The Five-Day Block.

Good God.

Last week was a lot.

Buuut I finished the Derm block thooo!!

Having a week-long block was an intriguing, yet annoying experience that I would never want to have to go through again. I was literally studying at all times, even having to sacrifice an hour or three of sleep in order to stay caught up. It didn’t help that I was also busy doing other things outside of studying during the week. Felt like finals in college all over again B. Wasn’t fun. But looking back, it’s amazing how much I was able to learn between 8:00 AM on Monday morning and 1:00 PM on Friday afternoon, which is when I took my Derm exam. The amount of material I learned and hammered in my brain during that short time frame could EASILY be covered in a college semester. EASILY. Shiii, it was a bit fast-paced even for medical school standards. But whatever, I learned everything I needed to learn and I felt pretty good through the test, which was one of the most straight-forward tests I’ve taken since being at this school. Another thing I realized while studying; you gotta have a strong stomach to be a Dermatologist. There were a ton of disturbing images that we had to look at, a few of them even making me cringe a little. Also, when it came to viewing disease images on the body, NO parts of the body were spared. Yeah, think about that for a sec. You can imagine how unpleasant some of the sights must’ve been. If you want to check out some of the skin diseases for yourself, go ahead and Google either psoriasis, bullous pemphigoid, seborrheic keratosis, elephantiasis, herpes simplex virus type 2, intertrigo, human papillomavirus, epidermolysis bullosa, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and/or hidradenitis suppurativa. Those should give you a good idea of what I’m talking about.

And that’s only a small sample of what skin conditions are out there. Happy clicking!

Aside from being in lecture and studying, we were given the opportunity to practice basic cryosurgery, punch biopsies and shave biopsies on a cadaver in the anatomy lab. Before I go on though, I gotta comment on the body that we used. She hadn’t even been embalmed yet, so she looked as if she was asleep. She also looked as if she was in her 30’s, and she even had highlights in her hair! It was soooo weird yo. You would think going through anatomy lab last year would have prepared me for anything…but those bodies last year were embalmed already, so they were grayish and pretty much all of those cadavers were of elderly people. This one looked as if she could have been alive just yesterday, and she was mad young. I couldn’t even manage to look at her face, which was thankfully covered. It was all just way too real. But anyways, it was fulfilling to have been able to practice performing those different types of biopsies and to have been able to use the liquid nitrogen “freeze gun” to freeze pieces of skin. It’s not really called a freeze gun, but I like the sound of that lol. We were also able to practice suturing skills, which I may or may not be getting better at. But I did suture a cut shut, so I’m getting somewhere!

The next day, we got the opportunity to go on a “field trip” in a dermatology outpatient clinic, where we rotated through 11 different stations to get some first-hand experience with the subject. Most of the stations had real patients with real skin diseases and were able to explain what their life has been like with their respective conditions. Some of these conditions included CREST syndrome, necrobiosis lipoidica, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, alopecia areata, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and vitiligo, just to name a few. It was absolutely fascinating. There was also a station where we looked at slides through a microscope, a station where we were given a mini-lecture on certain diseases, and a station where we learned how skin allergies were tested. It was a fun experience overall! Even after everything I’ve gone through with this block though, I don’t think I want to be a Dermatologist. It’s hella chill and fascinating and all, but I don’t know if it’s for me. But I’ve learned to never say never, so we’ll see.

Outside of this block, I was given an opportunity to travel to NC State in order to participate in a medical school panel for some of the students there. It was refreshing to talk face-to-face with pre-meds and to realize how far I’ve come since being a pre-med student myself. It was actually stunning to realize how far I’ve come. Some of the students were asking things that seemed to be common sense to me now, but I know for sure that I had once asked those same questions when I was in college. It was also invigorating to be able to tell them that although med school is tough, it’s probably not as crazy as they expect it to be. With my week being as busy as it was already, you may be sitting there asking yourself why the hell I decided to go to Raleigh to participate in a medical school panel on a Tuesday night? Well, to tell the truth, I was asked to do so over a month ago and I agreed without actually knowing what my schedule was going to look like lol. But even when I got my schedule, I decided to stick with it because I know myself. I knew I’d be able to manage that and still stay caught up in my classes. Plus, I love getting opportunities to help motivate college students achieve what they want to achieve. I truly do believe that if you really want to do something, you’ll find a way to make it happen. So I made it happen.

A couple days later, I helped set up a training event for people interested in Sight Savers, a glaucoma screening program run by the Student National Medical Association here at Wake. It was pretty cool to see how many people showed up to be trained. The free Qdoba’s was also fantastic. Students were trained to use machines that are designed to calculate visual fields and visual acuity. They were also trained to calculate eye pressures using a tonopen, which is a little pen-shaped device that you tap into someone’s numb eye repeatedly in order to get an eye pressure reading. It sounds terrifying, but it’s not. Trust me. Now that we got a fresh new crop of students trained to use the machines, hopefully we can do some good work in the community sometime soon.

A couple of days later (yesterday), me and a small group of SNMA members got together and helped construct a couple of houses with Habitat for Humanity. We used the experience as fellowship while at the same time doing some good for the community. It was a great experience! Me and a couple of friends were crawling around in a crawl space under the house though, which was actually pretty crazy. But I learned quite a bit about how insulation works in a house, as well as how water is pumped through the pipes that I saw while in the crawl space. There was even free Bojangles thrown into the mix. Great times, great times.

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I only got two weeks until winter break. The only thing standing in my way is the first part of the Renal block, which I have an exam for on the last day of school before winter break. I’ve heard mostly bad things about the Renal block, but y’all know by now that the things I hear don’t faze me as much as they faze other people. But I definitely know that it’s not going to be an easy block, especially if they had to separate it in parts. I can do this…I can do this…I can do this…WOOSAHHH, WOOSAHHH.

Make your week a fantastic one!

“If you’re distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” – Marcus Aurelius

– Black Man, M.D.

3 comments

  1. Obianuju · December 4

    Christel!!!! I had soo much fun reading this! Makes me wish I was in medicine school already. I started the skin condition click game, but I stopped by the second one. Haha… not going to do that to myself after I just ate. I’m so happy for you and all that you have achieved so far on your journey to medicine. Good luck on this upcoming block! You can beast it! Praying for you and hope that you have a relaxing winter break!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Black Man, M.D. · December 4

      Haha hey Obi!! I’m happy to hear you liked what you read! And you’ll be in medical school soon enough, there’s no rush to all of this lol. And I’m impressed you actually started googling those diseases lol, they definitely aren’t nice to look at. At all. Thank you so much for your well wishes and I’m looking forward to seeing where your journey takes you! I hope you’ve been doing well overall!

      Like

      • Obianuju · December 4

        I actually did start searching some of them because I have in the past. I watch a lot of Dr.Pimple Popper on youtube so I end up searching for some of the things I see there. Plus I like watching some ENT and dental procedures on youtube, so I have seen a lot of gross stuff. Lol, my medical curiosity. I’m doing good, working and applying for the 2017 cycle. Thanks for the well-wishes.

        Liked by 1 person

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