Testing My Brain on a Test on the Brain

First off, Happy Easter to each of you who celebrate this glorious day!

And if not, Happy Sunday to you!

I woke up this morning half-expecting the sun to be shining radiantly in the blue sky, birds to be chirping, sunflowers to be sprouting, bunnies to be hopping around, etc. You know, your typical PBSkids-looking sunny spring day. I got dressed and walked outside into a dreary forecast of clouds, fog, mist, and coldness. You know, the kind of thing you see in a graveyard in a scary movie. What an Easter.

That didn’t screw up my mood tho! Then again, now that I think about it, what if this dreary weather is a grim reminder of my first Neuroscience exam I have…tomorrow???

 

 

Yup that’s right, I got my first Neuroscience exam tomorrow. You would think that Ola Ray’s reaction above would be precisely how I feel right now. But if you know me well enough or have been following this blog for a while, you would also know that I’m not one to really ever freak out…unless I just witnessed Michael Jackson transform into a werewolf and was about to slaughter me in the middle of the woods. Then yeah, I would be screeching like there’s no tomorrow. I like to keep my cool and to believe that I can trust myself to do well after all the long hours of studying I’ve subjected myself to. Honestly, I know I probably don’t share the same view of this block as a great portion of my classmates but I’m actually finding this material to be highly interesting. It’s almost as if I’m enjoying studying about the central nervous system (brain & spinal cord), everything that can go wrong with it and how to fix different pathologies relating to it via surgery procedures and drugs. I know, I know, I’m not smoking anything. I swear. Maybe I like it so much because it’s extremely relevant to what I’m going to be seeing as a doctor. Or maybe because the brain is literally the cornerstone of the human body and it has so much power over what we do in our daily lives. Or I could just be a straight-up nerd. It’s okay, you can point at me and yell out, “NEEERRRRDDD!!!” I’ve come to accept that title a long time ago. 😂 Regardless, it’s been nice to actually understand how strokes work, how the brain coordinates movement/pain/sensation/emotion/homeostasis/yadda yadda yadda and what the drug commercials are advertising as well as how those drugs work in the body. Don’t get me wrong, this ish ain’t easy. It’s actually SO MUCH information…like I’ve been having study-thons these past couple of weeks. But the material has definitely been capturing my interest. So with all that said, I’m ready to take on this test tomorrow, rain or shine!

Also, I FINALLY found out what I will be doing this summer. Turns out I’m going to be a Teaching Assistant for the wonderful Minority Students In Health Careers Motivation Program, run by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at the Miller School of Medicine in Miami! (Talk about a mouthful.) I just can’t seem to stay away from South Florida 😅. I’m looking forward to meeting the students in the program as well as sharing my first-year experiences with them as they are looking to pave their way into the medical field. I’m just glad I was given the opportunity to make something out of my summer; Lord knows I don’t know how to sit idle. I also wasn’t landing any of the paid research positions I was applying to, so I really wasn’t sure what I was about to occupy myself with this summer. As a matter of fact, one program still hasn’t hit me back up yet now that I think about it…not that it matters anymore anyway. I’m more than happy with this TA position I was blessed with.

There’s a couple more things I wanna touch on before I wrap up. First, in our medical ethics class for the past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about death, the complicated feelings associated with it, and how to deal with it as doctors both on a patient and an individual level.Yeah…it was pretty depressing. We delved into what our visions were on a “good” death, what our visions of death were based on, the moral significance of death, and how American culture views it. We also touched on why it’s still very difficult for physicians to deal with mortality even when we all understand that everyone has an end to their life. It wasn’t a fun topic to have, but it did get me thinking on how much power a society has on influencing the way we think about things, including mortality. On another note, we had a nationally known speaker named Robyn Ochs come speak to our class on the topic of bisexuality. She was funny man. I ended up learning a ton from her presentation; things I really never considered at all when it comes to the LGBTQ population. I’m glad I was able to attend and further diminish any ignorance I may have had for the population. Ignorance is bliss y’all…it truly is a danger in this world.I’ll be sure to think back to Mrs. Ochs whenever I have patients in the future that identify themselves in that group.

That about does it! Have a lovely week!

A change in your life can only come from a change within yourself.

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S: I’m still salty I didn’t get to go to the SNMA conference this past weekend…and that my bracket is completely busted after Kansas’s loss last night. Way to go Jayhawks.

Perspectives.

There was so much emotion around me.

Laughs.

Screams.

Tears.

Jumps of joy.

Hugs.

Kisses. 

It was the day that all medical students across the nation work tirelessly for; a day that determines our future and indisputably seals our fate. Match Day. The fourth years all around me had matched in various specialties in a number of schools around the nation. Most of them matched in the specialty they desired and matched to a school that was within the top 3 choices on their list. It was fantastic to witness all of my 4th year friends finally receive the opportunity to become something that they’ve put an insane amount of hours towards; something that very few people in the world get a chance to be; something that gives them the incredible ability to heal;

A physician.

I was at the Match Day ceremony for maybe 30 minutes max, but all I needed was 5 minutes to fully absorb the magnitude of what was happening around me. In those 5 minutes, I saw with my own eyes what the result of this taxing medical school life will be. In three short years, I’ll be celebrating with my class about our incredible achievement and the fact that our hard work will allow us to secure a stable job & lifestyle that we can keep for the rest of our lives. It was definitely reassuring to witness with my own eyes the light that is waiting for me at the end of this challenging journey. Sure, we all are going to be worked off our ass during our residencies, but at least we’ll be getting paid doing what we love right?

Now that I’m here talking about my future, I’m reminded of what lies ahead of me between now and Match Day of 2019. Second year classes, the USMLE Step 1 Exam *rolling my eyes*, my clinical years where I’m literally paying the school to work me, etc. It looks like an uphill battle…but getting in this position from college was an uphill battle in itself and I’m here aren’t I? I’ve also heard multiple times from different people about how things just get worse from first-year…as well as how much things get better from here. I guess it’s just a matter of perspective. Hell, I’m just happy to be here. I personally plan on maintaining the positive attitude that has gotten me this far. Call me naive if you want, but at least I’m content. 😁

Speaking of being content, I was recently elected to serve on the Ophthalmology Interest Group E-board here as well as on the SNMA E-board as the Community Service Co-Chair! I’m looking forward to working in those positions because both of those organizations have a considerable amount of value to me. They’ll also give me something to do that doesn’t involve me studying for the exams that never stop coming, which I really appreciate. So there’s that.

There’s one more thing I want to add. We’ve been learning all about stroke this past week in class and one of our professors actually had a stroke patient come in to talk to us about what life is like after having one. He had suffered from one a few years ago while doing the simple task of walking a dog with his loved one. Because of his stroke, he can’t see anything in his right visual field, he had to attend physical therapy for an extended period of time in order to relearn how to walk, he’s had to relearn his alphabet and how to do simple math, and he has to concentrate extra hard to process information in a regular conversation. However, he was pretty upbeat and willing to talk and joke around with us about his perspective with the disability. It was a very fascinating conversation. He really helped to put a human face on a topic that we’ve been laboring over for the past week and I feel that he also helped to inspire a number of us in the class to continue working hard towards understanding the intricacies of the brain. It’s scary to think about how sudden a stroke can present itself…it makes me want to get a CT scan of my head and look for any abnormalities. Someone once told me that med school can turn you into a hypochondriac…I’m finally starting to see what they meant by that. 😰

Alright, that’s all of my reflections for today. Go on and have a stupendous week!

Oh yeah, shoutout to all the upsets that have occurred since March Madness started. Y’all never fail to destroy the brackets I work so hard to perfect. 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place. – Nora Roberts

– Black Man, M.D.

Springing On Forward

Do you know how nice it is to finally be able to study outside again? It’s glorious. I can go over PowerPoint slides while enjoying a nice, slightly brisk breeze that works to cool me from the radiant rays of the sun. I can listen to birds chirp some jokes to each other and watch the clouds glide graciously across the smooth, icy blue sky. This is nature’s way of telling me that spring is here. Better times are coming. No more having to suffer in winter’s blistering cold or its short daylight hours. No more having to stay trapped indoors as the winter winds cackle at me. No more having to stare outside my window longing for warmer temperatures as the winter sun plays deceptive tricks by making it look nice and warm outside when it’s really 22 degrees Fahrenheit. As you can see, I’m not a fan of the winter season.

This past week has been the warmest week we’ve had since like October maybe. We were steadily in the 70s and I actually didn’t have to wear a sweater outside for once. And since we sprung an hour forward today with Daylight Savings, I have longer daylight hours to look forward to. 😄 In other news, I just finished my first week of the Neuroscience block, and I actually am enjoying it so far! Sure there’s an ungodly amount of information coming at me at a supersonic rate, but it’s highly relevant to our everyday lives and super interesting to me. Plus, the information that we’re learning is going to be continuously reinforced to us throughout these 10 weeks of the block so we’re going to see much of what we learned already again and again. I’ve also realized how many resources there are for learning this material…this is going to be a great block. I’m speaking it into existence. Looking back though, it really is insane how much I learned this past week alone. There are soooo many little intricacies in the brain that many people wouldn’t even begin to know how to comprehend. Our brains are a masterpiece man. Now every time I make an action or think about doing something, I find myself trying to make out what structures in my brain is working at that time. Slightly annoying, but cool at the same time. However, nobody told me we were going to the anatomy lab again…I found myself up there at 8 in the morning last Friday examining a brain. Not the way I wanted to spend my Friday morning…but I think that’s the only time we’re going to be going back up there this block. Works for me.

On another note, there’s a national SNMA (Student National Medical Association) conference coming up in a couple of weeks in Austin, TX…and I CAN’T GO! 😭😭😭 I REALLY wanted to network with a ton of medical students around the country and experience what the conference had to offer. But airfare to Austin is expensive as hell. Not to mention finding a place to sleep. And apart from all that, I have my first Neuroscience test the Monday after the conference weekend. It’s soooo unfortunate man. Sigh. I guess I got another three years to possibly go. However, I did get to go to a scholarship gala last Friday night and it was pretty damn fancy. A ton of scholarship donors showed up and it was real nice being able to talk to some of them about their experiences in medical school and what they are doing now in their lives. The food was real good too. Especially the salmon. They said it was all buffet-style…but I swear they took up those food trays so fast, there was no chance in hell anyone could go up for a second plate. Also I know I’ve said this before, but a major goal in my life is to be well off enough to create meaningful scholarships for students in the future. It’s so necessary yo, I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the scholarships I was so graciously gifted with. I’m really going to do it one day, I’m speaking this into existence as well!

Have a spectacular week y’all!

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. – Zig Ziglar

– Black Man, M.D.

Back To The Grind

Annnnnd just like that, spring break is over.

oprah-crying.gif

Time to get back to the grind. I may feel refreshed and prepared to start this new block of material waiting ahead for me, but that doesn’t mean that I want to start. I wouldn’t be mad if we were handed another week off from school, but that’s just me. But alas, I’m back from my fun-filled vacation in Miami and have no choice but to accept what’s ahead of me. As I said last week, I have no idea what to expect…which is probably why the school is making us attend a mandatory ‘Intro to Neuroscience’ lecture tomorrow morning. Can’t be mad though because it starts at 10 AM, which is golden.

I have a feeling that Neuroscience will be just as intriguing as it will be difficult, but after over seven months of rafting through the raging waters of med school, I feel that I’ll be ready to tackle just about anything thrown at me. I lowkey wouldn’t be surprised if we start getting flashbacks from the head & neck section of anatomy during this block. I’m moreso excited to learn about the clinical aspects of Neuroscience such as stroke, depression, personality disorders, and anxiety. I’m also looking forward to learning how different drugs interact with the brain and exploring the mechanisms that produce the clinical results that we’re all familiar with. I’ve always been interested in things like that, to the extent where I would go on Wikipedia as a high school/college student and look up all kinds of mechanisms only to find myself completely lost thanks to my then-limited knowledge of the body. So to sum it up, I’m definitely looking forward to what this block has to offer even if it just looks like a hazy mist of uncertainty right now.

Well I don’t have much to say beyond that right now. My previous post was probably my longest post yet, so I don’t feel too bad about cutting this one short. I had an awesome spring break catching up with many old friends, spending time with my girlfriend, appreciating the warmth of South Florida, going to the beach for the first time in in almost ten months, marveling at the palm trees, partying, sleeping, etc, etc, etc. I almost feel like this will be my last spring break since I’ll be getting ready for Step 1 around this time next year…

However as long as I keep the quote below in mind, I feel that I’m gonna be alright.

 

“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.” – Marcus Aurelius

 

 

– Black Man, M.D.

 

P.S. I have no idea how I ended up on the Wake Forest School of Medicine site, or how this picture was taken…I don’t even remember a camera being in the room 😅

wake ultrasound