Moving Along With Time

I can’t express in words how much I hate moving.

Like, I HATE MOVING.

The whole process of taking everything down in your apartment, packing it all up, transporting all your items to the UHaul, driving the UHaul to your new place, UNLOADING everything from the truck, carrying those items unto your new spot and rearranging everything once you’ve finished bringing everything in the apartment is a struggle from the depths of hell. That may be a bit dramatic, but I don’t care. I spent ALL DAY yesterday moving from my apartment of two years to a new one up the street, mainly because of rising rent prices. Plus, the new one had a better deal overall and was cheaper than what I was paying this past year. And furthermore, my roommate had decided that he was going to move out of our apartment to a house closer to the hospital. Soooo I made the executive decision to endure the struggle of the moving process, even though it’s one of my least favorite things to do. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your perspective) I don’t own many things, so I was able to start and finish the whole process in one day! So I’m currently all moved in and enjoying my new apartment, which also happens to have a skylight in it! I’m also even closer to downtown Winston-Salem now, so many of the restaurants are within walking distance from me. Only thing missing is a grocery store, which I still gotta hop in a car and drive to when necessary. Closest thing I got to a grocery store is CVS about a block away. Yeah, I wouldn’t wanna grocery shop there either.

But you didn’t click on this link to read about my moving struggles. You clicked to read about how my latest experience in my Internal Medicine clerkship went and what you could possibly take from my experience so far. Or you may have clicked for another reason unbeknownst to me. I don’t care. I’m just glad you’ve taken some time out of your precious day to read what I end up typing on this post. For that, you are much appreciated. I’m grateful for your attention. Thank you!

 dj khaled i appreciate you GIF

As a sidenote, take a listen to that new DJ Khaled album, Grateful, if you haven’t already. It’sÂ đŸ”„đŸ”„đŸ”„! The album also got me through the hassle of the moving process. Did I already tell you how much I hate moving? My disdain for it is up there on the list next to being ignored. And having insomnia. Insomnia is the absolute worst.

Lol okay, I’m done.

I spent this past week working at an outpatient clinic for the underserved in downtown Winston, where I interacted with an interesting array of patients. During the week, I worked on my history-taking and physical exam skills as well as my patient presentation skills. I also wrote up a few patient notes and was able to get some good feedback on those from my attendings. One interesting aspect of my time in the downtown clinic was participating in this program called CarePlus, where healthcare providers travel to the homes of certain patients to make sure that these patients are getting the care that they need. I was able to ride along with a nurse on one of these trips and was afforded a unique perspective of distributing healthcare as a result. We traveled to three different patient homes, all in places that I wouldn’t have ever ventured to otherwise. By going to these places and experiencing them with my own eyes, I could fully appreciate how much of an effect the environments of these patients had on their overall health and on their respective perspectives of the world. I was already well aware of the types of environments that a vast majority of the underserved population routinely inhabit and of the power that an individual’s environment has on their life. This experience only heightened my awareness of that absolute truth. Overall, my experience in the clinic was a great one! The atmosphere was inclusive, the people that I worked with were very friendly, and I didn’t have to wake up at 4:45 AM each morning. How can you beat that? Plus, I’ve been doing quite well so far in staying disciplined in my studies. I’m seeing a steady increase in my knowledge base and I’m getting better at reasoning through these practice questions. Yes, they’re still hard as hell…but I’m learning a ton from them!

With that said, I gotta get back to them. I took an unexpected (and extended) break from studying this afternoon, but I got free food and good vibes from friends in return! So now that I’ve used up a good portion of my afternoon, it’s time for me to get back to the grind and prepare for my week in hospice care coming up. I have a strong feeling that this is going to be quite an emotional week…

Y’all be sure to have a lovely week! It’s hard to believe that I’m already halfway done with my first rotation of third-year!

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” – Jim Rohn

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – R.I.P. to the King of Pop!

Moment of Clarity

And just like that, another week has flown by! Chai!! *in my best Nigerian accent*

I think I’m already starting to get used to this third-year lifestyle. In between the early mornings, long yet satisfying days at the hospital, lessons I’ve been learning from my upper-levels on my teams, nights of forced studying, and patients I’ve helped treat, I’ve been getting closer to establishing a steady routine. Granted, it’s kind of tough to fully establish one since I’m going to be switching services all the time (I’m starting my Renal service this week), but with each passing day I’ve been getting a better and better sense of how things flow. I’ve also been noticing fast improvements with my information gathering, physical exam and presenting skills, although I still have a ways to go. And last but not least, I’ve noticed how awesome all the people I’ve worked with so far in Internal Medicine are! Both of the teams I’ve worked with so far have been very willing to help teach my classmate and I major keys for success as we continue to acclimate ourselves as newly minted third-year students.

This past week was my second (and last) week of working on the Cardiology unit. But this time, I was on the General Cardiology service, as opposed to the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU). This meant that the patients that we cared for weren’t in as critical of a condition as the ones in the CCU, but they were still quite sick. I ended up following four patients overall while on this service, who all had various conditions that required remarkable treatments. I had a good time getting to know to each of them, and they all showed appreciation for their care and for me taking the time to just chat with them, which touched me quite a bit.

 aww kerry washington aw black people african american GIF

As for the team I worked with duing this week, they were simply fantastic. I had such a great time working with them that I found myself looking forward to going to the hospital each morning (after making myself crawl out of my bed) just so I could learn from them! The interns were so kind and were willing to explain to us practical things about being a third-year student that we didn’t understand yet. Both the resident and the fellow on the team were geniuses who actually carved time out of their schedules to give us valuable information about Cardiology while making sure we understood what they were telling us by continuously prodding (pimping) us with questions along the way. And the attending we worked with was just incredible. She was highly personable with everyone she interacted with and was incredibly kind to the team as well as to her patients (Her bedside manner is absolutely stunning!). She also was a very effective teacher who forced us to think through the questions that she shot at us routinely so that we would better remember the information that we were learning. I really appreciated that because although I was put on the spot numerous times, I found myself better remembering the things that I was asked and I also found myself more engaged in learning about the various conditions that the patients had, along with their respective treatments. To sum her all up, she’s just the type of person who makes you smile whenever you see her, which is the type of doctor that I aspire to be!

Out of all the lessons that I learned this past week from my team, there was one that really stuck with me and will continue to be with me throughout the rest of my student years as well as my professional career. I had wanted go and talk to a patient we had checked on earlier in the day about a specific issue that was concerning to me, but I didn’t know if I had the authority to do so. So I asked the fellow on the team about how I was feeling, and what he told me truly inspired me and completely shifted the way I perceived my current position as a third-year medical student. He told me that I should not only go for it and talk to the patient, but that I should aspire to take ownership of all the patients I follow from here on out and really feel as though I’m the doctor caring for them. I should never feel as if I’m not in a position to talk with them about certain issues because I’m “only a third-year student”. With that mindset, I’ll feel much more compelled to do what I feel that I need to do for my patients, allowing me to establish more solid connections with them and ultimately allowing me to become an exponentially better care provider at a much faster rate. I instantly had a moment of clarity as soon as I heard that answer. I had heard variations of that answer many times before from other people, but it wasn’t until that moment that I finally and truly understood the incredible power that I had as a third-year. I may still be a student, but I’m here to learn how to become an effective physician. In order to become an effective physician, I need to learn how to do what effective physicans do. And the best way for me to learn how to do these things is to do them myself. I don’t have to merely be a chronically unsure errand-boy constantly doubting my own thought processes. I already have the power to really help change lives through conversation and decision-making. All I had to do was believe that I possessed this power and then act upon this mentality. So I did and I went to talk to the patient, who was actually quite appreciative that I did so. This is definitely a mentality that I plan on fully upholding from here on out!

Overall, I had another great week in this Internal Medicine clerkship. I actually had forgotten that Memorial Day weekend was coming up, so now I’m here on a three-day weekend without any plans except to chill for a bit, complete tasks I hadn’t been able to do during the week, and prepare myself for my upcoming service on the Renal unit. I actually have weekend days to work during this upcoming service as well, so that’ll be quite interesting…😅😅😅.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend and a magnificent week! Make sure to take some time to give gratitude to all the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives over the decades in order to continue keeping us and our country safe from harm!

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marriane Williamson

– Black Man, M.D.

Beginning A New Lifestyle

I’m a week deep into my Internal Medicine clerkship and I’m happy to report that I’m loving it so far! Sure the days have been long, but there has been virtually ZERO instances of boredom within these past few days. Plus, the interns and residents I worked with this past week have been gracious enough to let my classmate and I out at least a couple hours early each day. (I’m supposed to be at the hospital from 6AM-7PM. Lol, yeah.) I’ve been learning so much new & pertinent information so far and have been able to watch that information be applied on real patients. I was in the CCU (Cardiac Care Unit) this past week, so the patients that I saw were those who had critical heart issues and who needed to be monitored on a constant basis. It was an intense environment full of healthcare workers who had to be attentive at all times to all the patients there. There was also a death on my first day there and a couple of other patients who were transferred to hospice care to prepare for their own passings. Way to start off my third-year. But on the other hand, there was a good number of patients who were adequately treated and discharged from the unit! Also, the team that I worked with all week was full of pretty awesome people!

But before I get too deep into my experience at the CCU, let me step back real quick and touch on what I did on the day before I started working in the CCU. On Monday of last week, we (we as in the 30-or-so of us in the IM clerkship) had an orientation session specific to the Internal Medicine clerkship. Because I had flown in late the previous night from Miami and had gone to sleep around 2 AM, I was TIIYYAAD all day on Monday. But I was able to stay awake long enough to glean the important information given to us that day. We finally began to understand the sub-rotations that we were assigned to within the overall IM clerkship and we made our call schedules for specific sub-rotations that necessitated them. (I’ll be working four weekend days and a week of nights during this clerkship. Say it ain’t so! 😅) My IM schedule consists of:

  • 1 week of Cardiac Care Unit
  • 1 week of General Cardiology
  • 2 weeks of Renal
  • 1 month of Transitional Care
  • 1 month of General Medicine

So as you can see, third-year is quite complicated to understand. I’m here still trying to figure out how all of this works, and I’m the one living through it! However, we got a better understanding of what to expect during this clerkship and we were handed a bunch of papers to better supplement our knowledge. We then attended a few sessions, which included a Geriatric interactive presentation where we talked about different ways to properly care for the elderly, an ultrasound activity where we practiced how to perform a transthoracic echocardiogram, and a trip to the Crisis Control center where we participated in a simulation that enabled us to consider what living in relative poverty felt like and how powerful the concept of “generational poverty” can be on underserved populations. ‘Twas an interesting & busy day but by the time the last session (Ultrasound) rolled around, all I could think about was how nice it would be to collapse on my bed. I ended up crashing around 9 PM…only to wake up at 4:30 AM to start my first day on the CCU.

My first day up there was not really what I expected it to be. Then again, I had absolutely no idea what to expect in the first place. I walked up to the unit dressed up in a shirt and bowtie, only to be notified that I was supposed to be wearing scrubs. Go figure. After changing into scrubs, my classmate and I got assigned patients, which surprised us because we were previously told that we were going to be merely observing today. So we researched our patients and went to meet them. My patient had suffered a heart attack and was scheduled to have stents placed in his heart to open his occluded coronary arteries. He was a pleasant man to take care of, and I was actually able to watch the procedure he needed (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention) the next day! After getting the information I needed for my patient, the team and I all began our morning rounds, where we presented our patients to the attending (head doctor in charge) and visited our respective patients as a group. This took almost FOUR hours. FOUR. HOURS. It turned out that this was a particularly busy morning and that rounding this long was unusual, which relieved me. The experience was really cool though and having to present to the attending on my first day was quite challenging, to say the least. Especially since I wasn’t aware that we would have to do so. But she was understanding and gave both me and my classmate some useful advice for presenting patients, something that she continued to do throughout the week. After that marathon morning of rounding, we were notified about a patient who was not recovering from his acute condition and who would end up passing away that day since there was nothing that the team could do for him anymore. My classmate and I joined the Cardiology fellow on our team as he sat with the patient’s family to discuss the unfortunate circumstances that he was in. The conversation was a heavy and sad one where the whole family was in tears, but they were also understanding of the situation. The fellow handled the conversation very well and I’m grateful to have been able to witness that conversation, because I’ll definitely have to have those conversations with the families of patients that I will be helping to treat in the future.

The afternoon consisted of a third-year med student conference that we were required to attend (we have these conferences almost every day), following up on our respective patients, writing notes on them, sitting in on an impromptu lesson from the fellow, and talking with the team about a variety of things. I was actually surprised as to how flexible our time in the afternoon was. I found that I could actually get quite a lot of stuff done in that time, which is very good to know moving forward. We were free to leave around 5 PM and I immediately felt the fatigue hit me once I got back home. Crazy thing is, I needed to study and review material that I had forgotten during my post-Step vacation. I also realized that my mind was still in vacation mode, so I had to force myself to snap out of that mentality. I got a little studying in, but ended up crashing again around 9 PM, only to do it all over again the next day.

I won’t go into length on what I did each day because then I’ll be sitting here typing this forever. But it’s worth noting that each day had a similar schedule and although it has been a busy week, it certainly beats having to watch a lecture in the classroom. Even the whole “having way less free time” thing hasn’t bothered me that much (yet). I think my body is quickly adjusting to this new lifestyle of waking up before dawn and going to sleep at the same bedtime I used to have when I was like 10. In addition, I was able pick up a new patient on my second day, but I struggled on my presentation because he had multiple co-morbidities that needed to be addressed in addition to his chief complaint of chest pain. Turns out he had a stomach bleed that I was able to see via an esophagogastroduodenoscopy. (EGD) (Try saying that five times fast.) We had to take care of that before getting to the chest pain he had, which hadn’t bothered him ever since his stay in the hospital. I stayed with this patient until I left the unit on Friday and as for my first patient, he was discharged on Thursday. As the week progressed, I found that I was getting better at giving presentations, I was getting more accustomed to the flow of rounds, I was learning a lot more about asking pertinent questions & performing pertinent physical exams, I was bonding quite a bit with my patients, and I was running around with my classmate trying to watch various procedures being done on multiple patients. We were able to watch a Foley catheter being put in as well as two heart stents being placed in the cath lab, but we missed two arterial lines and a thoracentesis. Darn. The team was also very gracious to us in answering any questions we had, chatting with us on the topic of choosing specialties and in giving us very helpful tips on necessary third-year skills. They were also getting a laugh at how enthusiastic we were about this new lifestyle. Before I knew it, it was Friday afternoon and we were leaving the team that we had befriended pretty quickly. My classmate and I were legitimately sad to have to leave them because we had been having such a great time with them. But alas, we must continue to expand our medical horizons!

Overall, my first week of third-year has been a great one! I’ve already learned so much and I was made aware of just how much more information I need to learn. I also found myself thinking about various things like how much medicine has changed over time and how amazing procedures such as PCIs can save someone from heart damage in 20 minutes while a heart attack 100 years ago was, as far as I know, pretty much a death sentence. I also noticed myself often thinking about both the patient and their family’s perspective in the hospital in parallel with my own perspective as a third-year medical student and just how different our worlds were in the moments that I saw them during rounds. No wonder many doctors have written countless books about their experiences in the hospital…this type of stuff really gets you into deep thought. I could personally write a narrative on the thoughts I had while helping to take care of the two patients I was assigned to this past week. And that’s just after a week of being in the hospital. Who knows what I’ll come across these next twelve months and in the foreseeable future as I continue my medical education.

But as for now, I’m done with this post. I gotta review some Cardiology for this upcoming week lol. I hope you enjoyed reading this! Have a wonderful week!

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Today is the two-year anniversary of my one and only acceptance to medical school! Shoutout to the Wake Forest School of Medicine for taking good care of me! I’ll be forced to (literally) repay the favor to the government for temporarily funding my education, but this is one investment that I’ll voluntarily (though quite begrudingly) go into debt for!

Steady Beat of Life

YOOOO wanna hear something wild??

I’m turning 23 tomorrow!! TWENTY-THREE!!!

How crazy is that? I’m lowkey trippin’ about it…23 just sounds like a huge jump in age/maturity from 22, in my opinion. Like from 18-21, I just felt like a college kid overall even though I was technically an adult. When I turned 22, it felt a little different but not really…I could say I was 22 and still feel like a big-ass college kid who slowly was maturing into an actual young adult pursuing a Doctoral degree. But when I say “I’m 23”, it suddenly feels like I’m automatically 10x older. It just sounds so…you know….old. But hey, the older I get the better I get, right?

Speaking of my upcoming birthday, I had quite an awesome weekend to celebrate it. As a matter of fact, I’m just now getting settled from it lol. A few of my good friends and I went down to Charlotte and had a great time in that area playing games at Dave & Busters (I ended up winning a Dave & Busters shot glass 😅), clubbing, and eating a very late/very early breakfast at a 24-hour diner a couple hours before sunrise. We then crashed hard at a clutch friend of a friend’s spot. It was hella fun! I also went back home to handle some stuff and got to spend some quality time with my dad. That was real nice. In addition, earlier last week right after my Hematology/Oncology exam, I got convinced to go to the Summer Sixteen Drake/Future concert at the last minute with about 10-15 of my classmates and I must say, it was a spectacular concert. We all started the concert off in our regular $50, cheap 200-level seats that faced the side of the stage, but most of us ended up either on the floor or in the much closer 100-level seats by the time the concert ended. I myself ended up in a 100-level seat about halfway thru the concert that must’ve cost around $300….so it’s definitely safe to say I got my money’s worth, plus more! Hehehe.

The day before I took my Heme test, I attended a Family Medicine/Internal Medicine faculty & student mixer at a local restaurant (you know, keeping an open mind about my future and all…and free food). After mixing and mingling with the about 30 or so people there, we participated in a few activities that pertained to making sure that patients are able to comprehend what the doctor is saying as they’re being discharged and the vital importance of communication in general between the doctor and the patient. It was a pretty good time and the faculty there were very nice. We even got to-go boxes for the leftover hors d’ouerves! When’s the last time you were offered a to-go box from a mixer? Yeah, didn’t think so.

As for my actual Heme test, it went well overall. I passed decent enough and more importantly, I feel like I was able to grasp a well-enough understanding of the subject in order to apply aspects of it in my later studies of other organ systems. Better yet, because I studied the material to comprehend it rather than to pass the test via straight memorization, I think that I’ll be able to recall info from that block at a faster rate when it comes time to Step studying. The very next morning after the test, we started the Cardiology block. I’ve had three days of lecture from this block and so far, the volume of information has been unforgiving. I literally can’t fall behind in this block. But it’s also been highly interesting to me. I don’t know why, but the heart really intrigues me in ways that some other parts of the body don’t. Even back in Anatomy when we were first learning about the heart and its compartments, I was really struck with awe as I first held the incredible battery that allows each of us to live by endlessly pumping blood throughout our bodies throughout our lifetimes. The heart really is amazing. It’s also very complex in how it works in concert with the body, thus making it a complicated organ to study…but I’m determined in completely understanding how it functions because the pathology of the cardiovascular system is directly linked to the HUGE health problems that many people of this country suffer with. When I encounter a patient (or anyone in general) with a condition like atherosclerosis or hypertension in the future, I want to be able to not only explain what is happening in their bodies but to also provide cost-effective ways in combating and managing their condition before it gets even worse.

One last thing…my class participated in a couple of Cardiology-based interactive workshops where we learned how to read cardiorespiratory monitors & pulse oximetry measurements as well as how to place leads on a patient in order to perform an ECG/EKG (Electrocardiogram). Needless to say, it was very interesting. I even got an EKG performed on me! Nothing like getting an EKG and getting it interpreted by a Cardiologist, all for free. (Let’s not talk about my tuition payments.)

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My heart lookin’ good, don’t you agree?

As always, I hope that you have a sensational week!

“Those who say they can and those who say they can’t are both usually right.” – Confucius

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – The VMAs are coming on tonight and it reminded me of when I wrote my third-ever post on this blog as I was watching the VMAs last year…you know, the one where Kanye decided to run for president 😂. This also means that I’ve technically been blogging for over a year…wild.