City Boy Back In A Country World

As you can see from the title of this post, I was back in the good ol’ town of Lenoir, NC this past week. Unlike last time though, spring break isn’t starting…instead, I’m starting my Gastrointestinal block tomorrow. Le sigh. It’s okay though, this is the last block to get through before Thanksgiving break! And then after break there’s a week of Dermatology and two weeks of Renal before Winter break! ‘Tis the season of holidays¬†ūüėĄ. Which also means it’s starting to get chilly…man I hate cold weather. But I also hate global warming. Just can’t win man, just can’t win. Honestly, I just need Summer ’16 to come back.

Before I get into my second, and final, Community Practice Experience that I participated in this past week, I just wanna touch on a few quick things. First, my Pulmonology test results. I passed comfortably. That’s good enough for me these days, although I felt like I studied hard enough to get an even higher score…but that’s neither here nor there. Y’all know I’ve been more concerned about learning the material for Step 1, which brings me to my next point. I’ve officially entered my testing location and date for that wicked exam. Unless I decide to change the date, I’m taking my USMLE Step 1 exam on Monday, April 10th, 2017.¬†If it wasn’t real when I registered a couple of weeks ago, it sure is real now. I was actually going for April 12th, but all the spots in Greensboro were taken already. How they were already all booked, I will never know. But alas, I know I’ll be fine taking it a couple days prior, especially if I don’t have to drive an excess of 50+ miles on the morning of this fate-sealing exam to take it in another designated location other than Greensboro. Now I just gotta come up with an extensive study plan and stick to it.

crying andre johnson dre johnson blackish anthony anderson

Last thing, I powered through and finished the book¬†Overcoming The Odds, written by Dr. Antonio Webb, yesterday. I had been reading this book for a little over a month and I must say, it was definitely a story worth reading. Extremely inspiring too…this man went from a kid in one of the hoods of Shreveport, Louisiana to becoming a resident in the Orthopedic Surgery program at the University of Texas at San Antonio Health Science Center. The story of how he got from Shreveport to San Antonio is incredible. This man had to go through an enormous amount of trials and tribulations to get to where he is currently at, including serving time in Iraq as a medical soldier and applying to medical school THREE times before becoming accepted. His story is absolutely one worth looking into. Right after finishing that book, I bought Dr. Sampson Davis’ book, Living and Dying in Brick City. I’m looking forward to reading that one!

Okkkayyy, now about my week-long experience in Lenoir.

First of all, I must say that I had a very positive experience overall! Because I had been there before, I knew exactly what to expect in the clinic and in the town in general. I wasn’t hit with any surprises and I was a lot more comfortable talking with patients and discussing their conditions with my preceptor than I may have been back in February. I also wasn’t rear-ended, stereotyped by an officer, baffled by a kid wearing confederate clothing in the clinic, or buffeted by rainstorms this time around. As a matter of fact, everyday was a hot, sunny day out there! However, I did spot the confederate flag on three separate occasions during the week¬†(yes I was counting) while driving through the Lenoir area. I also spotted hella Trump/Pence signs as well as a few Pat McCrory signs (the current NC governor who’s spiraling NC into a mess) during the week.

barack obama annoyed serious grumpy not amused

I wasn’t surprised to see them though. My preceptor (who seems to be one of the few liberal folks¬†in that town) and I had quite a few jokes to share when it came to this presidential election. I was a bit surprised to see a couple Jill Stein signs though. I also saw a grand total of ONE Hillary/Kaine sign, and that was when I was heading out of Lenoir Friday afternoon lol. Maaannn, y’all just go out and vote. Early voting has been rolling out across the country so make sure to get your voice heard! I’m going to cast my ballot this week!

As for my actual clinic experience, it was quite tiring and very enjoyable at the same time! Time always seemed to fly by there, especially when I was taking the time to interview patients. As you may or may not know, I was working in a pediatrics clinic, so I mainly saw babies, kids and teenagers at the practice. By the way,¬†I heard the screaming babies again as I lay my head down to sleep every night. JESUS. Unlike last time though, there was a PA student working a five-week rotation with my preceptor as well, so we would talk and bounce ideas off one another whenever we got to a patient who needed a diagnosis. My preceptor allowed us to interview as many patients as we wanted and to do whatever necessary physical exams we saw fit before coming back to report the patient to him. So with that said, I got a ton of extra¬†practice in taking histories and performing certain physical exams. I also now know why doctors traditionally have horrible handwriting; I was writing so damn fast while taking all those histories that reading my own handwriting became a puzzle-like game when it came time to report my findings to my preceptor. A few times, I was referred to as “the doctor” by the kid’s mother or father (or whoever the kid was with) and that always threw me off…I would be quick to correct them because¬†I wasn’t about¬†to be caught out there looking like another¬†Dr. Love ūüėā.¬†¬†Because there were two of us, the PA student and I¬†took turns seeing the patients as they came in. Over the course of the week, I had about 40 separate patient encounters! A lot of them were well-check visits for babies¬†as well as¬†drug adjustments for kids with ADHD (I saw the same drugs over and over and over again…Vyvanse, Concerta, Ritalin, Focalin, Adderall, Clonidine, Quillivant etc.), but I also interacted with a number of other patients with problematic¬†symptoms and conditions¬†including fevers, exacerbated asthma, mysterious rashes, cerebral palsy, urinary tract infection, pilonidal abcess, constipation, and stomach pain, just to name a few. And because I’ve taken a few organ system courses such as Cardiology and Pulmonology, I knew exactly what to look for on those physical exam maneuvers. When we weren’t seeing patients, the three of us would have conversations about an endless array of topics in my preceptor’s office. Ultimately, I’m very¬†happy¬†to have had the doctor I was working with¬†as my preceptor and I hope to continue a relationship with him even though I don’t have any more CPE’s ahead of me.

Time to get back to the grind! (Grind never ended though.)

Have an awesome week!

“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” – Vince Lombardi¬†

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – My roommates and I hit up the same wing and BBQ spots we hit up last time we were in Lenoir. The food was just as finger-licking good. I also saw more diversity amongst the patients in the clinic this time around. That was refreshing!

Putting It All Together

Guess who’s all caught up with his lectures? THIS GUY. *points to self*

Guess who has an exam in five days? THIS GUY. *points to self again*

Guess who’s totally not ready for it? THIS GUY. *points to self yet again*

Thankfully, there won’t be any new material presented to us this week. We’ve pretty much already learned everything that is going to be on this upcoming exam, which is nice to know.¬†Instead, we’ll be using the knowledge we’ve acquired over the past two-and-a-half weeks to solve patient cases in class. We will¬†also have a class session on Wednesday where patients with respiratory problems will come in and talk to us about how they’re coping with their respective conditions. I always appreciate when patients take time out of their day to come and talk with us; it really brings a lot of what we learn to life, which makes it easier for me to remember certain things and also allows me to fully appreciate the fact that what I’m learning has the power to¬†literally influence and save the lives of other people. A couple other things on our schedule this week include an Ultrasound Lab, a simulation lab with a dummy patient, a Jeopardy review game and a “field trip” to the hospital wards. Overall, I think that the integrative nature of this week will really help synthesize a lot of the subject material we’ve learned. Also, it’s awesome that we get a week just to review everything we’ve learned because I very much so need it. Like, very much so.

While I was playing catch-up with my lectures this past week, I got the chance to go to the annual Medical Student Research Poster Presentation Day at the old medical school next to the hospital, where a lot of my friends presented the research projects they worked on during the summer. There was such a diverse array of research topics that were undertaken by my classmates. It was so cool man. These research topics included: The Influence of Summer Camp Cooking Classes on Children, Assessing Cultural Awareness and Peer-Peer Microaggressions in Medical Education, The Mortality Gap in Black and White Breast Cancer Patients in Chicago and the Comparison of that Data to other US Cities, The Association Between End Stage Renal Disease and Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia, The Use of Information Technology Among a Diverse Sample of Adults with Type 2 Diabetes, Sustainability of CPAP in a Regional Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Accra, Lineage Tracing and Labeled Stem Cell Fate-Mapping in Murine Bladder Regeneration, and The Effects of Trauma on Reproductive Behaviors in HIV Populations. There were over 50 students presenting their posters, and they all looked splendid and professional while presenting their summer work. I was happy to show up and help support them! It also reminded me that I still have yet to perform some kind of meaningful research project, let alone present a research poster…

A few other things I ended up doing this past week included helping set up a Ophthalmology Interest Group lunch talk where we had an Ophthalmologist come in and talk to the audience all about her journey and what life is like in her career path, learning how to use respiratory support equipment by actually using them on dummies, going through a few patient case presentations with a facilitator and a small group of students, attending a lecture about healthcare disparities and how it relates to respiratory diseases, and talking with the Dean of the medical school about how my experiences here at Wake have been so far. Each of these events were great in their own way, and I was able to take away quite a bit from each experience.¬†I could talk more about each of these experiences in detail, but I don’t feel like making this an unnecessarily long post. Plus, I need to go back to reviewing for this upcoming exam.¬†ūüė≠ūüėí

Before I leave you though, I have one more thing to say. Guess who’s about to be back in Lenoir next week for his second and final week of his Community Practice Experience? THIS GUY. *points to self one more time*. I know some of you remember what my time was like the last time I was¬†in the quiet town of Lenoir…if not, here’s a reminder. Last time was cool and all, but I have a feeling that this time will be even better because I know a bit¬†more than I did before and I’m also a lot more confident in talking to patients than I was back in February. Plus, there’s good Southern food waiting for my roommates and I at the¬†restaurants that we dined at last time. I’m sure it’ll be a fun time, especially since I don’t have to worry about really studying anything that whole week. I just gotta get mentally prepared for the severe lack of diversity that I’m about to¬†walk into in that little country town…

Y’all have a great week!

“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” – Bertrand Russell

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Yes, I’m VERY salty that Miami lost to FSU…BY ONE POINT.¬†I missed most of the second half¬†because I was at a birthday party, but best believe when I got the update of the final score on my phone, I was not pleased. Damn it Florida State…

Ready For February.

I hope y’all had a great weekend! I know I did¬†ūüėĀ. I ended up spending it with a special person, who also came with me¬†dressed hella nice to Wake’s medical school prom. By the way, the prom was a good time, and the open wine bar was a fabulous (and dangerous ūüė≥) addition. So with that plus having a fun time with my girlfriend and Netflix, I ended up doing absolutely nothing productive this weekend. Now that real life has hit me square in the chin once again, I guess I need to take the rest of today to get some work done and to prepare for my third Clinical Practice Assessment Exam¬†(CPX) this week.

Now this clinical skills test (which I’m actually not mentally ready for yet by any means), will be testing us on the same skills that we were tested on last time. That includes taking a proper History of Present Illness, a complete Review of Systems, a Social and Family History, a Past Medical History and vital signs. However, we’re also now going to be taking a Sexual History and a musculoskeletal physical exam. That’s the little game¬†that you play every time you go to the doctor for a checkup, you know, where the doctor tells you to push against his/her hands, tells you not to let him/her bring your arms down, etc. I used to think I was such a Hulk whenever my doctor performed that physical exam on me as a kid. She¬†always had me¬†feeling that I was stronger than¬†I really was…but I digress. This CPX won’t really be bad or anything, I just have to get my mind straight and prepare for it. I did pretty well last time, so if I can repeat that performance, I’ll be fine.

On another note, my whole first-year class has our first Community Practice Experience coming up in a few weeks. This is where we each get paired up with a physician practicing family medicine in¬†different parts of the state (mostly rural areas) and learn first-hand what it’s like to practice as a physician in primary care. The experience lasts about a week and in that week, we’ll be shadowing the doctor and doing whatever¬†tasks he/she needs to be completed. Now I want you to go ahead and guess where I got placed in North Carolina.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

If you guessed Charlotte, you’d be wrong.

Greensboro? Nahhh.

High Point? Raleigh? Winston-Salem??

Nope, Uh-uh, No.

Try Lenoir. Never heard of it? You and me both. It’s some small town of about 20,000 people that lies about an hour and a half west of Winston-Salem, somewhat close to the Tennessee border. Near the mountains and whatnot. And I thought Winston-Salem was in the middle of nowhere. Lenoir makes Winston-Salem look like a metropolis. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Well it is. It should prove to be an interesting experience, that’s for sure. After that week though, we got¬†our Spring Break!

Spring Break is gonna be dope, I just gotta figure out what exactly I’m gonna do and finalize those plans…sooner rather than later. I got DC and Miami in mind…but it all depends on the state of my finances¬†ūüėÖ. Speaking of finances, if anyone has several thousand dollars¬†that they’re just DYING¬†to get rid of, feel free to send it my way. I’ll promise I’ll put it to excellent use! Sending a car over to me works too¬†ūüėĄ. Haha I’ll take whatever donations I can get.

Before I finish off this entry, I want to share something that was shared with me this weekend. I personally found it pretty encouraging as well as¬†rejuvenating. To sum it up, it’s a short video that features¬†Dr. Curtiss Moore, a cardiology fellow, giving a motivational message about being a Black Man, M.D. (Hehehe I’m clever). Hope it helps you in some sort of way!

Black Men In White Coats – Dr. Curtiss Moore, UT Southwester Medical Center

And finally, I’ve decided to start sharing inspirational messages with you each week. If you didn’t already know, I’m a firm believer in the tremendous value of positive energy. I believe that¬†you can change not only your daily experiences, but your life overall¬†just by changing the way you think. It may sound crazy, but it’s gotten me this far, so why stop now? In the words of one of my old high school friends, “I aspire to inspire.” With that in mind, I would love¬†to help provide some sort¬†of inspiration to someone out there in order to help him/her catalyze a better perspective of life.

Having said all that, today’s positive memo¬†is simple:

Change in your life only comes from a change within yourself.

Stay Blessed!

– Black Man, M.D.