Book Review : Ghana Must Go

Ghana Must Go
By: Taiye Selasi
Publisher: Penguin Group
Pub Date : 03/05/13
Buy or Borrow : Buy

A renowned surgeon and failed husband, Kweku Sai dies suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of his death sends a ripple around the world, bringing together the family he abandoned years before. Moving with great elegance through time and place, Ghana Must Go charts their circuitous journey to one another and, along the way, teaches us that the truths we speak can heal the wounds we hide.- Penguin Random House

Ever been left speechless after a book, shocked that you can say a million things you disliked but in the same breathe, a million for why you love it just as much? Ghana Must Go was that. I began this book a few years ago and left it unfinished on my bookshelf. Looking to read beyond my usual YA novels, I chose to give it one more shot. After the first few chapters, I remembered why I dropped it years ago; the story unraveled in an unusual way. The author’s style required patience and she was building a world that couldn’t be rushed. So this time, I became patient. I read and went back throughout the book to make sure I got the message she was trying to convey.

Honestly, Ghana Must Go lit a fire in me that I haven’t felt in a while. I felt so connected to these weird, weak yet strong characters and I was left feeling uncomfortable with that. I felt uncomfortable because I saw myself as well many other people I know in similar situations that Selasi wrote about. The brokenness and need for answers within each character was so real, you may even shed a tear. I learned from Selasi that, lack of communication is a deep rooted issue that can create a lifelong damage to people you care about. Many people, especially Africans, do not like to talk about their feelings, the things that hurt them and often shoulder pains that should not be carried alone. I don’t know if it’s more prevalent in Africans than other ethnicities, or we’re just more ashamed to show others our broken hearts.

If you are like me, and you didn’t finish Ghana Must Go, then give it another try. Be patient and let each character guide you through the turmoils, the revelations and the resolution.

If you’re up for the challenge, you’ll appreciate this well written work of art.

B.

Dear NICU….

A change. I may or may not have prepared for it, but it wasn’t waiting for me to get it together. My body has become the vessel for a new being and I was elated, scared, anxious and whatever other feelings I could feel. I imagined who you’re going to be, how the delivery would go and what type of mother I’d be. The whole months that passed by, I heard congratulations, advice, appointments and the whole village was awaiting your presence.

But oh no…….

A declaration was made. My deceleration were wild, my membrane ruptured too early, the amniotic fluid was very little, the cord was wrapped around you, who knows what, it all sounded like jargon and they must bring you out immediately. Wait, I didn’t finish your crib, I wanted a home birth, I don’t want a csection, the baby shower is still weeks away, I didnt even get to push!

But you’re here now……

Way earlier than we planned and whisked from my stretched & tattered flesh into the arms of strangers. I didn’t hear your cries, someone said you’re all blue, no movement as I lay not feeling my lower body. Everyone in the room springs into action. I wasn’t your first hug or your first touch. You’re suctioned, probed, masked, pricked, infused with various drugs/fluids and placed in an incubator, secluded from my warmth, my touch, my heart beat.

Away from me….

Seeing the world but without my touch or my voice along side you. The team is now with you all day. Some stranger who earned a MD NP, PA, RN, RT behind their name spend more time with you than I can. The updates are sporadic, late phone calls to bring breastmilk, to keep pumping, lines all hooked up to you, the stares, audience when I’m forced to bond with you in front of people who doesn’t know me. Some will see me, smile, try to accommodate while hoping I don’t ask too much questions. They’re waiting for me to abide by their requests and not flinch when asked for permissions to continue probing you. The slightest frown or repeated question got a raised brow from them. All just wondering why I just don’t get it and be okay with everything.

How can I be okay….

Do they not know that I can see them? Hear their whispers about me and my baby? Can’t they see how I feel? The anxiety, the shame, the energy it takes to walk out and not leave with you in my arms? Have they placed their feet in my shoes? Didn’t they dream of the perfect baby like I did? Don’t they hurt when days turn to weeks then into months in the hospital and only allowed to visit my own child during visiting hours?

They must know….

They consoled when there was no progress, when you lost weight and nothing could stop the cries, my defeated walk out of the door, my frustration trying to get you latched onto my breast… or at least some of them knew. They smiled and laughed during discharged . They joked about my lack of sleep from here on out, couldn’t wait til I visit & show them how beautiful he/she would look. Or atleast that’s what we was all hoping for. Some didn’t get the luxury of going home with the baby. Prayer was a constant factor with hope that we got to take you home to help you grow some more into a beautiful member of the society.

And you do grow...

You grew before my eyes because of their help. I praised the strangers who became family during the stay. They brought you to a state a I couldn’t. I smiled, thanked them for their efforts and appreciated each one because I knew with certainty I was walking out with you in my arms. I accepted that I may have overreacted when they called one or few times, I took out my frustration on them when I shouldn’t and we both weren’t perfect. They were doing their job. One they must love and care. So I apologized to the team about their difficult jobs but to understand where I was coming from.

This experience was new, unlike what I planned for and each day was not guaranteed. I was only human. With that, I smiled then waved goodbye knowing that the true journey has just begun.

—————————————————————–

p.s: I am not a mother, I’m simply an observer. This piece is not to insult families who have had to go through NICU, not to disrespect the staff that works tirelessly to help or to ridicule the fragile state everyone is in during their stay. I just wanted to write again, to dig into the other part of myself I often neglect. And I appreciate you for reading this far.

B.

Get Comfortable being Uncomfortable as a Pre-Pa

In everything that you do, be it as a student, volunteer or liscensed professional, do it with grace. I have had the opportunity to be each one in my short life and while each role has different responsibilities, I always try to give do my best. While you’re applying to schools, you’ll have to be a volunteer shadowing a PA/MD. Your responsibilities are very limited and the day may seem to drag. It can be tempting to not pay attention to what is going on because your job may seem meniscal to that of the preceptor but it isnt.

Use the time in the clinic/hospital start learning your History & Physical skills. Get comfortable with asking questions, performing physicals and learning how to evaluate the lab results. Some people are not as social as others and struggle with this. It takes a few tries to really know how to direct a question and get the information you need from your patients. I’m still learning how to take a great history and I’ve been doing this for a while. You’ll still go over these skills in school but knowing how to interact with your patient is a skill that takes time. Starting early only gives you a great advantage and gets you out of that awkward few encounters

3 TIPS YOU’LL NEED FOR CASPA 2019

By now as a Pre-PA, you’ve researched all sort of questions and tips to help with the application process of getting into Physician Assistant school. While I hope every advice you’ve come along helps to make your journey a little easier, my most important advice is to trust yourself & your instinct. I read through a lot of posts myself when I was applying and 3 things I gathered, which helped to go the extra mile were my : recommendation letter, personal statement and the selection of school I applied to.

Recommendation letter:
While you will need an average of three letters, & atleast one of them from your supervising PA or MD, make sure they put great effort into writing a letter that reflects you. You do not want a generic letter where they just spout basic adjectives. Tell them to include why they think you’ll make a great PA, why you are ready to begin the journey, what strengths & weaknesses, as well as the capacity have they seen you work in. If you have an opportunity to give them a sample recommendation letter that reflects who you are, do not hesitate to take the chance.

Personal Essay:
This is one place you get to shine aside from your grades. You should write about something that reflects you and not what you think the reader may like/want. Ask other PAs, PA-C or admission faculties at your school to review your work. Write multiple drafts & continue to stay true to your story. Once your gpa gets you through the initial screening process, personal statements can make or break you.

School of choice:
Pick schools that support your best interests. Do you have safe & reach schools within your list? Will you actually want to attend the school? What does their support system in the school look like? What is their passing rate? Research schools close to you and those very far. Do not be afraid to look into schools across the country and if they fit you, apply. Some people only apply to one school while others apply to 20 schools, but I always advice a wide range within your budget ofcourse. Don’t apply to schools that you won’t meet their minimum requirements by the time you submit your application or finish your degree. No one has got money to waste.

If you notice a theme in these tips, it was on purpose. Your application should be a true REFLECTION of who YOU are. Not of an idea of what you think the admins are looking for. They go through thousands of apps yearly and can smell B.S a mile away. You got this⚡⚡

Good luck with your application and may the odds ever be in your favor.

African Men Don’t Honor Their Family

It is very difficult to surprise me but once in a while, when it happens I hold onto that moment. I hold on to see what clues I missed and how to be better prepared next time. Currently reading Ghana Must Go and while the story is unravelling in a unique timeline, I can’t let a scene go. A scene I wasn’t expecting to happen the way it, and I’m sure the characters weren’t expecting it as well.
A character said he believed that the reason Africa is so “backwards” even with bright men and women is because of the lack of respect for family.

“Fathers dont honor their children or wives”.

When I read this, I was pissed. How could you say such a thing, we care for our family & bad leadership is the main reason the continent seem “backwards” to the rest of the world

But then I truly thought about it. Caring doesnt equate respect. While it doesn’t apply to every or only African men, it’s still the truth. I have seen men of various ethnic backgrounds who can fit the picture of “not respecting their family” but this one felt personal because you’re talking about African men and how their action hinders the progression of the continent.

Why do men work really hard to be successful but take on many wives or keep mistresses and children outside of their marriage? Is it a complex or true lack of respect for women? Do they not think of the effect it has on the children and do you think it has an impact on why Africa is “backwards”?

Book Review: On The Come Up

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas
❤❤❤❤/5
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Published: 02/05/19
Borrow or Buy: Buy

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it -GoodReads

On The Come Up (OTCU) is Angie Thomas follow up to her astonishing debut novel, The Hate U Give. OTCU is a relatable story for many readers, especially black families. To avoid spoilers, I won’t mention all the struggles that Bri and her family experience, but I have experienced similar situations and to have a book show such things makes you feel less alone. We see Bri throughout the book trying to “make it”, so her family can be okay and although she is trying to make it as a rapper, there are young women and men just like her who are trying to make it either as a rapper, basketball player, accountant, stylist, nurse, lawyers or engineer and that is why this book will resonate with a lot of people. The songs included reminded me of when rappers actually stood for something and it felt like an ode.

Many readers have compared OTCU to T.H.U.G and I believe that’s not fair. T.H.U.G was a completely different story while OTCU pays homage to Angie Thomas love for rapping, the black culture and day to day struggle of an average black family. Both books has a strong plotline and shows that Thomas isnt afraid to speak her mind on concerning matters.

Bri was a character was lively and although her decision making skills needed more work, it added to the overall coming of age story line. There were alot of likeable characters that different people will relate to.

A great read and looking forward to her next release !
Leave a comment if you’re going to read or what you think of the book!


Happy Book Day!!

OB-GYN, Ophthalmology & Internal Medicine

Since my General Surgery rotation, I have completed OB-GYN, Ophthalmology and Internal Medicine as well. Each one was unique in its own right.

OBGYN : I enjoyed this rotation much more than I originally thought I would. It allowed me to get ALOT of hands on experience. I completed history and physical, breast exam, vaginal exam, pap smears, ultrasound, D&C, assisted during labor, on hysterectomies and much more. Although it was beautiful to assist on births, I realized that I loved the GYN aspect than the obstetrics. I can see myself as a GYN PA which is something I never thought I’d say.

Ophthalmology: This was an elective that I chose after I couldn’t get my first few choices and it rocked! I didn’t realize the amount of people who came into the clinic for acute and chronic eye problems. I got to work with some of the best residents and attending’s who taught my classmate and I the ropes. I worked on minor procedures such as removing a pterygium, cyst, complete full work on patients, learn to use the tonometry and much more. Ophthalmology was different from other specialty because you’re not doing a physical on the whole body, so I had to learn the anatomy of the eyes all over again, which parts to focus on depending on the complain of the patient and what sort of treatment to prescribe. It was a great experience that I will always carry with me.

Internal Medicine: My first rotation of the year and I’m glad it is over. I honestly felt like this rotation went on forever because it wasn’t my favorite one. I had a great team but IM was too slow for me. There wasn’t any “hands on” work which made it hard for me to like it. I enjoy doing something with my hands, which is why I like surgery. There are only so much venipuncture you can do until you’re over it. I did learned that you must advocate effectively for your patient while on this rotation. I had to speak up regarding the treatment plans for some of my patients and I had an attending who listened to us. Always keep your patient needs a top priority.

Take away points :

  1. Ask questions. If you’re not sure of a lab value, vitals, status or information, don’t make it up to look good for that moment. Just say, “Idk, but I’ll check & get back to you”. It shows that you’re taking responsibility and not placing a patient’s health in jeopardy.
  2. Introduce yourself. Never walk into the delivery room without prior introduction of yourself. I have seen some students walk into the room and proceed to assist with deliveries without any introduction. It is simply rude and unprofessional.
  3. It is more than okay to quote Uptodate. Everyone uses Uptodate because that is one of the fastest and easiest ways to cross reference your treatment plan. Don’t be embarrassed.
  4. Use your down time wisely. IM had a lot of downtime and I used those moments to study. I brought my PPP and laptop to clinical so I never have an excuse for not working. I would ask the team if they needed help and when they don’t, I’ll study
  5. Be open. I didn’t think I’d enjoy my elective but I did. Just remember that each experience has some value and it is teaching you to know what type of PA you’d like to be.
  6. Plan ahead. Look up the direction to your rotation site and plan for any mishap. Pack your lunch ahead, have a snack in you pocket, dress warm for the winter hours because you don’t want to be tardy or get sick

How did I PASS my EORs??

  1. I prayed ALOT to God.
  2. I printed out the topic list from PAEA (our school uses their EOR exams).
  3. Read Pance Prep Pearl’s according to the topics needed. PPP went everywhere with me, literally.
  4. Blueprint OBGYN and First Aid OBGYN textbooks
  5. StepUp to Medicine for IM
  6. OnlineMedEd videos for an “in lecture” recap & took notes.
  7. Rosh Review and Smarty Pance for questions. I also used Rosh boost EOR exam for OBGYN & IM.

Any questions, comment, e-mail and check out my Instagram for frequent updates.