Halfway thru Anatomy!

I can’t believe that I’m already halfway done with anatomy…

We literally started anatomy six weeks ago. The weeks have flown by like crazy…like I would go to sleep Monday night and before I knew it, I was waking up on Friday morning. But at the same time, I feel like our first day of anatomy (August 24) was a lifetime ago. Six weeks have passed but I feel like I’ve mentally aged about five years. It’s like I’m in some kind of time-warp shit, like I’m in the Matrix and I’m Neo. Or like I’m in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber for any DBZ fans out there.

Okay that sounds kinda stupid. Just know that it feels weird.

Although I have half of the anatomy block under my belt, I still have another six weeks to go…which means two more tests plus a final CUMULATIVE exam. 😀🔫 Oh yeah and the final exam is FIVE DAYS after my fourth exam. That’s just cold yo. But that’s another topic for another day. I’m finding that my least favorite part about anatomy (other than repeatedly figuring out that damn near half of the structures in anatomy has multiple names 😒)  is the fact that I always have to gear up for another brutal three weeks of a different region of the body right after taking a test for the previous topic the previous Friday. It sucks because my favorite part about anatomy is finishing up a body region and the free weekend I have right after taking a test. So it just ends up becoming a cycle of straight bull. Also, this upcoming region we’re about to delve into is the head & neck. Maannn do you know how much crap is in the head alone?? The fact that we have a whole test dedicated to just the head & neck is baffling. The brain damn near controls everything. I don’t even wanna think about all the little bones, muscles and NERVES that we’re going to have to memorize…

On a dimly brighter note, the test that I took on the abdomen/pelvic/perineum region this past Friday was not as tough as the one I took three weeks ago, in my opinion. Well at least the written portion wasn’t. The practical portion, where we have to identify structures in different cadavers and on CT scans/tissue samples/bones, wasn’t too pleasant this time around, just like last time. But I felt like I answered more questions confidently this time around on the written portion than I did on the first test. I was so shocked that I spent another 20 minutes going over each of the 123 questions I had to answer. It was also weird because a number of my peers felt that it was really hard and I usually tend to agree with them since I have already gotten used to getting my ass constantly handed to me in medical school. But it was different this time around. I don’t think the content got any easier, and the questioning style didn’t change much from the first test either. Maybe my no-stress strategy is actually working? Maybe I’m actually learning how to study smarter???

I must admit, I focused my attention much more on overall concepts like how nerves actually work and the routes of blood flow, specifically what arteries supply which organs. I also made myself think more in terms of spatial relationships, which I think really helped for this test. Regardless of how I feel about the test, I’ll find out how I really did sometime this week when I get my grade back. I could be talking up all this hype and end up finding out that I barely passed. That’s tends to be a trend in med school.

Another thing to look forward to this week is the Clinical Practice Assessment Exam we have to take. To put it simply, it’s an assessment of how well we can interview a patient and perform a physical examination on him/her. I find it pretty cool that Wake has us learning how to interact with patients early on in our first year. Problem is, ain’t no way in hell I’m ready to perform any type of physical exam on a patient. I still have trouble getting an accurate blood pressure…but thank God it’s not a graded exam this time around. It’s more of an assessment of what we need to work on, so I’m about to get hella constructive criticism by the doctors observing me. I’m cool with it though, because I really want to be the best doctor I can be which means I need to get the patient interview and physical exam down cold. It’s just crazy how hard it is to get the process right and I really don’t want to mess up even if this is a formative assessment. You would think talking to a patient was easy…turns out there is a whole interview technique that we learn to adopt when it comes to talking to a patient and my biggest problem is trying to remember to do everything in that technique while actively listening with empathy and not looking like I’m actually trying to remember what I’m supposed to say. I’ve had to really swallow my pride and allow myself to screw up during our clinical skills sessions, and I’ll have to keep doing so for a long time until I actually perfect this skill. I’ve never been graded in this way before, so it’s a whole new adjustment to me and I’m probably psyching myself out about it more than I need to. Idk, i just like getting things down fast, especially a skill that I absolutely need for my future profession.

But hey, every failure is a chance to improve right? As a matter of fact, now that I’m reflecting on my thoughts, I’m reminded of one of my mantras:

The greatest mistake in life is being too afraid to make one.

So with that said, I’ll stop complaining. I’ll be fine.

One last thought. I’m coming to dreadfully notice that the more things I learn in medical school, the more things I realize I don’t actually know. I’ve learned a ton of info, but I’m also finding that I’m only left with more questions. Even after anatomy is all over, I still won’t know how exactly everything works in unison, much less how to fix things when something in the body goes wrong. Hell, everything I’m learning in lecture is based off a perfect body…something nobody has. It’s amazing to see how many of us live our everyday lives without actually knowing what our bodies are made of and how our bodies really work. I’ve really began to appreciate the human body and all its wonders and I wish that everyone actually knew what their bodies were capable of. But then everyone would be studying medicine and in debt. That being said, I’m still very much grateful that Wake Forest gave me a chance to pursue my passion. As much as I may roll my eyes at country-ass Winston-Salem and at the fact that I study damn near 24/7, I’m very much glad and honored to be in the position I’m in. Many would give anything to be where I’m at and I realize that. That’s why I try to not complain whenever things aren’t going my way, even when everyone around me feels like throwing shade on their experiences here. Ultimately, I made a promise to myself a while ago that I will make the most of my blessing and do what I can to help those that want a chance to prove themselves in medical school or in any other profession get that chance.

Okay I’m done.

Hope y’all have an outstanding week! Y’all be blessed!

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S:  Black Man in a White Coat is really proving to be an interesting read!

Second Test, No Stress.

Can we talk about why everything in anatomy/medicine is SO hard to pronounce??

It’s like the scientists and doctors in years past just huddled together played the “How Hard Can You Make The Life Of Future Med Students” game. Brainstorming words like pancreaticoduodenal and ischiocavernosus and shiii…try saying preganglionic parasympathetic nerves five times fast. If you can, try saying it ten times fast while doing backflips, ya damn showoff. Lord already knows I pronounce regular words wrong all the time, now I gotta learn how to speak in medical language (PIG LATIN) without sounding illiterate. Smh. Whatever. I’ll be fine with sounding illiterate, I’m still gonna be a doctor lol.

But in other news, I’m finding it incredible that my brain is starting to get used to retaining a crazy amount of information at once. Like, I’m actually starting to learn how to study properly in medical school…or maybe just for anatomy. Although I kept my cool before my first exam a couple weeks ago, I was still pulling hairs out trying to figure out if I knew everything I needed to know. Now even with my second exam this Friday, I find myself strolling into anatomy lab everyday with a smile on my face. Maybe it’s confidence, maybe it’s the first signs of insanity. I don’t care. It’s either this or crying myself to sleep at night feeling like anatomy slapped me across my face.

I’m also amazed at the fact that I’m starting to make actual free time for myself during my marathon days of studying. Just last Friday, I went to a pregame, a party that the school threw for Homecoming and an after-party where I met Melissa Harris-Perry. Great times, great times. I’m also making time to volunteer for different organizations to help keep me involved in my new community. I started volunteering last week at a free clinic where I helped with vision tests and I’m going to start tutoring high-school kids in a couple weeks. Studying is vital to doing well in school, but I personally just can’t do that 24/7…I need to be doing other things to keep my mind fresh. It’s just how I’ve always operated. Plus I like to meet all kinds of people and learn how others see the world. Who knows, you could end up changing someone’s life for the better…or they could even end up changing yours. You’ll never know if you never put yourself out there.

Speaking of volunteering, I beginning to wonder what the hell I’m gonna do this upcoming summer. I don’t know if I should go abroad and help set up free clinics, stay in the country and do some ground-breaking research to try and get published, find a summer job and get some money, shadow doctors, chill and travel around, etc. People say it’s your last free summer, so I wanna make sure I spend it doing something I really want to do…but I have no idea what I want to do. I feel like I need to do something productive, which I have no problem doing…I just want to enjoy whatever it is I get myself into. I spent so much time and energy trying to get to medical school that I never thought about what I would actually be doing (other than studying) now that I’m here. I guess I got time to figure it out, but time is slick flying by. You’d be amazed at how fast you can make time pass by staring at notes and cutting up dead bodies in lab. Creepy as hell, but you get the point.

So yeah, back to this test on Friday…I plan on doing the best I can because that’s all you really can do in anatomy. Between the gastrointestinal system, the renal system, the anterior abdominal wall and the pelvic region, I’ve just come to the conclusion that I’ll never know every little detail by Friday…or ever. If I get the general concepts down cold, I’ll be able to make a good amount of educated guesses, which is what being a doctor is all about. No point in overly stressing myself out. Sooo I’m just gonna keep smiling, studying, and sending prayers up to God. 🙏

Positive Vibes!

– Black Man, M.D.