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.

 

Home Stretch!

So the time has finally come.

It’s the LAST week of my first year as a medical student.

Wow. Just wow.

It’s been a long time coming, that’s for sure. Summer break is literally less than a week away and I couldn’t be more ecstatic! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a good time this school year and have had fun learning everything I’ve learned. Spending countless hours studying the dense school material that I’ve been fortunate enough to study while getting comfortable with the city of Winston-Salem and the people that make it up has really helped me evolve from a fresh college graduate to a young and budding professional. It’s amazing what can happen in just a year. However, everyone needs a break once in a while. This summer is going to provide me that much-needed break and will also allow me to get all charged up for next year’s experiences. Plus, I’ll be afforded a change in scenery and will get the chance to meet and interact with young pre-meds that are aspiring to enter the medical field someday. What more can I ask for? It’s sad that this summer will be the last full summer break I’ll ever have…but then again, I learned last summer that I don’t really need ten full weeks of doing nothing. I honestly get very restless after sitting around for a week or two. So although it’ll feel strange knowing that I’ll never have a typical summer vacation again, I feel that I’m ready to accept this change in my life. Yeah yeah I know, I’m crazy. But do I actually have a choice as whether to accept it or not? I’m gonna have to accept it eventually…so I choose to accept the reality of the situation now rather than later. I actually will have “summer breaks” in the future, but they’ll be substantially shorter. They’ll be like a week or two long. So, yeah.

But before this summer starts, I need to power through these last two exams first. 😐

The first one is our short ethics exam tomorrow (that no one really cares about because it doesn’t make much sense to have a multiple-choice exam on a topic as broad as this…and if they’re insistent on an exam then they should just prepare us for the ethics portion of Step 1, not question us on the 100-or-so readings that were assigned to us over the past few months…this class could be designed so much better but that just my humble opinion 😊) and the second one is our cumulative Neuroscience final exam on Friday that’s sure to have almost 200 questions on it. They’re hell-bent on making us earn our summer break, I swear lol. On a brighter note, I did just take my third Neuroscience exam a couple of days ago and I think it went well overall. At the very least, I felt that I got many more questions right than wrong. There were 108 questions and they dealt mainly with psychiatric conditions as well as with the drugs used to treat them. Relatively speaking, I felt more comfortable going into this exam than I did for the first two Neuroscience exams because the material was easier to digest and it felt much more practical to everyday life. I could also relate some of the drugs we learned about in this section to pop culture. For example, “Poppin’ a Xan” = Taking a Xanax, which is the brand name for Alprazolam, a benzodiazepine used for anxiety reduction and relaxation. So next time you listen to “Xanny Family” or just about any other Future song out there, you can smirk to yourself and feel good about knowing that a Xanax is a benzodiazepine. Future probably can’t even spell benzodiazepine. (By the way, mixing Xanax and alcohol is NOT A GOOD IDEA. Don’t let these rappers outchea fool you.) Another fun fact: Purple drank/Dirty Sprite is a mix of promethazine & codeine, which is an antihistamine and a weak opiate, respectively. You probably already knew that this concoction is cough syrup and that people that drink this for fun end up ingesting much higher amounts than what’s recommended. Drinking this chronically (like Lil’ Wayne does) can lead to a physical dependence on it and can cause withdrawal effects when you try to quit. Also, mixing alcohol and dirty sprite is NEVER A GOOD IDEA either. Moral of the story: Just say no to drugs kiddos.

Being able to relate the drugs that I was learning about this section to everyday life has definitely made learning them more bearable. Also, SketchyMedical is the truth. That program really helped me in organizing all the drugs and in remembering their names. Thank God for SketchyMedical. All in all, I’m ready to wrap up the Neuroscience block and to start playing around with all the free time that’s waiting for me after Friday’s test. Speaking of, I actually have to start packing for the summer…*siiiigh*. I really hate packing.

Before I wrap this up and go about my day, let me just tell you about this SNMA banquet that’s about to happen later on tonight. It was designed to celebrate the achievements of the 4th years that were involved in the Student National Medical Association during their time here at Wake. I’m especially excited about it because I was one of the banquet chairs that was responsible in making this event happen 😁. Both me and my partner-in-crime (the other banquet chair) have been working with Student Affairs in getting the banquet organized by helping with the program booklets, serving as liaisons between the Student Affairs office & the students, helping with food choices, acquiring the gifts for the graduating 4th years, etc. I can’t wait to see the end result of all our work tonight! Hopefully the 4th years love their gifts! Plus we’ve invited Dr. William T. Grimes, M.D. to serve as the banquet speaker. He was the first African-American graduate of this medical school, graduating back in 1972. I’ll personally be looking forward to hearing what he has to say. Can’t believe the banquet is actually happening tonight…it has always felt like one of those things that was in the distant future. But here we are!

Okay I’m done. Hope your week is an impressive one!

Being positive doesn’t mean you don’t ever have negative thoughts. It just means you don’t let those thoughts control your life.

– Black Man, M.D.

I See Freedom Around The Corner

I want to start off my post by wishing all the amazing mothers out there a

Happy Mothers’ Day!!!

You Africans out there know what’s good! Sweeet Mooothaaaa!!!

Being a mother is a very difficult 24/7 job that hands out no paychecks, but it’s one of the most precious jobs that we have in our society. I know firsthand how hard my own mother has worked all these years in raising me & my clan of siblings…it wasn’t easy. At all. So I appreciate her strength and sacrifices each and every day. I once told her that I would never know how to pay her back to show how much I appreciated her…she told me to finish school, become a doctor, look after my siblings and to buy her a Mercedes-Benz for her and my dad so that they can ride all around Cameroon when they retire. Guess I gotta follow through now huh? 😂 If you’re fortunate enough to have someone you can call your mother, please value her and try not to take everything she does for granted. More likely than not, she has made tremendous sacrifices for you that you may or may not know about.

As for me, I feel like I just wrote my previous post a couple of days ago. This past week really flew on by. Now I just have a couple more days of lecture and three tests standing in my way between now and the end of my first year! Gotta power on through to the finish line! I knocked out my last Clinical Skills exam of the year last week and I gotta say, I’ve come a hell of a long way from my very first one back in October. I couldn’t even take a proper HPI (History of Present Illness) back then…now I can breeze through the entire interview (HPI, Review of Systems, Past Medical History, Family History, Social History, Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual History) with relative comfort. 😁 I handled my interview during my exam pretty well and managed to remember most of the components of the Neurological physical exam too. It was a lot to remember man. I actually almost ran out of time (45 minutes) for once lol. I did forget to do a few minor things, and had a hiccup when I forgot how to turn on the fundoscope 😂😂😂. A fundoscope is a handheld instrument that you can use to look into the back of a person’s eye (the retina). I stood there in the dimly lit room for almost 30 seconds trying to turn on the light on that freakin’ thing while trying to dissolve any awkwardness by maintaining a conversation with my standardized patient. I never did figure out how to turn it on on my own. My grader, who was on the other side of the one-sided glass/mirror, had to speak through the microphone to tell me to hit the switch on the wall the fundoscope was connected to in order to turn it on….😅. Boy did I feel stupid. Overall, I felt pretty comfortable with the patient encounter and my grader told me that I did a very good job! So that means that I can basically be your doctor…..just don’t come to me when you actually get sick or hurt. All I’m gonna do is take a history and maybe a physical exam then look at you like:

Lol, but seriously, don’t call me for any medical questions or advice. I’m not the one 😂. I’m just a med student tryna make it, go and get your actual doctor on the phone.

Remember that one ophthalmologist I talked about back in January in my Knowledge is Power post? The one who I went to have a meeting with in his office and ended up having me ask my questions to him in the operating room where he was operating on the retina of a newborn baby? Well I ended up shadowing him again a couple of days ago, and all I can say is that this man is a BOSS. I spent all morning with him power walking (And I thought that I walked fast…) around the clinic to see patients and to watch him give eye injections to certain patients. We must have seen about 25-30 patients in that short time period…it felt like we saw 60.While he was attending to each patient, he was doing like 10 other things, not to mention informing me of what he was doing and answering my questions as the morning went on. He was extremely busy, but what really struck me was how calm and collected he was throughout the whole morning. It was obvious to each patient that he was very busy, but they were all pleased with the time he spent with them because he never rushed the patient and he made sure to answer any questions the patient may have had. We even spent about 25 minutes with one elderly patient who was worried about getting an eye injection that she needed. She was actually 98 years old, but she looked like she was just hitting 70! She was walking on her own and everything too! Black don’t crack y’all lol. It took her niece, her son on the phone and the doctor to finally convince her to go through with the treatment. Throughout it all, the doctor never rushed anyone although he was starting to really fall behind schedule. So that just meant more power walking for us after he finished with that patient. All in all, it was a fabulous experience and I can really see myself doing what he was doing in the future.

That’s all I gotta say today. Make sure to have a wonderful Mother’s Day and a sensational week!

“A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected.” – Amy Rees Anderson

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. Congratulations to all of you that are graduating from college this month! A special congrats to the Class of 2016 from the University of Miami!!! I wish I could have been there to watch you all walk the stage! It’s wild to think that I graduated from there on this date a year ago…

Beginning Of The End

Dude…

I only have three weeks left until I finish my first year of med school.

This is crazy yo. I’ll literally be a second-year student by the end of this month! It’s exciting and a bit spooky at the same time. Time is only moving forward. I’m getting older. More responsibility will be placed on me. I’ll be taking Step 1 soon. There will be new first-years in a few months.

Wow.

It’s just weird because it’s one of those things that you always know it’s coming but you always tell yourself it’s in the far future, you know? Like, I knew first-year would eventually end, but I always thought about it as ending “sometime later in the future”. Well that “later” is three short weeks away. At the end of the day though, I feel ready to move on up in the medical school totem pole. I’ve been at the bottom long enough. I won’t lie tho, I’ll miss both the naiveness as well as the relative comfortability of first-year. I’ll also miss having minimal responsibilities outside of studying and volunteering. Ah well, c’est la vie.

Now about my second Neuroscience test I took last week…that ish was looong! We had 3 hours and 40 minutes to answer 129 questions. I haven’t taken a test that long in quite a while. Now some of those questions were simple and straightforward (bless those professors that picked those questions) but others were unnecessarily difficult. But I expected that…some professors never fail to pick ridiculous questions. Turns out that six questions on the test happened to be bonus questions and several others were dropped. Thing that gets me is, why do ridiculous questions continue to be picked on these exams? Some of these questions don’t have to be that hard man…but then again, I’m not about to complain that we got free points lol. Shiiii, if you wanna keep picking bad questions and dropping them/making them bonus points, be my guest. I left the test overall feeling better about it then I felt about my first test, but you never know with these kind of exams. I got my grade back a couple of days later and I can happily say that it was one of my better performances of the year. 😊 Guess I was doing something right in the four weeks leading up to the exam! I also believe that my confidence was well-placed. I wasn’t cocky or anything, but I was comfortable enough to control my performance on the test and not let anxiety take over me. Gotta believe in yourself to achieve success!

Speaking of anxiety, this section of material we’re currently in is mainly based in psychology. So far, we’ve talked about personality disorders, anxiety + drugs to deal with anxiety, learning theory, mood disorders, psychotherapy and somatoform disorders. We have several other interesting topics to touch on in the near future, including but not limited to, childhood development, antidepressants, eating disorders, alcohol and marijuana usage. Turns out my psychology minor is being put to good use after all 😎. This section has been so straightforward so far and easy to digest. Plus, it’s very interesting. Too bad our next block test is next Friday. And that we have a medical ethics final the Monday after that. And that I have a clinical skills test (my fourth CPX) this Wednesday. And that we have a cumulative Neuroscience test the Friday after next.

In other news, I had my last CCL (Case-Centered Learning) class last Tuesday! 😭😭😭 That was one of my favorite classes this year because it was such a cool concept and my facilitators & group members were sooo chill. I was here thinking that we would have the same CCL facilitators and groups next year but it turns out that they’re changing up the course in ways I have no knowledge of yet. One of the doctors even brought us bananas and some good-ass homemade peanut-butter/chocolate brownies for our last day! Mannn ima miss them. Also, I learned what a Seder dinner was last week and even participated in one with a bunch of my classmates for the first time. For those of you not familiar, Seder is an annual Jewish ritual feast that celebrates the beginning of Passover. It was filled with songs, stories, food, some really good (& a little too sweet) red wine, and fellowship. It was cool that the school funded something like this; it definitely helped me further appreciate a culture that was outside of my own, which I believe was the overall reason that the school helped fund it. Understanding where different people come from and what rituals they practice in their culture or religion is not only instrumental in being an effective physician, but is also a cornerstone in destroying ignorance in the world while promoting unity in humankind. Plus, it’s fun to expose yourself to things that you aren’t familiar with! I guarantee that you’ll learn many new things that you were unaware of before.

Well that’s all folks! Be sure to have a dazzling week!

No matter where you are in life, celebrate it. It’s either a product of your growth or a place that will help you grow. – Unknown

– Black Man, M.D.

 

Shaking Up The Status Quo

WELLLLLPPP….it’s about that time again.

I’m taking my oh-so-lovely 2nd Neuro exam in less than 24 hours. (Testing My Brain On A Test On The Brain…..Take #2!) I want to believe I’m ready for it, but I also felt ready before the last exam I took and I ended up being left pretty bamboozled, to say the least. However, I now have a better feeling of what kind of questions to expect going into this upcoming test and I feel like I’ve been studying harder/smarter than I did for the first exam. Plus, I’ve prepared myself the best I could to handle any potential foolery that may be thrown at me during the test. Sooo even though I may have been hoodwinked last time,  I won’t let it negatively impact the way I approach this exam tomorrow. I honestly do believe I’m ready. I’m also ready to get it over with in order to move on to the next section of material, and to the end of the semester in general. Confidence is key y’all. Without it, you’ve already lost. Believe it to achieve it!

A few days ago during dinner, I got the pleasure to listen to Dr. Manisha Sharma speak on what it’s like to be a family medicine doctor that practices social medicine (social, not socialized) while engaging in “disruptive healthcare”. She defined “disruptive healthcare” as innovations in healthcare that challenge the status quo in the establishment and make quality healthcare more attainable and affordable to all. I’m so glad I decided to attend the talk. She was freakin’ awesome y’all. And hilarious. Coming from the Bronx, she described herself as a Puerto Rican girl trapped in an Indian girl’s body. 😂 It was a small amount of us there listening to her speak, but she took advantage of that by engaging all of us, making it an intimate conversation. She even took the chance of trying to learn each of our names (she said my name right…ON THE FIRST TRY!). It was, by far, one of the best talks I’ve been to since I’ve been here. After having dinner with some of the attendees, she began the conversation by telling us she never intended to be a doctor and was actually very interested in music, which really upset her Indian parents. They didn’t get any happier when she enrolled in music school after high school and got hired later on as a backup dancer for Prince. Yes, THE Prince (R.I.P.). She was all good until she was hit by a car in her early 20s by a careless driver, who childishly fled the scene. After going through surgery and racking up hospital bills, she learned that insurance wouldn’t cover her because a “3rd party was involved in the accident”. So here she was, a 22-year old music school graduate that could no longer dance, slapped with hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital bills because of a situation that wasn’t her fault. She said that’s when she started to get involved in health equity and in working to change how the healthcare industry worked. After some time, she realized that she would get further in her passion for health equity and policy change by becoming a doctor, so she enrolled at St. George’s University School of Medicine in the Caribbean, much to the delight of her parents. While she was there she became deeply passionate in getting to know the community surrounding her campus and she also became highly involved in community efforts by working heavily with Doctors for America. After finishing medical school, she took a break and focused on her work with Doctors for America (she was plugging hard for this organization lol), where she got the chance to even open up for President Obama at one point! She then completed her residency with a focus in Social Medicine and is now in Maryland working with the Surgeon General on policy change while at the same time teaching classes at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and treating patients in an innovative & integrative patient-centered environment (google Iora Health). Didn’t I tell you she was freakin’ awesome?

Throughout the whole presentation, she talked about how important it was to not only network on a continuous basis, but to also have a sense of community responsibility, or in her own words, “street cred”. She developed “street cred” with her patients by actually living in the communities she served and by learning where the people in the community went in their everyday lives (churches, grocery stores, parks, etc.). She also made a huge point of talking WITH the patients you’re treating, not talking DOWN on them. Treating your patients with dignity and respect will cultivate an environment of trust and will further build up your “street cred”. Another thing she stressed on was how crucial the “why” was when it comes to doing your job. She repeatedly stated that she has been able to successfully do everything she’s done so far by focusing on why she’s doing it all. Her passion truly guides her as well as drives her. What impressed me even more about her presentation (how is that even possible) was that although her PowerPoint was full of random & simple pictures, she was able to connect each of those pictures to her overall presentation in personal ways, which made her presentation all the more entertaining. She has a very powerful way of expressing her beliefs…she had me captivated throughout the whole presentation, even with the cold she had! Boooyyy she really made a career in Family Medicine sound good. Because Family Medicine is so flexible, she’s been free to pursue her passion of health equity in various ways. She keeps herself busy, but it’s very obvious that she loves what she does. I’m still riding strong for Ophthalmology, but like I’ve said before, I’m keeping my options open…

Okay lemme stop typing in wondrous awe and actually review some more for my test tomorrow. My ol’ 😍😍😍 lookin ahhh…

Have a blessed week! And remember, you gotta believe it to achieve it!

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

– 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.

Quick Talk

Okay, I’m keeping this post short because I lowkey have a busy week coming up that I have to adequately prepare for. Plus I don’t really have much to say today. 😅

I just got back from a great (and short) weekend spent with some undergrad fraternity brothers here in NC. Our weekend started in downtown Charlotte and we ended up driving up thru the state as time went by, making pit stops in Pleasant Grove, Burlington and Greensboro before I finally got dropped off today here in the good ol’ Dash city (Winston-Salem if you didn’t catch on). I probably have said this multiple times but it deserves to be said again; outside of the cities, North Carolina is country as fuhhhhh. Had a lot of fun with them boys tho…it was almost like we were in college again. Except the fact that we were in NC and not Miami. And that it was cold. And that I don’t know when I’ll see them again…

Schoolwise, we just finished our Population Epidemiology course for the year! It’s really not as exciting as I just made it sound but I figured it deserved to be said. However, it does serve as a reminder of how close I am to finishing my first year as a medical student. Crazy, just crazy. We’ve also been learning about how local anesthetics work, how the brain perceptualizes the environment around us and how it allows us to move on a regular basis. I’m telling you yo, the brain is freakin’ incredible. You most likely have no idea how much work goes into every single movement you make. From running a 5K to simply getting out of bed each morning, your brain has a complex series of sequences it goes thru in order to perform the actions you want to perform. And these sequences happen very quickly at all times via the basal ganglia, the cerebellum, the brainstem, motor neurons, etc. Sheesh. It’s incredible how much we take our bodies for granted on a daily basis. Learning everything I’m learning just continues to appreciate the astounding marvel that is the human body.

Kept it short, just like I promised. Now go on and make your week a phenomenal one!

 

  In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years!

President Abraham Lincoln

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S: In regards to the test I was annoyed about last week, we actually ended up getting credit for the dropped questions if we answered them correctly after some back and forth with the course director. So I got myself a few more points. 😎 Still got a lower grade than my first Anatomy exam….but by only .10 of a point thooo!

It Doesn’t Have To Be So Complicated…

First off, that test I took last Monday was some bull. Like, sheeeeesh! I felt betrayed while I was taking it man. Like I said last week, I was feeling pretty confident last Sunday night and that confidence carried over into the testing room on Monday morning. I had my coffee on one side, water on the other, and some Winterfresh gum to help keep me alert. I was ready. I started the test with Question 1 and blazed thru it. Got to Question 2 and wasn’t too sure about it, so I answered it but also marked it for later review. Then I proceeded to blaze through the next few questions and I felt like I was on a roll…until I arrived at question 11. The question was worded in what I felt was a tricky way and it looked as if there could be more than one answer. That’s when the haze started to set in. I ended up marking that question, but then I hit another question a couple minutes later that I had to mark because I didn’t even recognize half the answers. This “marking for review” trend was starting to unsettle me quite a bit. I prodded on thru the test…but then I hit question 25 and my mouth dropped. I had distinctly remembered being told that we didn’t have to worry about knowing specific drugs for this test, but yet I was looking at a question stem asking for a specific drug to treat a specific condition. Boyyyyy was I livid. I think I smacked my teeth a bit louder than I meant to after reading the question. So, of course, I marked it and even left a comment for the Neuroscience director about it, which is something I hardly even do. Most of the rest of the test proved to be an uphill battle. I think I started to truly realize how hard the test was when I got to question 35 or so and I had already used up an hour of my time. Not to mention the sighs of frustration from my fellow classmates that kept piercing the silence in the room and the number of times I smacked my teeth throughout the hour. I continued to press on and would breathe a sigh of relief whenever I got to a small stretch of what I thought were easy questions. But then I would get slammed with another stretch of tough questions. It was as if the professors were trying to make the questions as difficult as they could. Smh. After I finished answering all the questions, I painfully realized that I had marked about a quarter of my test and that I had about 45 minutes left. I then looked around the room and realized about three-quarters of the room was still full, which was unheard of. So I went back and checked each of those questions again and after about 30 minutes I had about 12 marked questions. I took one last rapid run-through all my questions and with 45 seconds left to spare, I submitted my exam. Even then, there were still about 20 or so people in the room when I ended up leaving. That just goes to show how unnecessarily difficult that damn test was.

Even so, I still thought that I did pretty decent and was sure I passed it. So I went about the rest of my day kind of annoyed, but content I was finished with that exam. I also watched Deadpool that night, which was freakin’ HILARIOUS by the way. We proceeded to learn new material the next couple of days, but in the back of my mind I was very curious to see how I actually performed on that test. We got our scores back two days after the exam and I opened my email to see how I did. My eyes popped when I saw my score. I had passed, but did not do anywhere near as good as I thought I had. As a matter of fact, the grade I got was worse than my first Anatomy exam…and that’s saying something. Even the average for the class (80%) was much lower than normal, and the standard deviation was 8 points. Like, c’mon man! I was mostly annoyed because I knew that I knew the material well, but the test was just unnecessarily difficult. Shiiii I’m still annoyed. What annoys me even more is that although they dropped a few questions, the people that actually got those questions right didn’t even get any points for it. I got two dropped questions right and was awarded nothing. Arrghhh. I kept my calm throughout the rest of the week, but I was lowkey feeling like:

But hey at this point, I’m just glad I passed. Even after going through all of that, I still like this block. I ended up reviewing my test and I had missed both hard questions and “easy” questions that I thought for sure I had gotten right. Best believe I took major notes. Guess I just need to study both harder as well as smarter for the rest of this block. They say the next test is gonna be easier…but I don’t trust ’em no more. Who’s to say Young Metro does? 👀👀👀

Okay I’m done venting. On a lighter note, we learned about the eye this past week, which if you didn’t already know, is one of my favorite structures of the body. We only spent a day on it, but we went over the anatomy of it, the physiology of the different parts of the eye (cornea, lens, retina, etc.) and went into even further detail about how vision works. I’m having a great time learning about all that. 😊 We also learned about hearing and balance the very next day and about dizziness the day after that. It looks like they’re already trying to stuff us with an insane amount of knowledge for this next test…but what’s new?

This past weekend was also Second Look weekend here at Wake. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Second Look is an opportunity for the students that have already been accepted at a medical school to literally check out the school a second time to see if they truly want to attend that institution. It also gives the school another chance to reel in the prospective students and to persuade them to attend the school. So with that said, I got to meet a good number of students that have already been accepted here and I had a pretty great weekend hanging out with them. Some of them have also already decided to come here for next year, which is great! I personally never got the chance to attend Second Look, because I didn’t even get accepted here till later 😅…so I was especially curious to see how it all worked.

 

Aiiiiight I’m done. Have a spectacular week!

 

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

– 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.

Perspectives.

There was so much emotion around me.

Laughs.

Screams.

Tears.

Jumps of joy.

Hugs.

Kisses. 

It was the day that all medical students across the nation work tirelessly for; a day that determines our future and indisputably seals our fate. Match Day. The fourth years all around me had matched in various specialties in a number of schools around the nation. Most of them matched in the specialty they desired and matched to a school that was within the top 3 choices on their list. It was fantastic to witness all of my 4th year friends finally receive the opportunity to become something that they’ve put an insane amount of hours towards; something that very few people in the world get a chance to be; something that gives them the incredible ability to heal;

A physician.

I was at the Match Day ceremony for maybe 30 minutes max, but all I needed was 5 minutes to fully absorb the magnitude of what was happening around me. In those 5 minutes, I saw with my own eyes what the result of this taxing medical school life will be. In three short years, I’ll be celebrating with my class about our incredible achievement and the fact that our hard work will allow us to secure a stable job & lifestyle that we can keep for the rest of our lives. It was definitely reassuring to witness with my own eyes the light that is waiting for me at the end of this challenging journey. Sure, we all are going to be worked off our ass during our residencies, but at least we’ll be getting paid doing what we love right?

Now that I’m here talking about my future, I’m reminded of what lies ahead of me between now and Match Day of 2019. Second year classes, the USMLE Step 1 Exam *rolling my eyes*, my clinical years where I’m literally paying the school to work me, etc. It looks like an uphill battle…but getting in this position from college was an uphill battle in itself and I’m here aren’t I? I’ve also heard multiple times from different people about how things just get worse from first-year…as well as how much things get better from here. I guess it’s just a matter of perspective. Hell, I’m just happy to be here. I personally plan on maintaining the positive attitude that has gotten me this far. Call me naive if you want, but at least I’m content. 😁

Speaking of being content, I was recently elected to serve on the Ophthalmology Interest Group E-board here as well as on the SNMA E-board as the Community Service Co-Chair! I’m looking forward to working in those positions because both of those organizations have a considerable amount of value to me. They’ll also give me something to do that doesn’t involve me studying for the exams that never stop coming, which I really appreciate. So there’s that.

There’s one more thing I want to add. We’ve been learning all about stroke this past week in class and one of our professors actually had a stroke patient come in to talk to us about what life is like after having one. He had suffered from one a few years ago while doing the simple task of walking a dog with his loved one. Because of his stroke, he can’t see anything in his right visual field, he had to attend physical therapy for an extended period of time in order to relearn how to walk, he’s had to relearn his alphabet and how to do simple math, and he has to concentrate extra hard to process information in a regular conversation. However, he was pretty upbeat and willing to talk and joke around with us about his perspective with the disability. It was a very fascinating conversation. He really helped to put a human face on a topic that we’ve been laboring over for the past week and I feel that he also helped to inspire a number of us in the class to continue working hard towards understanding the intricacies of the brain. It’s scary to think about how sudden a stroke can present itself…it makes me want to get a CT scan of my head and look for any abnormalities. Someone once told me that med school can turn you into a hypochondriac…I’m finally starting to see what they meant by that. 😰

Alright, that’s all of my reflections for today. Go on and have a stupendous week!

Oh yeah, shoutout to all the upsets that have occurred since March Madness started. Y’all never fail to destroy the brackets I work so hard to perfect. 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place. – Nora Roberts

– Black Man, M.D.