The Month of Science has officially begun, on June 2nd, 2015.
I couldn't get started until around 4pm, which was unfortunate, but I'm making the most of it. I had a chiropractor visit in the early afternoon to fix up my neck after knocking it out of whack from "student syndrome". Basically, with my hyper mobility and studying for 6 hours at a time for a few days, my spine just slid right out of placement. I have a nice Quasimodo bulge at the back of my neck (I know; super hot). My first visit went well, and I'm in a lot less pain and discomfort. I'm well enough to not give a damn about the low level aches while dissecting my first cow eyeball!
This is probably old news for lots of you who dissected things in high school, but this was something I missed out on. My family moved frequently, and it just never worked out. Either they had just finished dissections by the time I came to the school, or they were just about to begin right before I left. This was the same way it worked out for science fairs. bleh. I missed out. I always wanted to dig into the specimens that lined the classroom, but I never saw them outside of their jars and Tupperware.
So this is all new and exciting for me.
My first dissection. How did it go?
I was pretty nervous to start. Mostly because I was concerned that the smell or dissecting process would gross me out. When I imagined dissecting, it didn't bother me, but imagining a dissection or watching videos, and actually dissecting are very different things. Having what is basically a dissecting lab in my studio, along with some microscopes, it would be very bad news to find out I have a squeamish stomach.
Luckily I did just fine. The smell was a bit nauseating after some time, but the process was way more fascinating than it was disturbing. I had my fan going, which helped. Once I have the real ventilation system installed, sucking out the air, this should be improved also. The smell really wasn't that bad, but I ended up working on the same eyeball for around 3 hours, so I think it just built up.
I didn't do a great job of dissecting the first time around, which is what I was expecting. I was too timid about cutting the fat and muscle off the outside of the eyeball, worried I would cut into the sclera. Because of this, I ended up taking a long time slowly trimming off the extra bits. I also did't make a nice even cut, making my anterior and posterior sections lopsided. These are both things I will improve upon next time.
Not sure why, but the optic nerve and retina are my favorite parts o the eye. Being able to see the optic nerve in front of me was satisfying. That didn't even involve any dissection really, it was just nice to see it.
I took apart the eye, pulling out the lens, lifting the retina, checking out the tapetum etc. I then took thin slices from each part to see it under the microscope. These are all hand sliced with a scalpel, so it is not fine work. Once I learn how to use my Hand MIcrotome , and once I get the paraffin wax set up I need, I will make 10 micron thin slices of these pieces, which will give better results. I am however pleased with the lens under the microscope, and I think the jaggedness of my hand slicing showed off the striations of the lens. Below are a few choice photos from under my microscopes. I posted many more photos in the Lab Photos Page.
My best photos are of the lens, which is pretty ironic as I currently have little interest in drawing the lens, as most of my study revolves around the photo receptors. We'll see if the lens becomes a Numberism drawing...
I am going to now go back to the research portion of my study. All in all, my experience so far has been a good one. I'll post again for my second dissection. I am waiting on a cellphone adapter to tripod so that I can set up a video of me dissecting and such. I will include a video next time. I think the adapter will arrive Thursday.
29 days left in this adventure.