Rude Awakening

You know, it’s hilarious just how pumped and bright-eyed I ALWAYS seem to be right after a break from school, only to be brutally reminded about what’s really good when I get slammed with work to do as soon as my first week back starts. And I’m not even necessarily talking about the work I do in the hospital; yeah it was a very busy week and I was taking care of multiple patients with various neurologic conditions, but I’m used to all that. I’m more so talking about all the extraneous tasks I told myself that I had to complete within a certain time frame, getting my fourth-year schedule in order, having to study for the Shelf exam that I’m taking this Friday (I swear that test crept up on me SO fast), and finding the time (and energy) to do all of those things in the couple hours of free time I have each day after a 11+ hour shift at the hospital. Oh, and how can I forget about the oh-so-pleasant feeling of being SNATCHED out of sleep at 4:45 AM each morning? I was up and running on Monday morning with a pep in my step, but it only took until Tuesday morning for me to remember why waking up so early sucked so much. All I could do that morning was groan, lay there in bed for a couple of minutes, chuckle randomly, roll my eyes, take a deep breath and throw myself out of bed to start another day in my General Neurology inpatient week.

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The actual experience on the inpatient service was pretty dope, especially since everyone on my team were such great people! From the interns all the way up to the attendings, everyone was just so nice. There were plenty of good vibes to go around and I learned quite a bit through their fantastic teaching. We as a team also rounded on an interesting array of patients, some of which had rare enough conditions deserving of a case report. In addition, I was able to sit in on a family meeting with my team and further appreciate the humanity of this side of medicine. The time just seemed to fly by while in the hospital, especially in the mornings when we pre-rounded and rounded on patients before going off to lunch. My afternoons consisted of additional patient care, meetings and required lectures on multiple topics in neurology. I would leave around 5 PM each day and try to summon the strength to study and complete little tasks before eating dinner and crashing onto my bed…only to be abducted from my dreams again the next morning. Although the days were filled with long hours, the week seemed to fly by pretty quick overall!

Earlier, I mentioned having to get my fourth-year schedule in order. You may be like, “Wow, you’re scheduling your fourth-year already? Why? It’s only January!” Well yeah I agree, it is quite early. But then again, it’s not that early because if I’ve learned anything in med school, it’s that time literally flashes before your eyes on a constant basis. So with that said, some members of the current fourth-year class went out of their way to give us a presentation regarding fourth-year scheduling. God bless their hearts. Turns out that there is SO much that I have to figure out between now and the start of my final year of medical school in late May. This includes figuring out if I want to do away rotations or not, deciding which acting internships and ICU rotation I want to complete, what electives I want to take, what to do with my “flex” blocks, where I want to apply for residency, when I want to take both parts of Step 2 (I literally just registered this exam a couple days ago…here we go AGAIN 😒), who to ask for letters of recommendations, yadda, yadda, yadda. Decisions, decisions. And I gotta really start figuring this out sooner rather than later.

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Quite a bit of pressure, don’t you think? Luckily, I have a good amount of people to talk to, including an assigned career advising counselor, who can help me figure all of this out. And I’m most definitely going to be hitting them up, believe that.

Remember that meeting that I had to set up for my “Less Than Satisfactory” performance on the rapid-style CPX that I told you about back in my Stroke of Misfortune post? Well I finally had it a few days ago with the clinical skills course director and we talked about how I did and what I could do to improve my performance for the next CPX in May. The main thing that I need to work on is quickly coming up with an accurate assessment and plan while writing up the patient note in less than ten minutes. So with that said, I’ll be specifically focusing on that skill between now and May, because I’ll be damned if I can’t move onto fourth year due to another “Less Than Satisfactory” performance with some standardized patients. Also, I plan to ace the Step 2 Clinical Skills portion. Sooo yeah, I got some work to do in order to transform this temporary setback into a major comeback!

On that note, I’m gonna go ahead and sign off for today! Have a fantastic week and be sure to take some time to reflect on what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the rest of the civil rights activists sacrificed in order to make our lives and this country a better place! And wish me luck on this Neurology shelf exam! 😄

“If you can’t fly, then run: if you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

– Black Man, M.D.

Time Stops For No One

Welp, here we are again. The beginning of yet another rotation.

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I start my Neurology rotation tomorrow and judging by the email I received over the weekend regarding scheduling and the expectations of this new rotation, it’s going to be a really busy four weeks. Well, technically I’ll be in this clerkship for six weeks thanks to our two-week long Winter Break. So in all honesty, this rotation is going to be very manageable and I’ll have ample study time to dedicate to the upcoming shelf exam. However, in an interesting turn of events, the shelf exam isn’t worth as much in this rotation (only 10% of grade) as it usually is in the other ones (usually about 20-25%). Instead, there is apparently a quiz or set of quizzes based on lectures that will be given to us during the rotation that is worth 30% of our overall grade. Yeah you read that right.  THIRTY PERCENT!!! Why this is the case, I haven’t a clue. Kind of reminds me of the first couple of years of med school, with the lectures and tests and all. I guess I’ll have a better sense of what this strange curriculum is all about during Orientation tomorrow. I’m also going to be going back to a 6 AM starting time starting on Tuesday for the inpatient service this week…I literally haven’t started a shift at 6 AM since the beginning of October during my first week in Pediatrics. That’s going to be fun.

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But then I work in the outpatient setting next week, where I’ll be starting around 8 AM! And then I’ll go back to a 6 AM start time the week after break and then alternate yet again to an outpatient setting the final week of the rotation. So as you can see, there’s going to be quite a bit of hustle and bustle in these upcoming weeks. Hopefully I don’t show up in the wrong place at the wrong time at any point during the rotation! I’ve definitely done that before in the past, and it wasn’t a fun experience. 😅😂

The Psychiatry shelf exam I took this past Friday to finish up my Psych rotation wasn’t too bad of an exam overall, although it was a bit more challenging than I was expecting. Actually, let me rephrase that. There were some tough questions asked that seemed to have come from nowhere. Tough as in I would not have ever known to review that specific material, because it was random as hell. But for the vast majority of the test, I did feel adequately prepared and I ended up having a very generous amount of time leftover to review the few questions that gave me trouble. As for the week leading up to exam day, I spent it observing psychiatric interviews in the outpatient setting in the mornings and helping out in the Emergency Department in the afternoons/evenings. Both of those settings made way for some valuable learning experiences, and I was reminded about the fact that you just never know what people around you are going through on an everyday basis.

During one of the afternoons last week, my whole class had to attend a mandatory meeting in order to discuss what scheduling for fourth-year rotations, residency interviews and Step 2 is going to look like.

Wait a minute. Hollll’ up.

FOURTH year?!? Step TWO???

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Like, how?? I’ve just recently gotten the hang of the third-year lifestyle; ain’t no way in hell I’m ready for residency applications yet! And Step 1 may have been like eight months, but that doesn’t mean that I’m all gung-ho about taking another one of them marathon exams! I don’t even know when I should take Step 2 yet, but the time is already ticking to register for both the Clinical Knowledge and the Clinical Skills parts! 😰Thankfully, the true purpose of the meeting was to just make us aware about the timeline of events that will be taking place soon and was not intended to make us nervous or anything. Regardless, I am now acutely aware that time is starting to move a bit too fast for my liking…

Speaking of time moving fast, I’m going to go ahead and wrap up this post because I need to eat dinner and enjoy the rest of my night before diving headfirst into my next rotation. One quick sidenote before I finish though. Believe it or not, I saw the Nutcracker for the first time this past weekend! To be honest, I only went because my girlfriend wanted to see it, so I got us tickets as an early birthday present for her. I literally didn’t know it was a ballet until I was on the site about to purchase the tickets lol. The show definitely exceeded my expectations, and I didn’t realize how many Christmas anthems came from this one production! I was really impressed at the choreography of the dancers, and at just how well they synced with the music of the orchestra throughout the whole show. I didn’t think that I would ever appreciate a ballet as much as I did last night, but that’s exactly what happened. We then got some hot chocolate at a nearby bakery and “enjoyed” the winter wonderland that we were left with after this weekend’s snowfall.

Be sure to have a ravishing week! And get yourself ready for the holiday season! 😄😄😄

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

– Black Man, M.D.