Tuesday, July 1, 2008

There's something in the air....

I usually get a little blue in the early summer because the students are gone and things at work are just a bit dull. But, today one could walk down the hallway where I work and notice a very distinctive smell. It is a smell that repulses most people but I find strangely positive. What is the smell you ask? Why, it is a chemical called formalin (AKA formaldehyde) and to me it signals the return of our students. Formalin is used to preserve cadaver specimens which our students dissect as part of a human anatomy course. If you haven't smelled formalin or formaldehyde before I don't think there is a way to really describe the odor. In the cafeteria, in the elevator, walking down the hallway...the smell is pervasive. What makes it especially unpleasant is that the smell tends to cling to your clothes and hair and your hands, even though we all wear gloves and wash repeatedly. Ahhh...the smells of summer!

4 comments:

Ame said...

ewwwwww!!!!!!!

do you teach that course??????

The Learner said...

I only help with one part of it (in my specialty area). It isn't as bad as it sounds. You get used to it.

Anonymous said...

I did not have the privilege of working with human cadavers in my training; I think it should have been a requirement. It would elevate the standards of my profession.

The Learner said...

SXM,

It really is an extremely valuable learning tool. It's one thing to memorize which nerve ennervates a muscle and another thing to actually see it.