Medicine / University / Unseriousnesses

The autonomic nervous system – Africa style!

Note: I cannot take credit for this piece of lecturing awesomeness. The lecturer takes credit. She is awesome. Trust me.

It is the year dot, and an urgent message needs to be sent from Cape Town to Gauteng. You see, Cape Town is the brain, whilst Gauteng is the working area. (Kaapstad is slaapstad.) Nothing goes on there, hence we have to send the message to Gauteng where people actually do some work! After all, in Cape Town people just sit on the beach and drink wine as well as occasionally making a decision. The Gautengers then have to do all the work.  (Remember, this is the lecturer that said it, not me. So if you’re an offended Capetonian, go hit her, not me!)

So, due to it being, as was previously mentioned, the year dot, a horse and rider are dispatched to deliver the message. Off they gallop…

Until they arrive at the Orange River. Here is a fact: In the year dot, horses did not swim across the Orange River. There are crocodiles and things in the river. Swimming across is a no-no.

Luckily, there are lots of little canoes that traverse the river. The name of these canoes is Acetylcholine. Our brave messenger makes use of these canoes, handing the message over to the canoe man. The canoe lands at the docking station named the Nicotinic Receptor.

On the other side of the river, depending on the type of message, it is either handed over to a fast Arabian racehorse and its rider (sympathetic message) or to a slow, obstinate mule and its rider (parasympathetic message) who gallop off to deliver it to Gauteng.

Unfortunately, between Messenger #2 and Gauteng there lies another swiftly flowing, crocodile infested river… the Vaal River!

Once again, the canoes come to our rescue in order to ferry the all-important message across the river. Sympathetic messages get priority and are thus transported across in the fast and flashy speedboat Noradrenaline. They have a choice of docking stations: Alpha 1, Alpha 2, Beta 1,2 or 3. Parasympathetic messages have to once again make do with an Acetylcholine canoe – however, this time it docks at a Muscarinic receptor docking station.

The different docking stations cause different effects within Gauteng, where, as was previously stated, people actually do some work.

However, there is an exception! Watch out, here come the enormous horse and rider with their super priority sympathetic message! They don’t even break stride upon reaching the Orange River. Instead, they launch themselves into the air and leap over the Orange River!!! Racing on, they reach the adrenal medulla, where, surprisingly, they employ the humble Acetylcholine canoe to carry their message across to the docking station of the Nicotinic receptor. This causes the adrenal gland to release adrenalin, so that the lecturer can run away from the lion underneath the chair in the lecture hall!

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