Friday, July 13, 2012

Lessons From the Swarm

    Have you ever witnessed an event in real life that seems like it happens in cartoons? The cartoons that I'm talking about are the ones where one person disturbs a bee hive and people run around trying to avoid getting stung by an irate swarm of bees. I can say that I have.

   This post begins with a little background story. I currently work for my uncle's AC maintenance company. We go wherever the airconditioning units are at, whether they be in the roof or 24inch crawlspaces we go there and do the repairs.

    Today started out as a typical work day: cleaning AC coils, patching up leaks, checking refrigerant pressures, answering calls-returning calls, and booking appointments for repairs. The normalcy ended 6:30 p.m. While I was in the the truck checking over the next set of appointments I saw two guys just running outside and swatting the air. I thought nothing of it and I just resumed my work on the logbook organization. After a couple of minutes I looked up and saw the other construction workers running around in the roof and it dawned on me that they somehow irritated a pretty large swarm. The sequence of cartoon/real life event happened in this order from my point of view:

  1. Multiple people running around the roof to get away from the bee's
  2. One worker jump from from the ladder height approximately 15 ft. and he started running
  3. My co-worker who was on the roof followed suit, however he didn't jump and just scrambled down the ladder to find shelter in one of the buildings, but they were all closed. He ran into the truck and I managed to kill 4 and I tried to swat the remainder of the bees that were on him.
  4. The bees that were in the truck turned their attention on me. I ran outside the truck swatting them as I tried to find shelter. I found it in the form of my co-worker's girlfriend's car. She helped me kill off the 5 bees that were on my head.  
  5. My Co-Worker managed to get away from the bees that were in the work truck and join me and his girlfriend in the car. I was able to remove 15 stingers from his head. He was in pain and I did the best I could to keep him calm until the paramedics arrived. He wasn't allergic to the bee-stings ,but he still ended up being one of the 5 that went to the hospital in this story.

    As far as the rest of the story is concerned everything ended up relatively well. My co-worker was just released from the hospital and is faring much better ( the wonders of pain medication and anti-histamines). I walked away relatively unscathed and was still able to return to the job site to recover the rest of the tools that we left behind. Thank God for these blessings.

    What really got me the most out of this was how calm I was while I was helping to take care of my co-worker even while he was in pain and was agitated. He was responding to the aid that I gave him and was pretty cooperative while I searched his head and removed all the stingers that I could see. I really value the knowledge that I acquired in the one year of medical school that I attended. I was glad that I was able to implement some of that knowledge to help out a friend. I really am praying that I am able to continue my education so I could help out people in this capacity. The stings of life have made my vision to my goal blurred , speech slurred, and my will slightly deterred. I thank my friends, family, and other well wishers for keeping me in your prayers, I just ask this small favor in that you still keep me in there sometimes. I will get there by the grace of God I will get there.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

And IN this corner weighing in at .......

     It has taken me a while to summon the courage to write about my endeavors as a medical student. Since this blog is a written record of my personal journey into becoming a practicing physician I have to keep a record of my ups and downs. Since my last entry A lot of things has happened. I stopped school due to the lack of finances. Some of you might wonder "Why share this personal information?!?" It has taken me 8 months to find an answer to that and it is just simple. I WANT TO HELP PEOPLE. I want to make sure that at-least ONE PERSON does not make the same miscalculations as I have. If you have made these miscalculation, you are not alone in your struggle keep on fighting it's not over until it's over.

 Here are some useful information that you could use:
 - Please get your finances arranged before stepping off the continent. If you can have all your student loans be paid off before you go to another school out of the country please do so. Even if you have to post pone your acceptance, or post pone your application to international medical schools. Having to worry about it does take a lot of time and energy away from your studies. Medical School will be unbearable if you have to worry about it all the time.
 - Have digital copies of all your paperwork so you could just email/electronic fax. Have those copies in your personal dropbox, box, google docs, or whatever free cloud services there are available. - Have STRONG Passwords for these services for increased security - Encrypt them also
 - DO NOT Overlook your potential living expenses.
 - Visit the country to see how it is before committing to their school. VISIT the actual campus. Before deciding to go to an offshore medical school.

      As far as my current mental state concerned it is a testament to God's blessing it is where it is right now. I have shed tears of frustration, stayed up for days at a time just beating myself up contemplating all the "what if's", and yet somehow I remain hopeful. I have clung to the Bible character's story of the struggles like none other. The stories I re-read and cling too the most are the Stories of Joseph and Job.

 Joseph's story that relates to me was the despair that Joseph was in after being betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery. He struggled for years, but eventually led him to be placed in Egypt to be more powerful than everyone except the Pharaoh himself.
The Patience of Job in seeing on how he persevered through the the following
     - trials of loosing his livestock, lands, production, and ALL of his Children
      - Loss of Health by having Boil cover his body
     - having friends blame you for all the events that happened (talk about moral support) it lead up to the restoration of all the things he lost 
    - Living long enough to enjoy it all

These two stories also allows me to have the strength and the Faith in God that allows me to be able to stand this 7+months of not being in school and I will see my goals achieved. I am fortunate enough to not have any siblings to betray me like Joseph, and have more supportive friends than what Job did. In short God has looked out for me by putting me with the right people at the right time. If you ask me How I am doing right now after receiving  one of life's hay-makers. Here is my reply:

 I got knocked down at the end of the 2nd round. I'm still in this fight because I have the best fight trainer in the world in my corner: God.


Monday, July 25, 2011

MDI and MD II Book Recommendations

Hello Everyone

I have just finished my 3rd Block examination and I must say that I am pretty excited that my MD II semester is almost over. People have asked for my advice on what books to purchase before coming to SJSM Anguilla Campus. I can only give my recommendations on MD I & MD II books. I hope they help you allocate your hard earned cash to those books that you actually will use and keep. It may include books that are not on the recommended list but I found them to be good reference material to have. I have purchased my books from because they usually have pretty reasonable prices and provided the links to the textbooks to make it easier for you guys.

MD I Books

- Junqeira's basic histology 12th edition (or whatever edition comes out)= Good reference material
- Wheater's Functional Histology 5th Edition (or whatever edition comes out)= Helpful for lab
- USMLE Roadmap Histology = good for quick reference material straight and to the point, some helpful practice questions.

- Clinically Oriented Anatomy 6th edition = Reference book ( MUST GET !!!! )
- BRS Anatomy = lots of good practice questions
- USMLE ROADMAP Anatomy = "trims" down the fat for the info on anatomy ( purchase only if you didn't buy the medical ethics text book)

- Langman's Medical Embryology = I found this better than the textbook thats used
- BRS Embryology = good practice questions, but this one is one that you could do without when compared to the supplemental books to histo and anatomy

Medical Ethics:
- You don't really need the book. If you have $20.00 to spare go ahead and buy the USMLE Roadmap books or the BRS other than that there are plenty of copies waiting for you in the library to read

MD II Text Books

Lippincott's Illustrated Reviews: Biochemistry = I found the information much more concise than the assigned text book. For those who are visual learners the Concept Maps at the end of each chapter really help out alot.
Rapid Review Biochemistry = Good supplemental reading material especially when it comes to having a ready source of information when it comes to searching for clinically important vingettes.


Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology = The standard of all medical school physiology classes. MUST HAVE!!!!
Pocket Companion to Guyton and Hall Physiology = GREAT accompaniment to the text book. You can live without it, but its a portable reference material when compared to the text book.
BRS Physiology = This is used for the practice questions in the back A MUST HAVE


Clinical Neuroanatomy by Richard Snell = Your bread and butter for this class
High Yield Neuroanatomy = AWESOME companion book concise and really light
BRS Neuroanatomy = mainly used for the questions for practice.


- Textbook is not really needed for the class because the proffesor's power points are good enough
- BRS Genetics = I use this book for my reference and it's practice questions

Overall Review material
First Aid USMLE STEP 1 (most recent edition) = A good book to intergrate all of the materials that are covered for step 1. My friends who have graduated medical school and are in their residencies have said that I need to have this book from day one. I use it as a guide to make sure that i'm going to be as prepared as I can be for Step 1.


I hope that this post has helped you guys out and feel free to bookmark this post and use the links to purchase the materials. It might seem like alot of books to purchase and it surely is, but I think of books as necessary tools to be used for my job. There are other books that could possibly be better than the ones listed above, but these books are my personal compilation based on personal use, online research, and recommendations from friends who are currently in medical school or are in their residencies (those guys passed medical school so they must know something hehehe) . If you have any other recommendations please feel free to leave a comment. Until Next time


Sunday, July 17, 2011


Hey guys

It has been a long time since my last post a lot has changed. I am about to start taking my 3rd set of block exams for my MD II ( 1st year - 2nd semester medical student ). I must say that it all has been a blur. The material to be covered has been atleast 3x more than last semester.  This semester we cover Biochem, Physio, Genetics, and Neuro-anatomy. We started off with a the summer semester on a tragic note, that our medical ethics professor passed away at the beginning of the semester and with his wife ( the physiology professor ) she had to return back home to family. The loss of two caring and kind people in less than 2 weeks into the semester was tough and thus our school had to adjust as whole. The replacement professors for Physiology and Medical Ethics have done a good job considering that they were asked to teach extra classes.

Another new development this semester to reach out to the community was to participate in their amateur basketball league and host a health fair. The basketball league community outreach has its ups ( we get to exercise and circulate all the stress hormones out of our system) and downs ( fouls do not get called our way  a lot. Example: our team gets flagged for 11 fouls on the first 4 mins.) but over all it is a more positive experience because it allows us to interact with the community. The health fair community outreach that just occurred this past weekend started of slowly, but we ended up helping a lot of people with free health care services such as blood pressure check, blood sugar level test, ECG's reading and interpretations, along with educational services such as sexual health and hygiene and free CPR classes.

Overall I feel like my purpose in coming to this island has been renewed through these outreach activities and I genuinely enjoy the classes a lot more this semester. Please keep my classmates and I in your prayers as we finish out our summer semester.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Hold over

Hey guys I'm just writing this post saying that I'm alive and that I will have a major update soon.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Deceptive Calm Before the Storm

Hello Everyone, 

I hope everyone has made it throughout this week relatively unscathed. As for my  progress report will take the same format as my previous post. If you guys could leave some feedback in ways for me to improve the way this blog is structured I am open to suggestions.  My next post will come sometime after monday afternoon because of my upcoming block exams. With that in mind please enjoy the contents of this weeks post. 

- I started to wear a shirt and tie on Mondays. Instead of my usual comfortable undergrad attire. I decided that since I am in medical school I might as well wear professional looking clothing once a week. The reason why monday made sense was because T-Th I have to deal with the cadaver, and since Fridays are BBQ Fridays and to those of you who knows me, I am a pretty messy eater thus increasing the my workload when it comes to laundry day

This was the first "shirt n' tie mondays" 

-I have neglected to keep up with the cleanliness of my apt within the past two weeks  and here are the results of it
The couch on the left has been my defacto bed because....... 

My actual bed has become my clean clothes hamper haahaha.

-A habit that I picked up in my last year @ SWAU was to always clean up my apartment before exams started.  I just had to clean this sunday to signal the beginning of test week.  I was able to fold clean laundry, do 2 loads of laundry, clean my apartment and stock up on supplies for blocks with all this being done from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p..m. and here are the results of my labor this morning and afternoon. 
This was the rain cloud that prevented me from using my clothesline on the other side of my apartment

Part of my 2.5 loads of Laundry

I took pictures of my clean apartment because it will last longer ahahaha

I used FIJI water box to organize my slippers

I actually have a bed now =)

My bathroom has been cleaned =) 
My Block 2 Survival Kit. Don't worry I have an automated defibrilator handy hahahaha.
Stress relief @ 6:20 a.m.
Academic Progress:

Well in my last post I said that I stopped relying on self study and I went and looked for help in the subjects that I am struggling in which are Histology and Embryology. The MD2 histology tutor is pretty good. With her help I was able to do much better in this passed Friday's quiz than the last one. Although it's not as high as I wanted it was a considerable improvement over my last quiz score. I have set up a study group when it comes to preparation for Histology block exams this coming Friday. The results were pretty productive today. I hope that it could continue this entire week and that the results show after Monday.

As far as my progress when it comes to Embryology is concerned it hasn't changed and it has been stagnant. I have requested some private tutoring with the embryology tutor this coming week, because I do not get the full benefit when it comes to large group tutoring. I hope that it will be better and that my grades justify the hours that I have spent in preparing for these two classes would show the grades that I have. 

Anatomy and Ethics are the classes that I am comfortable with but I have set up a small study group in preparation for both of these classes. I look forward to the quiz on Tuesday and I hope that I am able to do well in those classes. 

Personal Progress:

As far as personal progress I think that my messy bed and apartment personified on how I was feeling due to not doing well in my quizzes. As   I was reading this week's lesson I took a little bit of extra time on Friday's lesson. This paragraph was really helpful and insightful and encouraging. Although I still am a little bit worn out from those quizzes I have hope that everything will turn around after I have read this paragraph. 

The power of darkness gather about the soul and shut Jesus from our sight, and at times we can only wait in sorrow and amazement until the cloud passes over. These seasons are sometimes terrible. Hope seems to fail, and despair seizes upon us.In these dreadful hours we must learn to trust, to depend solely upon the merits of the atonement, and in all our helpless unworthiness cast ourselves upon the merits of the crucified and risen Saviour. We shall never perish while we do this---never! When light shines on our pathway, it is no great thing to be strong in the strength of grace. But to wait patiently in hope when clouds envelop us and all is dark requries faith and submisssion which causes our willto be swallowed up in the will of God. We are too quickly discouraged, and earnestly cry for the trial to be removed from us, when we should plead for patience to endure and grace to overcome. ---- Ellen G. White God's Amazing Grace, p.114
Please pray for my family back at home and my classmates so that we may have the patience to endure and the grace to overcome the challenges that are present before us. 

As I have stated before I will not be posting another update until after my block exams. If you contact me and I take a really LONG time to not respond, please understand that I am preparing for my exams and that I am not ignoring you (well it depends on who the person is =P). I pray that everyone have a safe week and that may everyone find that extra reserve of patience to get through this week with grace to overcome it's challenges =). 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rediscovering Resilience

Hello everyone

     The time has come another school week has passed and another set of quizzes have taken place and its time for an update. This weeks post will be subdivided into three developmental focal points: Random, academic personal.

     These are the random things that have brought me some joy this past week
- Ken's BBQ ( equivalent of Rudy's BBQ to those who live in San Antonio ) began delivering BBQ lunch plates on thursday's as well as Fridays. Thursday was extra special because I was able to get Fish N Chips BBQ style. and it is the only day that they serve fish. 
- I was able to get better acquainted with the workers at Proctors. I found out that on certain days, they can make full balanced meals instead of the typical fast food (chicken tenders, cheese burgers, hotdogs, chicken, salftfish, and beef patties) that they have in their menu. On wednesday I had their chicken stew, with rice & beans, steamed veges, and potato salad. 
- Started copying my cousin's sleeping pattern of sleeping from  7-2 a.m. then studying from 2-5:30 a.m.
- FINALLY got to a gym thanks to the invitation of a couple of upper classmen. 

Academic Progress: 
     This past week in school has been the most stable one since my post a couple of weeks ago. We basically solidified the teacher rotation on who would provide us with the lectures on anatomy. They have done an excellent job considering the circumstances that was placed upon them. Within the past two  the replacement lecturer has done a remarkable job in teaching us the concepts that we need to know especially when it comes into the neurological anatomy of the Lower Limb, my favorite quotation from this professor would be "oh this diagram in your book is poorly drawn, I will show you how it's supposed to be" hahaha. 

      The other professor that has decided to become our other anatomy lecturer covered the thorax. He was able to cover the landmarks of the thorax, but he spent alot of time going over the clinical correlations. In short we got a sparks-notes version of pathology (a course designated to MD3 & MD4) for some of the pathological circumstances that are commonly found in the thorax  which I thoroughly enjoyed. I would give credit to my enjoyment of this lecture to the UTPA Physician Assistant Pathology Class. It was fun taking that class with them and it showed that I actually learned and retained something.

       Concerning my progress concerning academics, I pretty much bombed my embyo quiz regarding the pharyngeal arch development and the histology quiz based on the lectures about the cartilage, bones, and muscle. I need to cauterize this academic hemorrhage and change my preparation methods for these classes. I am going to do this by scheduling tutoring sessions for histology and embryology. This lone-wolf act has reached it's peak and now i need to incorporate some group study sessions with  tutor this week. This is it for the academic portion of my report this week. 

Personal Progress:
     As far as personal progress is concerned, I will say that it is a smorgusboard of emotions, spiritual enlightenment. The factors that have had me disturbed lately could be some of life's stresses and now that I am back into the balancing act of school and personal life and it has been quite a challenge especially within the past week. It would be safe to say that my personal struggles this past week could be compared to the story of Ruth in The Bible (Dr.Sorkei should be proud of me for correctly typing that). Let me give a brief summary For those of you who do not remember or know Ruth's background. 

     The book of Ruth has the general theme that teaches the concepts of resiliency, faith, and redemption. In the beginning it describes the tale of the woeful loss of Naomi. Naomi and her husband Elimelech and her two sons Mahlon and Kilion moved to Moab from Bethlehem in Judah. Elimelech died in Moab (this shows the emptying of Naomi). Life moved on for Naomi's family and her two sons married two moabite women. Mahlon married a Moabite woman named Ruth and his brother Kilion married a Moabite woman named Orpah. Ten years after this event both Mahlon and Kilion also died without leaving any sons to pass on the family name. Naomi decided to go back home to Bethlehem so she can live with her family and she decided that it would be best for Orpah and Ruth to do the same so they could remarry.Orpah did  as she was told, and this picture is a pretty nice interpretation of that scene. 
Ruth, Naomi, and Orpah saying their farewells 

"But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17(NIV)
Ruth did not want to leave her mother-in-law and decided to dedicate the rest of her life to taking care of her. Naomi saw that she could not convince Ruth and thus granted her wish to move back with her to Bethlehem. Ruth's total devotion is depicted in the following text and the picture embodies the following verses. "But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17(NIV). After this they arrived in Bethlehem in time for harvest season. 

       In order for them to survive in Bethlehem, Ruth had to go out and go collect the grains that were left over by the land owner's harvesters. This was a dangerous time for Ruth because she had  alot of things that didnt work in her favor. She was a foreigner, widow, and a woman. The land owner Boaz  took care of her and Naomi by telling the workers to leave some extra grain and the extra food for them. After some legal issues found in chapters 2-3 have been worked out. Boaz eventually married Ruth and they were blessed with a son named Obed. Obed's birth is significant because he is the father of Jesse. Jesse is the father of the future King David, which Jesus' lineage comes from. 

    The reason why I decided to put up that story was to show the parallelism of my personal struggles that I have had too and continuously overcome on a daily basis. I have experienced a period of spiritual, emotional, and physical  emptying prior to getting into medical school. I could say that I am glad that God has brought me through that and now that I have entered a period of fulfillment I previously thought that everything was going to be smooth sailing with the occasional bumps here and there, but I hit a pretty big major bump this past week. Prior to leaving to medical school I made sure that I had taken care of all the matters that I needed to settle such as making sure that my previous college loans were entered in a state of payment deferment  (MAKE SURE YOU GET THIS SETTLED BEFORE YOU COME TO THE ISLAND) I thought this process was completed, but it was not the case this past week. I thought I would be able to deal with this without getting upset, but I reverted back to my old self and I just stewed in anger the entire week. This along with not doing well with in the quizzes got me into a 

     This was going to continue until I went to church today and got the point of this past week's lesson which is summarized pretty throughly by this verse: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, NIV). This not only prompted me to check myself and remind myself that I need to get back to the basics and because I have not read my Bible nor the online lesson quarterly throughout this past couple of weeks. I would've gone to the beach today as part of my ritual, but I decided to just go ahead and study The Bible and the lesson and lo and behold this week's focus is on the book of Ruth and read about Naomi's resiliency. Naomi did what I did and decided to start a new life in a new country and she lost everything that mattered to her.  I am not stating that Naomi's events are similar in the severity when it comes to the loss of loved ones. I am asking the questions that "If you go through a negative experience that ends up knockin you down, how long should I stay down?" and "what do I do?"   As I continued to read the story I came to the realization that I needed to do a couple of things

-  Pray without ceasing. In the end you will get your just rewards. In the case of Naomi, she lost everything, but she kept on praying, and eventually she was blessed with a family with a loving daughter in law, virtuous son-in-law, and a grandson. 
- I can't stay down on this matter for too long because it's going to affect my studies. Ruth didn't stay down, instead she just kept on pushing through kept on working to provide for herself and her mother-in-law. I must keep on just pushing on my studies regardless of what negative thing has happened. Trust that God is going to come through for you. 

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever–present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging”(Psalm 46:1-3, NIV).
In summary I just re-learned what resilience is. Resilience is the process of facing adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or extreme stress and “bouncing back” successfully without becoming too negatively affected by the experience. This can be accomplished through, the support of friends, family, and God.  Please continue to pray for my family back at home. They need all the prayers that they could get. Thank you once again for taking the time to read my rantings, until next time.