Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Time for a vacation

Right about this time of year, I get cranky, tired, sleepy etc. And ready for a break. I think that 19 and counting years of education have got me programmed to living my life is chunks of terms/semesters. So right about now, Christmas vacation is looming in my head and in my body.

I wonder what life will be like outside Christmas vacation, spring break, summer vacations all set in semi-stone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


There's a Ghanaian proverb/saying- Sankofa. Which basically means that to move forward, you need to return to your roots. Or something like that. I'm interpreting it today to mean, that to continue to grow as a person, spiritually and emotionally, I need to look back and see how far God has brought me. This is not a post to congratulate myself and pat myself on the back. It's actually a critical post.

I remembered today, that God has never let me down. He's got my back and He's showed me that countless times and in different ways. So why I let fears and the need to be in control and impatience and a whole lot of other things distract me and cause all sorts of distress is baffling me. Why I persist in trying to run before God and trying to drag Him along, rather than to rest in Him and follow him is also baffling. And yet I do it. Time and time again. It has to stop.

So here's one way I hope learn and one thing I hope to change ASAP. I need to just relax and follow God and watch Him open doors, work miracles and basically take care of me. Not that I can take care of myself- and any idea that I can is simply an illusion. So, here's to learning how to rest and relax in God.

On the other hand, when God opens a door, I have to walk through it. He does His part, I do mine. Everything I do, I need to do for His glory with all my effort. I've become so lazy of late, that I feel like I'm ignoring open doors and just being very lazy and sitting on my ass. So this too has to change, and change now.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Interactions, expectations, perceptions.

In the past few months since rotations started, I've met a great diversity of people- much more  than I did in my 1st 2 years. This, of course, is not a surprise to anyone. The first two years were spent mostly in class with the same group of students. Now in effect, I'm exposed to what the real world of CT looks like- well at least a fraction of the real world of CT.

The interesting/ sometimes fun part of a being an African (or black) petite, looks younger than she really is female, is watching peoples reactions to me. Some people couldn't care less when I explain that I'm a med student. Others, mostly older black women, give me this amazing grin and tell me, in words or actions, that they're proud of me. A few people have asked, in direct or subtle ways how old I am and many quietly wonder if I have any idea what I'm doing or if my parents know that their baby is masquerading as an adult in a white coat.

Of all these reactions, one of the one that warms my heart most was an interaction, well a series of interactions I had with a 90 something y/o black woman. She was kinda cantankerous really, giving everyone around her a hard time. But she would listen to what I had to say with a smile that said "aww, look at this cute baby girl". And she told me, countless times, that she never believed that in her lifetime, she would see a young black woman doctor. She was amazed, she was proud and she was happy. You see, if I ever doubted if I could do this (and yes, I doubted myself often, especially in 2nd yr) I never doubted because I'm female, or African or black. I doubted because it wasn't always clear why I was on this path and if I wanted to remain on the path. Neither of those issues had anything to do with race or gender, but were wholly within myself. To this old lady though, the issue was a very different one. And I think that meeting her gave me a much greater appreciation of the perspective of older people of color in this country. 

I grew up in a time and place where there were no limitations set on me by virtue of my gender, size, height, skin color, ethnicity, nationality- nothing. I grew up knowing that I could go as far and as high as I wanted and as God would bless me to go. I never really thought about how the world perceives me in my journey towards this or any profession 

I'll be honest and say that most, in fact, almost all patients I've come across in my rotations have been perfectly nice to me and I've had some good conversations with some of them. Sometimes, I think that the medical team, the attendings, nurses, allied health staff, residents and even myself are the ones who are more likely to be loud, rude, condescending and irritated with patients.

But every now and then, the 90 something yr old African American lady, the 70 something year old Italian lady,  the 50 something year old African lady and the 30 something year old Caribbean man, the 16 year old Hispanic girl strike me a little differently and remind me that things have not been and are not always as cut and dry for others as they are for me. Even for people who may have been born in similar circumstances and times as I, the gifts, talents and opportunities I take for granted are not as blase as I think. So no, I'm not a super special case or anything, but I do have particular blessings that I need to share with others- even if means being a familiar young face or a familiar female face or a familiar black face. And sometimes, really, the thing that makes the difference is a smile between two people, regardless of who they are.