Unbroken.

Do you remember the quote I posted last week?

You know, the one that read, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.“?

Turns out that it was ironically the PERFECT quote for me this past week. But before I get into all that, let’s talk real quick about my most recent shelf exam, my relaxing weekend and my upcoming Pediatrics rotation that starts tomorrow morning. The Ob/Gyn shelf exam still ended up being tough, even after all the long hours of studying I put into preparing for it. Smh. But that was to be expected. Of course there were going to be a few questions asking about minutia that I never even considered putting to memory. For those questions, I mostly just used process of elimination before throwing hail marys and moving on.  For the most part though, I was able to breeze through a good number of the questions that asked about important topics that I had drilled into my head. I was even able to finish the test and review some of the questions I was previously unsure about before time ran out, something that I had way less time to do on my previous Internal Medicine shelf exam. Overall, I think I did better this time around than I did on the IM shelf due to the increased emphasis I put on preparing for it and the fact that I had a better understanding of how to take a shelf exam….I just hope my grade shows proof of that. 😅

In other news, I’m honestly pretty excited about my Pediatrics rotations coming up! Six weeks of caring for children and teenagers is going to be a unique challenge, especially since I’ll have to learn how to efficiently interact with their families in a direct manner. Although it’ll be cool to help care for kids with their relative innocence and all, I feel like it’ll also be quite depressing to see them in the hospital stricken with debilitating conditions that they do not deserve to have. That will most likely provide me with an even stronger resolve to try and help them in any way I can. With the outpatient component of this rotation, I’ll be working in a sub-specialty clinic, a newborn nursery and an ambulatory clinic, each for a duration of one week. It’ll be quite interesting, to say the least. I’m also 96% sure that I’ll catch a cold at some point during this rotation.

The Paley Center for Media ugh frustrated i cant headache GIF

In regards to this weekend, I spent it relaxing back home in VA with both my family and my girlfriend. As always, it was a pleasure to be back there spending time with them! We all ended up chatting merrily with one another and having a great time grilling with our neighbors while enjoying the pleasant weather that was gifted upon us. It was a much-needed decompression, especially after this past week. Speaking of this past week…

Let me start off by saying that I learned a LOT about the female pelvis and about many of the reconstructive surgeries that can be done in that area. Also, the field of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery is just about as cool as it sounds; you literally assess the pelvis and perform various operations on the defect(s) that the patient is complaining about. Over the course of the week, I participated in clinic work and assisted in multiple surgeries, those of which included a sacral colpopexy, a colpocleisis and a bilateral oophorectomy, among a few others. Now you may be reading this and asking yourself why I went ahead and said that last week’s quote was the PERFECT quote for me while I was on this service this past week. Up until now, it pretty much sounds like I had the typical great experience that I’ve been having so far in my third year, does it not?

Well, everything about the experience was actually pretty great if you take out the critical fact that, throughout the week, I honestly felt like I was being treated in a manner that could have made it incredibly easy to doubt my own intelligence. Keywords, could have. Thankfully, I’ve acquired the ability to take criticism, warranted or not, with a graceful stride. Plus, I’ve already been working on developing confidence in my growing medical knowledge and after writing what I wrote near the end of my last post, it only felt right to keep all thoughts of self-doubt at bay as I was pummeled with endless, highly specific questions about pelvic surgeries throughout the week, half of those I simply did not know the answer to. I was also torn apart after fumbling through a patient presentation that I had been given very short notice about, was told that I had to shadow during my day in the clinic to learn more about interviewing patients since I had not given a good impression so far (it was Tuesday) and was given the impression that I needed to do some serious improvement if I were to perform adequately as a third-year student.

 confused kevin hart where is this coming from? GIF

However, I was given the opportunity to present another patient near the end of the week and did a “fantastic” job after having been able to prepare for it, and was able to answer more of the questions directed towards me by the end of my time on that service after putting more work in understanding the pelvic surgeries that I was assisting in, none of which were tested on in my shelf exam. Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy week for me. For the first time in my third-year (and probably in all of medical school), I was unhappy with what I was going into each day. Sure, there had been times as a medical student where I looked forward to a week being over in anticipation for an exciting event during the weekend or where I looked at an upcoming situation with typical anxiety. But never had I gone to sleep at night absolutely dreading the next day. It was not a good feeling. I felt intimidated, frustrated and annoyed all at the same time. The atmosphere I encountered while on that service was also unsettling to me. While I did appreciate the knowledge that was shared with me (usually after having been burned) and all of the learning opportunities that I took advantage of in the clinic and the operating room, I feel like the experience had the potential to be more enjoyable overall. Thank God for my thick skin.

Whew! It feels great to have gotten that off my chest! I gotta be genuine at all times man; I would be doing you and me both a disservice if I strayed from doing so!

Cheers to an exceptional week ahead of us!

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” – Lao Tzu

– Black Man, M.D.

Switch Up

I’m on the home stretch of my second rotation of third-year! Which means that I get to show “the powers that be” how much knowledge I’ve accumulated while on this rotation via my Shelf exam this Friday! How exciting is that?? Like, when else will I get the amazing opportunity to impress upon myself how much I’ve learned in Obstetrics & Gynecology? There’s no better way to do it than to take a standardized 110-question exam within a 2-hour-and-45-minute time window on a Friday afternoon! I just feel like — okay, I’ll cut the BS 😂.

Yeah, my Ob/Gyn shelf exam is this Friday and yes, I’ve been feeling the pressure of it as of late. I really want to perform as well as I know I can, especially since the exam plays a large role in my grade for the overall rotation. I learned that first-hand in my Internal Medicine clerkship where I did okay on my shelf exam but not as well as I would have liked, which ultimately impacted my overall clerkship grade that — in a way — contradicted the positive feedback I received from my evaluators. It really proved to me that shelf exams will play a determining role in my grades, no matter how well I may perform in the clinic. So with that said, I’ve been working particularly hard on studying for this upcoming exam from day one of this current clerkship. I’ve also been using the whole reframing mindset that I’ve practiced in the past, where I’ve been working on viewing this exam as a welcoming challenge to overcome as opposed to a stressful barrier on my path that is stopping me from achieving my goals. It’s gotten me this far, why stop now? And honestly, the fewer unwelcome surprises that are thrown at me on the exam, the better. They can miss me with all that. With all that in mind, I’m just going to keep working hard on reviewing my material this week and perform to the absolute best of my abilities on Friday!

I was quite studious this past weekend, only breaking away from my studies to hang out at Melissa Harris-Perry’s house for her annual homecoming celebration and to further celebrate Wake’s homecoming with other alumni & friends at a nearby venue. Before the weekend started though, I journeyed through another week full of unforgettable experiences at the hospital! I continued to work the night shifts that I told y’all about in my previous post up until Wednesday morning. During those nights, I was afforded the opportunity to deliver some more placentas, bringing my placenta count up to five! I also tagged along with interns and residents in managing patients in the Emergency Department, checking in on laboring patients, and interviewing patients coming in to the triage unit. There were also stretches of time during the shifts where things slowed down, so I was able to (thankfully) get quite a bit of studying done. Ultimately, I managed to witness and assist in the live births of 14 newborns during my time on the Labor & Delivery service! But, unfortunately, I was not able to deliver any one of them with my own hands 😔. It was an overall great experience nonetheless!

Just when I was starting to get used to the night schedule, I had to switch up my circadian rhythm yet again in order to start my experience on the Gynecology surgery service this past Thursday. In the two days that I was on that service I scrubbed into multiple procedures, those of which included a vaginal hysterectomy, an abdominal hysterectomy, a bilateral oopherectomy and ROBOTIC removal of endometriosis lesions. Yes, ROBOTIC. It really looked like the physician was playing a video game on the machine…except that the stakes were massively higher. And in case you were wondering, hysterectomy = removal of the uterus, oopherectomy = removal of the ovaries, and endometriosis = endometrial tissue found in areas outside of your uterus. The procedures were very interesting to watch and assist in. I also found myself asking a thousand questions while observing the procedures, those of which were answered by the very patient surgeons.

During one of the operations, I found myself thinking about just how much I still don’t know about the human body and medicine in general even after studying it in detail for the past two years. It both astonished me and bummed me out at the same time…but then I quickly reminded myself about how much more I actually do know compared to my college self and even my first-year med student self. I’ve learned an unbelievable amount of information in these past couple of years and it’s important I keep reminding myself that I’m more knowledgable than I perceive myself to be, because I have a strong feeling that I’ll continue to experience these skeptical thoughts about my knowledge base throughout my medical education and even during my residency years. This is why having friends outside the medical field is essential; you realize how smart you actually are when you see that they have no idea what you’re talking about lol. It also works well for them, because when they talk to you about their area of expertise, you’ll most likely look at them with utter, hopeless confusion. I say all this to say that it is of the utmost importance that I have confidence in my abilites and my growing knowledge, because without confidence I’ve already defeated myself. With confidence however, I’ll be much more likely to obtain better results, enjoy more opportunities of quality learning, and provide higher quality patient care which will in turn lead to safer patient care! If you’re a fellow health professional student reading this, please take this advice to heart and recognize that you’re more powerful than you may allow yourself to realize! If you’re reading this and are not a student in healthcare, please take this message and apply it to your life as well! Don’t unnecessarily put yourself down if you know that you’ve been working hard towards your goals!

I’m finishing this rotation up on the Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery service, which I sincerely hope is just as cool as it sounds! Please feel free to wish me luck on this last week and on my shelf exam! 😁

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

– Black Man, M.D.

Stepping Into The Light

THIS IS IT! 

It has ALL come down to this!!

Liberation Day is finally upon us!!! (Well, upon me that is.)

My performance on tomorrow’s 8-hour long, 280 question exam will be the result of all the endless studying I’ve committed damn near all of my waking hours to these past five weeks. Even more so, it’ll be a reflection of all the knowledge that I’ve gained ever since I first stepped foot into medical school almost two years ago. I sincerely hope that my performance tomorrow accurately depicts just how hard I’ve worked for this exam…I haven’t studied this intensely for any other test in my entire life. When I tell you I’ve sacrificed almost every waking hour these past five weeks for this test, I literally mean it. I’m talking about waking up at around 7:15 AM each morning, doing practice questions and reviewing answers until lunchtime, then studying whatever material I needed to get through for the day up until like 10:30 PM. Then I would be asleep a little after 11 PM. Granted, I definitely took breaks here and there for various things like the gym, grocery shopping, running errands, etc. But for the most part, I’ve been grinding. There were times where I didn’t even know what day it was, because I was literally doing the same thing every single day. It was like I was in my own little world…I would sometimes forget that life was happening all around me as I continued to study the endless droves of material in front of me. I even got pranked on April Fools’ Day because I forgot it was April Fools’ Day! And I’m never one to fall so hard for a prank. SMH. Hell, a season literally changed while I was in my study block! I didn’t realize it was officially Spring until like a week ago. It’s crazy how fast time can move when you’re intensely focused on one thing.

But alas, my Step Study Block is officially coming to an end! It honestly wasn’t horrible or anything overall, but I sure am glad that I’ll be able to move on with my life very soon! And I couldn’t be more excited! Okay I’m lying. I’m not even excited right now. I actually have a stale face on as I’m typing this sentence. I’m not allowing myself to come even close to excitement until I leave the testing center tomorrow afternoon. Right now, I’m fiercely focused on the mission, which is to give it my all plus some on Step 1. As I’ve said before, I’m going to attack the exam with 110% effort and as long as I know I’ve done my absolute best, I’ll be comfortable knowing that the score I’ll eventually receive is the score I was meant to have. Only after I walk out of the Prometric Center tomorrow will I do heel-clicks and screams of praise and all that. But until then, concentration is key.

With that said, I’m going to end this post and relax for the rest of the day. I spent all morning reviewing the last-minute material that I believed was relevant, so I’m now at peace with resting my mind for tomorrow. Trying to continue studying at this point would be futile, because then I would just go on a never-ending cycle of trying to review things I’ve already reviewed 156 times. I have complete faith that I’ve learned everything that I need to know at this point. If, by any chance, I come across something tomorrow that I’m not too familiar with, I’m confident that the test-taking skills I’ve been sharpening throughout this study period will help guide me towards the best answer choice. I’m also glad that I took the time a couple days ago to actually drive over to the testing center in order to get a feel for the place. Knowing exactly what to expect when I arrive at the center tomorrow morning has helped put me at even greater ease about taking this exam.

Okay, I’m actually ending this post now. Wish me luck!

And thank you for all of your prayers, I GREATLY appreciate each of you!!

Have a spectacular week! Lord knows I’m about to have one!

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” – Dr. Benjamin Spock

– Black Man, M.D.

Facing the End

Welp.

I’m facing the final week of the Motivation program that I’ve been working in for the past six weeks of my summer vacation. I don’t know how I feel about this…I’ve been having a great time down here 😥. Actually, I’m lying. I know exactly how I feel. I’m shocked at how fast time slid by. I’m sad that this program is coming to an end and that I’ll have to change up my daily routine once again. I’m very happy for the students that will be taking their final exams this week to finish off the program, but I’ll also miss all of them because who knows when I’ll ever see any of them again after this week. I’m internally sobbing because after these next two paychecks, I’ll be living in the government’s pockets again (with interest). I’m excited to start the school year up in two weeks, yet apprehensive about not having as much free time as I currently am enjoying right now. I feel very well rested and recharged, but I’m not ready to give my last summer break up just yet.

disney cartoons & comics max frustrated sigh

Oh well. Such is life. Talking about how I feel isn’t gonna turn back time or anything. I can certainly say that I’ve had a great time this summer though. It got even better earlier today when I jet-skied for the first time in Bayside near Miami Beach! That was another incredible experience…the view of the city was stunning 360° around me as I was gleefully speeding across the boundless waters of the bay. When I say I was gleeful, I really mean it lol. I was grinning from cheek to cheek, screaming “WWWOOOOO!!” like Rick Flair (or Pusha T, take your pick), fully taking in the scene around me, singing random lyrics at the top of my lungs and happily praising God for allowing me that awesome experience. I would have taken a video of myself skiing along the waters, but I wasn’t trying to donate to “Bayside’s Underwater Apple Store”, as one of the jet-ski workers put it. What I look like, losing my phone for a damn snap…boyyy I woulda done my mama a favor and slapped myself. So with that said, the only pictures I got of the experience are the ones locked in my memory. That’ll have to do. If you’ve never been jet-skiing before, I highly recommend trying it at least once! It’s nowhere near as crazy as jumping out of a plane, I’ll be the first to tell you that. There’s also a low chance of you actually falling off…you’ve gotta be acting reckless to fling yourself off your jet-ski.

For last week’s Dinner & Discussion (our final one 😭), we had a first-year intern fresh out of medical school come in and speak with us about her life. She actually turned out to be an old friend of mine, who graduated from UM when I was just finishing my freshman year there. Isn’t that cool or what? But before she came in, the director of the program allowed for some students to express how they felt about the program overall since it was all coming to an end soon. I knew the students appreciated the program and all, but I was pretty surprised to see how emotional some of them got when they shared their feelings about their summer experience. I could see that they really took so much out of the program and that it has been a necessary catalyst to their growth. One student talked about how she was able to find herself in the program while another talked about the great familial atmosphere that the program encouraged. Yet another student spoke on how she had a low amount of confidence soon after starting the program, but then received a considerable amount of motivation from the group after realizing how willing everyone was to build each other up as opposed to tearing each other down. My co-TA and I even got some shoutouts of praise from the students. 😁 It was awesome to see how influential the program has been for them, both on an individual basis and as a whole. Now after the intern entered and introduced herself, she started to speak on how much she loved her medical school and how she had to adjust from her hometown of Miami to the overall climate and culture of D.C. She then got deep and talked about how important it was to not compare yourself to other people in your class due to the wide variety of life experiences that others possess. I personally agree with that viewpoint…trying to compare yourself to someone else (especially in medical school) is one of the quickest ways to launch yourself into a depression, because you’ll always be wrongly doubting yourself and your capabilities. She continued the discussion by touching on how necessary it is to be honest with yourself at all times, how she finds herself being conscious of how people perceive her as a black Haitian woman in medicine, and on the incredible importance of confidence and how one needs to use it in order to fight any self-defeating thoughts that may lurk in one’s head. Overall, it was another fantastic discussion, just like all the other ones have been this summer. Needless to say, I’m extremely proud of her and what she has been able to accomplish so far!

A couple of last notes. First, I just finished a sad, yet incredible book written by a top-notch neurosurgeon who actually just passed away last year at the young age of 37 from Stage IV lung cancer. This highly established man was in his final years of his neurosurgery residency program at Stanford when he was diagnosed and lived just long enough to be able to graduate from his program. In his book, When Breath Becomes Air, he eloquently describes his upbringing, his many experiences from college to residency and how his life came full-circle when he was forced to face death square in the eyes. This book had me really appreciating life and how mortal we all are in this world. Be sure to check it out if you ever have a chance. Finally, I’ve added a new section to the blog called LifeSavers. This page describes many of the general resources that medical students typically use in the first couple years of school as well as a number of resources that I personally used during my first year. I hope that it’ll be helpful for any of you out there that are either currently looking, or will be looking, for resources applicable to health careers. I’ll be updating it as I continue to advance through school! In addition to this new page, I was recently granted a video interview with Ms. Ashley Roxanne from Daily Medicine Blog where I talked about life as a med student at Wake, some of the biggest lessons that I learned in my first year, the mistakes I felt that I made as a pre-med student, how to find a mentor along with a number of other subjects. The link can be found on the “About Black Man, M.D.” page of this blog. You can also click here if you would like to check it out! I apologize in advance for its length and my fast, sometimes-hard-to-understand speech. (Learning how to speak slower and clearer is an ongoing process for me!)

That’s it! Please stay optimistic and safe in this unstable world!

“What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.” – Tony Robbins

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – R.I.P. to the 84 people who tragically lost their lives in the terrorist attack that took place on La Fête Nationale (Bastille Day) in Nice last week. R.I.P. to the three officers who were tragically and unjustifiably murdered in Baton Rouge this weekend. May God be with all of their families and loved ones. There’s too much senseless violence in the world man. Every day there’s a new tragedy on the news. It’s depressing as hell. Violence isn’t the answer to our problems. Peace, Love and Happiness is all we need man. Peace, Love and Happiness. 

Beginning Of The End

Dude…

I only have three weeks left until I finish my first year of med school.

This is crazy yo. I’ll literally be a second-year student by the end of this month! It’s exciting and a bit spooky at the same time. Time is only moving forward. I’m getting older. More responsibility will be placed on me. I’ll be taking Step 1 soon. There will be new first-years in a few months.

Wow.

It’s just weird because it’s one of those things that you always know it’s coming but you always tell yourself it’s in the far future, you know? Like, I knew first-year would eventually end, but I always thought about it as ending “sometime later in the future”. Well that “later” is three short weeks away. At the end of the day though, I feel ready to move on up in the medical school totem pole. I’ve been at the bottom long enough. I won’t lie tho, I’ll miss both the naiveness as well as the relative comfortability of first-year. I’ll also miss having minimal responsibilities outside of studying and volunteering. Ah well, c’est la vie.

Now about my second Neuroscience test I took last week…that ish was looong! We had 3 hours and 40 minutes to answer 129 questions. I haven’t taken a test that long in quite a while. Now some of those questions were simple and straightforward (bless those professors that picked those questions) but others were unnecessarily difficult. But I expected that…some professors never fail to pick ridiculous questions. Turns out that six questions on the test happened to be bonus questions and several others were dropped. Thing that gets me is, why do ridiculous questions continue to be picked on these exams? Some of these questions don’t have to be that hard man…but then again, I’m not about to complain that we got free points lol. Shiiii, if you wanna keep picking bad questions and dropping them/making them bonus points, be my guest. I left the test overall feeling better about it then I felt about my first test, but you never know with these kind of exams. I got my grade back a couple of days later and I can happily say that it was one of my better performances of the year. 😊 Guess I was doing something right in the four weeks leading up to the exam! I also believe that my confidence was well-placed. I wasn’t cocky or anything, but I was comfortable enough to control my performance on the test and not let anxiety take over me. Gotta believe in yourself to achieve success!

Speaking of anxiety, this section of material we’re currently in is mainly based in psychology. So far, we’ve talked about personality disorders, anxiety + drugs to deal with anxiety, learning theory, mood disorders, psychotherapy and somatoform disorders. We have several other interesting topics to touch on in the near future, including but not limited to, childhood development, antidepressants, eating disorders, alcohol and marijuana usage. Turns out my psychology minor is being put to good use after all 😎. This section has been so straightforward so far and easy to digest. Plus, it’s very interesting. Too bad our next block test is next Friday. And that we have a medical ethics final the Monday after that. And that I have a clinical skills test (my fourth CPX) this Wednesday. And that we have a cumulative Neuroscience test the Friday after next.

In other news, I had my last CCL (Case-Centered Learning) class last Tuesday! 😭😭😭 That was one of my favorite classes this year because it was such a cool concept and my facilitators & group members were sooo chill. I was here thinking that we would have the same CCL facilitators and groups next year but it turns out that they’re changing up the course in ways I have no knowledge of yet. One of the doctors even brought us bananas and some good-ass homemade peanut-butter/chocolate brownies for our last day! Mannn ima miss them. Also, I learned what a Seder dinner was last week and even participated in one with a bunch of my classmates for the first time. For those of you not familiar, Seder is an annual Jewish ritual feast that celebrates the beginning of Passover. It was filled with songs, stories, food, some really good (& a little too sweet) red wine, and fellowship. It was cool that the school funded something like this; it definitely helped me further appreciate a culture that was outside of my own, which I believe was the overall reason that the school helped fund it. Understanding where different people come from and what rituals they practice in their culture or religion is not only instrumental in being an effective physician, but is also a cornerstone in destroying ignorance in the world while promoting unity in humankind. Plus, it’s fun to expose yourself to things that you aren’t familiar with! I guarantee that you’ll learn many new things that you were unaware of before.

Well that’s all folks! Be sure to have a dazzling week!

No matter where you are in life, celebrate it. It’s either a product of your growth or a place that will help you grow. – Unknown

– Black Man, M.D.

 

Shaking Up The Status Quo

WELLLLLPPP….it’s about that time again.

I’m taking my oh-so-lovely 2nd Neuro exam in less than 24 hours. (Testing My Brain On A Test On The Brain…..Take #2!) I want to believe I’m ready for it, but I also felt ready before the last exam I took and I ended up being left pretty bamboozled, to say the least. However, I now have a better feeling of what kind of questions to expect going into this upcoming test and I feel like I’ve been studying harder/smarter than I did for the first exam. Plus, I’ve prepared myself the best I could to handle any potential foolery that may be thrown at me during the test. Sooo even though I may have been hoodwinked last time,  I won’t let it negatively impact the way I approach this exam tomorrow. I honestly do believe I’m ready. I’m also ready to get it over with in order to move on to the next section of material, and to the end of the semester in general. Confidence is key y’all. Without it, you’ve already lost. Believe it to achieve it!

A few days ago during dinner, I got the pleasure to listen to Dr. Manisha Sharma speak on what it’s like to be a family medicine doctor that practices social medicine (social, not socialized) while engaging in “disruptive healthcare”. She defined “disruptive healthcare” as innovations in healthcare that challenge the status quo in the establishment and make quality healthcare more attainable and affordable to all. I’m so glad I decided to attend the talk. She was freakin’ awesome y’all. And hilarious. Coming from the Bronx, she described herself as a Puerto Rican girl trapped in an Indian girl’s body. 😂 It was a small amount of us there listening to her speak, but she took advantage of that by engaging all of us, making it an intimate conversation. She even took the chance of trying to learn each of our names (she said my name right…ON THE FIRST TRY!). It was, by far, one of the best talks I’ve been to since I’ve been here. After having dinner with some of the attendees, she began the conversation by telling us she never intended to be a doctor and was actually very interested in music, which really upset her Indian parents. They didn’t get any happier when she enrolled in music school after high school and got hired later on as a backup dancer for Prince. Yes, THE Prince (R.I.P.). She was all good until she was hit by a car in her early 20s by a careless driver, who childishly fled the scene. After going through surgery and racking up hospital bills, she learned that insurance wouldn’t cover her because a “3rd party was involved in the accident”. So here she was, a 22-year old music school graduate that could no longer dance, slapped with hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital bills because of a situation that wasn’t her fault. She said that’s when she started to get involved in health equity and in working to change how the healthcare industry worked. After some time, she realized that she would get further in her passion for health equity and policy change by becoming a doctor, so she enrolled at St. George’s University School of Medicine in the Caribbean, much to the delight of her parents. While she was there she became deeply passionate in getting to know the community surrounding her campus and she also became highly involved in community efforts by working heavily with Doctors for America. After finishing medical school, she took a break and focused on her work with Doctors for America (she was plugging hard for this organization lol), where she got the chance to even open up for President Obama at one point! She then completed her residency with a focus in Social Medicine and is now in Maryland working with the Surgeon General on policy change while at the same time teaching classes at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and treating patients in an innovative & integrative patient-centered environment (google Iora Health). Didn’t I tell you she was freakin’ awesome?

Throughout the whole presentation, she talked about how important it was to not only network on a continuous basis, but to also have a sense of community responsibility, or in her own words, “street cred”. She developed “street cred” with her patients by actually living in the communities she served and by learning where the people in the community went in their everyday lives (churches, grocery stores, parks, etc.). She also made a huge point of talking WITH the patients you’re treating, not talking DOWN on them. Treating your patients with dignity and respect will cultivate an environment of trust and will further build up your “street cred”. Another thing she stressed on was how crucial the “why” was when it comes to doing your job. She repeatedly stated that she has been able to successfully do everything she’s done so far by focusing on why she’s doing it all. Her passion truly guides her as well as drives her. What impressed me even more about her presentation (how is that even possible) was that although her PowerPoint was full of random & simple pictures, she was able to connect each of those pictures to her overall presentation in personal ways, which made her presentation all the more entertaining. She has a very powerful way of expressing her beliefs…she had me captivated throughout the whole presentation, even with the cold she had! Boooyyy she really made a career in Family Medicine sound good. Because Family Medicine is so flexible, she’s been free to pursue her passion of health equity in various ways. She keeps herself busy, but it’s very obvious that she loves what she does. I’m still riding strong for Ophthalmology, but like I’ve said before, I’m keeping my options open…

Okay lemme stop typing in wondrous awe and actually review some more for my test tomorrow. My ol’ 😍😍😍 lookin ahhh…

Have a blessed week! And remember, you gotta believe it to achieve it!

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

– Black Man, M.D.

Study Block

Sooo we have our third Cellular & Subcellular Processes (CSP) test tomorrow. It’s going to have concepts from Immunology and all types of bacteria, ranging from the morphologies of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria to what specific antibiotics treat each of them. Mechanisms of action, mechanisms of resistance, somatic hypermutation, STI’s, Amoxicillin, Tazobactum, Klebsiella pneumoniae, you name it. It’s all fair game for this test.

But if you know me or have been following this blog for a while, you already know that it takes quite a lot to faze me. Simply put, I’m not really fazed by this test. Better yet, I’m actually ready to get it over with and move on to learning about viruses, parasites, fungi and immunodeficiencies…..just so I can repeat the whole cycle of studying for the fourth CSP test. 😓

Sigh. 

You ever reach that point where after studying and reviewing day and night for so long, you find yourself looking forward to test day just so you can feel sort-of free and have one less thing on your mind? I can already hear you going, “Hell nah fool, you cwwwazy.” And you may very well be right, but that’s just where I’m at now. I’m having to force myself to review more practice questions for tomorrow’s test. I literally was watching a movie last night and as this man was crawling through soil and mud in the wilderness with open cuts, all I could think about was how high-risk he was for a Clostridium bacterial infection. Like, c’mon man. I can’t watch a movie or even cook a meal without thinking about bacterial infections and the proper way to diagnose them. It’s almost like when I couldn’t fall asleep back in the good ol’ Anatomy days without mentally naming the origins and insertions of the Cranial Nerves. Lol. I’ve grown to learn that whenever I begin to incorporate what I’m studying into my everyday thought processes, I’m more than ready for a test. I guess that’s what happens when you stay glued in your apartment to your notes, First Aid book and laptop for a week. And can’t forget about SketchyMicro. Lord knows that’s how I’m getting through the rest of CSP.

With all that said, just because I say I’m ready doesn’t mean the test isn’t gonna be hard. I felt ready for the last test I took before winter break and they hit me with the okie-doke with some ridiculous questions. Had me feeling some type of way going into winter break, smh. But on the other hand, if you aren’t confident in your abilities, you’ve already lost before you’ve even started. And I don’t like to lose. 😜

I honestly don’t really have much to say today, only thing on my mind is getting a good score on this exam. And what I’m wearing to Wake’s Med School Prom this Friday. Yeah, we have a prom for medical students. 😎 And oh yeah, what the hell I’m doing for the summer. I’ve been doing some extensive browsing on summer research opportunities and I have a few that I’m willing to take a shot at. My options are ranging from diabetes to cancer to eye research. However, the worst part about applying for summer programs is that you don’t hear back from them till like March or even April, which makes it hard to plan out any other options in the chance that I don’t get accepted into the programs that I’m applying to. Talk about annoying. Well regardless, I’m going to be doing something productive this summer. I’m not giving myself a choice.

Y’all have a splendid week!!

 

– Black Man, M.D.

First Anatomy Exam on Friday…😅

This test done came up ’bout fast as hell.

How is it already test week??

Smh. It’s all good though, I’m not freaked out or anything. As a matter of fact, I’m not even that anxious about it (yet). Yeah I’ve only had two weeks of class, but I’ve learned a lot more about the human body in these past two weeks than I have in my last 21 years of life. It has all been some really interesting stuff.

It has been a hell of a lot of stuff too.

All I really do is study nowadays, I don’t have much of a life outside of Anatomy. Hell, my life IS Anatomy. I go to sleep thinking about the different branches of the arteries of the human body and wake up with pectoral muscles on my mind. It’s freakin’ insane. Ask me what I did this past Labor Day weekend. That’s right, I studied my ass off ALL WEEKEND LONG. I did get to go to a cool lil’ cookout on Sunday for a study break with some of my med school buddies, but other than that I’ve been free-falling into the glory of the human body. I’ve come to the point where I get excited not to have class…just so I can study some more.

It’s sad man.

But I’m also in country-ass Winston-Salem. If I’m not studying, what the hell else am I gonna do?

It’s probably a great thing I’m in medical school here. There isn’t much to distract me from my studies and the people I interact with 95% of the time are all in the same position I’m in, or somewhere in the realm of medicine. I’m also honestly just glad to have made it into medical school, so no complaints here.

But this test on Friday though…

I want to say I’m prepared, but I’d be lying. I can honestly say I’ve been giving it my all in terms of studying and reviewing material. It’s just that it’s really an insane amount of stuff to know, and to have it all crammed in three weeks is incredible. You know the saying that goes “Medical school is like drinking water out of a fire hydrant”? Well yeah. It’s true. As a matter of fact, our professors are having us learn new material up until two days before the test. I mean, come on man. You giving us new things to learn, digest and review two days before the test? TWO DAYS? I’m still trying to figure out how the nervous system works, which is something we were taught like a week ago! Not to mention that I learned that this test is supposed to have a written portion that has between 100-140 questions and a 70-question practical portion where I have to identify different body parts on cadavers.

Jesus. 

But like I said, I’m not stressed. Annoyed, but not stressed. I know I’ll pass, because I refuse to fail. Simple as that. It’s just a matter of how well I do on this test. With confidence, you’ve won before you’ve even started and without it, you’ve already lost before beginning. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself…

Pray for me y’all.

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. I get to hear Dr. Damon Tweedy speak right after the test, which gives me something to look forward to. This man is a doctor AND a lawyer. Shoutout to the Black Doctors in White Coats!

Anatomy Starts Tomorrow…HERE WE GO!!!

So I was actually gonna scrap this whole blog thing…I’m just not used to doing anything like this and it was kind of weird. But I’ve always been about stepping outside of my comfort zone and getting comfortable being uncomfortable, especially since I’m gonna have to learn how to get comfortable with the insanity of medical school…so here I am. I guess I’ll just use this as a way to clear my head and to reflect on my experiences. Who knows, maybe someone will actually take a thing or two from my experiences and use them to better their own life in some way…

But the fact that I finally get to start Anatomy tomorrow…it’s pretty wild. I technically started school three weeks ago, but here at Wake they had us go through this three-week transition program called LAUNCH. It stands for:

(Learning strategies, Acclimation to medical school & medical profession, Understanding oneself & others, New ideas, words & concepts, Careers in medicine, Healthy living).

I thought that it was a pretty cool concept and I got to learn a hell of a lot from not only my new classmates, but from faculty that came to talk to us about their careers and how to stay healthy throughout medical school while getting adjusted to my new home in country-ass Winston-Salem. It sure as hell ain’t no Miami…but it’s all good, I’m getting used to it. The beach may be four hours away, but its only an hour or so drive to the good ol’ mountains. You probably won’t see my ass out there though. My class is also more diverse than I thought it was going to be, which is always a good thing. I’ve also already had two patient interactions since I got my white coat! I don’t know a damn thing though so I was just in there smiling and nodding and asking real vague questions, but it was still cool to talk with patients and all. LAUNCH was a pretty cool experience and although some of my classmates may think otherwise, I feel like we’ll appreciate what we learned as time goes on.

LAUNCH also gave me time to mentally prepare for anatomy and the craziness of medical school that I’ve been hearing so much about. Mannn as a matter of fact, people have been talking about being scared and all about it, but I’m just here like “Bring it! It ain’t nothing but some bones and meat…Like, I know my damn body!” Sure I may be a little delusional but I feel like it’s better to be confident than to be nervous and timid…because either way, anatomy ain’t going anywhere. I gotta deal with it if I’m tryna earn my M.D. Like I said in my last post, I plan on kicking some ass in anatomy and in medical school in general soooooo that’s what I’m gonna do. It’s not gonna be easy, but if it was, everyone would be a doctor right?

– Black Man, M.D.