Ready For February.

I hope y’all had a great weekend! I know I did¬†ūüėĀ. I ended up spending it with a special person, who also came with me¬†dressed hella nice to Wake’s medical school prom. By the way, the prom was a good time, and the open wine bar was a fabulous (and dangerous ūüė≥) addition. So with that plus having a fun time with my girlfriend and Netflix, I ended up doing absolutely nothing productive this weekend. Now that real life has hit me square in the chin once again, I guess I need to take the rest of today to get some work done and to prepare for my third Clinical Practice Assessment Exam¬†(CPX) this week.

Now this clinical skills test (which I’m actually not mentally ready for yet by any means), will be testing us on the same skills that we were tested on last time. That includes taking a proper History of Present Illness, a complete Review of Systems, a Social and Family History, a Past Medical History and vital signs. However, we’re also now going to be taking a Sexual History and a musculoskeletal physical exam. That’s the little game¬†that you play every time you go to the doctor for a checkup, you know, where the doctor tells you to push against his/her hands, tells you not to let him/her bring your arms down, etc. I used to think I was such a Hulk whenever my doctor performed that physical exam on me as a kid. She¬†always had me¬†feeling that I was stronger than¬†I really was…but I digress. This CPX won’t really be bad or anything, I just have to get my mind straight and prepare for it. I did pretty well last time, so if I can repeat that performance, I’ll be fine.

On another note, my whole first-year class has our first Community Practice Experience coming up in a few weeks. This is where we each get paired up with a physician practicing family medicine in¬†different parts of the state (mostly rural areas) and learn first-hand what it’s like to practice as a physician in primary care. The experience lasts about a week and in that week, we’ll be shadowing the doctor and doing whatever¬†tasks he/she needs to be completed. Now I want you to go ahead and guess where I got placed in North Carolina.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

If you guessed Charlotte, you’d be wrong.

Greensboro? Nahhh.

High Point? Raleigh? Winston-Salem??

Nope, Uh-uh, No.

Try Lenoir. Never heard of it? You and me both. It’s some small town of about 20,000 people that lies about an hour and a half west of Winston-Salem, somewhat close to the Tennessee border. Near the mountains and whatnot. And I thought Winston-Salem was in the middle of nowhere. Lenoir makes Winston-Salem look like a metropolis. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Well it is. It should prove to be an interesting experience, that’s for sure. After that week though, we got¬†our Spring Break!

Spring Break is gonna be dope, I just gotta figure out what exactly I’m gonna do and finalize those plans…sooner rather than later. I got DC and Miami in mind…but it all depends on the state of my finances¬†ūüėÖ. Speaking of finances, if anyone has several thousand dollars¬†that they’re just DYING¬†to get rid of, feel free to send it my way. I’ll promise I’ll put it to excellent use! Sending a car over to me works too¬†ūüėĄ. Haha I’ll take whatever donations I can get.

Before I finish off this entry, I want to share something that was shared with me this weekend. I personally found it pretty encouraging as well as¬†rejuvenating. To sum it up, it’s a short video that features¬†Dr. Curtiss Moore, a cardiology fellow, giving a motivational message about being a Black Man, M.D. (Hehehe I’m clever). Hope it helps you in some sort of way!

Black Men In White Coats – Dr. Curtiss Moore, UT Southwester Medical Center

And finally, I’ve decided to start sharing inspirational messages with you each week. If you didn’t already know, I’m a firm believer in the tremendous value of positive energy. I believe that¬†you can change not only your daily experiences, but your life overall¬†just by changing the way you think. It may sound crazy, but it’s gotten me this far, so why stop now? In the words of one of my old high school friends, “I aspire to inspire.” With that in mind, I would love¬†to help provide some sort¬†of inspiration to someone out there in order to help him/her catalyze a better perspective of life.

Having said all that, today’s positive memo¬†is simple:

Change in your life only comes from a change within yourself.

Stay Blessed!

– Black Man, M.D.

Study Block

Sooo we have our third Cellular & Subcellular Processes (CSP) test tomorrow. It’s going to have concepts from Immunology and all types of bacteria, ranging from the morphologies of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria to what specific antibiotics treat each of them. Mechanisms of action, mechanisms of resistance, somatic hypermutation, STI’s, Amoxicillin, Tazobactum, Klebsiella pneumoniae, you name it. It’s all fair game for this test.

But if you know me or have been following this blog for a while, you already know that it takes quite a lot to faze me. Simply put, I’m not really fazed by this test. Better yet, I’m actually ready to get it over with and move on to learning about viruses, parasites, fungi and immunodeficiencies…..just so I can repeat the whole cycle of studying for the fourth CSP test.¬†ūüėď

Sigh. 

You ever reach that point where after studying and reviewing day and night for so long, you find yourself looking forward to test day just so you can feel sort-of free¬†and have one less thing on your mind? I can already hear you going,¬†“Hell nah fool, you cwwwazy.” And you may very well be right, but that’s just where I’m at now. I’m having to force myself to review more practice questions for tomorrow’s test. I literally was watching a movie last night and as this man was crawling through soil and mud in the wilderness with open cuts, all I could think about was how high-risk he was for¬†a¬†Clostridium bacterial¬†infection. Like, c’mon man. I can’t watch a movie or even cook a meal without thinking about bacterial infections and the proper way to diagnose them. It’s almost like when I couldn’t fall asleep back in the good ol’ Anatomy days without mentally¬†naming the origins and insertions of the Cranial Nerves.¬†Lol. I’ve¬†grown to learn that¬†whenever I begin to incorporate what I’m studying into my everyday thought processes,¬†I’m more than ready for a test. I guess that’s what happens when you stay glued in your apartment to your notes, First Aid book and laptop for a week. And can’t forget about SketchyMicro. Lord knows that’s how I’m getting through the rest of CSP.

With all that said, just because I say I’m ready doesn’t mean the test isn’t gonna be hard. I felt ready for the last test I took before winter break and they hit me with the okie-doke with some ridiculous questions. Had me feeling some type of way going into winter break, smh. But on the other hand, if you aren’t confident in your abilities, you’ve already lost before you’ve even started. And I don’t like to lose.¬†ūüėú

I honestly don’t really have much to say today, only thing on my mind is getting a good score on this exam. And what I’m wearing to Wake’s Med School Prom this Friday. Yeah, we have a prom for medical students.¬†ūüėé And oh yeah, what the hell I’m doing¬†for the summer. I’ve been doing some extensive browsing on summer research opportunities and I have a few that I’m willing to take a shot at. My options are ranging from diabetes to cancer to eye research. However, the worst part about applying for summer programs is that you don’t hear back from them till like March or even April, which makes it hard to plan out any other options in the chance that I don’t get accepted into the programs that I’m applying to. Talk about annoying. Well regardless, I’m going to be doing something productive this summer. I’m not giving myself a choice.

Y’all have a splendid week!!

 

– Black Man, M.D.

Working Smarter > Working Harder

I woke up to snow this morning.

I literally haven’t seen snow fall since high school…it was a pretty neat scene. But then my amazement quickly spiraled¬†into horror when I remembered I had to walk my friend’s dog. Try to imagine my face when I took my first step outside in those freezing white flurries.

SMH.

What’s even crazier is that the snow abruptly stopped a couple hours later and the sun came out like any other ordinary day. Looking outside now, it’s as if the snow flurries never existed; as if they were a part of some weird winter wonderland¬†dream. But I assure you, the snow that coldly stung my face this morning was very real. And COLD.

I want to take a moment to shoutout to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for everything he did for this country & the world in general. I want him to thank him for his Dream and for helping pave the way to equality and success for people that look like me. I also want to thank him for this three-day weekend that I desperately needed. You see, we started learning about the different bacteria that cause infections in people last week and maannnn let me tell you, there are a TON of bacteria all around us at all times. There are so many different types of bacteria that have so many different ways to help us as well as attack us, and we’re expected to retain all this information. Not only do we have to know every kind of bacteria out there, but we also have to know how to identify them via the disease processes the body exhibits and we need to know how to treat each infection.

I learned about most of these pathogens in college, but memorizing (and pronouncing) everything this time around hasn’t been any easier.Well I should say hadn’t¬†been any easier, because I started using this Godsend called SketchyMicro last Thursday…and it’s changed my life! For any medical students out there that either are studying Microbiology right now or are beginning to study for the Step 1 exam and for some reason haven’t heard about this miracle yet, PLEASE check it out. Hell, even undergrads could use it, although it’s quite a bit more detailed than is necessary for undergrad Microbio classes. Anyway, for those of you unfamiliar with SketchyMicro, the creators literally took just about every concept and organism that we need to know in the world of Microbiology and sketched a story out of it. So instead of having to dryly memorize so many facts word for word, you literally watch a story unfold with pictures used to trigger certain elements in the concept you’re trying to learn. It sounds hella weird I know, but it’s extremely creative and it’s working wonders for me so far! People were recommending it to me for so long and I can clearly see why. I’ve been binge-watching it this past weekend, and will continue to binge-watch up until my exam next Monday. SO needless to say, I’ve been pretty much a lame all weekend. But we all gotta make sacrifices to be great, right?

Also, I’m getting the opportunity to house a Wake interviewee for a night this week so that he has a place to stay for free before his interview on Thursday morning. It’s an awesome feeling to be able to do this, especially since it was done for me when I had my interview here almost exactly a year ago. Having a secure place to stay before my interview day and getting to talk to current medical students at the time definitely made my interview experience a hell of lot less stressful. I feel that it’s only right that I give that opportunity to another potential student. I’m slick excited to meet this guy and help him de-stress before his interview; he’s already called me up about any advice I had for him lol.

So with that said, if you’re currently interviewing for medical schools or any other graduate school in general, keep your head up and good luck! Always remember that if you’re being asked in for an interview, you’re already winning the battle. All you have to do is give them a good reason to pick you, which means being confident, being true to yourself and genuinely answering any question they throw at you. And smiling. Definitely smile.

Have a great week!

 

– Black Man, M.D.

 

Knowledge is Power.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since starting medical school back in July, it’s that it¬†really has a way of humbling you. I knew when I started med school that I didn’t know much about medicine and that I would have a lot to learn…but looking back now, it’s scary to see how very little I knew about the field I was trying to start a career in. Aside from Immunology, Biochemistry and the basics of Biology, I¬†really didn’t know a damn thing about the medical field the day I graduated from the University of Miami. The¬†limited scientific knowledge I had did not make Anatomy any easier and the whole Biochemistry course¬†only lasted a couple of weeks¬†here. I’m happy to say my major in Microbiology & Immunology is making my life a bit easier during this Microbiology/Immunology block, but I’m well aware that my safety net will not last long. Even to this day, it’s incredible how much I still do not know about medicine and what it means to become an overall effective physician. It’s like the more I learn, the more I realize how much I haven’t learned. I’m also finding that with an increasing knowledge base, I have so many more questions to ask and answers to find. Every¬†time I begin to understand a concept, there’s suddenly 100 new questions that I need answered in order to feel like I legitimately understand it. I’m literally on a never-ending quest¬†to catch smoke with my bare hands. It’s like an undying thirst for knowledge; an insatiable appetite.

But it’s eerily entertaining.

I actually enjoy being able to ask questions about new concepts, because it only increases my knowledge base on the subject.¬†Figuring out how certain mechanisms work and why they work the way they do is so cool to me and allows me to appreciate the human body that much more. It’s a wonderful feeling when you can finally connect something you learned about a system in the body to a disease process such as diabetes. It’s an even better feeling when you begin to understand the mechanism of the disease process and how it shows the symptoms that everyone is familiar with, like why people with sickle-cell anemia are more likely to suffer from frequent bacterial infections and sepsis,¬†or why people with untreated diabetes can go blind via diabetic retinopathy.

I know, I know…..I’m a nerd. I’ve always been this way…I can’t help it.¬†ūüėÖ

I guess the medical field just tends to attract people that find pleasure in figuring puzzles out. Guess¬†I’m in the right place.

On another note, I have a question I want you to answer. Can you tell me how in the hell a 20-minute meeting about my summer research plans¬†ended up turning into an almost-3-hour long shadowing experience? Not that I’m complaining…I was actually very excited! It was just crazy though…I had walked into the ophthalmology department expecting to meet an ophthalmologist in his office so that he could help direct me in what I should be doing this summer. 30 minutes later, I was scrubbed up and having casual conversation with the doctor in the (really hot) Operating Room while he was performing retinal-laser surgery on a premature baby in order to save her vision.

The retina is in the back of the eye, by the way.

I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. This doctor was literally having a full-blown conversation with me while¬†LITERALLY saving a kid’s vision with a laser machine attached to his head, a magnifying glass, a few metal tools and some eye drops. The fact that this guy really made the time to talk with me about my future goals while on the job really struck a chord with me. Hell, I’m still in absolute awe. I didn’t even want to say anything at first in fear that I would distract him from his meticulous task, but he kept telling me to ask him any questions I had on my mind. So I unloaded my barrage of questions ranging from why he decided to become an ophthalmologist to what disease he was working to fix on this baby. I almost forgot to ask him about my research interests, which was why I was there in the first place. Even after all my questions, he let me not only continue to watch him finish the surgery; he invited me to follow him around the ophthalmology floor as he continued about his day,¬†meeting new patients he had to perform surgery on and discussing details with his fellow. (A fellow is a doctor that has finished residency, but is in training to specialize in a specific area¬†of his/her field of medicine.) It was an awesome experience, to say the least. Doctors like him really make me appreciate studying medicine here at Wake Forest.

Overall, my first week back from break has been one of the calmest, if not the calmest, school weeks I’ve had since starting Anatomy back in August. The combo¬†of having very little afternoon classes and actually having a background in what we’re currently studying has been reassuring. I was even able to find time yesterday morning to volunteer at Wake’s annual Share The Health Fair, where I got the opportunity to help screen patients in the community for glaucoma. Granted, I’ve been studying pretty much all weekend because it’s still a ton of material to cover…but I’ve felt a lot better going over this material as opposed to the Biochemistry and Genetics rush I had before winter break. This upcoming week though…it’s looking like there’s about to be a lot more activity going on. I’m ready though, I ain’t worried ’bout¬†nothin’!!

Y’all be blessed!

 

– Black Man, M.D.

 

 

Back At It.

Well.

I’m back in Winston-Salem.

School starts back up tomorrow with three morning lectures and an afternoon discussion session, which isn’t too bad. As a matter of fact, this week isn’t looking bad at all, its mainly just morning microbiology lectures and free afternoons that we can use to digest the new material given to us. However, next week is a packed week with both morning and afternoon classes. It’s all good though, I’m ready for just about anything. Although I’ve been resting and relaxing for the past couple of weeks, I’ve also been mentally preparing myself for this semester…and I’m happy to say that with a semester of medical school under my belt, I have no fears coming into this next semester. You see, I’ve come to realize that it’s pointless to be afraid or nervous of what lies ahead in medical school. Whether it be future exams or being thrown in a brand new environment with minimal skills, there’s really no point in worrying about the potential hardships the future might bring. That’s because it’s only gonna get harder later on in my career, and I’ll just be looking back at my first year wondering what the hell I was so anxious about when I had it so easy. Also, there simply is nothing I can do about the future except prepare for it. Worrying is such a waste of energy. So I might as well enjoy the ride and actively learn as much from it as I can. I have Dr. Damon Tweedy to thank for helping me reach that conclusion, for I was reading his book this past week (Yeah I know, I’m taking¬†forever to get through it)¬†and as I was reading through his experiences in his first year of residency, I started to fully realize that I really do have it easy in comparison. I mean, all I really have to do is study for exams and absorb as much material as I can throughout these four years of medical school. Third and fourth years are clinical years and I will have more responsibilities as a result, but I still don’t have the full responsibilities an actual doctor has. Plus, I’ll be closely¬†supervised anyway. Sure I’ll have screw-ups along the way, but when was the last time I was scared of screwing up? Failures are stepping stones to success. Kanye said it himself, “N-Now th-that that don’t kill me, can only make me stronger.” Residency will be by far more challenging than what I’m currently experiencing now, but by the time I get there, I’ll have the skillset needed to be a full medical doctor. Sure it’ll be probably one of the hardest adjustments I’ll ever have to make and I probably won’t feel ready to make decisions for the well-being of my patients, but I’ll survive and get through it. As Marcus Aurelius once said, “Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.¬†”¬†That goes for anything that you may be going through in life; just trust yourself and you’ll find a way to get through your struggles.

In other news, this past week in Atlanta was an awesome experience! It was such a diverse city man; I saw all kinds of people when I was down there. While I was there, I got to see all kinds of aquatic wildlife in the Georgia Aquarium, which by the way was so freakin’ huge. I’ve never seen an aquarium that big…and that expensive¬†ūüėí. It was worth it though, my girl and I got our money’s worth and toured just about everything in that place. I also rode the new (and random) Ferris Wheel in the Centennial Olympic Park, shopped in Lenox Mall, drove through Buckhead and dabbed with the Coke Bear at the World of Coke. I also can’t forget about the great food I had at Atlanta’s restaurants and all the fun I had on New Years Day. Great times, great times. Definitely gotta make another trip back at some point in the future.

I hope each of you are starting your New Year right and on a positive note! Don’t let the one life you have be infested with negativity and worry; let it shine radiant with happiness and confidence! Sounds corny, but life’s better when you’re happy and aren’t chronically worried, trust me.

Stay blessed!

– Black Man, M.D.