The Power of Adaptability

This week is my last week in D.C. and I’m not ready to leave just yet 😭😭😭.

I’ve really settled into the flow of things in my rotation and have quickly gotten used to the diverse nature of this city. I’ll probably never get used to the traffic in this city, but I’ve managed to get around without losing my mind, which is an accomplishment if you ask me. 😊 I kept telling myself that I would eventually start using the metro to avoid the congestion, but I would always end up leaving for clinic each morning in my car. It’s just easier and more convenient to me, even though I spend a good amount of time on the road as well as a good amount on gas money.

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After this upcoming week, I’ll be heading up to Philly to start another Pediatric inpatient rotation at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I’ll be on a general pediatric team that also treats kids with allergic, immunologic, rheumatologic and hematologic conditions. Yeah I know, that’s a lot of different types of conditions. I just recently got my schedule for the rotation and boooyyy am I going to be busy 😅. I’m really going to be living like an intern…six day work-weeks with only one day off each week, one week of nights, case conferences, teaching sessions, performing patient responsibilites on an intern level — yeahhh I’m gonna be working for real. I probably won’t see much outside of the hospital to be honest…but that’s okay, there’ll be plenty to see in the hospital. Plus, being in the north and all, I’m sure that it’s going to get cold real soon so staying indoors wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Shoutout to the power of positive thinking 🙌🏿😂.

With all the time I’m going to be spending in the hospital, I’m definitely going to be able to see a wide variety of illnesses and there’s a good chance that I’ll be participating in very unique and interesting cases. Also, as you may already know if you’ve been following my posts these past couple of months, I just so happen to have some experience in hematology, allergy and immunology….so I’m fortunate in that I’ll be able to continue building upon the knowledge that I’ve accumulated in those sub-specialties so far. 😄 In addition, I’ll get to network with a variety of people and will be paired with mentors who will undoubtedly be instrumental in helping me lay the foundation for my future career. Until I get to my experience at CHOP however, I need to get through a mountain of modules that need to be completed prior to rotating there.

Confused Steve Harvey GIF

Now about my most recent week in the Capital.

I had a pretty full schedule of events last week, those of which included a couple of food allergy clinic days, an inner-city asthma clinic day, a mock interview session, my first residency interview at Wake Forest, a couple of one-on-one meetings with faculty here at Children’s National, an allergy & immunology department-wide morning conference, a meeting with one of Senator Cory Booker’s legislative assistants on Capitol Hill, and a great weekend with my girlfriend and other friends who are here in D.C. Yeah I know, I told you it was going to be a lot lol. I did my best to take things one day at a time though and that helped me get through everything that I experienced throughout the week.

The food allergy clinic days were the usual, where I helped consent patients and their families to oral food challenges, took histories, performed physical exams, and presented the diverse array of patients that I interacted with to my attendings. The inner-city asthma clinic was unique in that it was designed specifically to comprehensively address issues regarding asthma in children, which meant that there was an extensive amount of time dedicated to this mission. The patient and their family would meet with an asthma educator and the physician, with some visits taking as long as 90 minutes if necessary! 😯 I’m glad that I got the chance to participate in that experience, because I also ended up learning some very useful information about asthma and all the various substances in the environment that can trigger it.

As a participant of the Minority Senior Scholarship Program (MSSP), I got the opportunity to engage in a mock interview session as well as to go to Capitol Hill to talk with a legislative assistant about her role in health policy while also asking her questions regarding health policy and how we as future physicians can help influence it for the sake of our patients. The mock interview session was very helpful because not only was I able to practice my interview skills a couple days before my first residency interview, but I was also able to gain some valuable advice that will really help me out on the interview trail. The session at Capitol Hill was primarily a conversation between the students in the MSSP and a legislative assistant, who explained how she helps advise Senator Cory Booker and answered the barrage of questions that we had for her. She encouraged us to keep our passion for advocacy as we grow into physicians and shared with us how much she admired the work that Pediatricians do when it comes to advocating for their patients. It was a really cool experience overall, even though we didn’t end up going inside the Capitol building like I initially thought we would lol. I’m not gonna lie, I was getting hype as we drove up to the Capitol building in our Uber, but we then took a sharp turn left and ended up at another building a couple of blocks away. But then again, it’s not every day that you get to walk into the office of a Senator!

As for my interview at Wake, it ended up going pretty well overall! I definitely felt welcomed, many aspects of both the pediatric residency program and life in Winston-Salem were reinforced to me, and I had some great conversations with my two interviewers. That particular interview day was a day specifically for interviewees who had some sort of tie to Wake Forest, so I was able to connect with the majority of my classmates who are also going into Pediatrics, which was nice. Honestly, the only stressful part about the whole day was the fact that I had to fly from D.C. to Raleigh Tuesday night, pick up a rental car from the airport, drive to Chapel Hill to stay the night at my girlfriend’s place, and drive in a rental car from Chapel Hill to Winston early Wednesday morning through the rain in order to make it to the interview group with only a couple of minutes to spare. And then after the day was over, I had to drive back to Chapel Hill to pick my stuff up, drive to Raleigh, return the rental car and fly back to D.C. that night in order to go to clinic the next morning.

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It was definitely A LOT, but it was also worth it. With my first interview complete, I feel that much more comfortable attending interviews at other institutions. Plus, I felt like I got a solid feel of what residency at Wake would be like. With that said, I feel adequately prepared for my interview here at Children’s National this Friday! 😁

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My busy week was topped off with a fun weekend with my girlfriend and other good friends of mine. Between eating at a “bottomless” brunch, eating some of D.C.’s deep-dish pizza, visiting various monuments, viewing portraits at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, watching a movie (The Oath) before it’s nationwide release date, and (painfully) watching the UM vs. UVA game at a bar/restaurant/arcade, I had an awesome time! The Canes may have lost (in a ridiculous fashion, to say the least), but it’s the time spent with the people I care about that matters!

I’ve been typing for a good amount of time now, so I think that it’s about time that I end this post and start putting in some more work on these modules that I really need to finish up. 😅

I hope that your week turns out to be an excellent one!

“The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do.” – Denis Waitley

– Black Man, M.D.

Hitting My Stride

How am I already halfway done with my rotation here at Children’s National?

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Those first two weeks flew by so fast man, I swear. I feel like I’ve just started to get comfortable with the flow of things, only to have to start preparing for my next away rotation in Philly that will start in a couple of weeks. The traffic here still sucks, but I’ve been able to manage it more efficiently than I did the first week, especially since there wasn’t a torrential downpour every day like there was the first week. I’ve become acclimated to the workflow in both the allergy and immunology clinics and have done the best I can to help all the providers out by interviewing patients, presenting them, and writing notes on them. I’ve also continued to increase my knowledge base on the presentation of various allergic & immunologic conditions as well as the management of them. (Netherton syndrome will forever be ingrained in my memory. So will Eosinophilic Esophagitis.) And of course, I can’t forget to mention the amazing degree of diversity that I’ve witnessed in the clinic. It feels like I’m meeting someone from a different country every day! I’ve also been seeing patients from just about all levels of socioeconomic status. Overall, I feel like I’ve been getting a great sample of America’s diverse population these past two weeks.

Clinic has been keeping be really busy, but I’ve absolutely loved being able to interact with the kids who come to clinic. Some of them are hilarious man. One kid got super excited when I told him that I found Mickey Mouse in his ear and Pluto in the other ear. When I told him I heard Donald Duck quacking in his stomach, he about lost it. 😂Another little kid who was hesitant about performing an oral food challenge warmed up to me after we bonded about Power Rangers and Spider-Man lol. He also got excited when I told him I saw the red power ranger in his ear. I don’t know why kids love having things found in their ears…what they need to be finding is a way to remove all the wax they like to make in there. 🙃

Not only do I like to play with the little kids, I like talking with the older ones too. There aren’t as many older children who come to clinic, but I just about always have a great interaction with them when they’re there. They tend to be very knowledgable about their condition, and I’ve found that some of them are much more mature than their age. There was one patient who was literally teaching me about her rare condition and how she has managed to live with it her whole life. The way she was talking, I kept forgetting that she was over a decade younger than me. God bless her.

Outside of clinic, I got the chance to attend a Grand Rounds discussion that touched on the topics of informed consent, social media, and effectively interacting with parents who try to take over their child’s medical care. I was also invited to an underrepresented minority dinner where residents and faculty discussed the subject of burnout and how it tends to negatively affect minority and women medical students & physicians at a higher rate than other populations. The chief medical officer was also in attendance and it was awesome to see not only how well-respected she was by everyone, but also how willing she was to take feedback in order to improve the experiences of the minority residents and faculty members at the hospital. Burnout is so real, and I’ve been very fortunate in that I haven’t really experienced it so far. At least I don’t think I have. 🤔 I have God, my mindset, my girlfriend, friends, family, mentors, mentees and my blog to thank for that. It takes a village y’all, always remember that. Nobody can go through a process like this alone, it’ll eat you alive.

Overall, D.C. has been a great time so far (I’ve already been to brunch a couple of times and have quickly realized that I can NOT afford to keep doing that 😅) and I’m excited to make the most out of my next couple of weeks here! I’m going to be sooo busy though; I have A TON of one-on-one meetings to attend as a requirement of the program I’m currently in. However, I’m really looking forward to them because they are all with various leaders of the hospital! I’m also starting my residency interview trail this week, with my first interview being back at my home institution! This means I need to hop on a quick flight back to Winston on Tuesday evening, only to return back up here Wednesday evening. That’s going to be fun lol. Oh and I’m also going to have the opportunity to go on a field trip to Capitol Hill on Friday with the other students in my program (they’re all my friends now 😊), where we will meet with the Legislative Assistant to Senator Cory Booker to talk about legislative advocacy and health! I’m really looking forward to that experience!

That’s it from me! Here’s to another week of the grind!

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – The Canes are really trying to make a statement out here with that win against FSU! The game shouldn’t have been that hard, but a win is a win! Too bad it was also overshadowed by Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, even after fierce, legitimized opposition. Jesus. This country needs to be saved.