I am preparing for a pancarpal arthrodesis scheduled for tomorrow. I’m refreshing my mind on the anatomy of the carpus, remembering extension angles, and learning new information about types of plates and surgical technique. Maybe the surgeon will let me place some screws tomorrow if I know my stuff? Is it really called a pineapple burr?
But my short attention span – my scattered focus – swiftly plunges me deep into the Google wormhole:
What are ligaments composed of? Collagen.
What is collagen composed of? Amino acids.
What are amino acids composed of? Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen
The four most common elements in all living organisms. They make the trunks of elephants, the thumbs of humans, the gills of fish, the roots of plants, the wings of bumblebees, the beaks of birds, the soft caps of mushrooms, the cell walls of bacteria, and most importantly, the universe, or at least our universe.
These foundational, basic components constitute the mass of all living organisms. They are integral to the structure and function of all biological systems on Earth, and maybe even to those off Earth on some distant alien planet that functions just like ours.
But in veterinary medicine, these essential elements allow our dogs to propel themselves forward, run after a toy, and lift their leg to urinate on a fire hydrant. They bring our dog owners joy and they allow us the opportunity to learn and fix them when time exerts its degenerative, irreversible forces of breakdown and decay.
This is cool. Veterinary medicine is cool. So is our universe.