The Chorda Tympani is a small branch of the facial nerve that passes through the middle ear. During first year medical school, my cadaver lab instructor offered a 6-pack of beer to any student who could locate this tiny nerve intact. I found it. He reneged.

I later wanted to somehow convey the experience of cadaver lab: dissecting a human body that has been drained of blood and soaked in formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde for six months until all the various tissues congeal into an indistinguishable greenish-grey conglomeration. Naturally, I turned to Lewis Carroll for inspiration.




‘Twere basilar, and the lithy nose

Did wod and wibble on the gabe;

All mimpy were the smegma toes

And the bonetome hacks outgrave.


“Beware the Chorda Tympani –

In jaws that bit, it jowls now dead!

Beware the fascial planes, and skin

With care this mummied head.”


He took his scalpy blade in hand,

By Grant his search was lead;

Then crouched he by the stainless tank

And thought a while instead.


And as in oafish stead he thought

The Chorda Tymp. with sheath of grey,

Came wiggling though the pulpy lot

And dangled where it lay!


One, two! One two! And round and round

His blunt-end probe went slurpy-slop!

He left it bare, and called for aide

To see what he did crop.


“And hast thou found the Chorda Tymp?

To me you this must show

That may be it! But do you know

From whence its fibers go?”


‘Twere basilar, and the lithy nose

Did wod and wibble on the gabe;

All mimpy were the smegma toes

And the bonetome hacks outgrave.



About Køt Biehl

I am a psychiatrist in private practice with 25 years experience in multiple settings including long-term inpatient, acute inpatient, partial hospitalization, outpatient, hospital consultation, long term psychodynamic psychotherapy, brief psychotherapy, and even electroconvulsive therapy. I am board certified in general psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine. My interests are many. I bore easily. I am fascinated by shamanic healing, particle physics, quantum theory, Schubert, Brahms, Schoenberg, Jung, Reik, Pynchon, Proust, Mark Strand, John Berryman, Richard Feinman, Wharhol, Pollock, Kandinsky, Miro, audiophile stereo reproduction, rocks on the beach, and small shiny objects.
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