Sunday, 1 April 2012

Pterygopalatine Fossae

My fingers are cold and mottled, the blood vessels visible below the ink-stained skin like grout between uneven cobblestones. My rings are loose and fall forward onto the knuckle when I move my fingers and then back again when the movement changes. Threatening to fly off if I were to wave my hand or gesticulate.

Libraries are always cold - cold and dry. Keeping pages safe and their excellent mustiness preserved. Stopping the march of decay from ambient moisture and heat.

I am curled up with my knees against my chest, my chin resting atop as my fingers write and draw and type. Cloistered away in a tiny study room with blank walls, a mountain of heavy books and my new pen. The books are the oldest ones they had available in the library. Ancient anatomy texts that smell vaguely of formalin and are stained at the edges. Worn cloth covers that are threadbare at the bindings. I like them better than the new.

The stains on my fingers are from the new pen, an art pen purchased from an achingly beautiful store with every type of art supply possible. It has the narrowest nib. Each stroke less than one tenth of a millimetre. Just ten micrometres across. Ten quintillion yoctometres. I am irritated because my calcaneus is wrong. Bohler's angle is wrong and the adjacent navicular is too broad, but I keep on sketching, feathery strokes deepening the margins on the soft artist paper.

Occasionally I shiver and involuntarily pull my arms closer to my body, make my surface area smaller. And my wrist adjusts the angle as I pull the paper closer and keep drawing. Flick of the eyes to my 4 reference books, back to the paper. And so on. Avoiding the temptation to approximate. Occasionally my right hand gets sore and I switch, use my less precise left fingers to shade and etch, trying to improve the dexterity in both.

My hair sometimes falls across my face and I tuck it back absent mindedly, smelling the faint peroxide of the semi permanent "rinse" I put through my hair this morning and staining the tip of my ears in the process. The perfume and "bamboo extract" wafting around, trying desperately to mask it and somehow highlighting instead. Sometimes instead of tucking immediately I bring the lock of hair forward and twist it between my fingers, squinting slightly at the teinture. The unexpected darkness from hair that had been "nearly black" before. I think I will like it, but I'm afraid I won't - the contrast between dark and pale already too stark.

I am eating raspberries from the punnet. Deep red and indecently large.Juicy and plump that burst between teeth. Little seeds that stick in my teeth and ruby juice that mingles with the ink stains on my fingers. They are worth the $8 I paid for them. I have pepitas too. Soft green and crunchy. But I like the raspberries better.

I am supposed to be reviewing the pterygopalatine fossa this afternoon, but I'm not. I know I should and it makes me feel guilty and nervous in the pit of my stomach, but I want to draw instead so I am pretending drawing counts. It doesn't really, though at least I have an accurate picture of the sustentaculum in my mind. I guarantee they won't ask that on my exam.

My work involves focusing mostly on a spot a fixed distance from my eyes. I don't like it and my lenses are not as mobile as they once were. I find the outer edges of my long distance vision softer than it was previously. The colours are unaffected but the sharpness and definition has changed. I am fearful of this. Of losing my sight. Any of it. How could I draw if I can't see? Then I remember I could wear glasses and am slightly mollified. But only slightly.

The temptation to procrastinate is strong. Even from this which is procrastination in the first place. I want to open my e-mail. Or facebook. Click on things mindlessly. Read my favourite blogs. But I want to write here too because I have been neglectful and I feel it. I have let other relationships drift in the past but this one I want to hold onto. Luckily blogs are very forgiving.

Omohyoid, Digastric, Scalenus, Sternocleidomastoid. They were on my list to revise today, but I drew them last week and I am cheating myself by pretending that counts. I can't remember their innervation and I find it difficult to care, but I have to. There are only three weeks until my exam and I am suspiciously calm. Not because I am confident of passing, but the opposite. It seems so inevitable that I am going to fail that being upset about it seems silly. Except I paid thousands of dollars to sit the exam and will have to pay thousands again when I fail. And I could have bought shoes instead.

I brought my Physics text with me today, because I like it and sometimes I highlight passages in it that interest me. These are of course not the passages that I need to know for my exam. It thrills me in the tiny secret places in my brain that fizzle and pop about the understanding of what is un-understandable. Derstandable? That make me feel connected to the universe and an important collection of tiny particles that are not even a speck of sand on the beach of our galaxy. Feel oddly comforted by being so insignificant and yet able to do so many things. I wonder if that's how quarks feel.

It's 3pm and my self imposed time limit for being productive again is up and yet I know I'll stretch this out a few more minutes. That the e-mail that I've forced myself virtuously from reading while writing this will be read and that facebook will be refreshed.

Then I'll curl up again, with the pterygopalatine fossa in front of me, and I'll be an expert in an hour. Hopefully.


hissychick said...

Love this. LOVE it.

That is all.

Jenn said...

Love you too - when are you going to write again?


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