Another New World

Not a ton of new things have happened between my last post and now, so I'll keep this post relatively short. At least I'll try to…..those of you who have been following me for some time now already know that I have a tendency of getting carried away in my posts lol.

I spent the majority of last week on my vacation, where I didn't do much except try to bask in my scheduled period of uninterrupted relaxation in the midst of a post-2020 presidential election world. I was able to get some work on the blog done such as raising additional funds for The 2021 Desire To Inspire Scholarship and launching a holiday giveaway for the Black Man, M.D. Merchandise Store. I was also able to continue fostering relationships with various faculty members and residents who are doing work in domains of medicine that I would like to integrate into my career. And last but certainly not least, I was able to spend some quality time with loved ones. So while my pre-COVID hopes of going to the University of Miami's 2020 Homecoming Weekend and chillin' in Miami for the majority of my week-long vacation were utterly destroyed, I was still able to appreciate the time I had off in a relaxing way.

After my vacation came to an end earlier this week, I worked a pretty busy continuity clinic half-day shift where I actually knew all of my patients on my schedule. It was so great to get to see them all again and they were just as happy to see me, especially since the pandemic had really screwed up our continuity in care; some of them had been seeing other providers in the clinic for the past several months for check-ups. Now that we were linked up again, I consciously made the effort to have them see me again in the future to continue our patient-provider relationship. Everyone truly wins with continuity of care: the families are happy to see a familiar face and I'm just as thrilled to see the growth of my patients while catching up with their parents. Plus, it makes my job much easier and more fun. 😊

The next day, I started my inpatient pediatric hematology/oncology rotation. Describing the experience as a different world is a bit of an understatement. My co-resident and I literally could not understand at least half of what the team was saying on our first day of rounds; many of the terms being discussed were new to us. I'm still not sure how I managed to tumble through rounding on my patients, those of whom are on complex cancer treatment protocols and are on a variety of antimicrobials and chemotherapy agents. It's funny because I definitely completed a rotation in Peds Heme/Onc as a fourth-year medical student, but I barely remember most of what I learned at that time. Plus if you haven't caught on already, working in the hospital as a resident is vastly different from working in the hospital as a medical student. What has also been an ongoing struggle for me these past few days is learning how to use the various protocols specific to this service to effectively manage these patients. Although the learning curve has been steep thus far, I've been fortunate enough to be on a team of people who are very personable and who all truly believe in the power of teamwork. Because of this, the transition to this rotation has not been as stressful as it could have been. Also, there haven't been a ridiculous number of patients on the service so far, so the work that needed to be done has been manageable. One other thing that has been beautiful about my experience so far are the deep relationships that I've witnessed between some of the families with kids on long-term chemotherapy treatments and the providers. That is something that I've always admired about this specialty and am looking forward to seeing more of over these next five weeks.

My most recent shift just so happened to be a 24-hour call shift, where I was literally in the hospital for a full 24-hour day. Like, I came into the hospital on Thursday morning and did not leave until Friday morning. 😅 It was also my very first 24-hour call shift ever, so I was curious as to how I would handle the challenge. It turned out to not be as crazy of an experience as I had worked it up to be in my head. The day shift was pretty busy since I was the only resident on service that day working with the nurse practitioners, pharmacist, fellow and attending on the team. The night shift started off a bit busy but ultimately ended up calming down a little after midnight. I was even able to get a few hours of sleep, though I kept intermittently waking up in a half-panicked state hoping that I didn't miss any pages. I then signed out at the end of my call shift and headed home to enjoy my weekend. If my four other 24-hour call shifts on this rotation are anywhere near as manageable as this one was, I have a really good five weeks to look forward to. But we all know that anything can happen, and heme/onc is a service that's known to be quite unpredictable, so there's no telling what lies ahead of me. Just gotta keep taking things one day at a time.

That's all I got for you today, short and sweet like I promised! 😁

I hope that you are continuing to stay safe, sane and healthy in the midst of this recent surge in COVID cases! Please be careful during this holiday season! 🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿

“I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them, and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection. For me, I'm going to believe in miracles, celebrate life, rejoice in the views of eternity, and hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others. This is my choice.” – Mike Ericksen

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Finally got my copy of President Obama's memoir, A Promised Land! Can't wait to check it out!

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