In Your Words  |   June 2018
Author Notes
  • Financial Disclosures: None reported. 
  • Support: None reported. 
  •  *Address correspondence to Kathleen Ackert, OMS III, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, 4170 City Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19131-1610.Email:
Article Information
Cardiovascular Disorders / Gastroenterology / Neuromusculoskeletal Disorders / Pediatrics / Being a DO / In Your Words
In Your Words   |   June 2018
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, June 2018, Vol. 118, 421. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2018.090
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, June 2018, Vol. 118, 421. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2018.090
I learned an incredible number of new words during my first year of medical school. Flexor carpi ulnaris. Mediastinum. Retropharyngeal space. But, of all the new words I learned, my favorite was anastomosis. It comes from the Greek language and refers to a union or interconnection between things that would normally not connect. Anastomosis is usually applied to blood vessels, rivers, and branches; however, my classmates and I underwent our own form of anastomosis in the gross anatomy laboratory. 
I cannot deny that the anatomy laboratory was an emotionally challenging experience. I spent more time in close proximity to my cadaver than I had with any other person in my adult life. I spent hours with him every week over the course of the semester, learning what he was like when he was alive by examining him. Week by week, I wove together the story of his life. I didn't know his name, but I called him “The Professor” because he was simultaneously my first patient and my teacher. Everybody has a story to tell, and I could not wait to learn his. 
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