Facing Tranquility

You know, it’s quite annoying that I have to be at the hospital tomorrow, only to be off on Tuesday for the July 4th holiday. I mean I’m not complaining or anything for the free day off, but it would have been more ideal to return from my weekend trip to Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon as opposed to having to return here this afternoon.

But such is life.

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I had a peaceful 5-hour drive back to Winston that happened to fly by due to the audiobook (Michelle Obama: A Life) that I was listening to. I picked up this new listening-to-audiobooks-during-long-trips habit not too long ago and I must say, I’ve enjoyed listening to them more than bumpin’ music the whole ride. It really makes the drive go a lot faster, especially if you’re listening to really good books. I’ve learned so much about the Obamas from this book as well as from President Obama’s two other books and as a result, I have an even greater level of admiration for them then I already did!

As to why I was in Atlanta, I was just visiting my girlfriend and her family because I had a relatively free weekend to do so. As always, I had a wonderful time with them! I also had a blast crushing her in mini-golf at a rooftop arcade…but then she came back and beat me (barely) in skeeball. Lol. Between going to the movies, eating out at various restaurants, accompanying her as she coached her kids through a swim meet and just hanging out at her house, the time spent with her was very satisfying. Can’t wait to see her again when she finally moves to UNC next month for her combined master’s/doctorate program!

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I spent this past week at a hospice care facility, where I spent time talking to patients there while learning more about the roles of healthcare providers in hospice care. It was my first time ever going to a hospice care facility and I was definitely blown away at how beautiful the center was. There was lively greenery all around the facility, the patients’ spacious rooms had a very homey feel to them with their hardwood floors and radiant rays of sunshine beaming through the windows, and there were flowers stationed all throughout the facility. The atmosphere there was very calm, quiet and peaceful as well. Family and friends were constantly visiting their loved ones and the patients there all seemed to be content with the care they were receiving at the center. The beautiful scenery at the center drew an incredible contrast to the tragic stories that the patients carried with them. It was so sad to hear about the terminal conditions of these people and to watch their families try and prepare themselves for the imminent passing of their loved ones. However, it did make me feel better to witness the amount of quality care that these patients received as they waited to pass on.

Along with talking to the patients and their families, my two classmates and I were granted the opportunity to understand the roles that the chaplain and the massage therapist played at the center. The chaplain spoke with us about how vital his role was to the patients he serves and how he attended to their spiritual needs. In particular, he emphasized the spiritual tasks of making meaning & finding hope and on the principles that he uses in his everyday routine, which include understanding the ministry of presence, embracing the struggle, normalizing feelings, promoting life review, addressing unresolved issues, and utilizing the spiritual resources most comfortable with the patient. As for the massage therapist, he spoke with us on how he uses integrative approaches to help tend to the patients needs. With using the power of the healing touch and manipulating chakra flow, he seeks to make patients cope with their chronic pain better via unconventional avenues. Learning about these perspectives proved to be quite interesting!

One other experience we took a part of was learning from the perspectives of caregivers who were staying in a nearby Family House dedicated to housing caregivers from outside the county. Both myself and a nursing student spoke with one of the caregivers there, who shared with us his perspective of how healthcare has been delievered to his loved one. He specifically emphasized the importance of providing hope and of being compassionate as healthcare providers. He also stated that he has always remembered the providers who had been especially compassionate as well as the ones who had lacked compassion. I’ll forever remember the stories he shared with us and his overarching message of the power of compassion will continue to be one of my guiding principles as I continue working in the healthcare field.

Now that I’ve completed my week of hospice care, I’m headed to my week of inpatient geriatric (elderly) care, meaning that I’ll be back in the hospital after having been working in outpatient care for the past couple of weeks. This also means that I’ll be waking up around 5:45 AM this week, since I have to be there by 7 AM. Ohhhh how much I’ve missed waking up at the crack of dawn. But just like the previous weeks have been so far, this week should be a good one!

Make your week a good one as well! Happy (early) 4th of July to my American readers!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – July 4th is cool and all, but it’s too bad my people weren’t granted that glorious freedom as well on that special day. Lemme not get into all that though.

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New Year, Harder Hustle.

First things first.

I would like to wish each of you a

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

We all had both great moments and terrible moments last year, but through it all we were all able to not only learn from them, but grow from them as well. 2016 was a hell of a year in many different aspects. Best believe, 2017 will be a new year full of opportunities and further growth! Whether you plan on working on a new resolution or continuing to further improve on an already existing resolution, the arrival of the new year is definitely a wonderful and convenient checkpoint that is available for your usage. As for me, I’m using this checkpoint to not only improve on existing resolutions that I established for myself long ago, but to also double-down my efforts on school, for there is going to be quite a number of unusual challenges coming my way this year. From studying & taking the Step 1 exam to transitioning from second-year to third-year, I’m absolutely certain that I’ll be much busier than I have been in recent memory. However, the challenges that will surely present themselves to me this year will only serve to solidify my faith and strength as well as my determination in reaching the goals that I’ve set for myself. With patience, perseverance, and positive vibes, I’m sure that I’ll be able to handle any circumstances that may come my way and that I’ll be able to make the best out of them in order to further evolve into a better version of myself. You have the power to overcome the challenges that may run into you as well! As long as you can conceive it and believe it, you can absolutely achieve it!

With classes starting back up in a couple of days, it’s only right that I recap how the rest of my break went. It has actually been an awesome week! Ever since I wrote to you last Sunday, I’ve done quite a bit of travelling. As a matter of fact, I’ve been on an airplane on three separate occasions within this past week. And after leaving from Atlanta tomorrow, it’ll be four times. I’ve definitely set a new record for myself with that lol.

I spent the rest of Christmas Day with my family, cousins and close family friends, playing card games, FIFA and catching up with them throughout the night. We also had a pretty filling dinner! It was almost like a sequel to Thanksgiving Dinner! The next morning, I left home and drove to Greensboro, NC in order to catch a flight to Atlanta to spend some time with my girlfriend and her family. I’ve been straight up chillin’ since I got here, and have been continuously blessed with good food and company, just like I was back at home with my own family. I watched a good amount of football, Food Network (didn’t have much of a say in that), and Netflix, as well as hit up Lenox mall and the movies to watch Fences, starring both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. I then had to catch a flight last Thursday afternoon to Miami in order to attend a wedding that one of my fraternity brothers invited me to. I had only been to one wedding before, so I wasn’t really sure of what to expect. It turned out to be a really great time! It was a small, outdoor wedding and it was actually quite breezy. The reception was really fun too, and both the bride and groom looked ecstatic the whole time. I had a blast catching up with my brothers and am honored to have been able to attend the wedding ceremony. I flew back to ATL yesterday morning for New Years’ and went out to dinner with my girlfriend and her family at this all-you-can-eat Italian restaurant called Maggiano’s. Soon after that, I brought in the New Year with her, some of her sorority sisters, and some old friends that I hadn’t seen in quite a while. I then woke up this morning, praised God, and am now here typing this post. Like I said before, it has been an awesome week. I just have today and tomorrow left until I start up the never-ending grind again, but I’m ready for it. Could I use another week or two of break? Well, yeah. Of course I could. But beggars can’t be choosers right? So if I gotta suit up and get back to grinding on this Renal pathology, then so be it! Better to be mentally prepared for the grind than to be dreading it…POSITIVE VIBES PEOPLE!!!

I hope you all brought the New Year in a safe and fun way and that you start it off on a high note! Here’s to a blessed and prosperous 2017!

“Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening now.” – Paulo Coelho

– Black Man, M.D.

Breathe In, Breathe Out.

I officially finished my Cardiology block last Monday!

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It was a tough block, but I found the material to be interesting overall and contrary to a large portion of my classmates, I actually liked interpreting EKGs 😅. I took my Cardiology exam and I ended up doing pretty decent on it…I missed a few questions that I definitely shouldn’t have missed, but that’s neither here nor there. I feel comfortable with what I’ve learned in that block overall. I then found myself in Greensboro after the exam with some friends and had lunch at this pretty good burger restaurant, where I ate this massive burger that definitely didn’t help raise my HDL levels (good cholesterol) or lower my LDL levels (bad cholesterol). Talk about irony. We then ended up bar hopping for almost four hours…and since it was a Monday afternoon, you can imagine how empty the bars were. And no, I did not get drunk lol. To tell the truth, I was ready to leave after the second hour…but between playing Catchphrase at one bar and Shuffleboard at another, I did have a great time winding down with friends. Then that night, I proceeded to finally start watching Atlanta, which is Donald Glover’s very popular new show. So far, I absolutely love it. And this is coming from a guy who doesn’t like to watch TV. I then had a free day of rest on Tuesday, where I got a lot of things outside of schoolwork done. Needless to say, it was awesome not having to open a book or read notes that day.

Then we started the Pulmonology block on Wednesday morning. I had heard very good things about both the course director of this block as well as about this subject in general, so I was ready to get going with it. The very first thing the Pulmonology course director did after we walked into class was read a wonderful poem for Tori and express his condolences to us. I immediately knew that I would like this guy as well as this block. And so far, I have very little to complain about in regards to subject material. Compared to the vast intricacies of the heart, the physiology of the lungs have seemed pretty straightforward to me. Then again, maybe that’s because I’ve already learned a ton about both the heart and the blood, both of which the lungs work very closely with. How cool is it that the more organ systems I learn about in the body, the easier it is to grasp the new ones I come across? It’s like a huge game of Pokemon or something; the more experience I have in learning how certain organs of the body function, the higher of an overall level I achieve! Just like the more experience your Pokemon get in battles, the more they level up. And the exams are like gym leaders that I have to battle in order to move on to the next block/the next gym leader! Lol, this analogy is actually so stupid. I’m mad I actually had the nerve to come up with it. I was such a Pokemon nerd growing up, can you tell? I was the guy who would play the games on the Game Boy, beat the game and restart the game just to beat it again. I was so damn proud of myself when I finally completed my PokeDex with the 150 original Pokemon…I don’t have Pokemon Go though. I admittedly was gonna download it when it first came out, but the servers were crashing…so I took it as a sign that I wasn’t meant to have it because Lord knows I would have been looking like a fool trying to catch ’em all.

Okay I’m starting a new paragraph because I just went way off-topic for no good reason. I have my first Clinical Skills exam (CPX) this Wednesday, where I will be tested on a standardized patient encounter. I’ll be interviewing the patient as well as performing any necessary physical exam maneuvers on him/her. Here’s the catch though: I have to come up with my own interview questions and physical exam maneuvers. In the past, we were told what we had to do during the CPX, but now they’re loosening our leash quite a bit. I’ll also have to do a write-up of the patient and turn it in within 48 hours of the encounter. Oh the joy of being a second-year student. This is gonna be fun.

On a more serious note, I really can’t stand the fact that more and more black men are being murdered by law enforcement. It’s really sickening, to say the least. I could write down all my feelings about it, but that’s not going to do much of anything. I’d only be preaching to the choir for the most part. Plus, I’ve already penned most of my feelings about this issue back in my Chills post. The level of ignorance that is currently present in this country when it comes to the Black Lives Matter movement just baffles me. The fact that many of the people who have much to say about Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem come up short of something to say when a black man is unjustly silenced by a bullet is painfully astounding. The fact that we have to protest and demand that our lives be seen just as equal and precious as the lives of other Americans is pretty damn sad. The poisonous mentality of seeing white as “Okay, let’s de-escalate the situation” and black as “UP TO NO GOOD” just reinforces the prejudice that certain groups of people have for Black people as a whole. That unfair bias is a HUGE part of the issue that we are facing today in terms of racial equality. The different shades of color and various cultures that make up the people of both this country and this world is what makes humanity so beautiful. Black lives matter just as much as the lives of any other human life in this world. So why are we being disproportionately killed off? Why is the killing of a black man by law enforcement becoming more and more desensitizing in this country? Why does it seem that hashtags of the slain have become a part of daily life in this country?

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WHEN WILL THIS NIGHTMARE END?

“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but it is fear.” – Ghandi

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I had a dream a couple nights ago where I was talking to Rihanna and she told me how much she loved reading my blog. Lol, a man can only dream, right? But they say dreams do come true…