New City, New Flow

Alright, let me start off by saying that I’m definitely going to be enjoying EVERY SECOND of my fourth-year up until the minute that I enter the hospital for my first shift as an intern next year, because if intern year is going to be even busier than I’ve already been during my first week of my Sub-Internship, I’m not 100% ready for it yet. 😅

While I’ve gotten so much great learning in the hospital this past week, I’ve had such little free time outside of it. Like, my days would usually consist of me getting up at 4:15 AM to make sure that I got to the hospital by 5:30 AM in order to adequately pre-round on my patients and write progress notes, some of whom would be people that were newly admitted overnight. Then I would go to morning report around 7:30 AM (or Grand Rounds around 8:00 AM), round on patients with various attending physicians until about 11 AM or so, work on any orders, discharges, consults, etc. until noon conference, come back from conference in order to spend my afternoon executing the care plans that we’ve decided on for our patients while at the same time coordinating patient care between various entities both inside and outside of the hospital, checking in on my patients, admitting new patients, writing H&Ps, attending impromptu learning discussions hosted by attendings, going to simulation labs and learning conferences specifically designed for the Sub-Interns at CHOP this month, writing discharge summaries, and a few other things that I can’t think of at the moment, before finally handing off my patients to the long-call intern and going home around 5 PM (plus or minus an hour).

oh my god omg GIF by CBC

After getting home, I would have a couple hours to myself to take care of emails and other tasks that I couldn’t attend to during the day, before going to bed around 8:30 PM-ish, only to get up and do it all over again. And when I was on long call last Wednesday, I didn’t even leave the hospital until 9:30 PM due to a complicated admission. So yeah, long days with some awesome learning opportunities, but little free time lol. However, I did finally get the chance to explore a little bit of Philly with some of my good college friends last night after my 11-hour shift ended, although I first had to fight the urge to crawl into my bed and crash. I’m glad I was able to spend some time with them, because I hadn’t seen them in such a long time. We also grabbed some Philly cheesesteaks during our night out, which were freakin’ delicious after I put some hot sauce, ketchup and salt on them. On a sidenote, I didn’t realize how many friends I had up in Philly until I posted on IG that I was up here…even though my schedule is hectic, I’m gonna really try to make time for everyone I told that I would link up with, but it won’t be easy 😅.

Because I am here as a Sub-Intern, the responsibilites that have been entrusted to me are relatively enormous to what I’ve been used to. I mean, I knew I would be working hard and would have a good level of autonomy over my patients…but daaammmnnn! *in my best Chris Tucker voice* They really meant it when they told me that I would have full autonomy over my patients. I literally have been feeling like I’m my patient’s doctor, much more than I did when I was a third-year medical student. I mean yeah, I had a sub-internship (or Acting Internship as we call it at Wake) a couple months ago at Wake in Heme/Onc and I was doing a lot back then too. Even though I was pretty autonomous at that time, there was only so much I could do because of the fact that we had a lot of Oncology patients. So with that said, there was a good amount of oversight taking place by not only my senior resident, but also by the attendings. Because this current rotation is primarily a Gen Peds service mixed in with a few other specialties and we’re not dealing with chemotherapy on a daily basis, I am able to do more.

And BOOOYYY have I been doing more.

I honestly wasn’t prepared for it all the first day I picked up my patients. Even though I looked like I was doing fine from the outside (I got positive reinforcement from my senior resident on my first day, to my amazement), internally I was very frazzled and I felt like I just couldn’t get myself together. I was having trouble prioritizing patient tasks and trying to keep up with everything while at the same time trying to get used to this new service at a new hospital in a new city. Of course my senior resident and the other interns were there to answer questions and to support me, but because I hold myself to (sometimes ridiculously) high standards, I found myself becoming frustrated throughout the day as well as in my second day on the service because I didn’t feel like I was adapting to the flow of things quick enough. I quickly learned that while I’ll be getting high-quality education about medicine during the course of this month, what I’ll also be receiving that is just as important is high-quality education in the practical delivery of patient care in our complex healthcare system. Yeah I have the book knowledge, but I am definitely lacking on the more practical side of patient care, which I know will come with time spent during residency. That being said, I’ve been learning some very useful things this past week and am sure that I’ll continue to learn even more during these next three weeks.

I’ve definitely become acclimated to the service as the days have progressed, and I think that I’ve finally gotten somewhat more comfortable in the flow of things here. I went from asking myself on my first day why I decided to do this to myself when I could’ve been crusin’ through a much easier elective back in Winston, to being grateful yesterday that I was given this opportunity to leap out of my comfort zone and challenge myself in ways that will only benefit me in the long-run. I’m excited to be able to continue to expand my network, (try to) explore Philly some more while linking up with friends here, learn from the diverse patient population here, learn how to be even more efficient in patient care in the hospital and how CHOP’s hospital system works, and take advantage of the other various learning opportunites that will present themselves while I’m here. I’ve already grown quite a bit since I’ve been here and will only continue to grow some more as I take on this tough rotation day-by-day. It also helps to know that this is my last tough rotation of my fourth-year, so I’ll definitely be smooth-sailing after these next three weeks 😎. Well, relatively speaking at least. I still have other rotations to complete, but they shouldn’t be that difficult. But before those other rotations, I have both Thanksgiving and Winter Break to enjoy, as well as my four-week flex block that I will be using for the majority of my interviews!

excited houston rockets GIF by NBA

Speaking of, I got word a few days ago that I was blessed with an interview at CHOP that is very conveniently taking place this Tuesday! 🙏🏿 That definitely makes life a lot easier since I’m already up here and all. Between this interview and my next one taking place in a couple of weeks in Pittsburgh, I’ll have been able to knock out both my Pennsylvania interviews during my month up here. By the way, if you weren’t already aware like I wasn’t, Pittsburgh is about a five-hour drive from Philly. Yeah, it blew my mind too.

I guess this was one of those days where I just couldn’t seem to stop typing. I’ll end my post here so that we can both get on with our days haha. I hope you have a spectacular week!

AND PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEEEASSEEE EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE!!! IT’S CRUNCH TIME!!!

I’ve been going through a lot this past week in trying to get my absentee ballot (that I requested over a month ago) and have been sending in multiple emails and calls to my county’s board of elections because believe it or not, EVERY VOTE COUNTS. According to their office, they’ve FINALLY sent out my ballot yesterday, which is ridiculous but whatever. I REFUSE to let my voice be silenced, and it is imperative that you believe that your voice deserves to be heard, because it absolutely does. Voter suppression is real y’all, and I’m sure that there are some shady things going on with the overall voting system. However, attempting to make your voice heard with your vote is much better than not voting at all!!

“Falling down is not a failure. Failure comes when you stay where you have fallen.” – Socrates

– Black Man, M.D.

D.C. To Philly

A-hem, a-hemmm.

🎶Innnnnn West Philadelphia born and raised,

On the playground is where I spent most of my days

Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool

And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school

When a couple of guys who were up to no good

Started making trouble in my neighborhood

I got in one little fight and my mom got scared

And said “You’re moving wity your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air”🎶

Now you already know that I couldn’t be up here in West Philadelphia without paying tribute to one of my all-time favorite actors! Shoutout to my man Will Smith, come out here and have brunch or something with a youngin’! 😄😎

Confused The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air GIF

Now that I’m all settled here in Philly after driving up here yesterday (TOLLS ARE THE DEVIL), it has finally hit me that my time in D.C. has officially come to an end. My final week at Children’s National was full of positive experiences, all of which led up to my residency interview there that took place on Friday! The interview day went by smoothly, even though both the morning traffic and the 1000+ traffic lights that I had to get through before arriving at the hospital tried to conspire against me 😒.

Throughout the day, I learned even more great things about the program than I had already known, which is saying a lot because, well you know, I spent a freakin’ month there. My fellow applicants and I were able to talk with current residents about the program, listen in on a presentation given by the program director (HE IS HILARIOUS 😂), meet the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, get a tour of the hospital, and participate in a noon conference. Throughout the day, I had two separate interviews that felt moreso like genuine conversations rather than me being put on the spot in a glaring spotlight. Before I knew it, the interview day was over 😯. I think that it went well overall; hopefully my interviewers think the same! I honestly really lucked out with being able to schedule my interview on the last day of my rotation. This made the interview process here so much more convenient and it provided the perfect finish to my rotation experience.

neil patrick harris good job GIF by bubly

In the days leading up to my second interview of the interview season, I helped treat as many patients as I could by taking histories from them, performing physical exams, obtaining informed consents from parents if necessary, presenting them to my attendings, providing an assessment and plan, and writing notes on each patient. In addition, I continued to take in the diversity of the patient population by having conversations with parents about where they were from and the things that brought them to the nation’s capital. The topic of diversity came up during the meetings I had with the Department Chair of Pediatrics as well as with the Residency Program Director throughout the week. In my conversations with them, they demonstrated how committed they were to creating a physician workforce that mirrors the diversity of the patients in this country. The program really seems to be taking active measures in this realm, which is something that I really appreciate.

Completely unrelated to the topic of diversity, I decided to get an environmental allergy test because why not? I had never had one before and there was a nurse who needed to get some training in performing allergy tests, so I went ahead and helped her out by being a guinea pig.

BRUH.

I was floored when I got my results back.

Turns out my allergy testing came back positive for just about everything that I was tested for 😂. And I’m not even exaggerating. According to the test, I have an allergy to:

  • “Tree Mix 3” (Elm, Maple, Sweet Gum, Sycamore)
  • Bermuda
  • Johnson
  • KORT Grass Mix (Kentucky blue, Orchard, Red top, Timothy Grass)
  • Weed Mix 1 (Cocklebur, Lamb Quarter, Pigweeed, Plaintain, Russian Thistle)
  • Weed Mix 2 (Baccharius, Mugwort, Nettle, Ragweed, Sorrel)
  • Indoor and Outdoor Molds
  • Dust Mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Rats
  • Mice

chris jericho what GIF by CBC

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have to avoid all of these things. A lot of these came back barely positive. Plus, it turns out that my body has been sensitized to the vast majority of these substances. However, my biggest reactions came from dust mites and cockroaches. The reaction was so positive that even the healthcare providers I was working with were flabbergasted. I told them that I had never really experienced any allergy symptoms, but I did tend to sneeze a lot whenever I was cleaning an area that had a lot of dust. I just figured that was a normal reaction for everyone lol. Also for the past couple years, I’ve experienced itchy and watery eyes on a nightly basis but I attributed that to dry eyes after my Optometrist diagnosed me with that. My attending suggested that my eyes may be getting dry as a symptom of dust allergy and that I could be experiencing itchy eyes every night because of the amount of dust that accumulates on my face throughout the day. The fact that my symptoms go away when I wash my face only made her suspicion that much stronger.

chris pratt mind blown GIF by Omaze

So I guess I officially have allergies lol. When I told my girlfriend, she was thrilled to hear that she was no longer the only one who suffered from allergies 😂. I guess I should start having some Zyrtec on hand or something now. Or maybe I’ll just keep making sure my face is clean at night. Yeah, I’ll just keep making sure my face is clean. Cheaper than popping a pill everyday.

Although I’ll miss the outpatient life (it was sooo good to me 😭), I’m looking forward to my inpatient experience here at CHOP that I’m sure will be as unforgettable as Children’s National was. I’m within walking distance from the hospital, which is awesome because I very quickly learned that trying to drive and park around here is pretty terrible. And I gotta give a HUGE SHOUTOUT to my friends (they also happen to be fellow ‘Canes 😏) up here who have allowed me to crash with them for the next month! I deeply appreciate your generosity!! 🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿

All done with this post! Bye for now! And I hope that your week is as great as the one that I’m hoping to have! ✌🏿

– Black Man, M.D.

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Tony Robbins

P.S. – I just recently got hit by some voter suppression tactics and I’m still in shock about it. Worst part is that I have other friends who told me that they were affected by voter suppression as well. I can’t even imagine the number of people out there who are going to decide not to vote because of the inconvenient difficulties that can spring up unexpectedly while trying to do so. Best believe that I’ll be on the phone with someone this week about this. North Carolina better give me the absentee ballot that I applied for over a month ago…they messing with the WROOOOOOONG ONE 👊🏿👊🏿👊🏿

Fulfilling Opportunities

Okay first things first.

I saw Presidential-Nominee Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama on Thursday!

It was awesome getting to see them, especially since I learned that they were going to be in Winston only a few days prior to the event. As you can see, the rally was stupid packed…I barely got into the stadium even though I was in the student line! The general admission line was insanely long; I don’t even know if some of those people made it into the stadium honestly. When I got in with some friends, we didn’t even have seats…so we improvised and stood behind the last row of seats in a section lol. I had already seen Hillary a couple of times prior before back in college, but it was my first time seeing Michelle Obama and let me tell you, she was absolutely PHENOMENAL. So phenomenal that Hillary actually spoke before her, as if she was opening up for the First Lady. After the rally, I wanted to run up and take a picture with them but you know how that goes with Secret Service and all. Plus we were not tryna get caught up in the crazy traffic back to school, which we ended up stuck in anyway for over an hour. For no good reason either. 😒 But anyways, if you haven’t voted already, GO VOTE!!! Early voting is currently going on! To sum up what President Obama said, our future and well-being is on the ballot! I put my ballot in last Monday, so my voice has been heard. Make sure yours is too!

Also, I had a pretty interesting weekend that involved Wake Homecoming Black Alumni festivities, North Carolina A&T Homecoming festivities (Also known as #GHOE), and dressing up as one of my favorite childhood superheros. Can you guess who??

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And tell me why I ran into Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry for a third time this weekend? We pretty much besties now, you can’t tell me otherwise. It was an amusing weekend overall and I stayed up much later than I would have liked to both Friday and Saturday. However, I did fit in some volunteer time as well as adequate study time so I’m still all caught up on my lecture material!

happy dance michelle obama blackpeople cabbage patch

Which brings me to my next point. I started the Gastrointestinal block this past Monday and so far, I haven’t had any qualms about it. I feel like it definitely has been the most straightforward block yet and I’ve been able to keep up with everything since I’ve been attending every class so far. Go figure. It’s been nice to have been able to go to class and grasp some understanding from lecture…believe it or not, that doesn’t work all the time for me. It just depends on who’s lecturing and how they do so. Some lecturers read off their slides while others truly talk about what they’re presenting so that we can understand their material. It’s been the latter this past week, which is why I’ve been in class this week lol. I’ll just keep on truckin’ through this block and before I know it, I’ll be stuffing my face with great homemade food at the dinner table on Thanksgiving with my family!

Couple more things.

One, I attended a talk that described the USMLE Step 1 Exam in more detail earlier this past week and how pressing it is for our future. Like we weren’t fully aware of that already. I feel like I should begin reviewing past material now and slowly pick up the pace as the weeks go on. I also need to begin focusing on how to maximize the use of test-taking strategies, because me and standardized tests never really got along too well. You know what, I don’t even wanna talk about Step anymore. Instead, I’ll tell you about how the chapter of the Student National Medical Association at my school is hosting the annual Regional Medical Education Conference this weekend! Our region consists of medical schools in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. So this means that I’ll be getting the chance to meet a lot of new people as well as catch up with other medical students in the region that I haven’t talked to in a while. Only thing that sucks is that I’m missing my alma mater’s homecoming because of this conference…but it should be a good time nonetheless!

Other thing is that I had the chance to actually follow up on a case that I had during my CPE week. A kid had come to my CPE preceptor’s office a couple weeks ago with complaints of nightly fevers that took place for over two weeks and constant pain in his upper back. We had no idea what was going on with him, so we ran some blood tests and after a day or so, my preceptor had him transferred to the main Wake Forest hospital. This past week, my preceptor emailed me to see if I wanted to go and check in with the med team working on the kid at the hospital and of course I did, so I went to do so. It was quite awkward walking into the small room of upper-level med students and residents that made up that med team, but I went ahead and asked about the patient. They seemed to be pleasantly surprised that I actually went out of my way to come and talk to them about the kid and were enthusiastic about updating me on his condition. Turns out he had this condition called “cat-scratch disease“, a condition where a bacterium called Bartonella henselae infects an individual after a cat literally scratches that person. I had learned about it last year, but this was my first time seeing a patient with that condition. It was pretty cool to have been able to see that, although I’m sure the kid wasn’t feeling too cool about having the disease. He’s going to get better though; he was prescribed some antibiotics (azithromycin to be specific).

That’s it for this post! Be sure to have a splendid week!

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” – Jerry Rice

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I just got back from a Diwali (Hindu New Year) celebration with some of my friends! There was good Indian food as well as cool traditional Indian outfits involved. I love being able to learn a bit about other cultures…it’s almost like I’m traveling the world free of charge lol. Happy Diwali! Oh, and be on the lookout for new Health Career Spotlights coming up in the future!