Recalibration.

So as we all know, 2021 is off to a HOT start.

Never would I have ever imagined that the disgusting, vile, destructive and maniacal images and videos of the insurrection led by racist domestic terrorists at the United States Capitol on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021 would be something that we all would witness in real-life, in real-time. Yes, it has been evident to me for a long time that the hatred and white supremacist beliefs these people hold in their hearts are shared with a frighteningly large proportion of this nation’s population. As a country with its history deeply rooted in white supremacy, systemic racism and discrimination, and the literal disenfranchisement of minority populations through unjustified murders and enslavement, it would be ignorant to expect anything less. But storming the U.S. Capitol? Destroying federal property? Stealing federal materials? Completely desecrating the building? Exposing lawmakers to COVID-19? Murdering people on federal grounds?? Federal police allowing THIS to happen when they’ve met peaceful protestors time and time again in the recent past with much more deadly force??? Nah man, I never thought I would see anything like this in my life. But as my generation has come to understand, living through incredulous once-in-a-generation events has almost become a monthly occurrence to us. I’ve seen way too many disastrous historical events transpire in my twenty-seven years of life than I would like to have ever witnessed. And I’m sure that there will be quite a few more. 😔

But thankfully all the bad must ultimately be balanced with a lot of good. I have been fortunate to have lived through and witnessed some amazing historical events in my lifetime. The people who participated in this uprising against the United States government are being actively dealt with as we speak, including the idiot-in-power who encouraged the whole thing. The Biden-Harris administration will be transitioning into power this week, giving this country some desperately needed leadership and guidance. There is a lot of hope for the future, and I just can’t wait to experience what it will bring us as we climb out of the dark, depressing abyss that we have been trapped in these past several years.

Outside of that wild start to the year, I brought in the New Year in a quiet fashion since we’re all still in the midst of a pandemic that’s worsening by the minute. I was able to rest a bit after my extended heme/onc experience by sleeping in just about every day of my break, watching a lot movies and college football, and catching up with loved ones from afar. I also got the notification that I was officially a published first author of a case report I submitted to Pediatrics a while ago!!

Bouncing Regular Season GIF by NBA

All in all, I had a very restful break and I was able to take some time to recalibrate my mind so that I would be ready for whatever 2021 had in store for us all.

With a new year came a renewed focus on my personal and professional goals, especially since this year will be one where I will be making major decisions that have the power to influence the overall trajectory of my life. I will be finishing up my second year of residency and will officially be a full-blown, bonafide senior resident starting in late June. With that comes the realization that I will need to decide what my life will look like after my residency training. I’m happy to announce that after A TON of debrief, prayer and deliberation, I’ve finally decided to commit to a career in pediatric nephrology! So with that said, I’ll be pursuing a fellowship in that sub-specialty after I graduate from residency. But then comes the questions of where I’ll be looking to train, how to prepare for the fellowship application season, and how to integrate my other passions into the career that I’m forging for myself. And of course, I’ll have to be making these decisions while working with my fiancée in planning our wedding in the midst of the pandemic, that of which will be taking place in early September. That’s a lot to work through in one year, and that’s not even including the work I’m doing with this blog and the ideas/plans that I’m itching to materialize into reality hopefully later on this year. To sum it all up succinctly, this year is going to be a BIG one for me.

Season 9 Reaction GIF by The Office

In regards to work, I started off this year working as an upper-level resident on the pediatric pulmonology service, where I supervised the intern and the medical students on my team taking care of the patients assigned to us, while also facilitating communication about the status of our patients to the fellows and attending physicians on service. Most of our patients were quite complex and needed advanced clinical care to keep their clinical status stable. What was most interesting for me throughout this experience was how much different serving as a senior resident on a team was from being an intern. Up until this point in residency, just about all of the clinical work I’ve performed thus far was either intern level work or second-year level work that didn’t require me to have to lead a team. The closest I got to being a senior leading a team was in my NICU rotation a few months ago where I worked alongside several interns and medical students and helped them navigate their NICU experience. Even then, I had my own panel of patients to care for and I did not manage any of the patients that were assigned to each of them.

But now, as an upper-level resident leading a team, I was given the responsibility of supervising the management of all the patients on the service, even though the intern and the medical students were the ones providing most of the direct care to them. I rarely had to write notes for, or provide direct care to, the patients on our team, and the daily status of the patients were reported to me during rounds. I was also in a position to provide direct feedback to my team members on a daily basis, set the atmosphere of the team and was viewed as a legitimate leader. It was a very interesting and enjoyable experience, yet also challenging because I’m simply not used to being in that role. I’m used to being one of the worker bees grinding out notes, answering pages and reporting to a senior. I had to force myself to back off and allow my team members a chance to complete the work assigned to them, though I continued to help them with whatever they needed in order to get their daily tasks done. Although the role overall took some adjusting on my end, it is a role that I could certainly get used to. 😎

I’m going to go ahead and end this post on that positive note. I hope that you all had a safe and blessed holiday season and that your New Year has been off to a fantastic start! Happy MLK Day! See you next time! 😁

“Nothing is predestined. The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.” – Ralph Blum

– Black Man, M.D.

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