More Life

Yeah yeah, I know the phrase “More Life” has been played out/is in the process of being played out (just like most of the other phrases Drake has popularized in the past)…but if you saw what I saw this morning, you wouldn’t be able to help but agree that it’s an extremely fitting title for the experience that I’m about to tell you about! Also, I’m currently pressed for time and it took me all of 2 minutes to come up with this title…so I’m sticking with it. 😤

So to start off, my first day on the labor & delivery service was today! (Yes, it’s Sunday. Trust me, I’m WELL aware.) I’m going to be on this service until Thursday and won’t be back on it until a couple weeks from now, where I’ll spend about four nights working the night shift on the labor & delivery service. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, labor & delivery service = the magical place in the hospital where babies come from. (You starting to catch the drift of the title? Clever ehh? Ehhhhh??? *nudge nudge* 😉) I began my day at 6 AM at the hospital, where I met with my team and proceeded to participate in check-in (getting updates about the overnight patients from a doctor on night shift). Then soon after, I tagged along with a resident and checked on a few patients that needed attention at the moment before getting back with the team to talk about all of the patients we had on our service (talking about all our patients with the teamrounding). As soon as we finished our table rounds, we got notification that one of our patients was beginning to deliver!

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The resident I was following earlier sped off to the patient and I simply followed right along because 1) I didn’t know any better and 2) I REALLY wanted to witness the birth of another human being in real-time! After getting to the room, I proceeded to watch in absolute awe as the mother miracously pushed a brand-new, beautiful human being into this world in less than 30 minutes. As much as I’ve studied and reviewed the whole birthing process, I couldn’t help but stand there looking dumbfounded as I heard the baby cry for the first time in its life. It was such a fascinating and wonderful experience. As the family coddled and adored their new member, the mother’s placenta was delivered (if you aren’t familiar with what a placenta looks like, the sight of it would probably freak you out) and her lacerations were all stitched up. Thank God for anesthesia. I really couldn’t believe how well the epidural was working for the mother…like, there was a freakin’ needle being threaded all throughout a very sensitive area of her body!! Yet she couldn’t feel a thing. Plus, all of her attention was devoted to her new bundle of joy so she wasn’t even concerned with what we were doing. Strangely enough, I began to deeply consider and appreciate the power of anesthesia as I stood there and watched her stitches being placed. Because of a simple painkilling drug, the doctors were able to heal the mother in what appeared to be a graphic manner while she enjoyed her very special moment in an oblivious fashion. Incredible.

So that was my Sunday morning.

After receiving the unforgettable opportunity to witness the start of a new life, I went about the rest of my day following the residents and interns around as they attended to both current and new patients while answering the barrage of questions that I frequently unloaded upon them. I also helped admit a few patients to the service, viewed a few ultrasound procedures and studied Ob/Gyn material in the lapses of downtime we had. Before I knew it, it was 5 PM and I was headed home to get some more work done as well as to write this post. It was a great day overall!

I was in such a great mood today not only because I was excited to witness births, but also because my girlfriend planned a whole surprise birthday event for me that took place yesterday! She got me good y’all…she had planned out this event with a few of my good friends here at Wake over the course of a few weeks and had about 30+ of my friends show up to yell “SURPRISEEE!!!” as I turned around to face them unexpectedly haha. Y’all really should have seen my face when I saw all those people there, some of whom I definitely did not expect to see there! I really wish someone had snapped a pic of the hilarious face I must have made when I realized that I had just been tricked into attending my very first surprise birthday party! 😄😂 It was simply an awesome feeling to know that all those people showed up just to celebrate my upcoming birthday with me. I felt so loved lol. Shoutout to my girl and everyone who helped make that birthday surprise a reality, I deeply appreciate each and everyone of y’all!!

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As for the rest of my week, I was mainly working in outpatient clinics affiliated with the Wake Forest Baptist Health Center throughout Winston-Salem and Lexington County. During my time in those clinics I managed to witness a colposcopy, watch the placement of an IUD into a uterus, observe a couple of operative hysteroscopies, interview a patient who spoke a language I had never heard of before, delve deep into the intracacies of the different types of birth control with one of my preceptors, realize that there are a good amount of patients who will understandably not be comfortable with me being in the room while a pelvic exam is being performed on them, and learn more about both the menstrual cycle and the various types of assisted reproductive technologies that is made available to patients. I also was tasked with giving a presentation to my colleagues on Hormone Replacement Therapy earlier in the week, which can be found in the linked text! Take a look! That is, if you even care to look at it. Because you probably don’t. Don’t lie. You won’t hurt my feelings. Okay maybe just a little. But it’s all good.

Whew! I said I was pressed for time, yet I didn’t do that great of a job at keeping this short. That’s what happens when you actually have some exciting things to talk about. But whatever, I feel good about being able to reflect on my fantastic experiences and for giving you something to do with your spare time! I sincerely hope that you have an outstanding week!

#MORELIFE 

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“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melodie Beattie

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – My prayers are going out for all of those afflicted by the wreckage that Hurricane Harvey has brought to Texas and the neighboring regions. Hopefully our fractured government can lend some assistance to the many people who have been tragically impacted by this storm.

Demystifying The Unexposed

It has been quite an interesting week so far…and my time throughout Ob/Gyn is only going to get even more interesting.

Orientation for this rotation was about four days long and I had my first clinic day on Friday afternoon. Although each day during orientation was long and packed with information and modules, I found myself really engaged in everything that I was learning and I was very appreciative of the modules and workshops/simulations that we participated in. However, these long days have forced me to play a balancing act with keeping up with my outside studying, since I only have six weeks (now five 😭) to prepare for my upcoming shelf exam. As a matter of fact, I’m already feeling a bit crunched for time, especially since a lot of the material that I’m studying is new to me…but on the bright side, I don’t have to cover anywhere near as much information as I had to cover in the broad clerkship of Internal Medicine!

Like I just said, we were able to participate in some very informative modules, simulations and workshops during our time in orientation. These great learning opportunities included a cervix dilation and effacement palpation activity with plastic models, vaginal delivery simulations with plastic models, videos on incontinence, uterine & cervical cancer, bimanual & breast exams on some more plastic models, tying surgical knots, stitching a wound on pig feet, and performing a very thorough pelvic & breast exam on an actual person who was specially trained to help coach aspiring health professionals in performing these exams (this was quite a strange experience, but she was very good at keeping the atmosphere light and also made sure that none of us felt awkward about performing our exams! I learned so much from this particular activity!)

The hands-on approach of these learning opportunities made the information stick with me so much better than if I had to learn it all by simply reading a textbook. It also gave me more confidence (not a lot though) in performing breast and pelvic exams, exams that I’ll be having to perform on actual patients very, very soon.

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My experience in an outpatient Ob/Gyn clinic on Friday afternoon was pretty chill overall. I had a fantastic attending who had patients that absolutely loved him, and whose appointments consisted mainly of quick prenatal checkups and pap smears. I was given multiple opportunities to use a doppler fetal monitor to listen for fetal heartbeats, which was a pretty neat experience! I interacted with patients who ranged from being early on in their first pregnancy to being about a couple of weeks from giving birth to their third child. The emotions emitted by all of the mothers I interacted with were fascinating and mainly consisted of excitement, concern and joy of having the blessed opportunity to give this world another human being. One other thing that gave me pause while at the clinic was the number of women around my age or younger who were pregnant with their second or third child. Unlike in high school where having a baby as a teenager was viewed in a stigmatizing manner, I’m at the age where starting a family is actually pretty common and widely viewed as normal. However even with that said, I couldn’t even begin to imagine becoming a father right now. I definitely couldn’t handle being completely responsible for another human being at this stage in my life, let alone financially afford it. It has always been intriguing to see how different the lives of others who are around my age are from my own, and I’m sure that this observation will only continue to get even more intriguing as I grow older. Interacting with these young patients also reminded me of just how much older I’m becoming. With my 24th birthday coming up next week, I’ll officially be in my mid-20s. That’s preeeeetty bewildering to me. It means that I really have to seriously think about some of the critical details concerning my future, because it’s no longer some distant time period that I can deal with later. Now is the “later” that I’ve been telling myself for years. Gulp.

Well like I said earlier, I’ve been feeling a bit crunched for time lately, so I’m going to end this post now. I got videos to watch, questions to answer, text to read, and a week of outpatient care to prepare for. Sigh. Thankfully, my girl visited me this weekend and has made my weekend work more bearable! 😄

Make sure to have a stellar week!

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” – Rikki Rogers

– Black Man, M.D.

 

New Expectations

It’s been a chilllll week.

Even with me having to run multiple errands, send various emails, attend a meeting, and mentally prepare for my next rotation, I’ve been having a very relaxing week. As a matter of fact, I haven’t felt this relaxed ever since my post-Step vacation! (a.k.a. right before I started third-year.) I almost didn’t know what to do with all of my extra free time! I ended up doing a lot of reading for pleasure, catching up on a show that I don’t want to admit that I still watch 😂, hanging out with friends, updating sections on the blog (check out the new section if you haven’t already!) and helping my girlfriend move into her new place in Chapel Hill. I stayed in Winston for the first half of my weeklong break and drove over to Chapel Hill early last Thursday, where I still currently am right now. It has been a very restful break and now that I’m re-energized, I’m ready to take on my second clerkship of third-year!

However, being ready to take on my Ob/Gyn clerkship doesn’t mean that I know exactly what to expect. I recieved my clerkship schedule last week and it already seems like it’s going to be vastly different from my Internal Medicine experience. Plus, it’s only a six-week clerkship as opposed to my 12-week IM clerkship…which means that I won’t have anywhere near the amount of time that I had in my previous clerkship to study for my shelf exam. I’ll literally have to start aggressively studying for the Ob/Gyn shelf exam from day one.

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Although I currently don’t have much of an interest in this specialty, I’m looking forward to experiencing what it has to offer and to how my relationships with the patients that I’ll serve will impact both me and them. Because I was pretty interested in the reproductive unit of my second-year coursework, I want to assume that I’ll find some real interest in caring for this patient population as a whole. Also, the thought of me delivering someone’s baby both excites and freaks the hell out of me at the same time! I can only imagine how indescribable that experience will be! But before I get too deep into the clerkship, I have to go through a weeklong orientation that starts tomorrow morning at 7 AM. Thank God, because I definitely wouldn’t feel comfortable performing Pap smears or any other gynecologic procedures on the first couple days of this new experience.

Well, that’s really all I have to say today. I don’t really have anything else that exciting to share with you right now…but I’m positive that these next several weeks will give me more than enough remarkable experiences to tell you about!

Make sure to spread some love this week and to make it an extraordinary one! I know it may be easier said than done in this nightmarish world we’re currently living in, but it’s extremely important that we don’t succumb to the hate that we have been exposed to in alarming doses as of late. It’s okay to get angry and to feel frustrated, but please try your best to not let these hateful acts of terrorism negatively impact you. And finally, play whatever part you can to ensure that this country moves forward in a better direction, regardless of how ineffective, ridiculous, preposterous, insane, and backwards the current administration is.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw

– Black Man, M.D.

 

On To The Next One

How wild is it that I’m already 1/4 of the way through with my third-year??

I’ve completed 25% of the year and August has barely begun!

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What’s even crazier is that I’ve completed a grand total of ONE rotation throughout these past 12 weeks lol. I have classmates who’ve already taken three shelf exams so far…meanwhile I’m over here reflecting on the fact that I took my first one this past Friday. That 110-question exam was quite a challenge, if I do say so myself; it honestly felt like a mini-Step 1 exam in my opinion…except we were moreso being asked questions on the management of patient presentations as opposed to what the diagnosis was. The 2-hour and 45-minute time limit didn’t help either. It may sound like a lot of time, but mannn it honestly wasn’t.

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I found myself having to work quicker than I would have liked, especially late into the test when I realized that if I wanted to have even just a few minutes to review the questions that I had marked for review, I could only give myself a maximum of a minute per question. A good amount of those questions weren’t easy either. Me along with about 85% of my classmates taking their respective shelf exams at the same time ended up using every single minute that was allotted to us. I left the test feeling pretty damn unsure about my performance on it overall, but I’m going to go ahead and confidently say that I feel like I at least passed it! I’m speaking it into existence! Just like Step, I prepared the best I could and I have no regrets on how I performed on test day. All I can do is press on onto my next rotation, which is Obstetrics & Gynecology! 😅

Now that my Internal Medicine clerkship has come to a close, I’ve been granted with a weeklong break before my next rotation! Thing is, because I had been busy preparing for my exam these past couple of weeks while attending to my hospital duties as a third-year med student, I’ve been pushing other responsibilites aside and have been telling myself that I would take care of them during this break. Welp, now the time has come to take care of those responsibilities/errrands…so I’ll be busy completing them during my break. However, I’ll also be going to Chapel Hill to help my girlfriend move in later on this week!! I’m really looking forward to seeing her again and am thrilled about the fact that we’ll now be a lot closer to each other! 😄😄😄 I’m just as thrilled about not having to wake up before the crack of dawn and not having to go to sleep soon after the sun goes down. I’m well aware that I’ll be getting back to that schedule real soon though…

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Y’all make sure to have a both productive and phenomenal week!

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”― Michael Altshuler

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – The biennial National Black Theatre Festival was going on in Winston-Salem this past week and I missed most of it due to me preparing for my exam…but I did get to go to a free outdoor concert last night! Plus, I had NEVER seen so many black people in downtown Winston-Salem at one time…it was spectacular!