Hope On The Horizon

To think that it has been 15 years since over 3,000 people tragically lost their lives in the terrorist attacks that rocked the core of New York City, destroyed a massive part of the Pentagon, laid ruin to a rural field in Pennsylvania due to the efforts of some courageous passengers, and strengthened the resolve of the American people while simultaneously creating intense & deplorable Islamophobia in this country.

How crazy is that?

What’s just as crazy to me is the fact that there are teenagers alive today that weren’t even born when these catastrophic attacks took place. I still remember my young, wide-eyed 8-year-old self hearing about the tragedy over the intercom in my third-grade class right after having said the Pledge of Allegiance. I didn’t understand the full extent of the events that had just taken place, but I knew it wasn’t good because my teacher had gasped and looked like she was about to cry. As I type this post, I’m sitting here trying to imagine the horror that the people in D.C. and New York City must have felt on that morning, and the despair that the people on those four hijacked flights must have felt right before their lives were terribly snatched away from them. I’m also trying to imagine the anguish of the families and friends who lost their loved ones that day and the tremendous shock that was felt by the people in this country as well as in other countries across the world as the news of the tragedy reverberated across living rooms, offices, restaurants, and schools worldwide. It was a devastating day indeed, and it left millions of people scared to step foot on a plane for some time. But that day also brought our nation together not only in grief, but in strength and fortitude. Today is a day to honor all of those individuals who lost their lives in those atrocious events, and to remind ourselves never to forget what happened that day. May their souls rest in eternal peace. #NeverForget

On another note, I’ve had a pretty efficient week. In fact, it’s been so efficient that I’ve actually been able to finally get caught up on all my material! Visiting my girlfriend for Labor Day weekend turned out to be very fun and refreshing, even while I was studying for hours at a time during my stay down in Miami. I think both the dramatic change in my surroundings and having her as well as other old friends there really helped to reinvigorate my focus, thus allowing me to catch up on my lectures even as I spent time watching college football, movies and catching up with people and hanging out.

I only came back to Winston because I had my mandatory Clinical Skills class to attend on Thursday afternoon, where we worked as a group through a case where a patient presented with abrupt chest pain, practiced physical exam maneuvers on each other involving the HEENT (Head, Eyes, Ears, Nose, Throat) & upper extremities, and interviewed admitted patients on the wards in order to gather their History of Present Illness. Along with interviewing them, we were able to listen to their hearts and check their capillary filling pressure (checking to see how fast blood returns to their nail beds after applying pressure on them). After learning all about heart sounds and whatnot, I was able to appreciate the beats that the patient’s heart made and could verify that his heart was relatively healthy. Fun fact, the sounds you hear in a heartbeat is due to the closing of the valves in your heart. The first heartbeat is the closing of the mitral and tricuspid valves while the second heartbeat is the result of your aortic and pulmonary valves closing. Systole occurs when you push blood out of your left & right ventricles into your aorta & pulmonary artery while diastole occurs when blood flows from the left & right atria to the left & right ventricles, respectively. That’s an extremely basic overview of blood sounds and blood flow in the heart, but I figured it would be cool for you to know a little about the organ keeping you alive right now. After class, I had to do a whole write-up of the patient case we went through and turn it into my Clinical Skills coaches. That was fun. Felt the sarcasm there?

That same afternoon, I attended an Underrepresented Minority Meet-and-Greet event at the school that I had been invited to weeks before. It was pretty awesome. The unlimited appetizers were fantastic too lol. But besides that, I got the chance to meet quite a number of minority physicians working either at Wake or in the Winston-Salem community while at the same time having casual conversations with the new Chief Human Resources Officer (she’s such a nice woman…she happens to be Black too 😏) and the Dean of the Wake Forest School of Medicine. It’s cool that the school hosts events like this; seeing people that look like me in high positions of power on a continual basis really has an empowering effect on my psyche. I’m happy that I was able to attend such an event. Representation really matters.

Well, time to get back to the grind. Gotta get through this last week of Cardiology before my test next Monday. Wait, this is my last week of Cardiology…..awww DAMN!! I swear we just started this unit. Our course director recently told us that a number of other schools study Cardio for 6-8 weeks, but we only get a little less than four weeks dedicated to this subject 😐. I guess that explains why I was struggling to keep up at first…

Make this week an exceptional one! Who’s stopping you?

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

– Paulo Coelho

– Black Man, M.D.

Pumping Against The Pressure

Bruh.

They doing the MOST with these Cardiology lectures.

Can someone explain to me how in the hell 23 lectures and 6 workshops managed to get packed into EIGHT school days?? (And I’m not even counting the other longitudinal classes we had to attend…) How are we supposed to manage all that in a little over a week? Like, we just started this block less than two weeks ago and we have more than enough information to be adequately tested on. This material isn’t easy either. What’s even wilder about this is that we have 24 more lectures to power through in the next two weeks before we get to our exam date for this block. 😭

TWENTY-FOUR MORE LECTURES!?!

And don’t let me forget about the workshops we have to attend in the same time span.

GIPHY Originals bored annoyed really done

You would think that I would be used to this lifestyle by now…and don’t get me wrong, I actually am. The block before this (Heme/Onc) was pretty busy too and I was doing alright. Neuroscience back in March was intense too, especially during the very first couple of weeks I was exposed to it. But Neuroscience was spread over three months. And Heme/Onc was relatively straight-forward once you sat down and played around with it for a while. But this Cardiology thing? It ain’t straight-forward at all. AT ALL. Plus, we only have a month to learn it all. The heart-body relationship seems simple at first glance, but it is so much more complex than you can imagine. Especially after you throw in Pressure-Volume Loops, Starling curves, Hypertension, EKG interpretations, Heart Failure, the multiple Alpha/Beta/Dopamine receptors, all the Cardiomyopathies, Sodium/Potassium/Calcium/BlahBlahBlah-ium channels, the Electrophysiology of the heart, and all the freakin’ drugs that can treat all kinds of heart conditions. And this is just what we’ve gone over so far. There’s a whole ‘nother storm of new material in this block that coming at us starting on Tuesday. Good God.

Funny thing is, this is probably the calmest I’ve felt all week long. Sounds crazy huh? I mean, I really was just ranting on how crazy this block has been so far. But now that I have this Labor Day weekend to study without having to think about another new lecture for a couple days, I can finally work on synthesizing all the material that has been assaulting me this past week and a half. You should’ve seen me earlier last week…I was struggling to keep up man. What got me the most was that I never really had time to actually learn the stuff I was taking in because there was always new information constantly coming at me. It came to a point where I would be sitting in lecture pissed off because I felt that I was wasting time by trying to listen to the lecturer when I could have been synthesizing the information I already learned. By Thursday of last week, I was getting headaches from just being in class. Tragic, ain’t it? Thank God for this Labor Day weekend. 🙏 I can chill out for a bit and now that I’m looking back on everything so far with the multiple resources I’m using, I can appreciate how manageable it all really is. So with that said, there’s no need to worry about my mental state lol. All I really need is God, my friends & family, and a positive mentality. I’ll be fine! 😄

I did get the opportunity to ultrasound my own heart during one of the workshops this past week though! I’ve done it before last year during anatomy, but now that I actually have a much better idea of what’s going on in the heart, I could appreciate it more this time around. I was told by one of the residents helping out with the workshop that I had a good heart. 😁 My group and I also got a clear view of my heartstrings, or chordae tendinae as we like to call it in the medical field. So in case you were wondering, that’s where the saying “pulling on your heartstrings” comes from. In addition, we got the opportunity to learn about the basics of health insurance in our Healthcare Systems & Policy class this past Monday, which I highly appreciated. I had been hoping for some kind of course on health insurance ever since last year because I actually know little to nothing on the subject, which is scary considering the fact that it will be a very crucial part of my future career. We started off with how health insurance is financed in America on a commercial level, which could be the subject of a whole other blog post. In later lectures, we’ll be getting into the many intricacies of health insurance and the extent to which money influences the many lives in this country that depend on insurance. All in all, I’m really looking forward to learning all about the topics that will be presented to us in that course. Granted, this means that I actually have to make time to look at that stuff outside of class…

Anywho, make sure to enjoy your Labor Day weekend! And do your best to carry that joy through the rest of this week!

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn

– Black Man, M.D.

First Anatomy Exam on Friday…😅

This test done came up ’bout fast as hell.

How is it already test week??

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

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

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

It’s sad man.

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

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

But this test on Friday though…

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

Jesus. 

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

Pray for me y’all.

– Black Man, M.D.

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