Shattered Hope

Remember when I said last week that my experience in Psychiatry would surely be a unique one? Turns out I’ve been right so far. Like, VERRRY right. I knew that this rotation was going to be unlike any of the ones that I’ve experienced so far….but DAMN!

I definitely wasn’t fully prepared for what I saw this past week. Many of the patients who came in had such depressing and traumatizing stories, thus either creating their mental ilnesses or exacerbating the mental illnesses that they already had. What made it worse was that all the patients that we saw were under the age of 18! I literally couldn’t (and still can’t) believe the things that some of those kids had to go through. I can see how easy it would be to become very dispirited while working in a field such as inpatient Child Psychiatry. It’s some emotionally draining work man. Like, I only was on that service for a week and I found myself having to put more mental effort than usual into keeping my positive vibes up while trying to not become demoralized everytime I learned about a new patient’s story. It made me wonder just how people working in this field could function effectively on an everyday basis while living happy lives. I eventually realized that it all came down to using various forms of coping mechanisms. The members of my team must have learned how to utilize their own coping mechanisms successfully, because we were all still able to keep things light-hearted and have as good as a time as we could, given the serious nature of the conditions that we were treating.

Something else that I noticed while on this service this past week was the high level of interdisclipinary teamwork that occurred on an everyday basis. We worked very closely with not only the nursing staff, but also with the social workers and the PAs from the Emergency Room. Because of the fact that the vast majority of these young patients lived in the midst of dreary social situations, it was very necessary to have multiple realms of patient care involved, especially social work. As a matter of fact, it felt like just as much of our energy was geared towards trying to help improve the social conditions that the patients lived in as it was towards stabilizing the acute conditon(s) that these kids came in with in the first place. There were multiple family meetings that took place during the week and both the Department of Social Services & Child Protective Services were contacted on a regular basis. Having witnessed all of this, I can see how social aspects could make providing adequate care for this patient population frustrating, especially since it’s usually not the kid’s fault for being thrown into the situation that they’re trapped into. There’s only so much that medicine and social work can do in some of these situations. It was an eye-opening experience overall, and it really made me appreciate the life that I’ve been blessed to live so far. It has also given me all the more reason to appreciate the field of Psychiatry and the very important work that the people in this field of medicine do for their patients. However with all of that said, I’m not entirely sure if Psychiatry is necessarily for me. I still got a good three weeks to go though, so my mind is still open!

I’ll be working on the inpatient Adult Psychiatry service this week, which is quite of a big deal for me. Why is that, you may ask? Well if you think about it, I’ve been dealing with children exclusively for the past seven weeks….which means that I literally have not had an adult patient ever since ending my Ob/Gyn rotation back in September. Kinda trippy huh? To tell the truth, it’s going to be pretty strange having to transition back into adult care. It just won’t be the same. 😔

That’s pretty much all I have to share with you this week! And oh yeah, MIAMI IS 9-0 BABY!!! Last time that happened was back in the early 2000s! That UMiami-Notre Dame game last night was a spectacular sight, to say the least! We also clinched a spot in the ACC Championship game! Best believe I’m gonna be there rooting for the home team! 🙌

College Football GIF by Miami Hurricanes

Make sure to have an outstanding week!

“If you are feeling low or trampled, unappreciated or forgotten and you are reading this, realize it is an illusion. The hope is real, you are valued, and what lies ahead is brilliance.”Tom Althouse

– Black Man, M.D.

Christel Wekon-Kemeni, (5/8) M.D.

Yooo it just recently hit me that I’m 24 weeks into my third year, which means I’m at the halfway point of this school year!

shocked ellen degeneres GIF

That’s wild man! Unbelievable really. How’d I get to this point so fast, after only three rotations? (Internal Medicine – 12 weeks, Ob/Gyn – 6 weeks, Pediatrics – 6 weeks; duh, do the math Christel.) I’ve got five more to go, but all of them will now be four weeks each with the exception of Surgery, which will be an eight-week rotation. It’s going to be interesting to go through a four-week rotation for the first time…it was tough enough finding ways to study for a six-week one. And I can only imagine that these rotations coming up will go by even faster than the ones that I’ve already completed. Craaazyyy.

Now that I’ve got half of third-year behind me, I’ve officially leveled up to a “5/8” M.D. even though it’s not technically the end of the semester or anything. But then again, there really isn’t a such thing as a “semester” when it comes to third-year. Regardless, I’m a step even closer to attaining my medical degree after having finished the Pediatrics rotation that I thoroughly enjoyed. (I’m going to miss the lil’ kiddos 😔) I took my shelf exam this past Friday and although it was tough, I don’t think that it was as notoriously difficult as people made it seem. Then again, maybe these same people managed to make me nervous enough to prepare harder for it than I would have otherwise…because Lord knows I went Super Saiyan in preparing for this exam. I think I’ll be getting my score in the next couple of days, so we’ll see what’s really good once I get that. Soon after finishing up my test, I left NC for Miami to celebrate in my alma mater’s Homecoming festivities for the weekend. It was LIIITTT!!! I got to see a ton of old friends while showing my roommate a great time down there, and the football team showed the hell out with a very convincing win against VA Tech, making our record now 8-0! I couldn’t have asked for a better Homecoming experience! 😄😁😄

In order to be able to enjoy my dope weekend, I had to power through one final week of my Pediatric rotation, where I spent time in both the Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes clinics. There were a number of endocrinologic conditions that I had the opportunity to help manage while rotating through these clinics, and I was given a good amount of independence with handling the patients’ concerns. I even had a special moment with a patient’s father, who was both surprised and delighted to see me because I looked like him, dreadlocks and all. He had been nervous in coming to the clinic with his child and understood how his outward appearance could seem intimidating to some people. But by simply being present in the room, I had put him at ease immediately and he went on and on about how appreciative and proud he was to see someone like me in the position that I was in. It was very humbling to hear him say all of that without even knowing who I am!

Something else I appreciated during my week on that service was my interactions with my attendings. Because I was the only student they were working with, I received a lot of one-on-one time with them and they were very happy to work with me! We also had some wonderful conversations while waiting for patients to show up to their appointments. One of the convos I had with an attending focused on the importance of keeping an open mind while going through third year and fully taking in my experiences in each rotation by learning as much as I can. Although I had already realized the high importance of these mantras, something she said that I took into account was the fact that there will most likely be instances in the future where I’ll be using the knowledge that I’ll be acquiring throughout the year, regardless of what specialty I choose to go into. I can already hear the endless barrage of medical questions coming from neighbors, friends and family members in the near future. We also talked about how important it is to do what makes you happy to get up and go to work each day and how pretty much everyone is going to need a pediatrician at some point in their lives (that was her trying to sway me towards her field lol). I had similar conversations with other attendings as well as convos about the conditions of the patients and college football. Talking about football only worked to increase my excitement about my imminent trip!

excited arrested development GIF

There’s one more thing that I want to touch on before wrapping this post up. While at the diabetes clinic, I got the opportunity to interact with quite a few families with kids that had been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. As I talked with these patients, all I could think about was how tough it must be to have to deal with this medical condition…especially as a teenager. Like, it’s hard enough to be a teenager in the first place. Adding a chronic condition like diabetes to the mix does very little to help the adolescent experience. So with that said, it didn’t really surprise me when I met patients who weren’t compliant at all with their treatment regimen. Hell, I’d be pissed too if I had to, on an everyday basis, critically analyze what I ate in addition to doing several blood checks a day to monitor my sugar levels while most people around me got to live their lives freely. After all, besides from the fact that they had a dysfunctional pancreas that couldn’t pump out insulin, these were all normal, everyday kids who just wanted to fit in with their peers. God bless their hearts and the hearts of those of you who have to deal with Type 1 Diabetes or any other chronic conditions on a constant basis.

However, there were also patients who were very compliant with their treatment and who had a positive outlook on their life. They had come to the realization that although their situations were less than ideal, things could always be much worse. I truly commend them for their optimistic attitude and for just being grateful in general, because it surely isn’t easy living the lives that they live. I thought it was cool that the clinic provided materials such as cookbooks that were tailored to this patient population. I also was able to learn all about the gadgets that these kids use to give themselves insulin, and how their dosing schedules are set up throughout the day. Overall, my experience at the clinic made me even more aware of how fortunate I am to not have to deal with a lifelong chronic condition and provided a very important perspective that will influence my thoughts and actions throughout my career as a physician.

That’s all I got for you today! With another rotation down and my awesome Homecoming weekend complete, I’m ready to kick off my experience in Psychiatry! I’m sure that it’ll be quite a unique one…

Y’all be sure to have an invigorating week!

“A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things.” – Plato

– Black Man, M.D.

Christel Wekon-Kemeni, (1/2) M.D.

Boy does it feel good to see the “1/2” in front of the M.D. in my name.

I guess I’ve technically been a 1/2 M.D. ever since I took my Step exam, considering the fact that it was the monumental milestone that effectively ended my second year of medical school. All I’ve really been doing ever since then is going on vacations and attending third-year orientation sessions. So pretty much, I’ve been straight chillin’. But I found it fitting to officially call myself a 1/2 M.D. only after officially becoming a third-year med student, which to me meant completing all my orientation sessions. So here I am, a third-year medical student who has conquered both Step 1 and the required basic science coursework necessary to continue on to the clinical wards in order to begin my clinical rotations this week. Although I may be halfway done with my formal medical education (*GAAASSSPPP*), I sure don’t feel anywhere near ready to become a practicing physician. But I’m sure that all the looming long days in the hospital will work to effectively change that. Lol. Not really laughing though.

This past week was been an excellent one, to say the least! I started off my week at a day-long session on how to effectively use the Electronic Medical Record, which we had lowkey already went over the prior week. However, I did learn how to use the system a lot better this time around. It was still painfully boring though. The next day, I attended a Pharmacology lecture and was inundated with drugs and drug classes that we were expected to be familiar with once we got on the wards. Again, my eyes glazed over during this session. This ended up being the last session of third-year orientation, meaning that I was free to do whatever I wanted the rest of the week! Take a guess as to what I ended up doing? Yuuuuup, I was off to Miami for the last time in a long time in order to watch my girlfriend as well as my other close friends walk the stage for graduation! I flew out late Tuesday night and am just now returning to North Carolina after about five days of non-stop festivities. It was such a great time! As always, it was an absolute pleasure to link up with fraternity brothers, old friends, and my girlfriend + her family. I also haven’t had so much good, free food in such a long time! Shoutout to my girl’s parents for taking care of me the whole time I was in Miami! In between going to dinners, helping her pack her room up, going to graduation ceremonies, catching up with old friends, and trying to keep up with my emails, I was kept pretty busy the whole time and lost some precious sleep as a result lol. But it was an awesome and unforgettable time and I’m so thankful that I was able to attend UM’s graduation this year!

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With the completion of this trip unfortunately (or fortunately, depends on how you wanna look at it) comes the end of my post-Step vacation. It was an amazing vacation overall and am grateful that I was able to enjoy the whole experience. Now it’s finally time to apply the knowledge that I’ve accumulated over these past couple of years to real-life patients. Can’t believe that this time has finally come….I’m sure that it’s about to be a very interesting ride!

I hope that you have an outstanding week! Happy Mothers’ Day to all of you mothers out there, you are very much appreciated! And a huge congrats to everyone graduating from their respective institutions this month! You’re making all of your loved ones extremely proud!

“All the concepts about stepping out of your comfort zone mean nothing until you decide that your essential purpose, vision and goals are more important than your self-imposed limitations.” – Robert White

– Black Man, M.D.