Good morning! Hope you are getting out to enjoy the warmer weather this week like my patients.
Did you know that every minute you walk adds two minutes onto your life?
Before we begin, I wanted to quickly share something from this week.
Wednesday was Organ Day for my son’s biology class. For the past 23 years, a local pathologist has brought in various body organs to school to show the kids.
As one would imagine, this is a highly anticipated day for students and teachers alike.
It was also set to be a special day for me. I knew I would start the day by walking into school with Charlie and finish the morning by having lunch with him, a real treat.
It was an added plus that I hadn’t examined organs like this since Gross Anatomy 20 years ago.
As Charlie brought me up the steps to room 213, I was equally excited as the dozen or so of his classmates. They were giggling, whispering, and clamoring around Dr. G’s door. All were trying to sneak a peak at what was coming out of the buckets.
It was looking like Organ Day was carrying all the hype Charlie’s older sister, Ally, said it had.
Like a VIP, I weaved my way through the students and confidently strode into the room.
I found Dr. Kessler, a pathologist in his 50’s. Wearing wire-rimmed glasses, he carefully placed the cold, wet organs onto stainless steel trays at the various stations. He looked straight out of the Oliver Stone JFK movie. Short sleeve, ivory white Oxford buttoned to the top – no gloves.
Within the next 15 minutes, 10 other doctors from various specialties had arrived. We were all sharing personal Gross Anatomy stories over hot coffee, generously provided by the school.
A lot of smiles, laughing, and catching up.
Two minutes later, the room was packed with eager young high schoolers, bug-eyed 2nd graders (allowed to watch the big kids), interested faculty, and about a dozen physicians lucky to spend the day with the children. It was standing room only and an electric atmosphere. Many had their cell phones out snapping photos of the excitement encompassing this pop-up anatomy lab.
Funny, I don’t remember getting this excited to see organs when I was Charlie’s age.
At 8:05, the parent/doctor volunteers introduced themselves by name, specialty, and our children’s names (I pointed at Charlie and winked when I mentioned him).
We had gone all the way around the horn with Dr. Kessler going last. After his introduction, the pathologist softened his voice and slowed down his speech.
“I know it smells a little funny.
That’s the preservative keeping the organs from breaking down.
If you start feeling a little uncomfortable or lightheaded, that’s okay.
Please just step out of the room, take a few breaths and come back in.
We’ve been doing this for 16 years, and in all that time, we’ve only had one 2nd grader pass out.”
That was the last thing I remember.
Rubbing my eyes, I found myself staring up at a whole bunch of students and several faculty standing over me. Next to my head, broken glass was strewn all around, along with a bunch of straw.
One of the 2nd graders had taken the stethoscope out of my white coat and was listening to my left knee and nodding her head. The whole room was not with me.
There was an entirely separate group led by Dr. G, scrambling around rather frantically. They were quickly moving chairs and desks and Dr. G seemed VERY concerned.
Apparently, as I was going down, I grabbed what must have been a flimsy metal pole for support.
This aluminum pole supported a 6-foot long shelf that held the biology class’ scorpion aquarium. While there are around 2000 scorpion species only 30-40 have poison strong enough to kill a person. Due to a special exemption with strict conditions, Dr. G was able to have one of these (Indian Red Scorpion) on loan from a sister school in Sri Lanka.
The rules were the aquarium had to be kept at a height of greater than 9 feet and made of bullet-proof glass with an aerated lid that was soldered shut. We found out later Wednesday that there is/was/are a shortage of bullet-proof aquariums in Central Ohio.
You never know what a 15 year old is thinking, but I figured this incident may have been embarrassing for Charlie.
No pun intended, but I was looking to ‘stop the bleeding’ when I was asked to meet with the school administration.
While I certainly understood Wednesday’s early dismissal of the student body, I did question the school’s leadership. Specifically, I found yesterday’s (Thursday’s) cancellation a bit much. 2 days in a row?
Yes, unfortunately the scorpion has not yet shown himself, but seriously, what are the odds he’s still in the building?
Scorpions love the outside, naturally, they are outdoor creatures.
I’m sorry, where was I?