Rejuvenated.

My summer vacation is officially over.

I’m sitting here back in Winston-Salem wondering how fast time can fly by as I prepare myself to start my second year tomorrow. My summer vacation was very relaxing, thrilling and rewarding to say the least. I enjoyed every minute of it. As a matter of fact, my summer break was so great that I feel completely rejuvenated! I’m actually very excited to begin this new chapter in my medical career! Everything we will be learning this year will be absolutely critical to know if we want to blossom into effective doctors. It will also just so happen to be vital information for our impending Step 1 exam, which is my #1 priority this school year. (The fact that I’m taking it in less than a year though…) This year, we’ll be focusing on organ systems and learning about the physiology and pathophysiology of each one, starting with Hematology/Oncology (Blood & Cancer) tomorrow. Studying the organ systems and how they make the body work is what I thought I would be doing when I first embarked on the pre-med track in college…instead, I got bombarded mercilessly with multiple years of Evolutionary Biology, Organic Chemistry, Physics, etc. So being finally able to actually learn about how the human body functions on a day-to-day basis sure does invigorate me! Plus, the medical school building moved to a new building downtown…which just so happens to be literally next door to my apartment 😁. I can actually make it from my bed to the classroom in less than 5 minutes if I really wanted to! So needless to say, this is going to be a hell of a convenient year.

Before getting back to the good ol’ Dash city, I spent a week at home with family and friends. I didn’t really do much except hang with my little brothers, run errands for my mom, watch the Democratic National Convention (I just might drop a few tears when President Obama leaves office 😢😭), chill with some of my cousins, catch up with childhood friends, and play FIFA/Mortal Kombat/Monopoly. It was such a chill final week of summer. Oh and guess what?

I FINALLY FINISHED BLACK MAN IN A WHITE COAT.

Martin laughing cheering cheer 2x01

Took me almost a year to get through it, but I did it! It really shouldn’t have taken me that long to read through it…but on the other hand, in that long span of time, I was able to fully absorb Dr. Tweedy’s story chapter-for-chapter. There are so many topics in the book that could potentially used for great discussions, that’s for sure. Lol, I could literally write a series of posts concerning several of the many topics brought up in the book.

On a side-note, before I left home to come back here, I visited an older cousin who works as a Nurse Practitioner and her two kids. While I was there, we had an interesting conversation about how different the mentality of receiving healthcare is in Cameroon and other countries like it. I don’t even know how we came up on the topic…but we ended up talking about it for almost an hour. She was telling me how a good number of people in Cameroon would rather pray or look for other sources of “traditional” care whenever them or one of their loved ones became ill and because of this resistant mentality against Westernized medicine, the nation of Cameroon as a whole has a lower life expectancy and people there tend to wait until the last minute to receive adequate care. She also talked about how certain conditions are stigmatized there, with an example being epilepsy. The craziest thing about it all is that if any one of us from America were to go there to help inform them about the benefits of Western medicine as well as the inherent dangers of some aspects of their traditional mentality, we would most likely be seen as “know-it-alls” and viewed as if we thought we were in some way “better than them”. It just goes to show how powerful a mentality can be, especially when it comes to giving and receiving healthcare. This is very important to keep in mind if you are going to be providing healthcare to people of various populations. Hell, it’s important to keep in mind in general. Trying to understand where someone else is coming from can really help you reach a compromise when it comes to solving issues.

Man, I lowkey can’t believe I’m about to start up my study routine again. Yes, I’m ready, but at the same time this really is the last day of my vacation. So I suppose I’ll go and enjoy it now before having to start classes at 8 AM tomorrow. But before I do, I just need to shoutout the students I worked with in the Motivation Program this summer one more time. They actually made an appreciation video where each of them expressed their gratitude to the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs for their experiences in the program. Click here to view the video that warmed our hearts!

Here’s to a spectacular start to this new school year! Shoutouts to all the new medical students around the nation starting off their medical school careers!

Make sure you have a resplendent week! You have the power to do so!

“When someone tells you it can’t be done, it’s more a reflection of their limitations, not yours.”

– Black Man, M.D.

Summer ’16 Finale

Alas, the Motivation program has come to a beautiful end.

Which means I have exactly one week left until I start my second year.

Complex awkward bye oops jay z

Thankfully, I get another chance to see my family before I head off to studying the copious amount of lectures waiting for me back at school. I’ll leave from Miami tomorrow morning (I can’t stand paying baggage fees…), chill back home for a few days, and head off to Winston this upcoming weekend. Should be a good week.

Now there’s a reason I described the end of the Motivation program as beautiful. It all ended last Friday afternoon with a lovely banquet that was full of emotion, pictures and heavy hor d’oeuvres. (I definitely had my fair share of Swedish meatballs and shrimp. ☺️) The banquet started with the Executive Director of the program welcoming everyone to the banquet and thanking each of the staff & faculty in the room. She then had me and my co-TA stand up to be recognized and gave a congratulatory speech thanking us for our help in the program. We were then each gifted with a card and a stethoscope (ayeeee!!!) and in a surprising twist, we were summoned to the podium to say a few words to the audience. Gotta love impromptu public speaking. After all that, the two student speakers selected by the class delivered their touching speeches to the audience. Their words of gratitude and admiration brought both laughter into the room and tears to the eyes of some of the students in the crowd. Watching them speak on a public platform and witnessing how grateful they were of the program was an awesome feeling in itself. After they spoke, certificates were given out to each student and the program ended with a story from the Associate Dean for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs of the Miller School of Medicine. Then hella pictures were taken for the next hour or so. It was a great time overall. What made it 10x better was the card I received from the students with a note and a signature from each of them on it.

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Reading what they said in the card moved me more than anything else did that day. (I also got the “Proton Award” from my students the night before for being such a positive force throughout the program 😂.) After the banquet ended, one of the students came up to me and sincerely thanked me for being a presence in the field of medicine and told me how motivated he was by my blog. He not only appreciated the content of it, but it also is encouraging him to read more so that he can increase his reading speed and his reading comprehension overall. Isn’t that dope or what? Hearing testimonials like that is what keeps me going with this blog and with this path of medicine in general.

A couple of days prior to the banquet, the SNMA chapter at the UM Miller School of Medicine hosted a forum addressing the racial tensions being felt nationwide as a result of the continued use of excessive force by some police officers in the country against African-Americans. I’m happy to say that the classroom was packed with a diverse array of people from various backgrounds and that we were all willing to listen to each other express ourselves in an inclusive atmosphere. Mediated by the same Associate Dean for Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, we decompressed and reflected on many topics including privilege, the power that medical students have to implement change, advocacy & accountability, how institutional forgiveness of institutional racism in the system causes distrust with the system in this country, the pool party incident that took place last year in Texas, the vast number of incidents of police brutality that have taken place these past few years, the importance of legislative action and instituting actual change in the community, and racial profiling. I found it interesting when he mentioned that many of us have various privileges that we may not be aware of due to their mainstream nature in society and that we should be cognizant of them. He gave white privilege and heterosexual privilege as examples, but he said that there are numerous ones out there that many of us don’t even realize we have when compared to others around us. In regards to speaking out and taking action as medical students and doctors, a first-year student asked how we could do that if we are supposed to be outwardly neutral. A fourth-year med student responded that we shouldn’t have to be afraid to speak out on political issues, especially when it comes to political issues that directly impact the livelihoods of our patients since we are meant to be advocates for our patients, no matter what. Later on in the discussion, an Ed.D spoke on how he was racially profiled by the police as he was driving his wife’s car one day. They had informed him that the vehicle had come up as stolen and they drilled him with questions about it before letting him go. One more thing that piqued my interest during the discussion was when a medical student, a young white male, spoke on how much he appreciated the inclusive tone of the talk and how he was initially worried of race-bashing when he came to the discussion. He stated how he wanted to be helpful in making progress happen and that he wants to fully educate more of his friends about the very real issues that people of color face on a daily basis, but is also uncomfortable asking black people certain questions due to his fear of coming across as aloof or offensive. Another medical student, a young black female, responded by telling him he can help the cause simply by educating others that may be ignorant about the current issues at hand and actively engaging with the community in various ways. She also mentioned how important it was for him to inquire about things that he may not know much about even if it may come across as ignorant, because the answers he’s looking for will kill that ignorance. All in all, it was an engaging and extremely necessary forum. In order for things to get better, we must continue to talk about these issues. But we also need to complement discussion with action, because talking didn’t save Mr. Charles Kinsley from being absurdly shot at by an officer as he laid on his back with his hands in the air while trying to calm down his autistic patient sitting next to him. Ridiculous. Thank God he’s still alive.

That about does it for this post. I unfortunately have to now go and pack for tomorrow…

Make your week a fantastic one!

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

– Black Man, M.D.

Facing the End

Welp.

I’m facing the final week of the Motivation program that I’ve been working in for the past six weeks of my summer vacation. I don’t know how I feel about this…I’ve been having a great time down here 😥. Actually, I’m lying. I know exactly how I feel. I’m shocked at how fast time slid by. I’m sad that this program is coming to an end and that I’ll have to change up my daily routine once again. I’m very happy for the students that will be taking their final exams this week to finish off the program, but I’ll also miss all of them because who knows when I’ll ever see any of them again after this week. I’m internally sobbing because after these next two paychecks, I’ll be living in the government’s pockets again (with interest). I’m excited to start the school year up in two weeks, yet apprehensive about not having as much free time as I currently am enjoying right now. I feel very well rested and recharged, but I’m not ready to give my last summer break up just yet.

disney cartoons & comics max frustrated sigh

Oh well. Such is life. Talking about how I feel isn’t gonna turn back time or anything. I can certainly say that I’ve had a great time this summer though. It got even better earlier today when I jet-skied for the first time in Bayside near Miami Beach! That was another incredible experience…the view of the city was stunning 360° around me as I was gleefully speeding across the boundless waters of the bay. When I say I was gleeful, I really mean it lol. I was grinning from cheek to cheek, screaming “WWWOOOOO!!” like Rick Flair (or Pusha T, take your pick), fully taking in the scene around me, singing random lyrics at the top of my lungs and happily praising God for allowing me that awesome experience. I would have taken a video of myself skiing along the waters, but I wasn’t trying to donate to “Bayside’s Underwater Apple Store”, as one of the jet-ski workers put it. What I look like, losing my phone for a damn snap…boyyy I woulda done my mama a favor and slapped myself. So with that said, the only pictures I got of the experience are the ones locked in my memory. That’ll have to do. If you’ve never been jet-skiing before, I highly recommend trying it at least once! It’s nowhere near as crazy as jumping out of a plane, I’ll be the first to tell you that. There’s also a low chance of you actually falling off…you’ve gotta be acting reckless to fling yourself off your jet-ski.

For last week’s Dinner & Discussion (our final one 😭), we had a first-year intern fresh out of medical school come in and speak with us about her life. She actually turned out to be an old friend of mine, who graduated from UM when I was just finishing my freshman year there. Isn’t that cool or what? But before she came in, the director of the program allowed for some students to express how they felt about the program overall since it was all coming to an end soon. I knew the students appreciated the program and all, but I was pretty surprised to see how emotional some of them got when they shared their feelings about their summer experience. I could see that they really took so much out of the program and that it has been a necessary catalyst to their growth. One student talked about how she was able to find herself in the program while another talked about the great familial atmosphere that the program encouraged. Yet another student spoke on how she had a low amount of confidence soon after starting the program, but then received a considerable amount of motivation from the group after realizing how willing everyone was to build each other up as opposed to tearing each other down. My co-TA and I even got some shoutouts of praise from the students. 😁 It was awesome to see how influential the program has been for them, both on an individual basis and as a whole. Now after the intern entered and introduced herself, she started to speak on how much she loved her medical school and how she had to adjust from her hometown of Miami to the overall climate and culture of D.C. She then got deep and talked about how important it was to not compare yourself to other people in your class due to the wide variety of life experiences that others possess. I personally agree with that viewpoint…trying to compare yourself to someone else (especially in medical school) is one of the quickest ways to launch yourself into a depression, because you’ll always be wrongly doubting yourself and your capabilities. She continued the discussion by touching on how necessary it is to be honest with yourself at all times, how she finds herself being conscious of how people perceive her as a black Haitian woman in medicine, and on the incredible importance of confidence and how one needs to use it in order to fight any self-defeating thoughts that may lurk in one’s head. Overall, it was another fantastic discussion, just like all the other ones have been this summer. Needless to say, I’m extremely proud of her and what she has been able to accomplish so far!

A couple of last notes. First, I just finished a sad, yet incredible book written by a top-notch neurosurgeon who actually just passed away last year at the young age of 37 from Stage IV lung cancer. This highly established man was in his final years of his neurosurgery residency program at Stanford when he was diagnosed and lived just long enough to be able to graduate from his program. In his book, When Breath Becomes Air, he eloquently describes his upbringing, his many experiences from college to residency and how his life came full-circle when he was forced to face death square in the eyes. This book had me really appreciating life and how mortal we all are in this world. Be sure to check it out if you ever have a chance. Finally, I’ve added a new section to the blog called LifeSavers. This page describes many of the general resources that medical students typically use in the first couple years of school as well as a number of resources that I personally used during my first year. I hope that it’ll be helpful for any of you out there that are either currently looking, or will be looking, for resources applicable to health careers. I’ll be updating it as I continue to advance through school! In addition to this new page, I was recently granted a video interview with Ms. Ashley Roxanne from Daily Medicine Blog where I talked about life as a med student at Wake, some of the biggest lessons that I learned in my first year, the mistakes I felt that I made as a pre-med student, how to find a mentor along with a number of other subjects. The link can be found on the “About Black Man, M.D.” page of this blog. You can also click here if you would like to check it out! I apologize in advance for its length and my fast, sometimes-hard-to-understand speech. (Learning how to speak slower and clearer is an ongoing process for me!)

That’s it! Please stay optimistic and safe in this unstable world!

“What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.” – Tony Robbins

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – R.I.P. to the 84 people who tragically lost their lives in the terrorist attack that took place on La Fête Nationale (Bastille Day) in Nice last week. R.I.P. to the three officers who were tragically and unjustifiably murdered in Baton Rouge this weekend. May God be with all of their families and loved ones. There’s too much senseless violence in the world man. Every day there’s a new tragedy on the news. It’s depressing as hell. Violence isn’t the answer to our problems. Peace, Love and Happiness is all we need man. Peace, Love and Happiness. 

Chills.

It’s been one hell of a week.

All within these past seven days, I’ve felt the emotions of happiness, gratitude, anger, fear, hope, love, sorrow, excitement, frustration and thrill. In this short amount of time, I’ve gone from running the usual errands in my program to learning that we now live alongside Pokemon to witnessing the brutal murders of two innocent black men to jumping out of a plane 10,000 feet in the air to protesting in the Wynwood Art District near Downtown Miami to advocate for the importance of black lives and that they matter just as much as the lives of everyone else in this country. I feel like I have so much to say today, but I’ll try not to make this an excessively long post. No need to write a thesis, ain’t no Ph.D in blogging bih. So with that said, please bear with me.

Okay so first things first. After a couple years of going back and forth, I FINALLY WENT SKYDIVING!!! Okay I wasn’t going back and forth, I knew I wanted to do this the whole time…but my money wasn’t where it needed to be. Plus it was a struggle finding someone that wanted to go with me, because there was no way in hell I was gonna do it alone lol. I don’t think words can describe the experience of jumping out of a plane well enough. It was exhilarating, crazy, spectacular, insane, fun and incredible all at the same time! I was still feeling the rush of adrenaline over an hour after I landed! Never before had I felt the way I felt when I was free-falling at damn near 120 mph. You know what, lemme go back to the beginning and walk you thru this whole experience.

My friend and I got to Miami Skydiving Center last Friday afternoon all pumped up and ready to skydive. We had been looking forward to this for the past couple of weeks and were excited that we had finally made it to the site. We walked in, paid the necessary fees and signed quite a few waivers. (Talk about signing your life away.) We then met our skydiving instructors a.k.a. the people who had our lives in their hands. One of them, a guy from Hungary with a very thick accent, instructed us on how to properly dive out of the plane and pumped us up with high-fives and very corny jokes. He also happened to be the person I was going to dive with. More high-fives and corny jokes for me. We then got strapped up and waited for our plane to get all suited up. After what seemed like an eternity (about 30 minutes) we finally walked to the tiny plane, took some pictures and climbed inside. Now when I tell you there was very little space in that plane…matter of fact, there was absolutely no space at all. The four of us were crunched up in that little Wright Brothers-look-alike plane as the pilot proceeded to take off. Because I had decided to let my friend jump first, she was at the door with her instructor with her legs all stretched out while I was squeezed in the back with my instructor with my crouched legs already starting to go numb. We ascended into the air and got an awesome sky-view of the city of Miami. We were mostly quiet in the ten minutes or so that we climbed into the air, with my instructor breaking the silence every couple minutes with his high-fives and his picture-taking. We then finally reached the altitude that we were to jump at, so then my friend’s instructor clicked open the plane door. Now this whole time I was very calm and excited about this whole experience, even as we were reaching for the clouds in the plane. I wasn’t fearful or anxious at all. But when I looked out at the Earth after this man opened that door, I felt a sudden chill go down my spine, yelled an expletive out of surprise and instantly regretted the fact that I let my friend go first because I had to watch her jump out before I did. After a minute, she jumped out of the plane with her instructor and then my instructor and I scurried to the door because I was next. I had no time to think about the fact that I was about to do something completely insane, because in less than 60 seconds my feet were already out of the plane ready to dive out. I sat there and waited for a countdown from my instructor that I never got. Before I could take a deep breath, I was looking up at the plane screaming my lungs out with my feet to the sky.

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I was free-falling. I had my eyes closed for the first few seconds of free-fall trying to breathe and scream at the same time. Crazy part was, I couldn’t even hear myself scream. When I finally opened my eyes to fully capture the experience, I realized that we were doing flips in the air while plummeting to the ground. My instructor was also having a blast snapping hella pics of me looking like a fool. I then went from being initially fearful to feeling exhilarated as I spread my arms out and yelled in excitement. After about 30-40 seconds of free-fall, my instructor opened the parachute. Soon after the strap clapped on my groin very uncomfortably, we were smoothly sailing towards the ground. He also let me hold the parachute and control our course towards the ground for about a minute. It. Was. Awesome. At this point, the adrenaline was coursing through my veins so I was acting a fool in the air out of excitement & loving every second of it. We finally landed by sliding on the ground and after I got unstrapped, I was running around and yelling about how incredible that experience was. After my friend landed, we all drove back to the center, got our pictures/certificates/t-shirts and left for a well-deserved dinner.

Before I dive into the relevant issue plaguing the country, I want to quickly note the Dinner & Discussion that took place this past Thursday. We had an Internal Medicine/Pediatrics doctor come in to talk to us about her life as a black woman in medicine. With the majority of the students in the program being women (17 women & 6 men), her perspective was very well received by everyone in the room. She touched on points that I found pretty interesting while she was talking with us. For example, I never thought about the dynamic between women nurses & women doctors and how women nurses tend to be, on average, nicer to male doctors. She also spoke about times where some of her patients both white and black didn’t want to be treated by a black doctor, as if her care was “inferior” to the care that they would receive by another doctor. She said it was real tough for her at first, especially when it would come from an older black patient. She would tell all these patients that she was the only doctor available at the time being, so they could accept her care now or struggle with the wait of finding another doctor, which could take a long time. She spoke on the duties of a locum physician, which is a doctor who travels to different short-staffed hospitals in the country in order to temporarily fulfill the duties of an absent physician. She also talked about how she had a friend from Russia who had parents that were doctors over there (ophthalmologist & Ob/Gyn) but when they moved to the U.S., they were forced to find different jobs since their same license wasn’t effective over here. So her friend’s dad went from being an ophthalmologist to a business man and her mom transitioned from Ob/Gyn to Psychiatry. The moral of the overall conversation was that life is fluid and that you can’t write a table of contents for your life, no matter how hard you try. It was a real informative and interesting conversation, to say the least. And oh yeah, the food was dope. You ever heard of airbrushed chicken tenders? Yeah, I hadn’t either until I had some. I enjoyed those with my bacon & chicken wrap, salad and both my chocolate chip & oatmeal/cranberry cookies. 😁

This post has already stretched out longer than I would have liked it to…but I really have to get some stuff off my chest when it comes to the social issues we’re currently facing right now in this country. There’s SO MUCH I could say when it comes to the hurt that I’m currently feeling with these unjustified killings, but pretty much all of it has already been said by a large number of my friends, and by many people on social media in general. There’s really nothing worthwhile for me to add to everything that people have already said. I could retweet all day and share almost everything that catches my eye on my Facebook timeline, but that doesn’t really make me feel any better. The only solace I get by doing that is knowing that I’m lucky to know so many people that feel the same pain and sorrow that I feel every time I get a notification that another black man has been beaten and/or killed as a result of police brutality. The two men (R.I.P. Alton Sterling & Philando Castile) killed this past week were ordinary Americans that were going about their everyday business when dangerous racial bias and unfair stereotyping rooted from the oppression of African-Americans in this country created enough fear in these cops to unjustifiably murder these men. I mean, come on man! Mr. Sterling was LEGALLY selling some freakin’ CDs in front of a convenience store when a homeless man called 911 after he noticed that Mr. Sterling had a gun on him after repeatedly asking him for some money. The way the police treated Mr. Sterling when they arrived was outrageous and highly uncalled for. As for Mr. Castile, he was stopped for a busted taillight for God’s sake. How in the hell did the traffic stop end with a dead father in a bloody shirt, a mother handcuffed and detained and a LITTLE GIRL separated from both her parents AFTER WITNESSING A MURDER, never to see her dad again??? Mr. Castile was reaching for his wallet AFTER BEING ASKED to retrieve his license and registration. He even informed the officer that he had a firearm in order to avoid any trouble. Yet, he was shot MULTIPLE TIMES. You know what, I wonder what the headlines would have said if Ms. Reynolds never captured the whole video on her phone. It probably would have stressed the fact that Mr. Castile had a gun and that the police was acting in self-defense. That sickens me. And to anyone that dare inquires why these men had firearms, are they not under the protection of their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms? These men were peaceful, yet there are plenty of other people, including this guy right here, who use their 2nd Amendment right in a hostile manner, yet are not killed on the spot. (Remember that little punk that goes by the name of Dylann Roof?) Most of these people also happen not to be black. Go figure. I know law enforcement is capable of taking care of a situation without killing the perpetrator. They have done so numerous times. Yet, it just so happens that if you’re black and are wielding a gun, you’re much more likely to be “taken care” of by simply being shot at, thanks to racial bias. Matter of fact, why is the National Rifle Association all wishy-washy about these unjustified killings all of a sudden? Why wouldn’t they want to rush to the defense of a licensed gun owner who was following all the rules that he should be following? Who EXACTLY do they stand for? It’s as if the lives of black men don’t matter as much as the lives of others. And some people have the nerve to get offended when we proclaim that Black Lives Matter.

I just don’t get it when people get mad about that. You mean to tell me that Black Lives don’t matter? Is your comeback All Lives Matter? Well duh, of course they all matter. I’m sure we all realize that no life is inherently worth more than another. So with that said, why aren’t you asking why the lives of these people, who happen to be black, are being abruptly ended in a disproportionate rate? If all lives mattered, then black lives surely matter, right? Are the lives of every race in this nation currently being cut short by the hands of those that were sworn to protect the communities of this nation in a disproportional fashion? We know that all lives matter. That’s why we protest, shout and cry out that black lives matter. Our lives don’t overall matter more than the lives of other people in this country, just as their lives don’t matter more than ours. We’re not better than anyone. The people that I protested with at Wynwood last night understood that. The absolute best part about it was that there were many different races & ethnicities represented in the group of protesters. We don’t want trouble. We don’t want violence. We just want to make sure you’re aware that our lives matter just as much as yours, because as of right now, I’m not sure if that’s clear to everyone. One of my friends said it clearly on her Facebook:

‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ does not mean black lives are more important than other lives. It does not mean that black people want special privileges. It does not mean that black people think all white people are racists. It’s about awareness. It’s meant to bring awareness to the injustices that black people in America face. Everyone has difficulties in life. Black people are just trying to point out that some of our issues are issues with a system in this country. That’s all.”

Another thing I can’t stand is simply calling every police officer evil and trying to start a war against the whole police force. That’s very simplistic thinking. It’s not that simple. Yes, there are a number of officers that don’t deserve to wear their badge. These officers like to display their power by using excessive force, especially on minorities, and their racial biases greatly influence their decisions and actions. They tend to categorize minorities as an alternate group of people that should be treated differently and more aggressively instead of seeing them as ordinary Americans like themselves. These officers should be purged and punished for their actions. However, there are an even greater number of officers that fulfill their sworn duty to protect and serve each and every law-abiding human being in this country. These officers tend to be overlooked when an unjustifiable officer-related shooting occurs, and as a result, they are looked down upon because of their association with the police force as a whole. This is unacceptable as well, as Officer Nakia Jones made very clear. I’m not saying I have an answer to correct this, but I do think it’s important that we’re all aware that it doesn’t help to call all cops “pigs” and to be distrustful of all of them. We also need cops like Officer Jones to speak out against cops that abuse their power in order to show that there are many officers that refuse to abuse their power. When people begin to negligently believe that all white people and all cops are bad, you get left with intolerable terrorist acts like the unjustified killings of the five innocent officers in Dallas that were simply fulfilling their duty in a peaceful manner. (R.I.P. Officer Brent Thompson, Officer Patrick Zamarripa, Officer Michael Krol, Officer Lorne Ahrens, & Officer Michael Smith). Killing police officers off is repugnant and will only make the overall problem worse. But with that being said, as a young black man myself, I do admit that it’s becoming harder to trust anyone in a blue uniform these days. I can break down stereotypes all I want, but being able to completely shake off the stereotypes that some people have of me for simply being an African-American man is nothing short of impossible. It’s almost like I can’t do anything without somebody being suspicious of what I’m doing. Smh. The best I can do is smile and say hi to every officer I come across. I hope that’ll break some unnecessary tension between us.

Violence only brings more violence. Hate only brings more hate. Love dissolves both.

May God be with us all.

“If you’re tired of hearing about racism, imagine how f–king exhausting is must be to live in it.” – Jon Stewart

– Black Man, M.D.

Money Talk, Challenges & Code Black.

Gotta love 4th of July weekend.

It’s pretty much the only major holiday in the summer months, if you don’t count Labor Day. It’s a time where you can catch people grilling, take in some sun at the beach, celebrate our independence by submitting to the power of the liquor, and who can forget the spectacular fireworks that stretch across the starry summer skies? It’s a feel-good time, a break for those that work a job in the summer and a day of free food for people like me. The only thing that can ruin this weekend are aliens that are trying to take over our planet…but then we can just call up Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) and friends to save the day by blowing up the alien motherships! Speaking of, it aggravates me that he’s not gonna be in the Independence Day sequel…but Bad Boys III bout to be lit as fuhhh!!! June 2, 2017 is less than a year away!

praise bernie mac day god tomorrow

As of late, I’ve been getting more serious about learning how to manage finances not only as a med student, but even more so as a physician. I don’t know if I already told you but during the course of my first year, I was reading a book on finance specifically designed for physicians. This book, called The White Coat Investor, was such an eye-opener for me when it comes to money management. I mean I took Money 101 during my last semester of college so I had a little bit of background knowledge, but this book really took my financial IQ to another level. Not only that, it made me want to learn more about how money works in general. So I checked out the author’s blog, also named The White Coat Investor. Doesn’t it bother you that there’s so much you may not know about using the one thing that makes the world go round? Cash rules everything around us and you literally use money every single day…but could you tell me what a Roth IRA was? Backdoor Roth IRA?  Do you know the difference between a common stock and a preferred stock? How about the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit? Have you heard about the rule of 72? Mutual funds? Index funds? For you aspiring doctors out there, do you know of the different methods you can use in order to pay back your federal loans? And all of this is the simple stuff. My point is that there’s so much financial literature that is foreign to a large amount of the population, yet a lot of people invest their money in a variety of things as if they know what they’re doing. It’s pretty crazy man. And by the time most people want to learn more about how money works, they’re already in dire financial circumstances and are “too busy with life” to learn financial literature. That’s one of the main reasons why I’ve decided to equip myself with this knowledge early on; I want to be prepared for whatever financial challenges arrive on my doorstep in the future. I also want to be financially independent because I’ve been SOOO BROKE FOR SOOO LONG!!! People tend to shy away from learning about finances because it’s such a dry subject. I agree, it’s pretty damn dry. I can only learn about this subject in doses. But like it or not, you’re gonna be using money for the rest of your life…so you might as well learn a thing or two about how you can use it to benefit you and those you love.

On another note, this week was just as much of a breeze as the ones that came before it. Well for me that is. The students were going through it with the quizzes, presentations and tests that they had to complete. And now that we have only three weeks left of the program, it’s only gonna get tougher for them. I believe in them though 😊. They’re putting forth their best effort and although they’re stressed about the grades they’re getting, they are gaining vast amounts of knowledge whether they know it or not and are getting a lot out of this summer experience. They also were given the opportunity earlier this past week to present to the class what they each learned in their assigned weekly clinical rotation the Friday prior. The presentations included rotations in Anesthesia, Pediatrics, Trauma and Internal Medicine. The patients they saw included a teenager that was hit by a car before getting into a fight and suffering from a seizure, a physician that was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, a young man who acquired a staph infection after popping a pimple and a medical student that was shot while in Haiti. Wild. They also cleverly used their newly acquired anatomy knowledge in their presentations in order to describe what they saw during their rotations. Speaking of, the test they took this week was actually an anatomy practical where they looked at different parts of a cadaver and named the structure that the pin was in. I won’t lie, I got a couple flashbacks while I was in the lab with them as they were taking their test. I do NOT miss taking lab practicals. It was kind of funny to see them all freaking out beforehand, only for them to find that taking the practical wasn’t really that bad at all. Some of them even found it fun. I wanted to say that “it’s because y’all had only 23 questions and were able to go back to previous stations and check your answers before turning your paper in!”, but I let them be great lol. I’d rather have them think that anatomy is fun than have them absolutely dread it.

One more thing. For our weekly (free) dinner & discussion, we watched this medical documentary called Code Black. It was based in Los Angeles and focused on the emergency department in the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, a public hospital dedicated to serving all of those who come in, no matter what their insurance status is, how much they make, or their immigration status. It was a very riveting and raw perspective of what the busiest Emergency Department in America looks like. It showed how the health workers at the center struggled with the extremely packed waiting rooms and how they found innovative ways to tackle that challenge. It also touched on the reality of having to immediately treat a new sick patient after having a patient die, the bureaucracy of medicine & all the paperwork, rules, regulations, policies, etc. that it comes with, the doctors having to defend themselves against lawsuits from patients that are encouraged by the media to press charges, and the state of healthcare as we know it in this country. I definitely recommend watching it, especially if you’re looking into working in the healthcare field and double-especially if you want to pursue a career in Emergency Medicine. You can find it on Netflix. Now all you have to do is find someone to chill with. I should warn you though, there are many graphic images in the film. If you don’t like blood, then this documentary probably won’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Okay I’m gonna go and enjoy the rest of my long weekend with my girlfriend, who flew across several states to come and spend time with me 😁. Savor the barbecue and relish in the fireworks!

“In order to receive something you’ve never had before, you have to do something you’ve never done.”

– Black Man, M.D.