They not playing around this year fam.
From day one, we've been bombarded with information about hematology, also known as the study of blood. Ever since our two-hour orientation last Monday morning, we've learned where and how blood is made, the different types of cells that make up our blood, the dire importance of hemoglobin (an oxygen-carrying protein) in our red blood cells, how platelets (cell fragments that help cause blood clotting) are created and what disorders can manifest with them, some of the important anti-emetics (anti-vomiting/nausea drugs) in use today, various hematologic disorders, the importance of blood banking, etc, etc, etc. As you can see, it has been an intense first week back. However, my excitement to be back hasn't faded yet lol. I've been having a good time learning about all of this, because it's so vital for my future profession. I'm going to definitely need to know how to read a CBC (complete blood count) and how to think through a differential and diagnose various conditions simply from reading blood charts. As a matter of fact, we got the chance to have our own blood drawn (it wasn't as bad as you might think…for me at least) in order to not only receive our own blood chart, but to also look at our own blood sample under a microscope!
It was pretty damn cool, if I do say so myself. Taking these pictures through a microscope took forever though. Smh. Also, our main professor of our Hematology/Oncology block created a house contest that we're participating in throughout the block called the “Blood Cup”, where each of our respective houses accumulate points for participating in class, donating blood to blood banks, getting questions right on our formative quizzes, signing up to be a bone marrow donor, etc. The house with the most points at the end of the block will win “a spectacular prize” at the Awards Ceremony at the end of the block. So that has added some flair to this block as well. In addition, I think that it's worthwhile to note that last Friday was the first time that I had a black male professor lecture to me since I've been in medical school. (He was also Nigerian. ✊) I won't lie, I was both pleasantly surprised he was going to lecture to us and intrigued with what he had to say. His lecture was about blood banks and blood typing, more practical and useful information for me. Although it was just another typical lecture with nothing too exciting happening in it, I found myself sitting up and listening attentively for the majority of the 90-minute lecture without really trying. The subconscious mind is a powerful force indeed. After he was finished, I couldn't help but walk up to him and thank him for giving the lecture as well as tell him that he was the first black male that has given my class a lecture. He was pretty surprised and I guess he was expecting me to ask a blood bank related question, but he appreciated it nonetheless. Representation really does matter y'all.
Outside of school, I was able to spend some quality time with my girlfriend, who stayed with me last weekend up until Wednesday morning. It's crazy to believe that we're coming up on our two-year anniversary…sheesh! We watched movies, played some pool, sipped on some wine, ate at a couple restaurants, etc, etc. It was fun having her here as I started my second year at the new school building right next to my apartment. (I'm still not over the fact at how convenient it is to live next-door to it…plus the inside of the school is amazing! It's an incredible upgrade from where we had classes last year!)
I've also been granted a “little”, which is a first-year student whom I've been entrusted with the responsibility of facilitating his adjustment to medical school and with facilitating his time here in general. I just met him earlier at lunch for the first time, and I'm happy to say that we got along quite well. He's pretty interesting in general, considering that he used to do stand-up comedy for fun, toured the East Coast in a band during college and co-owned/worked a grilled cheese food truck during college as well. He's a cool guy overall and funny too; I'm looking forward to getting to know him more. Oh and I'm excited about the Olympics starting, although I won't be able to see the majority of it due to, well, you know, school. I'm definitely gonna catch track & field though, can't miss that event! And shoutout to Cameroon for coming out in fresh style during the Opening Ceremonies!!
One last thing, I was invited to attend a city forum that engaged the local community with the local police in Winston as well as with a lawyer that practices law around here. We received a very useful pamphlet from the National Black Police Association that informed us of what to do when stopped by police officers whether it be on the street, in our car or even when they come to the front door of our house. It also emphasized the DO's and DON'T's during an engagement with officers and what to do when arrested or taken to a police station. I'm definitely keeping this little pamphlet with me at all times. In regards to the actual discussion, the lawyer informed us about our many rights as citizens, some of which I had no idea about. He talked about our right to deny an unjustifiable search of our personal property, which is actually stated in the 4th amendment and about the 5th amendment in general. He also informed us about the existence of civilian review boards, which are entities filled by citizens of a city who have the task of reviewing complaints regarding police misconduct and making recommendations as to how the accused officers should be disciplined. In addition, he told us how it was possible for us to ask for an officer supervisor if we felt that we have been unjustly pulled over, to which the police in attendance agreed. Granted, it would make the stop that much longer but if you truly feel that it was unjust, that's an option for you. After the lawyers spoke, the police officers spoke with us on how to formally file complaints about police misconduct, the importance of compliance and getting home safely in the event of an encounter with law enforcement, and how it's within our rights to ask the officer as to what means of probable cause or reasonable suspicion made him/her pull us over. They also told us that in the event of an unjust encounter, we should make a mental note of the names, badge numbers and any other relevant information of the officers involved and write them down along with the details of the encounter as soon as we're free to go. Then we could either go to a police station or City Hall in order to file a formal complaint. They repeatedly stressed how most officers are good people and that they just want to have a good day at work and go home to their families, much like any other citizen that they're working to serve. They also said that they recognized that there are a handful of unjust officers out there and that they're very willing to work with us to identify them and relieve them of their duties as a law enforcer. All in all, there was a lot of helpful information presented and I'm glad I took some time to check it out. It's crazy how many people don't truly understand their rights as citizens. With that said, I believe that in order to help change a system, we must make a concentrated effort to understand what we don't know in regards to that same system.
Make sure to have an awesome week! And always remember, your circumstances don't define who you are…your choices do!
“Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. To change your circumstances, you must start by changing your internal beliefs, attitudes and emotions.” – Ruben Chavez
– Black Man, M.D.