Switching Up The Scenery

First of all, allow me to wish you a Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

The game tonight should be an interesting one. New England may be excited for another chance at being the best team in the league (yet again), but Atlanta is rising the hell up for this shot at greatness! I don’t really have an emotional investment into either team, but my eyes are gonna be glued to this game because it’s shaping up to be a great matchup. I’ll also be watching it with my girlfriend (who is a die-hard Falcons fan) and other friends, so tonight is going to be a great time! Well, unless the Falcons get pummeled…but I don’t forsee that happening.

You may be asking “how is this man watching the Super Bowl with his girl?” Or you may have cared less. Regardless, I’ll tell you how. I made an executive decision to take the time to visit her here in Miami since I’ll be stuck studying for Step in a few short weeks. Also, I wanted to change my scenery up a bit and study on the beach under palm trees and whatnot as opposed to my apartment in Winston or in a classroom in the medical school. It’s been quite lovely, to say the least. Sure, I may not be getting as much work done as I usually do, but I’m also not struggling to catch up. As a matter of fact, being down here has been extremely refreshing. I’ve talked to many of my old friends here and it’s been awesome seeing what they’ve been doing with their lives so far. While talking with them, they’ve been sure to remind me how amazing it is that I’m not only close to finishing my second-year in med school, but that I’m also handling the rigor pretty well while managing a whole blog on the side. It’s funny because although I tell myself that I’m blessed to be where I’m at on a constant basis, it’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day life of school and to almost forget that the material that I’m studying is not only advanced but also life-changing (all puns intended). It’s also easy to forget that having a blog isn’t really typical for a med student, because updating it has literally become second-nature to me now. Like, I don’t even think twice when I update it weekly and do the Health Career Spotlight Features on a regular basis. Speaking of, I’ve been repeatedly told by my friends down here that they absolutely love those features and have been imploring me to keep them up! Just hearing people say that, especially in person, has revitalized my efforts and has also proven to me how important this initiative is to a vast number of people, pre-med or not. So with that said, expect to see many more features in the future! In the words of Puff Daddy/P.Diddy/Diddy/Diddy-Dirty Money/Sean Combs, “And we won’t stoppp…’cause we can’t stop…

I don’t have much else to update you with…I’ve been down here since last Wednesday and have been balancing fun with work. I also took my MSK/Rheumatology exam this past Monday and passed it, although the test was more difficult than I anticipated. But alas, these subject exams have mattered less and less to me as Step has gotten closer and closer. We started the Endocrine/Reproductive block this past Tuesday and this final block of new material will go on until the beginning of March. Let me just tell you…you have no idea just how important and complicated your hormones are. The mechanisms are pretty insane…but I also find it so fascinating. I’m finding that I’m actually enjoying learning about the various hormones of the body and how they work in concert with one another. It’s going to be interesting learning about reproduction though…that hasn’t been one of my strongest areas in the past. But I believe that I’ll be able to master it once and for all this time!

That’s all I have for you today. Keep your head up and make this week an awesome one! Keep making those calls to your representatives and making your voice heard during this tumultuous time in this country! Don’t be afraid to make office visits too!

Stop limiting yourself to what you THINK you know you can accomplish. You’ll surprise yourself with what you can handle.

– Black Man, M.D.

New Year, Harder Hustle.

First things first.

I would like to wish each of you a

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

We all had both great moments and terrible moments last year, but through it all we were all able to not only learn from them, but grow from them as well. 2016 was a hell of a year in many different aspects. Best believe, 2017 will be a new year full of opportunities and further growth! Whether you plan on working on a new resolution or continuing to further improve on an already existing resolution, the arrival of the new year is definitely a wonderful and convenient checkpoint that is available for your usage. As for me, I’m using this checkpoint to not only improve on existing resolutions that I established for myself long ago, but to also double-down my efforts on school, for there is going to be quite a number of unusual challenges coming my way this year. From studying & taking the Step 1 exam to transitioning from second-year to third-year, I’m absolutely certain that I’ll be much busier than I have been in recent memory. However, the challenges that will surely present themselves to me this year will only serve to solidify my faith and strength as well as my determination in reaching the goals that I’ve set for myself. With patience, perseverance, and positive vibes, I’m sure that I’ll be able to handle any circumstances that may come my way and that I’ll be able to make the best out of them in order to further evolve into a better version of myself. You have the power to overcome the challenges that may run into you as well! As long as you can conceive it and believe it, you can absolutely achieve it!

With classes starting back up in a couple of days, it’s only right that I recap how the rest of my break went. It has actually been an awesome week! Ever since I wrote to you last Sunday, I’ve done quite a bit of travelling. As a matter of fact, I’ve been on an airplane on three separate occasions within this past week. And after leaving from Atlanta tomorrow, it’ll be four times. I’ve definitely set a new record for myself with that lol.

I spent the rest of Christmas Day with my family, cousins and close family friends, playing card games, FIFA and catching up with them throughout the night. We also had a pretty filling dinner! It was almost like a sequel to Thanksgiving Dinner! The next morning, I left home and drove to Greensboro, NC in order to catch a flight to Atlanta to spend some time with my girlfriend and her family. I’ve been straight up chillin’ since I got here, and have been continuously blessed with good food and company, just like I was back at home with my own family. I watched a good amount of football, Food Network (didn’t have much of a say in that), and Netflix, as well as hit up Lenox mall and the movies to watch Fences, starring both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. I then had to catch a flight last Thursday afternoon to Miami in order to attend a wedding that one of my fraternity brothers invited me to. I had only been to one wedding before, so I wasn’t really sure of what to expect. It turned out to be a really great time! It was a small, outdoor wedding and it was actually quite breezy. The reception was really fun too, and both the bride and groom looked ecstatic the whole time. I had a blast catching up with my brothers and am honored to have been able to attend the wedding ceremony. I flew back to ATL yesterday morning for New Years’ and went out to dinner with my girlfriend and her family at this all-you-can-eat Italian restaurant called Maggiano’s. Soon after that, I brought in the New Year with her, some of her sorority sisters, and some old friends that I hadn’t seen in quite a while. I then woke up this morning, praised God, and am now here typing this post. Like I said before, it has been an awesome week. I just have today and tomorrow left until I start up the never-ending grind again, but I’m ready for it. Could I use another week or two of break? Well, yeah. Of course I could. But beggars can’t be choosers right? So if I gotta suit up and get back to grinding on this Renal pathology, then so be it! Better to be mentally prepared for the grind than to be dreading it…POSITIVE VIBES PEOPLE!!!

I hope you all brought the New Year in a safe and fun way and that you start it off on a high note! Here’s to a blessed and prosperous 2017!

“Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening now.” – Paulo Coelho

– Black Man, M.D.

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.

Family Time

Well…

Week 2 of summer vacation has been just as relaxing as Week 1 was.

I could get used to this. 😎

My week back home in VA was comforting, to say the least. I spent a good amount of time with my siblings, who were all ready to play some Monopoly as soon as I got back home. (I started running the game after a slow start and knocked out a few people….but then the dice turned on me and I literally landed either in jail or on one of my brother’s overpriced-ass hotels every time I rolled. I turned into a broke boy with mortgaged properties before my brother ruthlessly slayed me. 😐) I also played a ton of FIFA with my youngest brother and beat him a few times. Unfortunately for my pride, he beat me more than a few times….and he talked hella trash throughout each game. Lol, I wanted to slap him with the back of my hand man. He really has finally hit my level in the one game that I used to consistently crush him in when he was younger. I played a couple of one-on-one basketball games with this same boy and with another crushing blow to my pride, he beat me both times. (We did have a one-point difference with our second game tho…) In my defense, this boy is about 6’1 and balls routinely. I also do admit I’m trash at hooping. 😅 It’s just wild to see my little brothers not only grow into young adults, but to also beat me in things that I used to destroy them in. SMH.

Most of my siblings and I also went laser tagging with some cousins and friends, mostly because I’m a big kid at heart and really wanted to go. That was a ton of fun! And I can’t forget about being able to go to my baby sister’s Student of the Month ice cream celebration that she was so excited for me to come to; she really was happy that I came to her school for that. 😊 I got to spend some quality time with my parents as well. I found it pretty freakin’ cool that I could talk with both of my parents about medical things now that I’ve finished my first year. My dad and I were talking about a number of different drugs on various occasions throughout my stay at home while I was able to assist my mom with a case in some of her doctorate level work. Oh, and the free homemade dinners made by my mom and one of my sisters were soooo clutch. Can never take free food for granted these days man.

Good times, good times.

You really can’t replace family man.

One more thing, I was asked by one of my former optometrists (who actually also keeps up with this blog, shoutout to her!) to visit her and her family when I got in town. So I did along with my brother (not the youngest one) and she introduced me to her stepdaughter who is currently in college and is deciding on what health track she wants to pursue. We all ended up talking for a couple of hours about the possibilities she could pursue, about what medical school was like, how her classes are treating her, and much more. It eventually became clear that she likes dentistry more than any of the other options she has, so she may be checking your teeth out at some point in the future! You better be flossing up! I was real happy to be able to talk with her and to help her in some way with her decision. I was even more touched that my optometrist reached out to me to do so. She even provided Wingstop for lunch! What a kind, kind woman. 😄

So now I’m back in Miami, geared up and ready to start this Motivation summer program. We’re checking in the students today and will officially start the program with Orientation tomorrow. I’ve been looking forward to meeting these twenty-three students and I’m sure that they’ve been looking forward to starting this program for a while now. Time to see what these students are made of! 😈

Hope that you have a brilliant week! Positive vibes over negative vibes!

“The more you are thankful, the more you attract things to be thankful for.”

– Black Man, M.D.

Christel Wekon-Kemeni, (1/4) M.D.

*sniff*  *sniff*

Aye, you smell that?

*sniff*

What does it smell like? You can’t tell?

*sniff*  *sniff*

I’ll tell you what it smells like.

It’s the sweet, sweet, sweeeeeeet smell of THE END OF MY FIRST YEAR OF MED SCHOOL!!!

You know what that means? If you couldn’t tell from this post’s title, it means that I’m 25% of the way towards obtaining my medical degree! (Let’s not think about the other 75% in the way right now) 25%! That’s half of a half! That’s equivalent to a huge piece of some warm apple pie! That’s a quarter of a dollar bruh!

I’m getting the feeling that you get the idea 😅.

It’s pretty cool saying that I’m a second-year student now, mostly because I’m now one step above being on the bottom of the totem pole lol. The personal growth that I’ve gone thru this past year has been quite an experience. It’s also been interesting watching all of my classmates expand their knowledge base throughout the year. It’s hard to believe (and quite hilarious) that there was a time when most of us couldn’t clearly tell the difference between sympathetic and parasympathetic innervation 😂. What I’m really looking forward to this upcoming fall is helping out the incoming first-years and being able to provide them calming & positive vibes whenever the stress of school begins to try and creep up on them. But like I said in my last post, I’m very ecstatic about this much-needed break from lectures and exams this summer. Having the time to do things that don’t require me preparing for a looming exam is becoming more and more of a foreign concept to me…truthfully, it’ll feel a little weird not having to study for an exam for a while. I ain’t complaining though. I’ll be happy to find things to do that doesn’t involve studying. Plus, it’s not like I won’t be keeping myself busy with the Motivation pre-med summer program that I’m helping out with. By the way, I almost forgot just how HOT & HUMID it gets down here in Miami during the summer…

Soooo remember that third Neuroscience test I told you about on my last post? The one that I had a good feeling about before I took it? Yeah, the one that had questions about Xanax and whatnot on it. Turns out that my performance on that test was the best performance I’ve had on any subject test thus far! Not only did I hit my personal goal for the year, I also actually beat the average score in my class for once! I think the last time that happened was at some point in Anatomy or something. If you didn’t already know, I’m in a class full of geniuses. So yeah, although it’s not one of my main goals, it’s nice to see that I’m able to beat the average every once in a (long) while. As for the ethics test (more like quiz) I took last Monday, it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was 20 questions and most of the questions had multiple answers that we could pick. Most of it was pretty much common sense and a couple questions were based specifically on some of the readings assigned to us. *sigh* It pains me because this class has so much potential to be better…and I’m not a fan of these quizzes. But that’s neither here nor there. Moving right along. I finished my year up with the cumulative 160-question Neuroscience exam on Friday. That was A LOT of questions to click thru. However, the vast majority of the questions were much clearer than the questions we’ve been getting on the previous three Neuroscience exams. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that these questions weren’t written by our professors…anyways, the exam wasn’t too bad. But like I said, it took forever to get through. After submitting my exam, the first thing I wanted to do was jump in the air and click my heels. Knowing myself tho, I would 1) look like a damn fool and 2) pull a muscle in my leg and/or trip and bust my lip open. Ain’t no one got time for that. So I proceeded to be normal by saying bye to a few people in the school and taking my happy tail on home. Overall, I feel like I finished the year off with a BANG, which is all I could have asked for.

Ahhh Summer ’16, Summer ’16.

You’re finally here.

So much to look forward to in the upcoming weeks. You surely will NOT be wasted. Gotta enjoy your presence to the fullest since it’s my last summer break and all…

Go on and start your week on a prosperous note! ✌🏾

If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you’ll see obstacles.

– Wayne Dyer

– Black Man, M.D.

 

What A Week

Aiiiiiight…..so this material for Neuroscience Exam #2 is starting to stack up on a youngin’.

We’ve had three weeks of lectures (23 lectures to be exact), and we have another 10 coming up this week. And our test is next Monday. We’re gonna be tested on material that encompasses all 33 lectures.

So with all that said the real question is how did I end up back in Miami this weekend? Lol I can’t seem to stay away from this place…plus my girlfriend and I are doing what we can to make this long-distance thing work. In order to be down here however, I had to grind hella hard last week and make sure I was on top of my studies at all times…which meant locking myself in my apartment and enjoying the company of general anesthesia, traumatic brain injuries, epilepsy, movement disorders, anticonvulsants, yeah you get the idea. So I’m happy to say that I’m all caught up in terms of lecture material, but I’m by no means comfortable for this test yet. ESPECIALLY after the fiasco that was last exam a.k.a. the first test on the brain that I tested my brain on. Ever since then, I’ve been searching for ways to study smarter while at the same time studying harder (Idk how much harder I can study 😩) and have also been making sure to look at the things that the professors told us not to worry about because as you are well aware, we “didn’t have to worry” about drugs for last test….aaaannnd we all know what happened with that. 😐 Gotta keep my guard up. At the end of the day though, if I’m passing then I’m passing. Being able to comfortably apply the material that I’m learning to the USMLE Step 1 exam and to patient encounters in the future is more important to me than getting a high score on these exams in front of me today.

I know I said I locked myself in my apartment this past week to stay caught up, but I also had to leave at times for my mandatory afternoon class sessions. We also had a mandatory lecture one morning where we not only learned from a neurologist about what different movement disorders looked like, but also witnessed what the terrible condition of Huntington’s disease looked like in real-life. One of the neurologist’s patients came in to talk to us about what life was like with the condition and showed us what she could and couldn’t do because of her affliction. Fortunately, she’s still in the early stages of it so she’s able to drive when it’s not raining and she can still do daily activities by herself, but she’s had a very hard life ever since being diagnosed with Huntington’s. Because the disease is genetic, she was forced to witness her mother succumb to it…so sadly, she has the dreadful knowledge of what’s next to come for her. But through it all she’s been trying to maintain a positive attitude about life, which was evident with her interaction with us. She was joking around and making light of her condition, but also strongly desired to be saved from her suffering. Huntington’s is a terrible, terrible disease man.

In my clinical skills class, we’ve been learning how to conduct a neurological exam. It consists of the set of maneuvers your doctor makes you do whenever you go to a checkup. You know, where you follow his/her finger, resist his/her force, walk in a straight line, etc. After practicing the maneuvers with classmates, it’s been confirmed that I don’t have a patellar reflex…😅. That’s where your leg is supposed to kick out after being tapped on the patellar tendon at the knee. Both my class facilitator and another doctor didn’t believe me and banged on my knee endlessly to make it work, but they got nothing. So if any of you out there happen to not have a patellar reflex, don’t worry. We’re in this together. In the same class, we talked about how different it is to talk to older patients as opposed to middle-aged and younger patients. We had a discussion about how ageism is subconsciously reinforced throughout the healthcare setting due to the fact that most of the elderly people we encounter are typically frail or sick in some way, shape or form. Because of that, healthcare professionals and students make the assumption that an elderly patient will need to be accommodated in some shape or form, so they either dread interacting with them or end up treating the elderly patient like a kid that doesn’t understand certain things. Adding to that, the healthcare professional or student will typically consult one of the patient’s family members or friends instead of directly interviewing the elderly patient. All of this leads to a good amount of frustration from a number of elderly patients and thus negatively impacts the doctor-patient relationship between them as a whole. I believe it’s important to not only interact with elderly patients the same way you interact with other patients but also to realize that older patients have lived lives full of experiences up to the point that you met them. Disregarding them as old, frail people that are hard of hearing and are lost in their own world is just wrong. Some elderly people may even be in much better physical and/or mental shape then the younger doctors that treat them. Funny huh?

And last but not least, we discussed the topic of allocating health resources to certain patients that need them in my medical ethics class this past week and the agonizing decision-making that goes into allocating these resources. As a matter of fact, we took it a step further and actually played a game called “Who gets to live?” where my small-group class served as an allocating committee and chose which three out of five patients would receive dialysis. Our choices were based on various factors of the patients’ lives that were given to us one at a time. We were given the patients’ marital status, age and # of children at first and were forced to make a decision on who would receive dialysis and who would die. After that initial decision, we were then slowly exposed to their salary/insured status, occupation, comorbidities and race/ethnicity and we had to make decisions each time we were given a new factor of their life. It was agonizing man. I literally felt like I was allowing people to live while sentencing others to death based on my judgment of their life….which is exactly what I was doing. While playing this “game”, I felt like each of us were creating some kind of “value” or “worth” for the patients we were deciding on, whether it be social worth, economic worth, etc. It had me thinking seriously about how this actually used to occur in real life before funding was passed to allow dialysis for anyone that needed it. I couldn’t imagine having to be on a committee that decided who would perish simply because there weren’t enough resources to go around. When it came to race/ethnicity, my group unanimously agreed that race shouldn’t be a factor in choosing who got to live. But then one of our facilitators brought up the point of “restorative justice”, describing that one could argue that race/ethnicity should be considered when you take into account that some people in certain groups (ex. African-Americans) were simply born into the condition they were in due to social injustices and the environment they grew up in that reflects those said injustices. The foods these people eat and the habits they pick up would be a direct reflection of how they were raised/the environment they grew up in, which in turn could influence their long-term health. She really knows how to keep us thinking man. This session was, without a doubt, the most fun/interactive one we’ve had all year. If each ethics session was structured in a similar way this one was, I feel like it would be a MUCH more popular class.

I sure left you with a good amount to read this time around lol. Definitely made up for last week’s post…

Hope you have an extraordinary week!

Pressure can burst pipes and create diamonds. Only you can decide what it will do to you.

– 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.

Back To The Grind

Annnnnd just like that, spring break is over.

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Time to get back to the grind. I may feel refreshed and prepared to start this new block of material waiting ahead for me, but that doesn’t mean that I want to start. I wouldn’t be mad if we were handed another week off from school, but that’s just me. But alas, I’m back from my fun-filled vacation in Miami and have no choice but to accept what’s ahead of me. As I said last week, I have no idea what to expect…which is probably why the school is making us attend a mandatory ‘Intro to Neuroscience’ lecture tomorrow morning. Can’t be mad though because it starts at 10 AM, which is golden.

I have a feeling that Neuroscience will be just as intriguing as it will be difficult, but after over seven months of rafting through the raging waters of med school, I feel that I’ll be ready to tackle just about anything thrown at me. I lowkey wouldn’t be surprised if we start getting flashbacks from the head & neck section of anatomy during this block. I’m moreso excited to learn about the clinical aspects of Neuroscience such as stroke, depression, personality disorders, and anxiety. I’m also looking forward to learning how different drugs interact with the brain and exploring the mechanisms that produce the clinical results that we’re all familiar with. I’ve always been interested in things like that, to the extent where I would go on Wikipedia as a high school/college student and look up all kinds of mechanisms only to find myself completely lost thanks to my then-limited knowledge of the body. So to sum it up, I’m definitely looking forward to what this block has to offer even if it just looks like a hazy mist of uncertainty right now.

Well I don’t have much to say beyond that right now. My previous post was probably my longest post yet, so I don’t feel too bad about cutting this one short. I had an awesome spring break catching up with many old friends, spending time with my girlfriend, appreciating the warmth of South Florida, going to the beach for the first time in in almost ten months, marveling at the palm trees, partying, sleeping, etc, etc, etc. I almost feel like this will be my last spring break since I’ll be getting ready for Step 1 around this time next year…

However as long as I keep the quote below in mind, I feel that I’m gonna be alright.

 

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” – Marcus Aurelius

 

 

– Black Man, M.D.

 

P.S. I have no idea how I ended up on the Wake Forest School of Medicine site, or how this picture was taken…I don’t even remember a camera being in the room 😅

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Life After Anatomy

Ayyyyeeee!!!

Guess who blazed thru his Anatomy CUMULATIVE final exam?

Guess who doesn’t have to mindlessly memorize muscle groups and innervations anymore?

Guess who has (slightly) more free time now?

 

THIS GUY!!!


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Ain’t no more Anatomy bihhh!!!

After almost 13 grueling weeks of learning the intricacies and wonders of the human body, I can finally say that I’ve completed my first major milestone of medical school. After taking five demanding anatomy exams, I feel like I’ve finally gained a grasp of what to expect moving forward in my adventure at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. It’s a pretty glorious feeling. Knowing that I’ve sucessfully completed a subject that many people fear coming into medical school makes me feel like I’ve achieved something momentous. More importantly, I hope it proves to those that haven’t experienced anatomy yet that passing and getting a decent grade in it is FAR from impossible. In my opinion, if you can make it to medical school then you automatically have a very high chance of passing anatomy. It’s a tough adjustment for sure, but if the admissions team selected you at their medical school in the first place, then they probably had a good feeling that you could handle anatomy, not to mention the demanding nature of medical school as a whole.

Which brings me to my next point. Life after anatomy. Finishing anatomy feels awesome, but that’s just the beginning of this journey. I now have to tackle Cellular & Subcellular Processes (CSP) for the next three months, which include Biochemistry, Pathology, Molecular Biology/Medical Genetics, Pharmacology, Microbiology & Immunology.

As a matter of fact, they actually thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and start biochemistry the day after the final anatomy exam. They must not know who I am. They cwwwazy if they thought I would go to class only to sit and have my eyes glaze over as they drone on about material I could watch online and learn on my own. Thank God for recorded lectures. (Shoutout to the Tegrity heroes of our class, y’all know who you are 😉).  I had to go ahead and start my Thanksgiving break a week early, y’all already know I needed to leave country-ass Winston-Salem for a little bit. I simply couldn’t take two exams and start a block of new material in a single week…that’s just ridiculous to me. If they won’t give me the breaks I want, I’ll make my own damn breaks. Who gon’ stop me?

I also finally got to talk to my assigned ophthalmologist mentor and he told me now that anatomy is over, I should begin supplementing my studies with Step 1 materials. Not really the words I wanted to hear. Honestly, I didn’t want to have to think about that crucial exam right now seeing that I’m taking it in the spring of 2017. But if it is going to be the one test that pretty much determines my future, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to start investing some time (and money) into it as early as possible. He was so gung-ho about getting a great score on Step 1 though…like I asked him about summer research and volunteer work and he just said, “depends on how you’re feeling with your Step 1 studies.” I hate that one test can single-handedly limit my options as to the type of doctor I would like to be. With the fact that you can only take it once and that there are specific cutoff scores for different specialties at different residency locations, it looks like it’s going to be a hell of a lot more annoying than the MCAT. That’s just great.

You see, this is why I needed to unofficially extend my Thanksgiving break.

I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to come back to Miami for a few days before flying back home in a couple of days. It has been awesome to surprise old friends down here with a visit and to catch up with them on life. I even ran into a number of people that have told me that they actually keep up with this blog and love it! That warmed my heart up. 😄 It’s good to see that pretty much everyone I’ve talked to is doing pretty well and are keeping their eyes on their respective goals. By the way, I want to give a huge shoutout to Tau Rho for bringing in their new line Friday night, y’all hella deep now lol.  Special shoutout to the #12 too, you know who you are 😉. It’s also been nice to look at all the palm trees and to walk around UM’s campus again. I don’t miss the ridiculous traffic here though, or the strangling humidity. I know that people can’t drive down here, but it still surprised me how much bull I’ve seen on the streets so far in the few days I’ve been here. Smh. Anyhow, I’ve really missed it here…but we all gotta grow up and expand our comfort zones right?

Well, I’m going to continue enjoying this break and each of y’all out there should do the same! Happy early Thanksgiving to each of you! And to those of you that don’t necessarily celebrate Thanksgiving, feel free to still stuff your face with food! And to those of you that got money to blow, have fun Black Friday shopping!

– Black Man, M.D.