Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Forty-five days lie between me and my Step One Board Exam. The Step One. But is it really my first step? Is it only a step? It’s beginning to feel more like a hop, skip, and a jump. Of course, I’ve taken many steps, some towards open doorways, some towards closed ones, and some towards paths where I had to fashion my own door out of a neatly framed window. With all the endless locating and relocating I’ve done in the past couple years, I feel like life is just one giant terminal, and we’re all just perpetually loitering until our next lift. While we wait, we’re inclined look into the future, and somehow that makes our present tense a little more homely and agreeable. But if you’re not wary, the past can sneak up on you, like a closet crammed with all the things you no longer have room for in your day-to-day life, springing open and saturating you with memories and mementos.
My Alma Mater

My Alma Mater

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An Ode to Grenada

In what could be one of the greatest satirical pieces of work, Catch-22, Joseph Heller once wrote:

What is a country? A country is a piece of land surrounded on all sides by boundaries, usually unnatural. Englishmen are dying for England, Americans are dying for America, Germans are dying for Germany, Russians are dying for Russia. There are now fifty or sixty countries fighting in this war. Surely so many countries can’t all be worth dying for.”

Heller was right. Surely, all countries cannot be worth dying for. Only those countries you choose to regard as your own. I wasn’t born in Grenada, but a part of me is certainly alive because of this island. Some might even argue it’s the most important part: the piece that nourishes your what-ifs and gives substance to your wishful thinking. On the night of my own departure, as I try to test out my own wings from the land that’s served as my nesting grounds on-and-off for the past several years, will I ever deem Grenada as my own

Some of my favorite shots of campus:

Only time can tell what Grenada will become to me as I continue my life elsewhere: a pit stop, a detour, or a makeshift home? Even more, what will I become to Grenada? An honorary citizen, or merely a temporary dweller, holding as much fondness for each other as a midnight traveler to a dingy motel room. Was Grenada merely a means to an end, or did it define a bigger purpose? All I know is that when I moved to a different country four years ago, nothing was harder than saying hello for the first time. As those years started turning into hours, it got even harder to say goodbye for the final time.  Continue reading

Listen and Learn

Medical school is life-changing. Tell me something I don’t know. But the change that we all speak about occurs more in an evolutionary manner than a creationist-infused, divine poof! However, there are still a handful of  singular moments that I attribute to modifying how I view not only myself but this entire process of shaping future physicians. My own transformative moment last term culminated with a simple command: Auscultate the anterior chest.

Our 3-credit Clinical and Physical Diagnosis (CPD) course is a glorified title for what we actually do: playing doctor. As you can guess, this is far from using your Playskool doctor kit and treating yet another case of life-threatening cooties. This was a different kind of play-time: we really had to be as proficient as, if not better, than the actors we see playing doctors on television, without the excess dramatics, of course. Every now and then we had graded practice sessions which encompassed each member in a group selecting a different prompt from an envelope and performing the task correctly on a fake patient. Mine involved listening correctly to my patient’s chest. Continue reading

M1 to M2: The Transition

It doesn’t take long to figure out that your first year of medical school really just serves to be one big tease. Your curiosity as a medical enthusiast for the irregular and deformed isn’t satiated until the start of your second year. However, you can’t really understand or appreciate the irregularities that come with disease until you grasp the normal. So the first 9 months of medicine, you whet your appetite by learning epithelium after epithelium, pathway after pathway, and anatomical landmark after landmark with a minimal mention of defects. It’s standard procedure, but it can get frustrating. I mean, what are we doing in medicine anyway if it’s not to learn why the hell the diagnosis on House is never lupus. Continue reading