Anatomy and Rude Mnemonics – Good Reads from the Airport

The joy of travel is that so often you have lots of time to kill (on planes, in airports, on buses etc). And for the second time I have scored a good read at an airport, just randomly browsing through books that look at first glance to be a load of crap.being-mortal


Last time it was Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal. This time I happened across Adventures in Human Being by Gavin Francis – a Scottish GP and writer, who “wanted to be geographer” and travel, at least “through the pages of an atlas” but finished up as a doctor and an anatomy demonstrator and his book is instead a travel through the human body. Or essays and comments various diseases of different parts of the body.


It takes me back to days as a student and erasable and demeaning Professor Warwick of the Anatomy Department, and the general horrors of trying to learn all the intricacies of the body.


There were of course tricks – mostly mnemonics. The one we all knew for the cranial nerves was “on old Olympus towering top a Fin and German view some hop”* (olefactory, optic, occulomotoer, trochlear, trigeminal, abducens, facial, auditory, glossopharyngeal, vagus, spinal, hypoglossal).


The Psychopath TestFrancis writes with a drole humor, and had me laughing out loud as I sat on the front porch (home now) with my V and T with the mnemonic he cites for the branches of the facial nerve, that I had not heard before - “two zombies buggered my cat” (temporal, zygomatic, buccal, mandibular, cervical).


And still on the subject of books with a medical theme, my sister leant me The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson – another fascinating and entertaining read.


Take a trip!





*some of the more bawdy students used a different mnemonic for the cranial nerves, namely “oh, oh, oh to touch and feel virgin girls vaginas and hymens.”







No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment