Song Review: Lauren Daigle – First

I was in the middle of studying, filling the air with contemporary Christian music from my Jango music app, when the lyrics of Lauren Daigle’s First first filtered its way through my ears, then to my brain.

“Before I bring my need

I will bring my heart

Before I lift my cares

I will lift my arms”

I paused, snapped out of my world of bones, nerves and muscles, and how they work, and brought back to my environment.

“Who is singing?” I checked to see the name, Lauren Daigle. That was a new name; before then, I had neither heard her music nor seen her anywhere.

Before I bring my need

I will bring my heart

And seek You

First

Before I speak a word

Let me hear Your voice

And in the midst of pain

Let me feel Your joy

More than anything I want, I want You

First

After one or two more replays, I marked the song as a favourite, to hear it more often and find more music like it. Since finding her, she has not got off the list of my favourite artists. What’s more, I subsequently found the other songs on the album, How Can It Be, and music collaborations she has featured in with other great artists like Amanda Cook and The Hillsong.

“You are my treasure and my reward

Let nothing ever come before you

I seek You

First”

The song reminds me that above all else, I must always put God in His rightful position – FIRST. And if I do that, every other thing will be taken care of.

Matthew 6: 33 – “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” NLT

Love,
Annie.

Story Time… Words ALive

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” – Proverbs 18: 21 (NIV) 

Let me share this funny, maybe not so funny, but successful experience I had. I have known the above scripture for a long time. As long as my days in Living Word Academy (Secondary), my alma mater. Our patron, who doubled as our hostel chaplain might have quoted it a lot of times. Maybe not as much as “foolishness abides in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it away” that preceded almost every lashing session. Those days.

So, this verse. Rightfully seated in the book of wisdom of the good book. Generously shared with us by the wisest man that lived on earth, King Solomon. It took on a greater meaning for me when I read it afresh in the course of my devotion recently.

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It reminded me of these experiences in medical school:

The medical exam is usually in two formats; the written part of the exam and the clinical part. The clinical part entails you interacting with a patient, like in a real case scenario. It is required of you to obtain a history from the patient. That is, inquire about the symptoms that brought them to the hospital, how they have progressed, their likely causes depending on the presentation, the care they have obtained so far, other aspects of their medical history, like if they have any chronic or familiar diseases, etcetera. You are then expected to do a complete general and systematic physical examination on them, proffer useful investigations to confirm or rule out suspicions, and plan a treatment for them. All of these in a specified time frame, usually 45 minutes thereabout. Afterwards, your examiners are invited and you are to present the above to them in the presence of your patient. This can be a daunting experience for a medical student, especially when you have a mean examiner.

During the course of our clinical posting, a friend of mine had one of those “mean” professors in the unit he was assigned. He was a pretty good lad and showed up for rounds everyday, that would include days he was the only medical student in the rounds. That did not go unnoticed. Not long, he was in everybody’s good book, including the “mean” professor. I teased him, “Shebi you know Professor X would not fail you should you meet him in any exam.” “Well,” he smiled, “but I would not like to meet him.” “That man has problems,” he communicated his fears. I did not, however, stop teasing him and telling him how he would surely pass if he met Professor X in the exam.

On the morning of the exam, I must have prophesied the same Prof. into his exams. I remember him rebuking me, “Anita, please, stop saying a bad prayer for me.” I was honestly convinced about what I thought – the professor being good prognosis for my dear friend. Well, guess who he saw when he was ready to present his patient? Professor X, in all his glory, unsmiling, and ready for some serious business. Thankfully, my friend had a good case; one he was well prepared for. His saving grace. Refusing to be frightened by the Prof.’s intimidating presence, and with confidence hoisted by good preparation and a vast knowledge of the case, my friend began his presentation. Cruising safely and almost arriving at the end of his physical examination findings, the Prof. cut in. Your guess is just as good as mine. He floored my friend. Now, here’s where my good – even though turned down – prophecy came to play: My friend admitted that had it been any other student, someone without that first impression in the course of the posting, they might have failed. Prof. did not fail him afterall. Phew.

My own case was before my project defense. So, this particular doctor kept coming to mind, that I would meet him at my defense. On the morning of the defense, I even jocularly mentioned, “What if I meet Dr. Z today?” Our project defense is not as serious as those of other’s, because they made it so. Of a total of 100 marks, it carries only 2 marks. Yes, you read right. For me, it was such a bother, a waste of energy and good clothes. Could it just be scrapped entirely? I didn’t see the justification in dedicating a day to this defense. That goes without saying that I could not bring myself to study for the defense. It was part of public health, so your knowledge of the course would also be orally tested. All inside of the 2 marks. Project defense was one mark, public health orals, the other one mark. Laugh harder. Asides this, I was on energy conservation mode, conserving my energy for a ‘bigger’ day, my surgery clinicals the next day. I was too lazy, even if only to read Dr. Z’s topics in public health since I had the intuition that I was going to meet him in the defense, and even verbally announced so.

When I walked into the defense room, the sight of Dr. Z almost stopped me in my tracks. But then, 2 marks… I had already passed before this defense (if I were serious enough). This was a mere formality, I trudged on. A weak smile in place, the defense began.

I said funny, maybe not so funny, but successful experience. Imagine if I had confessed negatively before my friend’s or my exam? It would have been deleterious.

If you have the energy to speak death, why not channel the energy into speaking forth life? Someone said, if you don’t have a positive thing to say, keep shut. I will advise that, too.

How has your words shaped your life? For the good or bad. Good news is, that words are life. So, build your life with the right words.

Muchos amor,

Annie. ❤

Ps: I was discussing with a friend and he said, “personally I don’t believe in the whole words and stuff of a thing.” I respected his belief, but made sure to add that it works and words are things. Yesterday, my mum furious that I handled my phone with less than perfect care, said she hated to but wished that my screen would break, just so that I may learn to handle my phone with better care. Same day, later on, my phone fell with such force that my screen couldn’t resist it. Coincidence or serendipity?

Book Review: The One Minute Manager

Authors: Kenneth Blanchard, PhD & Spencer Johnson, M.D.

Publisher: William Marrow and Company, Inc

Year published: 1982

ISBN: 0-425-09847-8

The One Minute Manager is a ninety-page book on simple effective management skills described by the authors to “increase productivity, profits, and your own prosperity.”

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For the purpose of convenience, I divided it into three parts.

The first part talks about the story of a bright young man who wanted to be an effective manager; a manager who is able to manage himself and the people he works with so that both the organization and the people profit from his presence. His quest leads him in search of one, but he only finds managers who were skewed to either of two extremes. Either they were “tough,” and the people they worked with suffering. Or they were “nice,” and the organisation itself suffered. These kinds of managers were only partially effective. He eventually hears of a special manager somewhere, who was an effective manager and who was also willing to share with him his success secrets. He heard that people liked to work for this man and they produced great results together.

The second part talks about where he meets this manager and begins an exciting and enthralling journey towards unravelling these success secrets. There are just three of them.

The third part talks about how he becomes an effective One Minute Manager himself and commits to sharing his wisdom with others.

The term “One Minute Manager” was used to remind each of us to take one minute out of our day to look into the faces of the people we manage and realize that they are our most important resources.

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt

It’s an easy-to-read book. One that I enjoyed reading. Its principles are profound, yet very practical. I’ve applied the principles learnt from this book and I have seen it transform my life into something healthier, happier and more productive.

When someone asks me to lend them a book, without thought, it’s the first book I usually offer them. What’s best? It a book you can finish in one day and tick off a reading challenge, should you take up one.

Have you read it? What are your thoughts?

Ti Voglio Bene,

Annie. ❤

Ps: I have the book both in hardback and pdf formats. Indicate interest in the comments section and you’d have it delivered to your e-mailbox pronto.

 

 

 

 

What I’m Reading: Twisted

I’m currently reading a devotional on my bible app, Twisted, subtitled Most Misused Verses of The Bible.

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Le ne tordez pas!

Each day, when I open the plan and read the focus scripture for the day, I almost always start laughing. It is as though I can guess what the author has in mind, and cannot help but agree that, surely, those verses must have been misused. The author delves into the context in which those verses were written, who wrote them, and at what time, to help his readers understand the verses better and not misuse them.

“When purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable.” – (Late) Dr. Myles Munroe

I found today’s devotional content particularly illuminating, and thought to share, to cast light abroad more hearts:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV

Who hasn’t thought of Philippians 4:13 before a big test, meeting, or game? Maybe you were the athlete who quoted it after completing a nearly impossible feat. Or maybe it was quoted to you by an old acquaintance after they explained an, “amazing business opportunity.” “Sure it sounds risky,” they said, “but just like the Bible says, ‘You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.’”

Too often, Philippians 4:13 is quoted for self-motivation alone. A more secular version might sound like, “If we set our mind to it, whatever it is, we’ll accomplish it.” Sure, “through Christ” is in our Bible version, but hopefully He’s not there to just give us strength to accomplish our goals. Does Christ give us strength to do wonderful things including athletic feats? Yes. However, the original author of this coffee-mug verse wasn’t trying to win the Iron Man or triple his income in as little as three months (neither of which are necessarily bad things). Paul was writing—from jail—to the church he helped start in Philippi.

If Paul had the power to do all things, wouldn’t “get out of jail” be at the top of his to-do list? After all, if he could really do all things, he’d be all-powerful. The next three verses give additional meaning to verse 13. Paul described experiencing poverty, hunger, want, and despite it all, contentment. Then, he added verse 13 to basically say he could do all this only because of Christ. Paul’s words were less about motivating the Philippians to accomplish great things and more about inspiring them to trust God despite horrible things. In fact, the original language reads more like, “I have strength for all things. Why? Because Jesus.” (Ephesians 3:14-19)

Are you in a bad break up? Rebound to Him; He makes you whole. Bad medical news? Cling to Him; He is life. Lost your job? Submit to Him; He’s your provider. Are you “in want” like Paul? Come to Him; you can be content. Through Christ, you have strength for all these things.

Consider: What trial are you facing? How can you rely on Christ for strength?”

If I were to go first, and give answer to the question posed at the end for reflection, I will say waiting; waiting for my induction ceremony into the Medical and Dental Council Nigeria. It’s been over three months since completion of my final exams. This wait has not been very palatable. Initially, it felt like a holiday, but you know how you can grow weary when it feels like you are stuck. Through it all, I have tried to maintain a positive attitude and make the most of the time. I often say, in Medicine, you don’t get a lot of spare time. So, why don’t you utilize this: Learn something new, travel to some place new, read something different, learn a skill, a language… Add value to yourself, so you can be of more value to others. I am trying to stay productive.

How am I relying on Christ for strength?

He gives me inspiration. As I lean on Him, I learn more about Him and about myself in the process. This can also be applied to the single season. You can let yourself be miserable, wishing to move out of that phase, that you fail to maximize the season. As if to buttress this, I’m on my way to church while developing this post. In the course of the sermon titled Faith For Finances, the man of God asks a question: “What level of skill/training do you have now, while you are waiting for “the opportunity?” Then he goes further, “For some of you, the training you need now is financial literacy.” I grab that and hold onto it. The waiting time is time for preparation. “Winter is coming!!!” You prepare for war in time of peace.  Now, over to you. Your answer to the question posed for reflection. I hope you learnt a number of things. I will be happy to hear in the comments section.

So much love,

God’s love and mine,

Annie. ❤

First Outing As A Doctor x Practicing In My Village

I was preoccupied with preparing for my final qualifying exam as a medical doctor, when a call came in from my mum, asking if I would be available to participate in a rural health outreach they were planning in August.
Someone had wisely chipped in during the planning phase, “Why outsource a doctor when one of our own is a doctor?
It was an honour to say the least, and my people defiled the popular saying, “A prophet is not honoured in their own home.”
That was in sometime in May, I would have completed my exam by August, would be free, and certified a medical doctor. So, I accepted.
I almost forgot about this agreement, until a few weeks to the time, when my mum reminded me of it.
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When it was confirmed I was listed as one of the doctors and was going to travel, my excitement knew no bounds. The joy in my heart must have rung louder than a grade six murmur. The prospects of clerking in Igbo, and most importantly treating my own people was too exhilarating to keep calm.
Having trained in Rivers state, interacting with people from its various tribes, and even doing a compulsory one-month rural posting in a community in Rivers state – Kegbara-Dere, sometimes having a colleague who is a native act as an interpreter, and learning a few of their language to get by, this was much-welcomed opportunity.
As we approached the venue for the outreach, my aunt who was with me in the vehicle worried about my proficiency in Igbo; if I would be able to communicate effectively with the villagers.
I did not hesitate in letting her know how grounded I was for this. I boasted: “We have been effectively trained for this. One of the things you have to get right in medical school is the ability to communicate with your patient – whatever their level of education was. That included finding ways to surmount the barriers of language and religion also.” By the time I had gone on to lecture her on the expediency of passing the counselling station in the exam, and explaining a patient’s medical condition in the simplest of terms, she was forced to believe more in my ability.
I alighted the vehicle feeling comfortable in my ordinary attire, no white coat or stethoscope to give me away as a doctor, when to my uttermost amazement some other person alighting from a motorcycle greeted me, Doctor.
Poker-faced, looking down at my bag to crosscheck that my ward coat and stethoscope were safely tucked in, I stared back in his direction blankly, wondering what gave me away as a doctor. After he settled the bike guy, he repeated his greeting, as if to erase any doubt I had, concluding that I probably didn’t recognize him. The doctor who was to become a partner and a potential friend explained that we had the same Alma Mata and he knew me while we were in school. He was some classes ahead of me, had seen me a couple of times in the library and was currently serving in my village. Small world.
In no time, the patients were ready to start seeing the doctors, and the doctor and I were initially positioned in different consulting rooms.
“I mere añunu?” I started. The only Igbo Isuikwuato I was sure of.
The elderly woman began her compliant. At some point, I wanted to plead with her to stick to basic Igbo but decided against it.
When I had gotten all of her complaints and had an understanding of her condition, I proceeded to prescribe her medications.
One thing I didn’t do was fake knowledge where I would have used some guidance. That would be grave and foolish of me. So, I asked questions and sought clarifications when I needed one. If that made me seem “incompetent” or not schooled enough, that was your thinking.
“Better be humble and learn more, than prideful and kill innocent persons,” I admonished myself.
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Shortly afterward, we were joined by an older doctor who had been in practice for years. He was from my village and owned a hospital in a neighbouring town. I gave up my consulting room to share space with the other doctor who was serving in my village.
At intervals, my aunt came to check on me; to be sure I had no difficulty communicating with the patients and help if I had one.
I reassured her that I was doing fine, with a smile. The other doctor was from Akwa Ibom and didn’t understand a lot of Igbo. My aunt helped out when I was busy, and I took on the task of interpreting when I was less busy. I was too happy to.
He understood some words. When they said ishi/isi, he knew they were talking about their head… So, headache. When they said ukwu, they were referring to their waist. And so on.
The majority of the patients complained of headache, waist pain, leg pain, and general body pain. And of course malaria. This was to be expected considering their major source of livelihood is farming, my village is hilly, and the major age group of the presenting population elderly.
Children also came. If you have treated malaria, then the other most likely complaints were cough, ukwara and its accomplice, catarrh, mmiri ukwara.
Everyone that presented to the health center was dewormed.
Among the mpas and mmas, hypertension, as expected, was predominant and a few accompanying or isolated cases of diabetes.
There were few other random cases, and patients were referred to the General Hospital, and to be followed up when there was a need.
It was obvious some came for a refill of their medications, which was OK. That was why we were organizing the free medical outreach, everyone should make the most of the opportunity.
Of particular note was a certain old man, who looked vaguely familiar when he stepped in. On interaction with him, I asked him if he knew my grandpa and he answered in the affirmative, recounting some fun memories with him.
I was more than impressed when he took out a small note, where he had beautifully written down his complaints. I had to show my partner, he didn’t seem as impressed as I was, but I was and made sure the old man knew I was. He smiled and said he used to be a teacher. I scribbled his name on a paper and made a mental note to ask my uncle or granny when I got home.
I also met some other persons who knew me as a child or knew my family, and when they tried to place whose child in particular I was and were told “nwa Moses, Ada ya,” I could see them wearing the happiness in their hearts on their faces. Their own daughter was treating them. And I, too, found satisfaction and inexplicable delight and gave them my best.
We were joined by another doctor, who is from my village and works at the General Hospital.
His family is based in Port Harcourt, but he has a love for community medicine and enjoys working in the village to give back to his community. A lot of persons attested to his humanitarian and selfless service to the community.
The three of us soon got along and by the end of the second day, the last day of the outreach, we were heartily retelling stories of medical school. I didn’t realize how exhausted I was at the end of the day until I lay to sleep, but one thing was certain: The joy in my heart had no match, and my people were more than happy, blessed.
Tired, but surely excited, I managed to pose for photos at the end of the day:
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*I mere añunu? – How are you? (in my dialect)
*Mpas and mmas – Fathers and mothers (the elderly)
*nwa Moses, Ada ya – Moses’ child, his first daughter
Love,
Annie (or I should sign off with my Igbo name, Chioma? 😁)
Ps – This outreach was part of the infamous August Meeting, the annual meeting Igbo women attend in their village. Isn’t it cool that it has evolved to become an avenue these women seek ways to give back to the community? Shout out to the Onicha Amiyi-Uhu women of Isuikwuato local government area, Abia state. Onicha Amiyi-Uhu to the world! ❤