Full Speed Ahead!

Alright, I’m back from my week-long Thanksgiving break and am ready to cruise right on through the last two weeks of my Psychiatry experience! Then after that comes my Neurology rotation, where I’ll be working for two weeks before shimmying right into my two-week-long winter break!

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This is such a great time of the year because I always come from Thanksgiving break refreshed and ready to take on anything in my path, only to get to some rest again after powering through my work like a madman for about a month lol. Plus, everything is so festive and delightful! Only thing that irritates me during this time of the year is the cold weather that just keeps getting colder as we march into the winter months. It’s times like this where I miss the wonderful, comfortable “winter” weather of Miami. But on the other hand, the holiday season always feels more authentic to me when you can actually see your breath while walking outside! Ain’t nothing like sitting on your living room couch all snuggled up in warm pajamas with some hot chocolate in between your hands and flashy holiday decorations set up all around you as the snow drizzles outside your frosted window. (Try saying that whole run-on sentence in one breath. Bet you can’t…..and if you did, I’m still taking pleasure in the fact that I just made you talk out aloud to yourself. Hehehehe)

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Just take a second to appreciate the beauty of this deliciousness. Makes you want some right now huh? Yeah, me too 😓

Overall, I had a very restful and moderately productive break! I spent some of it with my girlfriend and the rest of it with my family and friends back at home. As always, it was a bunch of laughs, catching up, good food, FIFA and Monopoly all bundled up together in a week of fun. The Thanksgiving feast was amazing, to say the least! I cannot emphasize enough on how CLUTCH free, homemade food is man. I swear food tastes so much better when it’s free 😂. I also am proud of the fact that I got through a good amount of study questions during the break, something I told myself that I was going to do during the break but wasn’t sure if I would stick to it. I’m so glad I stuck to the plan because it only makes my life easier as I kick everything back into full gear in order to perform to the best of my ability on next Friday’s shelf exam!

Oh and one other thing before I wrap up this short post. I finally had the chance to help give a presentation to local high school students about the process of successfully getting from high school to medical school/any other health-related grad schools! As of late, I’ve been facilitating the execution of this outreach program (WCBD Ambassador Program, created by the White Coats, Black Doctors organization) here at Wake and have been setting up times for students to go to local schools in order to talk with the kids there. I hadn’t been able to go give a presentation yet because of my schedule but with the break last week, I finally had the opportunity to do so. It was a great discussion! The high school students were being interactive (although it took some effort on our part at first) and they had some excellent questions to ask us about our own experiences regarding the process of getting to where we currently are in our lives. It really was refreshing to share some useful knowledge that I take for granted with these kids and it forced me to put the experiences in my life so far into perspective, something that I recommend people do every once in a while. The teacher emailed me later on to tell me that the kids were talking about us and our presentation after we left and were excited that we came to talk to them! It was so dope to hear that! If we could help positively influence and inspire at least one person during our presentation, my trip from Chapel Hill back to Winston just to give the presentation would have been totally worth it.

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I hope that your Thanksgiving was a fulfilling and memorable one, and that you didn’t spend all your savings on Black Friday shopping! Have a fantastic week! And be sure to remain thankful for everything that you have in your life, as well as for the things that you don’t have that you wouldn’t want! 😊🙏

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” – Alphonse Karr

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Yeah yeah, I know Miami’s winning streak just got snapped and all…but we still going to the ACC Championship this upcoming weekend!! We just gotta beat Clemson now, and our season can still (hopefully) be saved! Best believe I’ll be at the championship game cheering on my ‘Canes!!

Mind Trip

You know, if I was asked to describe what I thought about my Psychiatry experience so far in one word, the word I would use is peculiar. I would use this word because it essentially describes not only the patient population I dealt with this past week, but my interactions with them as well. As a matter of fact, I’ve had some of the most peculiar moments of my medical school experience within this past week. Although I had learned all about various personality disorders and mental illnesses in the past, I had never really seen any of them in real life until now.

Witnessing people with conditions such as schizophrenia, mania, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder in real life was just as interesting as it was bizarre. I had to keep reminding myself that I was in a Psychiatric ward whenever I interacted with my patients because they acted so abnormally. I had a patient who literally screamed at me in anger at one point, but then had a cheerful conversation with me about ten minutes later.

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There was another patient who was pleasant to chat with, but was also actively hearing voices in her head at the same time.

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And let me not forget about the person who seemed to be disgusted with me from the moment I met her and made it hard for me to help care for her until her last day when she suddenly warmed up to me and actually laughed with me at one point.

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These are just a few of the many strange encounters that I experienced while on the inpatient adult Psychiatric unit this week. Although I was dealing with people who could prove to be very unpredictable at times, I never really felt unsafe or bothered. If anything, I was quite perplexed as to how these patients ended up the way they were. But there were times where I did get annoyed about how the patients were acting towards my team and I, and those were the moments that I really needed to remember that I was in a psychiatric ward.

Because the patients here usually had more control over their own fates than the kids in the Child Psych unit did, we were able to do more for them than we could do for the latter, which made the experience a less depressing one overall. It was also cool to see how the patients on the unit were able to participate in group therapy, where they were encouraged to create and execute their own goals daily just like the kids in the Psych unit were able to a couple of weeks ago. And last but not least, I can’t forget about how awesome my team was! We ended up having a great time with each other, and the residents were so thankful for having us medical students there to help out because according to them, it was a rougher week than usual on the unit. I totally believe them…some of the patients did not make it easy for us to do our jobs lol. Overall, I had quite an interesting time while on this unit.

Whenever I wasn’t directly participating in patient care, I was either studying shelf-related material or attending lectures on topics that included antidepressants, psychotherapy, psychosis and opiate addiction. I even randomly attended a dinner presentation on financial investements on my own volition, because learning about money is also important! Some of the takeaway points I could appreciate from these lectures included: questioning why certain treatment protocols exist and determining where they come from, putting more emphasis & focus on the positive qualities of patients while interacting with them as opposed to strictly focusing on the problems that they have, and being more aware about the financial options that I have when it comes to investing for my future. Each of these takeaway points are things that I plan on making more of an effort to become better at as time goes on!

With this past week over, I’m now halfway done with this rotation! In addition, I get a whole week off for Thanksgiving! I’m SO going to take advantage of this time off and spend the majority of it with my family. I hope that you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and that you remain thankful for the blessings that you have in your life!

“Train your mind to see the good in everything. Positivity is a choice. The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.” – Unknown

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – MIAMI IS 10-0!! WE STILL UNDEFEATED BABY!!!

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Eye of the Hurricane

Thanksgiving break was very much needed man. Especially after those two monster exams last Monday and Tuesday.

Being at home stress-free with family and friends while enjoying an almost endless supply of free homemade food has simply been fantastic. I had to have gained about five pounds or so this weekend…I just haven’t stopped eating ever since Thursday night, where I ate so much that I was in mild physical pain by the end of the night 😅. You don’t understand though – when you’ve been eating PB&Js and an apple for dinner for almost a week straight because you don’t want to go to the store to buy anything to cook the week before Thanksgiving, you’ll want to eat everything on sight during Thanksgiving dinner too.

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My mom also is the G.O.A.T; she made me more food that I can take back to Winston with me! I’m not gonna starve for the next three weeks!

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Being home is always nice. You just don’t really appreciate what you have while growing up…everything is just free for the most part. Only when you leave home and have to start cooking for yourself/paying bills & rent/doing everything that used to be done for you when you were a kid, do you realize how much you were blessed with while growing up. Sigh…such is life. I had a good time playing good ol’ FIFA and Monopoly though, and just hanging out with old friends and family in general. The time flew by so fast though…can’t believe I already have to drive back to Winston to start this week-long block of Dermatology. Yeah you heard me right, week-long block. Which means we start with an intro to Dermatology tomorrow morning and end with our Derm block exam this Friday afternoon. This also means that we have about 20 different lectures to digest between tomorrow and Friday.

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Yeahhh…I’m just gonna go ahead and assume that I’ll be in the books all week. Hopefully this block isn’t crazy intense with information or anything. And after this week, we’ll be starting the “oh-so-dreaded” block of Renal. Guess I’ll finally get to experience why Renal is so feared and whatnot. That should be fun.

I guess I should wrap this up and start heading back to Winston now. I got a busy week ahead of me that includes studying, taking this Dermatology exam, participating on a pre-med panel, meetings, volunteering and helping set up a glaucoma screening training session called Sight Savers. Gotta love the grind.

I hope your Thanksgiving was both amazing and fulfilling! Have a great start to your week!

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Upgraded to the iPhone 7 a couple days ago, and got 128 GB of space with it. No more having to constantly make space in my 16 GB iPhone 5s lol. I WISH my phone WOULD tell me I’m out of space now.

Keep Ya Head Up

So I’m STILL not over the results of the election.

To tell the truth, there’s a very high chance I’ll never be over what happened less than two weeks ago. The aftermath has been even worse with Trump picking extreme people for his cabinet who could completely halt and reverse the progress that we’ve made in this country. Don’t even get me started on the increased incidence of hate crimes that have been taking place around this country. There was even an incident at the Starbucks I used to go to frequently on the University of Miami campus! There’s a lot of crazy things going on in the nation, and it makes me sick. I can’t even go on social media or watch the news anymore without feeling anger rise within me. It’s really disheartening and ridiculous to see the hate and foolishness that we’ve been witnessing on a daily basis. Like, why was First Lady Michelle Obama called an “ape in heels” and perceived to be “fluent in ghetto” this past week?  It’s as if people harboring these ignorant values feel like they can finally come in the daylight and show everyone how racist they really are. It’s so pathetic and infuriating at the same time. I hate having to sit here and helplessly watch all this go on while having to continuously study for upcoming exams. I feel like I need to be helping make some kind of effective impact against these dangerously ignorant beliefs that goes farther than calling state senators, marching in the streets and posting things on social media…but it’s almost as if Trump and all his supporters will keep doing whatever they want, regardless of how over half of America feels about it. It feels like such an uphill struggle but like I said before, I refuse to sit back and feel useless. If Trump, Pence and the fools in the Republican party that support them want to try and make this country worse, they’re not about to do it without heavy resistance. We gonna fight back as hard as we can for as long as we can to make Trump’s presidency a living hell for him.

Aside from all that, I took both my GI block exam on Thursday and my MAPS (medical ethics) exam on Friday. And I now have my cumulative Heme/Onc & Cardiology final exam tomorrow, along with my cumulative Pulmonology & GI exam on Tuesday.

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I feel like I did well on the GI block exam, even though I was feeling physically sick throughout the exam. I was feeling nauseous and my stomach was not cooperating with me. Go figure. I WOULD be the guy feeling nauseous while taking a test on the Gastrointestinal system. We got an email the next day saying that everyone passed the exam, so that further confirmed my feelings about how I felt about my performance. The 20-question MAPS exam on Friday was okay. You never really know with medical ethics, especially with those questions where you feel that there are multiple right answers. In preparation for these last two massive tests coming up for me, I’ve been studying relentlessly in order to try and remember everything I’ve learned since August, and it’s been pretty torturesome to say the least. I’ve just been hitting main points and praying, because I feel like it’s just honestly futile to try and re-learn everything I learned in the past already in three days. I’m just gonna be doing practice questions up until I take these exams. I just wanna be done with all this and go home for Thanksgiving break! I’m sooo close, yet sooo far…

Speaking of, I attended two awesome Thanksgiving dinners that some of my friends were hosting last night. It was a wonderful study break, and I had some of the best dinner that I’ve had in weeks haha. Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches were REALLY getting old 😅. I relearned how to play Spades (don’t you dare judge me), caught up with people I hadn’t seen in a while and played an intense game of Taboo. Good times, good times. I really can’t wait to get home and spend some quality time with family!

But first, I gotta power through these practice questions.

Y’all stay up and stay blessed!

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela

– Black Man, M.D.

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.

Being Thankful in a Crazy World

I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to take a break from school than I am now.

Sure growing up, I loved Thanksgiving, winter and summer breaks, but this is very different. I feel like I need this break coming up. I’m mentally exhausted and I feel like I need to leave this area for a little bit…I’ve been here since July. I need to see my family and friends again, and I just need to interact with people that aren’t just going to talk about school 24/7. Anatomy has worn me the hell out, and I still got this final CUMULATIVE exam that I have to take on Wednesday. Sheesh. I just took my fourth anatomy exam two days ago and I’m still recovering from that block of material…but they wanna slap us with this BS knowing damn well most of us are gonna be looking at this final like:

I mean come on. Like, I tried to start reviewing stuff that I learned back in August, but then my eyes started glazing over after five minutes and now here I am typing out my latest post. I don’t know how on earth I’m going to even start reviewing all of anatomy in the next two-and-a-half days. I’ll probably just do a good amount of review questions and call it a day. I’m convincing myself I know all the material I need to know for the final, I just have to find it in my head lol. Also, I’m just happy to have gotten thru my fourth test, meaning that there are no more lab dissections (😄) and NO MORE PRACTICALS!!! Speaking of my previous test, I think that I did alright on it, but I don’t know if I topped my third test. A lotta people were telling me that this test, which tested the upper and lower limbs, was going to be easier than the third test (head & neck). Nahhhhh. This was probably just as hard as the third test in my opinion, because there was just SO much information thrown at us at once. Also, it didn’t help that our weeks leading up to this test were packed with extra afternoon sessions, which didn’t give me as much time to study for this test as I had for the third one. But whatever, I did my best on this one like on the other ones and I hope it shows when I get my grade back this week.

You know, I feel annoyed that I’m complaining about this final exam. Almost ashamed. I mean here I am acting like this final is the biggest burden of my life while kids in places like Syria are living in daily fear that either them or one of their loved ones will be permanently silenced by the inferno of an explosion or the deadly penetration of a bullet. Innocent lives are lost everyday for no reason and all I can do is sit here and watch. It reminds me that I’m so privileged and blessed to be where I am, doing what I’m doing and to have such a strong support system in my life. Sometimes I wonder how and why I ended up with the life I currently have and not as a young man of Muslim faith desperately seeking refuge, or a child somewhere in an impoverished region of an African country living on pennies a day. Or as a young farmer born in the isolated North Korea. Or as the son of a wealthy billionaire in California. Or as one of those brutally murdered in the recent, atrocious Paris attacks. Only God knows. The most I can do is accept where I am and help to provide healing and peace to the world, something I still don’t know how to do on a large scale. Crazy things happen in this world every day and I’ve become numb to a lot of it, but this recent massacre in Paris has been weighing on my mind as of late. After hearing about it Friday afternoon, I first thanked God that my family in Paris and in France were safe. Then I actually fell into a mini-depression the rest of the day. I was left wishing there was something I could do to prevent things like that or the Syrian Civil War from happening, and I’m sure that I’m not alone in feeling this way. Why can’t some people just see each other as people? Why can’t they recognize that we are all the same in that we are different, and as human beings we are united? Why do we have to discriminate against and negatively stereotype each other in order to make ourselves feel better? Why do some of us insist on turning this magnificent planet into a terrible world? Hell, why can’t we all just get along? It’s highly frustrating to me that a concept as simple as love cannot be universally realized in this world; a world that has already been sprouted from the roots of greed, insecurity and pride. Of course, there is plenty of good happening in the world, but it usually gets overshadowed by the widespread evil coursing through a good portion of the people that inhabit this planet.

But I’m most likely preaching to the choir here. I’m just rambling my current thoughts. There is really no point in adding my two cents to the many issues that we are all presently facing right now. I’m just another guy with another opinion. Opinions by themselves don’t do a damn thing. Actions are what catalyze change. I don’t know if the world will ever be peaceful and equal. Human nature just won’t allow it. But we can continue to work to get as close to that goal as we can. It pains me that the most I can do is pray for the current state of the world, but if that’s all I can currently do, I’ll pray my heart out.

Y’all be blessed and have an incredible week!

– Black Man, M.D.

We are all the same in that we are all different.

We are all the same in that we are all different.