When Life Gives You Lemons…

So I got this Anesthesia midterm exam tomorrow and I have no idea how it’s going to go down. All I’ve heard about the exams on this rotation is that they were ridiculously hard (apparently it’s all resident/fellow level material 😐) and that the questions on these exams were very nitpicky. After having read ten dense chapters of this “Basics of Anesthesia” book I’ve been lugging around these past couple of weeks, I can see why this midterm has the potential to be so difficult. I have no clue what questions I’m going to get, and there’s no way that I’m going to know everything that I’ll probably need to know for this test. There’s just way too much information to absorb. It also doesn’t help that I’m not that motivated to study day and night for it, not only because it feels pointless to do so (I’ve had so many people tell me how notoriously difficult it is, including Anesthesia residents), but also because I have no interest in going into this specialty and won’t be using the majority of what I’ve been learning after this rotation is over.

However, I’ve been mindful enough to seriously work on skills like establishing IV access, bag-mask-ventilation and intubation, because I will absolutely need them in my future career as a Pediatrician. I’ve also picked the topic of “Pediatric Airway Management” as my presentation topic (I’m required to present a topic to my classmates and an attending physician, in case you missed that on my last post) because again, I’m going to tailor my experience in this rotation as much as I can to my career path. And by picking that topic, I’ll be more engaged in creating my presentation because I’ll be learning very useful things that I’ll more than likely be implementing in residency.

Speaking of, I finally finished my interview season last Tuesday at UVA! The interview day was a great one, and I had a wonderful experience overall while at Charlottesville. I had actually never been there before, so it was cool to be able to briefly check the town out. I’ll admit, it’s a neat little town; I could see why some people would be happy settling down there for some time. And because it’s a college town, the presence of UVA is very palpable throughout the area. The people in the pediatric department at UVA were all very kind and welcoming, which I really appreciated. Overall, I’m glad that I decided to make the drive up there to complete that interview, even though I had to reschedule it from last month and I ended up missing a day of my current rotation because of it.

I must say though, the scenery up to Charlottesville from Winston-Salem and back was quite dreary. 😅 Although I spent the majority of my childhood in Virginia, I had never been in those parts of the state before. Some of the towns I drove through looked pretty rundown and because of the season, the trees were all bare. Plus, I saw a massive Confederate flag waving in the wind at some point during my drive back. It was such a stark reminder that I was in the South and in a very different area of the state that I called home for so long. I sure wasn’t trying to get stuck around any of those parts, especially at night. So you already know that I was zipping across that state highway as fast as I legally could lol.

In addition to finishing the interview trail this past week, I got the chance to sit in on a Grand Rounds talk about caring for patients who are transgender and I also participated in my first Anesthesia long call shift. The Grand Rounds talk was an interesting one, where a speech pathologist talked about the importance of recognizing the culture of this population of people and how to help them feel welcome when they come to establish care with physicians. I learned a lot about what it’s like to live in this world as a person who identifies as transgender, and I realized just how much I didn’t know about this population. I can’t even begin to imagine the lack of knowledge that some people, especially those who aren’t accepting of other cultures in the first place, have for this community of people. Listening to the presentation also forced me to think about how my beliefs of transgender people have changed over the years as I’ve matured and how societies around the world severely marginalize this population on a daily basis. I’m glad to have been able to attend this presentation and while I’m sure that there were some people in the audience who would have rather not have been there or didn’t necessarily agree with what the speaker was saying, being exposed to this information is very important because it can very much impact the care of a patient who they may end up caring for in the future.

In regards to my 15-hour long call shift, it wasn’t really that bad at all. I actually was able to get some of my rotation assignments done during my shift and I also witnessed some very memorable events as I followed the on-call Anesthesia resident around the hospital. Some of these events included watching the resident perform an awake intubation on a patient using a fiberscope and participating in a Level I trauma in the ED, where I watched a code take place and unfortunately witnessed the life of a patient end. I have another long call shift tomorrow, and there’s no telling what experiences are going to come out of that. All I can do is gear up and prepare for anything!

That’s all I got today. I have another couple weeks of Anesthesia ahead of me before I move on to my next rotation, which is one focused on Immigrant Health & Public Health. While I’m excited about that rotation, I still don’t really know what it is going to look like…hopefully I get that figured out sooner rather than later lol. I also will be heading to Nashville this upcoming weekend for the quarterly SNMA National Leadership Institute, where I’ll be participating in educational sessions, catching up with friends from across the country, and engaging talks with the Board of Directors about what the Annual Medical Education Conference in April is going to look like. I’ve never been to Nashville, so I’ll also do a little sightseeing if I have time! Should be a great experience! 😄

I hope that you have a phenomenal week! Wish me luck on this test tomorrow! 😅

“Be the kind of person that you want people to think you are.” – Socrates

– Black Man, M.D.

Fresh Start

It looks like the New Year is starting off on a strong note for me!

Well, nothing major has actually really happened this past week…but it’s been a great week nonetheless. I spent the rest of my winter break at home in VA with my family, neighbors and girlfriend, where I was able to bring the New Year in! After the whole celebration that came with New Year’s Day, I had to drive right on back to Winston that same day in order to start my Anesthesia Sub-Internship the very next day. Yeah I know, it kinda sucks to have to start back up the day after New Year’s, but I can’t really complain after having had no clinical responsibilities since my last day of my Sub-Internship at CHOP back before Thanksgiving break. I’ve literally spent the last 6 1/2 weeks doing a whole lot of traveling, interviewing and sleeping with nothing much going on in between. Okay I’m lying, I definitely had plenty of SNMA administrative work to take care of, especially making sure that we kept our social media presence strong this past month. Also, I’ve been actively trying to decide where I want to spend the next three years of my life, which honestly isn’t the worst problem to have….but still, it’s a tough decision to make. I would rather be in this scenario than be in the scenario I was in when I was applying to medical schools, essentially begging for a school to give me a chance at earning a medical degree and to put me in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt along the way.

frustrated whats wrong with you GIF by Steve Harvey TV

The whole point I’m trying to make is that I’ve had a great time using my time the way that I’ve wanted to use it this past month and a half. Having to go back to a clinical schedule wasn’t that smooth of a transition, but the nature of my current rotation has made it relatively painless. I started it this past Wednesday with a brief orientation, where I swiftly learned that I was going to have to take a midterm exam, a final exam, and a mock OR simulation exam.

sad futbol GIF by The Coca-Cola Company

I went into the rotation knowing that I would have to unfortunately take a final exam, but A MIDTERM AND A SIMULATION EXAM?? THREE WHOLE EXAMS??? IN ONE MONTH??? JEEEESUS *in my most authentic Cameroonian accent*

I almost forgot to mention that I have assigned readings from a giant textbook each night, which is where the material I will be tested on will be coming from. Oh, and I’ve repeatedly heard that the tests were incredibly difficult.

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And to top it all off, I’m going to have to present a topic of my choice to my peers and an attending at some point in the next couple of weeks.

bored unbreakable kimmy schmidt GIF

So yeah, the requirements are ass, but it’s all relatively offset by the fact that everyone in the department seems to be really chill. Plus I get to pretty much design my own schedule when I’m in the OR, meaning that I can pick whatever cases I want to go to, with breaks included in my schedule. And while I have to be at the hospital at 6:00 AM, my workday is pretty much over by 3:00 PM, unless I decide to stick around for another hour for the residents’ lecture. So yeah, no complaints there. My first few days have  been great, and I feel that my day-to-day experience throughout the rotation will be engaging, informative and fulfilling. I did forget to mention that each medical student on the rotation has to do one long call shift each week (6AM – 10 PM), so I got that delightful experience to look forward to. 😊😊😊😊😊

Outside of the hospital, I got the opportunity to interview some more medical school applicants, which was pretty cool. Because I had already gone through this experience once before, I was privy to what was expected of me and the applicants as I interviewed each of them. It’s very interesting to watch how one standard prompt can be processed in so many different ways. You would be amazed at what the applicants come up with. All I’m going to say is that if thinking on your feet is a requirement to get into med school, the competition is only getting tougher and tougher. The morning also seemed to fly by faster because I was fully aware of how things flowed. I have a couple more interview days that I will be helping out on, and I’m looking forward to serving as an interviewer on those days!

That’s really all I have to say today. I have my FINAL residency interview this Tuesday at UVA, which is the one that I may or may not have mentioned in an earlier post that I couldn’t attend because of a snowstorm last month and thus had to reschedule. I honestly wish that I didn’t have to do any more interviews now that I’m back in school and all, but it’s for the best. After this one, I’m all done with interviews and I can officially begin working on my rank list! 😄🙈

I hope that your New Year has been off to a spectacular start! Let’s make this week a fantastic one! 😁

“Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you…..If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually’, just do it and correct course along the way.” – Timothy Ferriss

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Now that the House of Representatives has offically switched power as of last week, I really am starting to feel those invgorating jolts of hope that were shattered soon after the shocking and disastrous 2016 elections. It’s a feeling that I’ve sorely missed these past couple of years. Shoutout to the new, diverse wave of Democrats in the House!!! 🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿

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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.

It Doesn’t Have To Be So Complicated…

First off, that test I took last Monday was some bull. Like, sheeeeesh! I felt betrayed while I was taking it man. Like I said last week, I was feeling pretty confident last Sunday night and that confidence carried over into the testing room on Monday morning. I had my coffee on one side, water on the other, and some Winterfresh gum to help keep me alert. I was ready. I started the test with Question 1 and blazed thru it. Got to Question 2 and wasn’t too sure about it, so I answered it but also marked it for later review. Then I proceeded to blaze through the next few questions and I felt like I was on a roll…until I arrived at question 11. The question was worded in what I felt was a tricky way and it looked as if there could be more than one answer. That’s when the haze started to set in. I ended up marking that question, but then I hit another question a couple minutes later that I had to mark because I didn’t even recognize half the answers. This “marking for review” trend was starting to unsettle me quite a bit. I prodded on thru the test…but then I hit question 25 and my mouth dropped. I had distinctly remembered being told that we didn’t have to worry about knowing specific drugs for this test, but yet I was looking at a question stem asking for a specific drug to treat a specific condition. Boyyyyy was I livid. I think I smacked my teeth a bit louder than I meant to after reading the question. So, of course, I marked it and even left a comment for the Neuroscience director about it, which is something I hardly even do. Most of the rest of the test proved to be an uphill battle. I think I started to truly realize how hard the test was when I got to question 35 or so and I had already used up an hour of my time. Not to mention the sighs of frustration from my fellow classmates that kept piercing the silence in the room and the number of times I smacked my teeth throughout the hour. I continued to press on and would breathe a sigh of relief whenever I got to a small stretch of what I thought were easy questions. But then I would get slammed with another stretch of tough questions. It was as if the professors were trying to make the questions as difficult as they could. Smh. After I finished answering all the questions, I painfully realized that I had marked about a quarter of my test and that I had about 45 minutes left. I then looked around the room and realized about three-quarters of the room was still full, which was unheard of. So I went back and checked each of those questions again and after about 30 minutes I had about 12 marked questions. I took one last rapid run-through all my questions and with 45 seconds left to spare, I submitted my exam. Even then, there were still about 20 or so people in the room when I ended up leaving. That just goes to show how unnecessarily difficult that damn test was.

Even so, I still thought that I did pretty decent and was sure I passed it. So I went about the rest of my day kind of annoyed, but content I was finished with that exam. I also watched Deadpool that night, which was freakin’ HILARIOUS by the way. We proceeded to learn new material the next couple of days, but in the back of my mind I was very curious to see how I actually performed on that test. We got our scores back two days after the exam and I opened my email to see how I did. My eyes popped when I saw my score. I had passed, but did not do anywhere near as good as I thought I had. As a matter of fact, the grade I got was worse than my first Anatomy exam…and that’s saying something. Even the average for the class (80%) was much lower than normal, and the standard deviation was 8 points. Like, c’mon man! I was mostly annoyed because I knew that I knew the material well, but the test was just unnecessarily difficult. Shiiii I’m still annoyed. What annoys me even more is that although they dropped a few questions, the people that actually got those questions right didn’t even get any points for it. I got two dropped questions right and was awarded nothing. Arrghhh. I kept my calm throughout the rest of the week, but I was lowkey feeling like:

But hey at this point, I’m just glad I passed. Even after going through all of that, I still like this block. I ended up reviewing my test and I had missed both hard questions and “easy” questions that I thought for sure I had gotten right. Best believe I took major notes. Guess I just need to study both harder as well as smarter for the rest of this block. They say the next test is gonna be easier…but I don’t trust ’em no more. Who’s to say Young Metro does? 👀👀👀

Okay I’m done venting. On a lighter note, we learned about the eye this past week, which if you didn’t already know, is one of my favorite structures of the body. We only spent a day on it, but we went over the anatomy of it, the physiology of the different parts of the eye (cornea, lens, retina, etc.) and went into even further detail about how vision works. I’m having a great time learning about all that. 😊 We also learned about hearing and balance the very next day and about dizziness the day after that. It looks like they’re already trying to stuff us with an insane amount of knowledge for this next test…but what’s new?

This past weekend was also Second Look weekend here at Wake. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Second Look is an opportunity for the students that have already been accepted at a medical school to literally check out the school a second time to see if they truly want to attend that institution. It also gives the school another chance to reel in the prospective students and to persuade them to attend the school. So with that said, I got to meet a good number of students that have already been accepted here and I had a pretty great weekend hanging out with them. Some of them have also already decided to come here for next year, which is great! I personally never got the chance to attend Second Look, because I didn’t even get accepted here till later 😅…so I was especially curious to see how it all worked.

 

Aiiiiight I’m done. Have a spectacular week!

 

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

– Black Man, M.D.

Testing My Brain on a Test on the Brain

First off, Happy Easter to each of you who celebrate this glorious day!

And if not, Happy Sunday to you!

I woke up this morning half-expecting the sun to be shining radiantly in the blue sky, birds to be chirping, sunflowers to be sprouting, bunnies to be hopping around, etc. You know, your typical PBSkids-looking sunny spring day. I got dressed and walked outside into a dreary forecast of clouds, fog, mist, and coldness. You know, the kind of thing you see in a graveyard in a scary movie. What an Easter.

That didn’t screw up my mood tho! Then again, now that I think about it, what if this dreary weather is a grim reminder of my first Neuroscience exam I have…tomorrow???

 

 

Yup that’s right, I got my first Neuroscience exam tomorrow. You would think that Ola Ray’s reaction above would be precisely how I feel right now. But if you know me well enough or have been following this blog for a while, you would also know that I’m not one to really ever freak out…unless I just witnessed Michael Jackson transform into a werewolf and was about to slaughter me in the middle of the woods. Then yeah, I would be screeching like there’s no tomorrow. I like to keep my cool and to believe that I can trust myself to do well after all the long hours of studying I’ve subjected myself to. Honestly, I know I probably don’t share the same view of this block as a great portion of my classmates but I’m actually finding this material to be highly interesting. It’s almost as if I’m enjoying studying about the central nervous system (brain & spinal cord), everything that can go wrong with it and how to fix different pathologies relating to it via surgery procedures and drugs. I know, I know, I’m not smoking anything. I swear. Maybe I like it so much because it’s extremely relevant to what I’m going to be seeing as a doctor. Or maybe because the brain is literally the cornerstone of the human body and it has so much power over what we do in our daily lives. Or I could just be a straight-up nerd. It’s okay, you can point at me and yell out, “NEEERRRRDDD!!!” I’ve come to accept that title a long time ago. 😂 Regardless, it’s been nice to actually understand how strokes work, how the brain coordinates movement/pain/sensation/emotion/homeostasis/yadda yadda yadda and what the drug commercials are advertising as well as how those drugs work in the body. Don’t get me wrong, this ish ain’t easy. It’s actually SO MUCH information…like I’ve been having study-thons these past couple of weeks. But the material has definitely been capturing my interest. So with all that said, I’m ready to take on this test tomorrow, rain or shine!

Also, I FINALLY found out what I will be doing this summer. Turns out I’m going to be a Teaching Assistant for the wonderful Minority Students In Health Careers Motivation Program, run by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at the Miller School of Medicine in Miami! (Talk about a mouthful.) I just can’t seem to stay away from South Florida 😅. I’m looking forward to meeting the students in the program as well as sharing my first-year experiences with them as they are looking to pave their way into the medical field. I’m just glad I was given the opportunity to make something out of my summer; Lord knows I don’t know how to sit idle. I also wasn’t landing any of the paid research positions I was applying to, so I really wasn’t sure what I was about to occupy myself with this summer. As a matter of fact, one program still hasn’t hit me back up yet now that I think about it…not that it matters anymore anyway. I’m more than happy with this TA position I was blessed with.

There’s a couple more things I wanna touch on before I wrap up. First, in our medical ethics class for the past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about death, the complicated feelings associated with it, and how to deal with it as doctors both on a patient and an individual level.Yeah…it was pretty depressing. We delved into what our visions were on a “good” death, what our visions of death were based on, the moral significance of death, and how American culture views it. We also touched on why it’s still very difficult for physicians to deal with mortality even when we all understand that everyone has an end to their life. It wasn’t a fun topic to have, but it did get me thinking on how much power a society has on influencing the way we think about things, including mortality. On another note, we had a nationally known speaker named Robyn Ochs come speak to our class on the topic of bisexuality. She was funny man. I ended up learning a ton from her presentation; things I really never considered at all when it comes to the LGBTQ population. I’m glad I was able to attend and further diminish any ignorance I may have had for the population. Ignorance is bliss y’all…it truly is a danger in this world.I’ll be sure to think back to Mrs. Ochs whenever I have patients in the future that identify themselves in that group.

That about does it! Have a lovely week!

A change in your life can only come from a change within yourself.

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S: I’m still salty I didn’t get to go to the SNMA conference this past weekend…and that my bracket is completely busted after Kansas’s loss last night. Way to go Jayhawks.