And just like that, both my chief year and my time in North Carolina have come to an end. 🥲
My time as a chief resident officially ended a little over a week ago, and I no longer have any obligations to fulfill in that role. The new chiefs have successfully taken over our jobs and have spent the past month establishing themselves as the new chiefs of the program while we played more of a consulting role for them, which was honestly more chill than I had expected it to be. I thought that I would be in the office at least once a week to check in on the chiefs and to help them out however I could as they transitioned into their new roles, but it turns out that they already had their pedals to the medal from day one. Although I did answer a few questions they had throughout the month, I pretty much felt superfluous and only visited the office a couple of times to check in and to say bye (see-you-later) to folks.
Because my co-chiefs and I suddenly had so much free time, we were able to knock out the last few remaining duties that we had left to do at the beginning of June with ease. We tied up all of our remaining loose-ends and answered the outstanding emails that we had left, formally oriented the new chiefs to their new roles, gave our Grand Rounds presentation to the Department of Pediatrics where we talked about many of the things we learned as chief residents over the course of the year (we got SO much love about how people felt we performed as leaders of the program ), and helped plan and execute the graduation ceremony for the graduating third-year residents of our program.
After completing all of those important tasks, we suddenly found ourselves with an enormous amount of free time that we didn't really know what to do with at first. Although I had a few planned trips scattered over the course of the month that I was looking forward to, I had a lot more time at home than I was accustomed to. While I used a good amount of this time to decompress and relax, I spent a good amount of time making considerable edits to a couple of the sections of this blog (check out the new and improved Black Man M.D. Merchandise Store and the updated LifeSavers page!) and reviewing applications for this year's Desire To Inspire Scholarship. I also found myself using a lot of this time to start packing and planning for the impending move to Atlanta. Realizing that I would need to find a new “everything” (hair stylist, barber, PCP, optometrist, dentist, car shop, etc.) at my new home, I spent some time (and money 💸) getting my locs retwisted, getting a line-up from my barber, visiting my dentist for a routine cleaning, and getting my car serviced. I also completed my final pair of outpatient clinic shifts during this time period, and even got a sweet card from the clinical staff and providers on my last day of clinic! 🥲
In regards to the trips I just mentioned, I kicked off the month by going to a really fun wedding in Atlanta for one of my wife's best friends. After returning to Chapel Hill from that, I chilled for a few days and spent some quality time with my co-chiefs before flying down to Miami for a weekend to celebrate my line brother's graduation from medical school, where I got the chance to see several of my other fraternity brothers that I hadn't seen in such a long time! Once I came back from that, I then rested for a couple of days before making the drive up with my wife to Hampton Roads in Virginia, where we met up with my family to watch my sister graduate from high school with honors! (I'm still in disbelief that she has grown up so much 😭!) After spending a night there, we came back to Chapel Hill (with one of my brothers who decided to spontaneously tag along) to attend the Hello/Goodbye event that my program hosts annually to send off the graduating residents and to welcome the incoming interns. It was a lot of fun to watch the current interns and the graduating residents roast each other, to beat my cocky brother in pool, and to perform some songs karaoke-style 😂. It was also where I saw most of the people in the program for the last time 🥺😭. After spending several hours there, we went to a lit graduation party for one of my close friends from medical school who just completed her residency training, and then crashed at home after that ridiculously long day finally came to an end. The next day, my brother and I went back to Virginia to help host a cookout celebrating my sister's graduation and then I drove back to Chapel Hill the following day, where I stayed put and spent some of our last days there with several of our friends until we finally moved to Atlanta last week after packing up our entire apartment!
So yes, even though I've had very few clinical and administrative responsibilities as of late, I still ended up having quite a whirlwind of a month. The undercurrent of the moving process was a running theme over the past several weeks and although the whole process really sucked, most of the physical labor of moving our belongings to our new home was thankfully done by the movers that we hired. While working with the owner of the franchise wasn't as seamless of a process as we had hoped, I was still very grateful to not have had to personally haul all our things from NC to GA. It wasn't cheap, but if you were to ask me if it was money well spent, I would respond with an enthusiastic “hell yeah!!”
We are now officially moved into our new house in Atlanta and are in the process of unpacking all of our belongings. I've been here for almost a week now and I'm still marveling at how lucky we were to get the house we're renting in the neighborhood we're staying in. The location is incredibly convenient and close to many of the stores that we frequently went to while in Chapel Hill. There are also many restaurants located near us that serve a diverse array of food options that I'm looking forward to frequenting. And of course, there is an Orange Theory gym nearby that is perfect for my ongoing fitness journey. While the move-in process also hasn't been as seamless as we would have liked, we're glad to have made it down here safely with most of our things in one piece and are looking forward to what our new life here will bring us. We successfully got our mail forwarding set up with USPS and registered ourselves to vote in our new area, but we still have to do all of the other obligatory tasks that you have to do after moving (new driver's licenses, new license plates, changing the billing address of our banks/debit/credit cards, as well as changing the address of just about everything else we ever signed up for, etc. 😒). We also need to find a new “everything” in our area. One step at a time Christel, one step at a time. At least I finally got my medical license for Georgia a few weeks ago after several months full of effort, patience, and bull-.
I have a feeling that this next adventure will certainly be a wild one. I officially start my fellowship training this Friday, where I will undergo a full day of orientation before starting my clinical duties next Monday. My clinical schedule this first year will be a very busy one with minimal administrative tasks, but I sure am looking forward to focusing mainly on one organ system and diving deep into learning everything I can about it! Not only will I be educating myself about everything kidney-related, I will also be playing a large role in educating the residents and medical students that I'll be working with, which will be cool. I'll be answering an endless number of consult calls, managing very complex patients, learning how to perform renal ultrasounds and renal biopsies, figuring out what I want my fellowship research topic to be, and doing so much more over the course of these next three years. This will be all in the context of exploring a new healthcare system in a new city, all of which is located in a new state. This will all be undoubtedly challenging and will take some getting used to, but if history is any indication of what I can do in a brand-new environment, I'll know I'll be more than fine. 😉
Here's to the end of a remarkable era in North Carolina and to the beginning of an exciting adventure ahead in Georgia!
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw
– Black Man, M.D.
P.S. – The Supreme Court is in serious need of substantial reform. It is so upsetting to see the majority of the justices gleefully rolling back the nation's clock by striking down affirmative action and limiting the protections of the LGBTQIA+ community while also blocking financial relief to millions of students across the nation by striking down the student loan forgiveness plan laid out by the Biden administration. It also is insane how anxious we all get with every decision that they make about voting rights even when the right answer is as clear as day to everyone. Yet, we're expected to allow these “neutral” justices to be swayed with gifts and excursions provided by the very people who are trying to influence their decisions. It is so tempting to just throw our hands up and feel as if we're helpless in this struggle. But we simply can't do that because the onslaught to the rights and privileges that we've learned to take for granted will only continue if we don't fight for them and defend them. I'm obviously frustrated about the direction in which our country is headed and at how millions of Americans voted for a president years ago who played a pivotal role in allowing for these crushing decisions to be made by the Court. But I'm not giving up the fight. I absolutely refuse to do so.