Unforgettable Memories

I had to take a step back a few days ago to fully process the fact that it’s already been three years since I first created this blog.

Three years!

Oh My God Wow GIF

That’s crazy man. Three years of typing out weekly posts about my experiences as a medical student. I didn’t know how possible that would be when I first started, but I remember telling myself that if I just focused on making a habit of typing up one post at a time on a weekly basis, things would eventually work themselves out. And look what happened; things really did work themselves out! Now I can’t fathom not typing up an update on my life each week lol. I’m so glad that I had the foresight to do this and am grateful of all the love and support that I have recieved as I’ve worked to expand this blog. I’m also very grateful for all the people across the nation that I have met over the years as a result of my blog and my growing online presence. I literally wouldn’t know about a quarter of the people I know now if I hadn’t started blogging! It’s so wild just how much this hobby has expanded my network, which just continues to grow more and more with each passing day!

And to think that this whole project was birthed from the fact that I couldn’t find a blog that I could fully relate to while I was transitioning from college to medical school. Who knew that it would become the cathartic and inspiring entity that it is today? I sure didn’t. I thought that I would just be scribbling down my thoughts on a routine basis. I had absolutely no idea that I was going to add sections such as Med School 101, Useful Blogs or the popular Health Career Spotlight Series further down the road. I didn’t know that I would teach myself basic HTML and CSS code simply to design parts of my website in a particular way. And the thought of this blog being a potential talking point on my residency interviews never once crossed my mind until one of the physicians that I look up to suggested that I put it on my CV! Overall, it really has been an honor to serve as a source of inspiration for those of you who are motivated by the content in this blog, and I hope that I’ve been able to adequately fill the void that inspired me to start all of this in the first place as a rising first-year medical student.

Now onto my last week at Victory Junction. 😭

I spent my final week at camp working as a medical volunteer again, but this time I was given the opportunity to float around different units to maximize my exposure to as many medical conditions as possible. Because I was able to do this, I ended up interacting with a lot of the kids at camp, all of whom ranged from ages 6 to 16. Having this kind of exposure also allowed me to connect various conditions (some of which I had never even heard of) to their presentation in children, which was very helpful to me. The campers this week all had some sort of past or present disorder involving either their hearts, lungs and/or kidneys, so you can only imagine the variety of illnesses that were present in this group of kids. Also, because some of these children were immunosuppressed, there were A TON of medications to sort through and distribute. Like, I literally spent 30 minutes on accurately sorting out one camper’s 15+ different medications. Can you imagine having to take 15 medications every single day of your life? Or even having to accurately distribute 15 medications to your kid at specific times throughout the day? I had many experiences like this throughout my time at camp that gave me some perspective on the lives that these kids live on a daily basis. For example, I witnessed a couple of kids get a 4+ hour session of hemodialysis while at camp. They get these types of sessions about three times a week, every week. I was also with a couple of other kids who had to get peritoneal dialysis on a daily basis as well as very frequent dressing changes on their catheter site.

I remember the many kids with sickle cell the week prior who needed to take many extra precautions such as keeping warm and staying hydrated constantly to ensure that they wouldn’t suffer from a sickle cell crisis. Yet, they will still have medical complications down the road and will need to have access to pain medications to alleviate their chronic pain while trying to avoid being unfairly categorized as “pain medication-seeking patients”. And I can’t forget those kids living with ostomy bags that needed frequent changes throughout the day, or the kids with various levels of neurological impairment that I helped care for as a camp counselor. Yet, even though all of these young people have either faced or are currently facing challenges that would potentially cripple you and I, they seemed to just treat them as an everyday thing as they had the times of their lives at camp. I was especially blown away at their stage day (talent show), where one of the teenagers performed various acrobatics such as back handsprings and backflips, and couple of other teens performed songs that they composed themselves. I was equally touched during one of our nightly “cabin chats”, where a few of the teens shared some very personal details about their lives with a small group of their peers, counselors & us medical volunteers. Witnessing all of the great memories that these kids were creating gave me great strength and further reaffirmed my decision to dedicate my career towards helping young people like them live the best lives that they possibly can.

I’m bummed that my time at camp has all come to an end. I’m really going to miss many of the aspects of it, especially the positive & laid-back atmosphere, and the connections that I made with the many kids, counselors and medical volunteers. And I can’t lie, I’m really going to miss having three free and filling meals a day. 😭 The good news is that I can always go back to work as a medical volunteer after I recieve my medical degree!

With my second rotation coming to an end, I now have my upcoming NICU experience to look forward to. I haven’t worked in the hospital ever since I finished my Emergency Medicine rotation a couple of months ago, so I’m going to have to quickly calibrate myself back to the hospital environment and to waking up at like 5 AM. 😅 I’m interested to see how this next month is going to turn out, and am so looking forward to finally taking my Step 2 Clinical Skills exam in Atlanta this Friday and getting it over with! 🙏🏿

I hope that you all have an outstanding week!

“Do you really want to look back on your life and see how wonderful it could have been had you not been afraid to live it?” – Caroline Myss

– Black Man, M.D.

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

How in the hell am I already starting my fourth week of the Motivation Program???

smiling kanye west nope just kidding

I honestly feel like I haven’t been here that long yet.I feel like I just left VA a few days ago…But in reality I’ve been down here for almost a month already. This means that in a little over five weeks, I’ll be starting my second year of school. I bet you think that I’m dreading that. Nah. Not at all. Lol, I’m actually ready to take it on. But I would much rather continue enjoying my summer break, no need to rush life. 😎

You know how they say that you know you love your job when you don’t feel like you’re working a job? Or better yet, as the saying goes, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life?” That perfectly describes my summer so far. What I’m doing in the program feels so natural to me that I always forget that I’m working a summer job. It’s to the point where I don’t even have to look forward to the weekends for relaxation. I truly enjoy each and every day that I wake up to. It doesn’t matter if I’m giving the students advice in class, running errands for my boss, working out at the gym, or kicking my feet up and watching a video. It’s all invigorating to me. And I love it. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m down in South Florida…except when I get caught in torrential downpours…or when the overbearing humidity damn near suffocates me…or when the sun tries everyday to give me my first sunburn…or when the crazy drivers down here try to take over the roads for themselves…or when- okay it hurts a little. But I’m still having a great time!

Speaking of giving the students advice, it amazes me how much some of the students love reading this blog! Not only do they read it, but they are actually inspired in one way or another by it. I had one student come up to me last week who told me that he didn’t know what Juneteenth was and only learned of it because of my previous post. I had another student tell me a while back that he’s been reading a lot of my older posts about my first-year experience and felt inspired by them. I also had yet another student stop to tell me that she really liked how authentic I was in my posts and that she was appreciative of the different resources that I provide on here. Lol, talk about heart-warming. Hearing feedback like that keeps me motivated to continue posting frequently and inspires me to continue to inspire people that are striving to do great things in their life. While I’m still on the subject of helping the students, I must admit that they’ve been good at making me realize how much material I’ve forgotten when it comes to anatomy & biochemistry. Like, I can’t confidently answer about half the questions they ask me without double-checking Google. It’s sad yo. It’s insane how much you can forget as time goes on, especially when you know that you had mastered those forgotten things at one point in time. Welp, such is life. I can thank them for giving me a review of basic concepts that I SHOULD know, considering that I’m going to be a doctor in less than three years.

EditingAndLayout will smith damn men in black

Lastly, we had a catered dinner (Lime Mexican Grill) last Thursday for the Dinner & Discussion series that we’re participating in throughout the length of the program. For the discussion portion, we had both a current D.O. medical student and a D.O. practicing physician come in to talk to all of us about their experiences and to answer any questions that we had. I was happy that the students were exposed to people traveling the D.O. path of medicine because a lot of them were pretty unfamiliar with what osteopathic medicine was in the first place. I myself didn’t even know what a D.O. was until I was well into my application cycle for medical school. It’s definitely nice to be able to know all the options you have available to you before beginning to apply to schools. The physician’s story was very inspiring, for he went through numerous hardships and life experiences in order to get to where he is today as an internal medicine physician with interests in HIV/AIDS and Nephrology. He stayed dedicated to his dream of becoming a great physician, even after dealing with challenges such as starting a family while in college, obtaining his MBA along the way, dealing with tragedy in his family in his first days of medical school, and so on. I should also note that he is a black man sporting some pretty neat locs. Way to shatter stereotypes!

And with that, I’m ending this post. Be sure to put a smile on someone else’s face this week!

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

– Black Man, M.D.

 

Ready For February.

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

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

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

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

If you guessed Charlotte, you’d be wrong.

Greensboro? Nahhh.

High Point? Raleigh? Winston-Salem??

Nope, Uh-uh, No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Blessed!

– Black Man, M.D.