required reading at med school…


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