Fulfilling Opportunities

Okay first things first.

I saw Presidential-Nominee Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama on Thursday!

It was awesome getting to see them, especially since I learned that they were going to be in Winston only a few days prior to the event. As you can see, the rally was stupid packed…I barely got into the stadium even though I was in the student line! The general admission line was insanely long; I don’t even know if some of those people made it into the stadium honestly. When I got in with some friends, we didn’t even have seats…so we improvised and stood behind the last row of seats in a section lol. I had already seen Hillary a couple of times prior before back in college, but it was my first time seeing Michelle Obama and let me tell you, she was absolutely PHENOMENAL. So phenomenal that Hillary actually spoke before her, as if she was opening up for the First Lady. After the rally, I wanted to run up and take a picture with them but you know how that goes with Secret Service and all. Plus we were not tryna get caught up in the crazy traffic back to school, which we ended up stuck in anyway for over an hour. For no good reason either. 😒 But anyways, if you haven’t voted already, GO VOTE!!! Early voting is currently going on! To sum up what President Obama said, our future and well-being is on the ballot! I put my ballot in last Monday, so my voice has been heard. Make sure yours is too!

Also, I had a pretty interesting weekend that involved Wake Homecoming Black Alumni festivities, North Carolina A&T Homecoming festivities (Also known as #GHOE), and dressing up as one of my favorite childhood superheros. Can you guess who??

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And tell me why I ran into Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry for a third time this weekend? We pretty much besties now, you can’t tell me otherwise. It was an amusing weekend overall and I stayed up much later than I would have liked to both Friday and Saturday. However, I did fit in some volunteer time as well as adequate study time so I’m still all caught up on my lecture material!

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Which brings me to my next point. I started the Gastrointestinal block this past Monday and so far, I haven’t had any qualms about it. I feel like it definitely has been the most straightforward block yet and I’ve been able to keep up with everything since I’ve been attending every class so far. Go figure. It’s been nice to have been able to go to class and grasp some understanding from lecture…believe it or not, that doesn’t work all the time for me. It just depends on who’s lecturing and how they do so. Some lecturers read off their slides while others truly talk about what they’re presenting so that we can understand their material. It’s been the latter this past week, which is why I’ve been in class this week lol. I’ll just keep on truckin’ through this block and before I know it, I’ll be stuffing my face with great homemade food at the dinner table on Thanksgiving with my family!

Couple more things.

One, I attended a talk that described the USMLE Step 1 Exam in more detail earlier this past week and how pressing it is for our future. Like we weren’t fully aware of that already. I feel like I should begin reviewing past material now and slowly pick up the pace as the weeks go on. I also need to begin focusing on how to maximize the use of test-taking strategies, because me and standardized tests never really got along too well. You know what, I don’t even wanna talk about Step anymore. Instead, I’ll tell you about how the chapter of the Student National Medical Association at my school is hosting the annual Regional Medical Education Conference this weekend! Our region consists of medical schools in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. So this means that I’ll be getting the chance to meet a lot of new people as well as catch up with other medical students in the region that I haven’t talked to in a while. Only thing that sucks is that I’m missing my alma mater’s homecoming because of this conference…but it should be a good time nonetheless!

Other thing is that I had the chance to actually follow up on a case that I had during my CPE week. A kid had come to my CPE preceptor’s office a couple weeks ago with complaints of nightly fevers that took place for over two weeks and constant pain in his upper back. We had no idea what was going on with him, so we ran some blood tests and after a day or so, my preceptor had him transferred to the main Wake Forest hospital. This past week, my preceptor emailed me to see if I wanted to go and check in with the med team working on the kid at the hospital and of course I did, so I went to do so. It was quite awkward walking into the small room of upper-level med students and residents that made up that med team, but I went ahead and asked about the patient. They seemed to be pleasantly surprised that I actually went out of my way to come and talk to them about the kid and were enthusiastic about updating me on his condition. Turns out he had this condition called “cat-scratch disease“, a condition where a bacterium called Bartonella henselae infects an individual after a cat literally scratches that person. I had learned about it last year, but this was my first time seeing a patient with that condition. It was pretty cool to have been able to see that, although I’m sure the kid wasn’t feeling too cool about having the disease. He’s going to get better though; he was prescribed some antibiotics (azithromycin to be specific).

That’s it for this post! Be sure to have a splendid week!

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” – Jerry Rice

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I just got back from a Diwali (Hindu New Year) celebration with some of my friends! There was good Indian food as well as cool traditional Indian outfits involved. I love being able to learn a bit about other cultures…it’s almost like I’m traveling the world free of charge lol. Happy Diwali! Oh, and be on the lookout for new Health Career Spotlights coming up in the future!

City Boy Back In A Country World

As you can see from the title of this post, I was back in the good ol’ town of Lenoir, NC this past week. Unlike last time though, spring break isn’t starting…instead, I’m starting my Gastrointestinal block tomorrow. Le sigh. It’s okay though, this is the last block to get through before Thanksgiving break! And then after break there’s a week of Dermatology and two weeks of Renal before Winter break! ‘Tis the season of holidays 😄. Which also means it’s starting to get chilly…man I hate cold weather. But I also hate global warming. Just can’t win man, just can’t win. Honestly, I just need Summer ’16 to come back.

Before I get into my second, and final, Community Practice Experience that I participated in this past week, I just wanna touch on a few quick things. First, my Pulmonology test results. I passed comfortably. That’s good enough for me these days, although I felt like I studied hard enough to get an even higher score…but that’s neither here nor there. Y’all know I’ve been more concerned about learning the material for Step 1, which brings me to my next point. I’ve officially entered my testing location and date for that wicked exam. Unless I decide to change the date, I’m taking my USMLE Step 1 exam on Monday, April 10th, 2017. If it wasn’t real when I registered a couple of weeks ago, it sure is real now. I was actually going for April 12th, but all the spots in Greensboro were taken already. How they were already all booked, I will never know. But alas, I know I’ll be fine taking it a couple days prior, especially if I don’t have to drive an excess of 50+ miles on the morning of this fate-sealing exam to take it in another designated location other than Greensboro. Now I just gotta come up with an extensive study plan and stick to it.

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Last thing, I powered through and finished the book Overcoming The Odds, written by Dr. Antonio Webb, yesterday. I had been reading this book for a little over a month and I must say, it was definitely a story worth reading. Extremely inspiring too…this man went from a kid in one of the hoods of Shreveport, Louisiana to becoming a resident in the Orthopedic Surgery program at the University of Texas at San Antonio Health Science Center. The story of how he got from Shreveport to San Antonio is incredible. This man had to go through an enormous amount of trials and tribulations to get to where he is currently at, including serving time in Iraq as a medical soldier and applying to medical school THREE times before becoming accepted. His story is absolutely one worth looking into. Right after finishing that book, I bought Dr. Sampson Davis’ book, Living and Dying in Brick City. I’m looking forward to reading that one!

Okkkayyy, now about my week-long experience in Lenoir.

First of all, I must say that I had a very positive experience overall! Because I had been there before, I knew exactly what to expect in the clinic and in the town in general. I wasn’t hit with any surprises and I was a lot more comfortable talking with patients and discussing their conditions with my preceptor than I may have been back in February. I also wasn’t rear-ended, stereotyped by an officer, baffled by a kid wearing confederate clothing in the clinic, or buffeted by rainstorms this time around. As a matter of fact, everyday was a hot, sunny day out there! However, I did spot the confederate flag on three separate occasions during the week (yes I was counting) while driving through the Lenoir area. I also spotted hella Trump/Pence signs as well as a few Pat McCrory signs (the current NC governor who’s spiraling NC into a mess) during the week.

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I wasn’t surprised to see them though. My preceptor (who seems to be one of the few liberal folks in that town) and I had quite a few jokes to share when it came to this presidential election. I was a bit surprised to see a couple Jill Stein signs though. I also saw a grand total of ONE Hillary/Kaine sign, and that was when I was heading out of Lenoir Friday afternoon lol. Maaannn, y’all just go out and vote. Early voting has been rolling out across the country so make sure to get your voice heard! I’m going to cast my ballot this week!

As for my actual clinic experience, it was quite tiring and very enjoyable at the same time! Time always seemed to fly by there, especially when I was taking the time to interview patients. As you may or may not know, I was working in a pediatrics clinic, so I mainly saw babies, kids and teenagers at the practice. By the way, I heard the screaming babies again as I lay my head down to sleep every night. JESUS. Unlike last time though, there was a PA student working a five-week rotation with my preceptor as well, so we would talk and bounce ideas off one another whenever we got to a patient who needed a diagnosis. My preceptor allowed us to interview as many patients as we wanted and to do whatever necessary physical exams we saw fit before coming back to report the patient to him. So with that said, I got a ton of extra practice in taking histories and performing certain physical exams. I also now know why doctors traditionally have horrible handwriting; I was writing so damn fast while taking all those histories that reading my own handwriting became a puzzle-like game when it came time to report my findings to my preceptor. A few times, I was referred to as “the doctor” by the kid’s mother or father (or whoever the kid was with) and that always threw me off…I would be quick to correct them because I wasn’t about to be caught out there looking like another Dr. Love 😂.  Because there were two of us, the PA student and I took turns seeing the patients as they came in. Over the course of the week, I had about 40 separate patient encounters! A lot of them were well-check visits for babies as well as drug adjustments for kids with ADHD (I saw the same drugs over and over and over again…Vyvanse, Concerta, Ritalin, Focalin, Adderall, Clonidine, Quillivant etc.), but I also interacted with a number of other patients with problematic symptoms and conditions including fevers, exacerbated asthma, mysterious rashes, cerebral palsy, urinary tract infection, pilonidal abcess, constipation, and stomach pain, just to name a few. And because I’ve taken a few organ system courses such as Cardiology and Pulmonology, I knew exactly what to look for on those physical exam maneuvers. When we weren’t seeing patients, the three of us would have conversations about an endless array of topics in my preceptor’s office. Ultimately, I’m very happy to have had the doctor I was working with as my preceptor and I hope to continue a relationship with him even though I don’t have any more CPE’s ahead of me.

Time to get back to the grind! (Grind never ended though.)

Have an awesome week!

“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” – Vince Lombardi 

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – My roommates and I hit up the same wing and BBQ spots we hit up last time we were in Lenoir. The food was just as finger-licking good. I also saw more diversity amongst the patients in the clinic this time around. That was refreshing!

Sessions.

Well, this past week has been quite an interesting one. From attending a session based on the perspectives of respiratory patients, where I learned that my course director was Dr. Maya Angelou’s doctor for about 20 years, to meeting Dr. John Carlos (the Olympian who raised his fist in the 1968 Olympics after receiving the bronze medal in the 200-meter race) well as Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry (again), it’s been a phenomenal experience! I feel like I have so much to say about what I’ve done these past seven days…so bear with me!

So to start off, our course director had us going through various sessions to better synthesize our knowledge of the course material in the days leading up to the Pulmonology exam that I took on Friday. The first session I attended was an ultrasound session, where I observed my lungs via, well, ultrasound. I could see my lungs move across the screen as I took deep breaths in and out. It was pretty cool, if I do say so myself. I also took an ultrasound of one of my group members and was able to see his diaphragm as he breathed in and out. Ultrasound is such a neat feature and is real fun to use, especially after you learn how the hell to use it and what organs look like in an ultrasound screen.

The next day, I attended a “field trip” session at the hospital, where a group of my classmates and I wandered around the Pulmonology wards to view patients being treated for respiratory issues and to witness how the information we’ve been learning over the course can be used in a practical setting. This involved a TON of walking around the hospital though…I swear I walked over a mile overall. Our first stop was a pulmonary rehab center, which is where recovering respiratory patients go to recover their lung function with a personal trainer. There was a nice mini-gym in the rehab center as well. We were shown an oscillatory vest, which is a vibrating vest worn by patients that have a lot of mucus trapped in their chest. The vest works to squeeze and shake up their chest, loosening the mucus which then allows them to cough it all up. Pretty picture huh? I tried on the vest and it felt really weird…I can’t imagine having to wear that thing multiple times a day. We then hit up the MICU (Medical Intensive Care Unit) where we walked into a room occupied by an elderly, unconscious man who had tubes and IV’s all in him. While there, the fellow showing us around described the machines being used to keep the man alive and showed us how they worked. We then walked around the MICU unit to other rooms and saw other patients who had a number of other procedures done on them, one of which was a tracheotomy. After that, we walked to a spirometry lab where one of my group mates blew into a huge spirometer machine in order to have her lung function read. I wish I had taken a picture or video of that 😂. Our last stop was a small lab where we watched a bronchoalveolar lavage being performed on video. All in all, the “field trip” was pretty awesome!

The next day, our whole class attended a session where various patients of our course director came in to talk about their experiences with the respiratory conditions they’ve been afflicted with as well as about their appreciation for our course director. The patients who came to talk to us included a man who suffered from acute lung failure while driving his cab, a nurse who was diagnosed with the rare lung disease of lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), and a woman diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis as a result of her prior condition of lupus, who also came with her sister and father. The cab driver made his appreciation for our course director well known and said that before him and the staff at the hospital worked to save his life, he had a distrust for doctors. After he was treated, he worked to lose over 120 pounds in a single year and really made an effort in eating healthier. He was a pretty funny guy. When the nurse diagnosed with LAM came in to talk with us, she described how the disease completely changed her life at the age of 31 as well as the life of her husband, who just so happened to be a Pulmonologist. She had been confused as to why she was always short of breath, especially since she exercised a lot and did her best to stay healthy. She now had to learn how to become a patient after being a healthcare provider for so long and she admitted that she probably wasn’t the best patient to deal with. She also talked about how she couldn’t become pregnant due to her condition and how she had to have her children via a surrogate mother. Since her diagnosis, she has worked to link up with other people diagnosed with LAM in the country and has also helped to raise funds for LAM research since it’s such a rare disease. There’s currently no cure for the disease, so treatment mainly involves managing symptoms. As for the woman diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis as a result of lupus, the fact that she survived her ordeal is simply a miracle. She had been admitted to the hospital on Christmas Eve of 2006 where she became comatose after presenting with septic shock, liver failure, GI bleed, multiple organ failure, hypertension, diabetes, and end-stage renal disease. Sheesh. Because of her critical condition, she stayed in the hospital for SIX MONTHS. SIX. MONTHS. During that time, there were multiple occasions where various providers in the hospital thought that she was going to die. Her sister specifically told us of an instance where a doctor literally told them that she wasn’t going to make it through the night. But she did end up recovering and was able to finally leave the hospital in May of 2007. After the woman was asked about how she was able to get through all of that and continue pushing through life to this day despite her limitations, she said that her faith, her family, her friends and the good doctors that helped heal her were her nonstop support systems and that they all played, and continue to play, a key role in keeping her going. Talk about inspiring. After she told her story, her sister specifically asked for us to become great doctors because our patients will forever remember us and will forever be grateful, as they are for our course director. She also said that she can specifically remember the mediocre doctors who didn’t have any hope for her sister and advised us to not be mediocre. After those conversations, our course director then shared a few messages from other patients who couldn’t make it to the session which included the power of a smile and how important it is to live a life with no fear. He then proceeded to share a message from another former patient of his, who just so happened to be the legendary Dr. Maya Angelou. He read one of her poems to us and told us how she always used to come in to talk to the medical students about the wonders of humanity. He also told us of how she would become a bit nervous about talking to medical students because she saw the immense potential we had of touching the lives of many of our future patients and their families. What a session. I’m very grateful I was able to take part in it.

Later that afternoon, me and another small group of my classmates took part in a simulation lab session, where we worked as a team to treat an interactive mannequin for his respiratory condition. With the help of a Critical Care Pulmonologist, we thought through the “patient’s” condition using the vital signs projected to us on a screen while at the same time actually treating him via various mechanisms. We also gathered a history of the “patient” by asking him questions and receiving answers from a speaker. Throughout the encounter, our “patient” went from having an asthma exacerbation to having bacterial pneumonia infection to having a tension pneumothorax. Some of the procedures we had to actually do included giving the “patient” oxygen, giving him mechanical ventilation through his mouth and trachea, listening to the “patient’s” lungs and stabbing his chest with a needle in order to decompress his lungs. It was a really cool experience overall. It’s one thing to sit and study lectures and another thing to actually take what you’ve learned and use it in a practical way. I found that even though I had already learned and studied everything that we had to do in the simulation lab, it was still kind of difficult to actually work through the various decisions we had to make on the spot. It just goes to show that no matter how much you’ve learn and study, you can only get better as a clinician by actually using your knowledge in practical situations. I loved the fact that I got the chance to use my knowledge in a practical way; I definitely feel like what I learned in this simulation experience has stuck in my head much more than the information I learned through the countless hours I spent studying lectures.

I took my Pulmonology exam Friday morning feeling much more prepared than I had felt at the beginning of the week. It was 117 questions, and we had 3 1/2 hours to finish it. It was pretty much like any other test I’ve taken in the past; there were some questions that tripped me up like always but I felt comfortable with my overall knowledge and I know I did my best. I don’t have any worries about the exam, I’m just glad it’s over with. Later on that day, I got the opportunity to listen to Dr. John Carlos speak about the topic of race relations and how it’s interwoven in sports. He spoke about why he raised his fist along with Tommie Smith in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and also spoke in great detail about the overlooked greatness of one of best friends who is also pictured in the legendary photo, Peter Norman. An Australian who was born to parents who worked in the Salvation Army, Peter was very passionate about humanity and he was very supportive of the Civil Rights Movement. He also wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in solidarity with both Tommie Smith and John Carlos. Dr. Carlos spoke on the similarities he is witnessing in present-day with the protesting of the national anthem by professional athletes and how much spending power we as consumers have when it comes to making corporations and the government listen to us. The conversation, moderated both by Dave Zirin (a political sportswriter) and Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, was a very electric one indeed! Plus, Dr. Carlos was hilarious! He reminded me of a granddad who’s always slapping his knee telling jokes and talking about “back in my day”. I even managed to get a picture with him! 😁

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And last but not least, I attended a Regional Leadership Institute conference for SNMA at the Campbell University-School of Osteopathic Medicine near Raleigh, NC yesterday. I had to wake up at 5 AM to get there by 8 AM with one of the SNMA presidents of my chapter, but it was a fantastic experience! We had a few speakers come in and talk to us about leadership, Step 1 study tips, and what osteopathic medicine looks like. The first speaker, Dr. Tiffany Lowe-Payne, presented a phenomenal talk to us. She talked about where she came from and how her circumstances led her to who she is today. She specifically emphasized four main points in her interactive talk: 1) Putting down your insecurities, 2) Picking up your signature banner, 3) Being intentional in everything you do and 4) Speaking your success into existence. Not gonna lie, by the time she had finished her talk, I was left feeling very inspired. She also had such a great delivery with her speech that I had to ask her how and where she learned to speak so effectively. In the Step talk, we got some useful info about different ways to plan for the exam as well as different tools available for us to use for both the USMLE exam as well as the COMLEX exam for D.O. students. The last talk was one where another doctor by the name of Dr. Charles Smutny III came in to speak to us about osteopathic medicine and what he does on a daily basis as a neuromuscular specialist. In addition to speaking to us about the overall concept of osteopathic medicine, he spoke on the unification of the mind, body & spirit and how important it was for us as future physicians to realize that importance. He then proceeded to perform a demonstration of his osteopathic manipulation skills on a student, where he talked through what he was doing as he felt the bones and muscles of the student after watching her gait as she walked back and forth towards him and away from him. After about ten minutes or so, he found some tightness in her neck….and popped it! We all were like “yoooo!!” Okay okay, I was like “yoooo!!”. Everyone else just gasped. And just like that, the student no longer had that tightness. My words aren’t doing it any justice though, you just had to see it for yourself. I lowkey want to learn some more about osteopathic medicine; I think it would be a pretty useful tool to have in the future, to be honest. After that presentation, we had a business meeting where the representatives of each school updated everyone else about what was going on in their respective chapters and then a small group of us went on a tour of the school. I’m really glad I decided to go to the conference…I feel like I took a lot from it overall. Only downside was that I had absolutely NO phone service in the building. 😒

Good God.

I damn near wrote a dissertation.

I’m done.

I now have to pack up and start getting ready for my week-long stay in Lenoir for my CPE. Should be a fun time. Fun time indeed.

Thanks for listening to me! I know you have better things to do but you chose to rock with me! I really appreciate you! Please make your week a stupendous one!

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude about it.”

– Maya Angelou

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – If you haven’t watched the 13th documentary on Netflix, PLEASE WATCH IT. PLEASE.

Putting It All Together

Guess who’s all caught up with his lectures? THIS GUY. *points to self*

Guess who has an exam in five days? THIS GUY. *points to self again*

Guess who’s totally not ready for it? THIS GUY. *points to self yet again*

Thankfully, there won’t be any new material presented to us this week. We’ve pretty much already learned everything that is going to be on this upcoming exam, which is nice to know. Instead, we’ll be using the knowledge we’ve acquired over the past two-and-a-half weeks to solve patient cases in class. We will also have a class session on Wednesday where patients with respiratory problems will come in and talk to us about how they’re coping with their respective conditions. I always appreciate when patients take time out of their day to come and talk with us; it really brings a lot of what we learn to life, which makes it easier for me to remember certain things and also allows me to fully appreciate the fact that what I’m learning has the power to literally influence and save the lives of other people. A couple other things on our schedule this week include an Ultrasound Lab, a simulation lab with a dummy patient, a Jeopardy review game and a “field trip” to the hospital wards. Overall, I think that the integrative nature of this week will really help synthesize a lot of the subject material we’ve learned. Also, it’s awesome that we get a week just to review everything we’ve learned because I very much so need it. Like, very much so.

While I was playing catch-up with my lectures this past week, I got the chance to go to the annual Medical Student Research Poster Presentation Day at the old medical school next to the hospital, where a lot of my friends presented the research projects they worked on during the summer. There was such a diverse array of research topics that were undertaken by my classmates. It was so cool man. These research topics included: The Influence of Summer Camp Cooking Classes on Children, Assessing Cultural Awareness and Peer-Peer Microaggressions in Medical Education, The Mortality Gap in Black and White Breast Cancer Patients in Chicago and the Comparison of that Data to other US Cities, The Association Between End Stage Renal Disease and Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia, The Use of Information Technology Among a Diverse Sample of Adults with Type 2 Diabetes, Sustainability of CPAP in a Regional Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Accra, Lineage Tracing and Labeled Stem Cell Fate-Mapping in Murine Bladder Regeneration, and The Effects of Trauma on Reproductive Behaviors in HIV Populations. There were over 50 students presenting their posters, and they all looked splendid and professional while presenting their summer work. I was happy to show up and help support them! It also reminded me that I still have yet to perform some kind of meaningful research project, let alone present a research poster…

A few other things I ended up doing this past week included helping set up a Ophthalmology Interest Group lunch talk where we had an Ophthalmologist come in and talk to the audience all about her journey and what life is like in her career path, learning how to use respiratory support equipment by actually using them on dummies, going through a few patient case presentations with a facilitator and a small group of students, attending a lecture about healthcare disparities and how it relates to respiratory diseases, and talking with the Dean of the medical school about how my experiences here at Wake have been so far. Each of these events were great in their own way, and I was able to take away quite a bit from each experience. I could talk more about each of these experiences in detail, but I don’t feel like making this an unnecessarily long post. Plus, I need to go back to reviewing for this upcoming exam. 😭😒

Before I leave you though, I have one more thing to say. Guess who’s about to be back in Lenoir next week for his second and final week of his Community Practice Experience? THIS GUY. *points to self one more time*. I know some of you remember what my time was like the last time I was in the quiet town of Lenoir…if not, here’s a reminder. Last time was cool and all, but I have a feeling that this time will be even better because I know a bit more than I did before and I’m also a lot more confident in talking to patients than I was back in February. Plus, there’s good Southern food waiting for my roommates and I at the restaurants that we dined at last time. I’m sure it’ll be a fun time, especially since I don’t have to worry about really studying anything that whole week. I just gotta get mentally prepared for the severe lack of diversity that I’m about to walk into in that little country town…

Y’all have a great week!

“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” – Bertrand Russell

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Yes, I’m VERY salty that Miami lost to FSU…BY ONE POINT. I missed most of the second half because I was at a birthday party, but best believe when I got the update of the final score on my phone, I was not pleased. Damn it Florida State…

Growing Pains

Tell me why I went into this weekend TEN lectures behind in material.

TEN LECTURES BEHIND.

The sad part is, I was actively trying to keep up all last week. But between the SIXTEEN lengthy lectures given to us just last week, my three and-a-half hour clinical skills class, my Clinical Practice Assessment Exam (CPX) where I had to interview & perform a physical exam on a standardized patient and then complete a write-up which took me FOUR HOURS to finish, and all the other little things I did on the side this past week, it’s been one hell of a struggle trying to keep up. So much for Pulmonology being a chill block.

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But let’s backtrack to my CPX first. Why did it take me four hours to complete that write-up man? I’ll tell you why. It’s because not only did I have to summarize the patient’s History of Present Illness, Past Medical History, Review of Systems, Family History and Social History, but I also had to go on and describe her physical exam findings, write up an assessment of the patient, come up with a differential diagnosis of what I believed the patient had, and then describe in detail as to why I picked each of the conditions I believed she had. Ohhh but that’s not all folks. After describing my differential diagnosis, which took over an hour itself, I then needed to come up with a structured plan as to how I was going to move forward with this patient, which included my diagnostic work-up, the anticipatory guidance I was going to provide to the patient, my treatment recommendations, and my disposition of the patient (where I’m going to eventually send her). That’s an unbelievable amount of work yo. And to think that this will become a regular routine as I get further in my training and eventually work as a doctor…😥. Why do I get the feeling that the doctors out there reading this are chuckling to themselves? Maybe because writing patients up isn’t actually as big of a deal as I’m making it seem and I’m just being all dramatic about it. Or maybe I went way overboard with my assignment. Regardless, I put my best effort in it and it took me a really long time to finish it. I pray that no other write-up will take me as long to finish. But if I get this diagnosis right thoooo…..😏.

The actual encounter with the patient was straight though. I’ve really come a long way in my interview skills, but I can still be better. I kicked myself for missing a couple of questions that I would have liked to ask and as for the physical exam portion, I did just about everything I needed to do but forgot to do one or two maneuvers that just so happened to conveniently spring back into my mind right after I walked out of the exam room. It’s whatever though, I felt like it was my best CPX performance yet. Can’t wait to finally get some feedback this week from the doctor who was grading me. Also the standardized patient did a phenomenal job acting out her severe chest pain…I did get her to crack a few smiles though, hehehe.

A couple days prior to my CPX, I watched a documentary screening with other classmates who are in the Service Learning Scholars program like me. The documentary was called “Private Violence“, and it followed the lives of a few women who had tragically been in very abusive relationships. These women had been beaten very badly by their spouses on a constant basis, but were also finding it hard to leave their spouse for good due to the unhealthy psychological nature of their relationships. It also didn’t help that the varying state laws in place for domestic violence cases were flawed enough to not help the victims feel any safer from their spouse. One woman was severely beaten over and over again and when she finally mustered up the power to seek justice, her pictures of her bruised and bloody body didn’t meet some type of “standard” set by specific states’ laws, so the man accused would only have to go to jail for a maximum of 180 days. It’s insane. In some states, you sell weed and go to jail for years…but then you can beat up your partner on a constant basis and the most you’ll go to jail for is six months?? There are a lot of flawed laws out there that need to be changed. We then also had a discussion about the documentary as a group and touched on the challenges that physicians need to face as well as what needs to be done when dealing with the issue of domestic violence in their patients’ lives. It was a very interesting and necessary event to have overall. It also gave me a framework to keep in my head whenever I interact with patients in the future who are dealing with domestic violence issues. After attending that, I proceeded to go and watch the first presidential debate…mannnnn don’t get me started on that bull. Actually I’m not even gonna go into how I’m feeling about this “presidential race” right now. Just please go out and VOTE for the sake of not only you but this country as a whole.

One more thing, I officially applied for my Step 1 exam this past week. Let me repeat that. I’VE OFFICIALLY APPLIED FOR MY USMLE STEP 1 EXAM. This has gotten so real so fast. I registered to take it in mid-April so I got a good amount of time before then, but I’m well aware of how fast time can fly. I’m just gonna work my tail off until then and pray that I get the score that I feel I deserve. I’m already thinking about how my nerves the night before will probably keep me from being able to fall asleep…I’m gonna have to find a solution to that. Oh, and you wanna hear something ridiculous? The exam costs $605 to take! SIX HUNDRED AND FIVE MOTHERLOVIN’ DOLLARS!!! I very audibly gasped when I saw that amount and immediately closed my laptop. But then guess what I remembered? My school reimburses us for the cost of the exam! Wake is soooo clutch man! THE REAL MVP. So I deposited the check that Student Affairs gave me, applied for the exam, and gleefully checked my bank account to verify that the amount in my checking account was unchanged. And lo and behold, it was unchanged.

Geek & Sundry dancing happy dance kid president dance

Gotta get back to catching up to these lectures though, I only have three more to go before I’m all the way caught up again! I definitely don’t wanna be behind before facing the four lectures we have tomorrow morning along with the longitudinal classes that will be taking up my afternoon. Jeez.

Have a marvelous week! 

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

– Black Man, M.D.