By Benji Ho - September 11th, 2016 | Updated September 11th, 2016
A little over a week ago, I wanted to give yall an update that I have just been granted my full license to practice medicine in Georgia by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. I was going to talk about how licensure was a lengthy process that requires successful completion of all three United States Medical Licensing Exams (USMLE), as well as completion of intern year of residency, and how before full licensure, residents had to work under a temporary license. However, I did not get to write that post because that very next day, I encountered an even bigger news to share. I am happy to announce that Irene and I are now parents again, to our new daughter, Aria Serafina Ho, born September 2, 2016 in Macon, Georgia, in the same hospital and same city as her daddy.
Our first photo together as a family of four
It has been quite a week, with our 5-year wedding anniversary on August 31, Irene’s birthday on September 1 (and the news of my licensure), and now Aria’s birth on September 2. I took a week off work to take it all in. Now is the time that Irene and Lyra needs me the most, as Irene recovers from her repeat C-section and as our first daughter Lyra is figuring out what is going on, like why mommy now has a big boo-boo on her belly and who this new baby is. While Irene focuses her attention on nursing Aria, I put more attention to making sure Lyra understands that she is loved. Being two years old, Lyra has not yet fully understood that Aria is here to stay, and has been slow at warming up to her. There are times where she struggles to hold onto that attention, showing us her boo-boos and wanting kisses to make her boo-boos feel better, and even regressing, such as wanting to go back into the crib to sleep, even though we have long transitioned her to a bed. However, we do our best to empower Lyra to be the big sister that she is now responsible to be, encouraging her to behave well and be a role model for her little sister.
When choosing a name, we wanted a name that would complement Lyra’s name. First, let me give you a little bit of background on Lyra’s name. Lyra is Greek for “lyre” or “harp,” and it is also a constellation. In the northern hemisphere where we live, the Lyra constellation appears in the sky starting in April, which is when our first daughter Lyra was born. So on Lyra’s birthday, you can look up at the sky and see a pattern of stars shaped like a harp, the Lyra constellation. For our new daughter, we also wanted a similarly musical or astronomical name. We also wanted a name that was short and simple to say. Aria sounded like a good fit. Aria, which is Italian for “air,” is a solo song in an opera, probably named for the airy and celestial way it was originally intended to be sung. It is our hope that our daughters will grow up to be musical (or at least expressive in some way), and have a love for science, like their parents.
We are grateful to have so many family and friends visit us this week, offering their help and support, and feeding us. My parents took care of Lyra while Irene and I were in the hospital. Irene’s mother and father came up from Valdosta to help as well, bringing with them lots of good invigorating soups for Irene to drink while she recovers. My younger brother came down from San Francisco and my older brother came up from Florida with his family to visit. Irene’s sister came down from Atlanta, and her uncle and aunt came over from Hong Kong. A lot of our coworkers and friends came to visit us in the hospital, including the family medicine team. It has truly been an awesome week.
Family medicine team with Aria.
My parents with their new granddaughter.
Irene’s parents meet their new granddaughter
Aria meeting her cousin James
Bringing Aria to her home for the first time. Pictured are my parents, younger brother, my older brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew.
By Benji Ho - July 9th, 2016 | Updated July 9th, 2016
What is the USMLE?
In order to apply for licensure to practice medicine in the states, one must complete the United States Medical Licensing Exam, also known as the USMLE. The USMLE is not one exam, but several, taken as a series of exams over the course of med school and residency. There are four exams, divided into…
By Benji Ho - July 1st, 2016 | Updated February 9th, 2017
And just like that, there goes another year of residency. Every July 1, all around the US, hospitals start seeing a new set of faces taking care of patients, working with the rest of the staff. They are the new doctors, the interns. That same day, the previous interns also take their role as the new second-year residents, and the…
By Benji Ho - March 18th, 2016 | Updated March 27th, 2016
Do you remember when you were a kid and wondered what you will be when you grew up? Well, today is that special day when many of my medical colleagues find out. It’s Match Day! Congratulations to all those who matched this year. I am truly impressed by the matches AUC graduates have placed this year. Going through my Facebook, I…
By Benji Ho - November 19th, 2015 | Updated March 18th, 2016
Why Family Medicine?
It is a very satisfying field, particularly if you love building relationships with patients and their families. I’ve gotten to treat both parents and their kids. I’ve even got to take care of a pregnant woman, deliver her baby, then take care of both her newborn and herself post-partum. The range of practice is wide,…
By Benji Ho - July 1st, 2015 | Updated July 14th, 2015
High Falls, Georgia with my co-residents.
So it’s come to this day, the end of internship year. There’s no doubt that there were some rough days and sleepless nights during the past 365 days, but there were also many days when I came home with a smile knowing I did something significant for someone else.
As for my co-residents, I have really…
By Benji Ho - June 14th, 2015 | Updated July 12th, 2015
The last time I saw the Caribbean was the day I hauled my bags to the airport and flew away from St. Maarten where I had been living for two years for Basic Sciences, to move back to the states to start my clinical rotations. That was in the fall of 2011. It wasn’t until nearly four years later, this past month,…
By Benji Ho - November 26th, 2014 | Updated December 21st, 2014
It’s that time of the year again… interview season. It didn’t seem that long ago that I was interviewing here and meeting my current colleagues for the first time. Today, I find myself on the other side of the dinner table, interviewing candidates who I will potentially work with next year. I’ve gotten to read many applications, and met many interviewees, and…
By Benji Ho - November 25th, 2014 | Updated November 25th, 2014
I know I haven’t blogged in a while, but I am still here, surviving my intern year.
Residency has been pretty busy thus far, but there hasn’t been a day gone by where I haven’t come home feeling I’ve had a productive day. My intern experience thus far has been pretty inpatient-heavy. I’ve had two months of internal medicine…
By Benji Ho - September 30th, 2014 | Updated October 4th, 2014
It’s that time of year again, when all medical students who are transitioning into doctors go through a rite of passage called the Match season. I can’t believe it’s been a year already since I went through mine. It hasn’t been that long since I’ve been on this side of the Match, and already, I will be interviewing applicants like…
By Benji Ho - September 22nd, 2014 | Updated November 26th, 2014
During the residency interview, it’s important to dress to impress. While you can act and speak professionally, wearing jeans or a mini skirt to an interview can ruin the program’s impression of you. For every interview you go to, it’s important to bring two types of outfits:
Business Casual – to wear to the dinner with residents the night before interview.
By Benji Ho - August 23rd, 2014 | Updated August 23rd, 2014
With rounds, daily progress notes, grand rounds, afternoon clinics, day calls, night calls, morning reports, presentations, and teaching sessions, there are several things that had to be put on the back burner these past two months into residency, and blogging happened to be one of them, as you’ve probably noticed from my hiatus.
Morning after a night call
By Benji Ho - July 12th, 2014 | Updated July 9th, 2016
There’s so much I wanted to write about, like my experience during orientation, my first day of residency, Lyra’s 3rd month “birthday,” my first overnight on-call shift as a resident physician, my first paracentesis, and my struggles finding my way around the hospital system. However, it’s been 4 weeks since I started orientation and 2 weeks since I starting seeing patients,…
By Benji Ho - June 29th, 2014 | Updated September 30th, 2014
So we packed up the U-Haul, buckled Lyra into her carseat, and made the move north to my hometown of Macon where I am starting my new career as a family medicine resident physician. Seeing where all my other classmates have matched for residency, this 2.5 hour move from Irene’s hometown of Valdosta to Macon is a relatively easy one I’d say.
By Benji Ho - June 11th, 2014 | Updated September 30th, 2014
Me, Chris, and Arif as Anatomy TAs at AUC in 2010.
Earlier this month, my good friends from med school, Arif and Chris, drove down to visit Irene, Lyra, and me here in Georgia. Chris was coming from his pathology residency up in Pennsylvania and Arif was coming from his surgery program up in New York, so it was a lot of driving on their…
By Benji Ho - May 15th, 2014 | Updated May 19th, 2014
This year’s graduation ceremony is finally here and I’ve waited a long time for this. This is the time when we all celebrate the culmination of the last four years and the beginning of our career in medicine. We recite the Hippocratic Oath (or at least the modern version that does not reference Apollo), and profess ourselves to do no harm.…
By Benji Ho - May 12th, 2014 | Updated May 12th, 2014
I remember when we were pre-med students, we looked up to those who were already in med school and thought that their life was smooth sailing. Then once we proudly got into med school, we became “firsties” and looked up admirably to the fifth semester honor students as they walked across the stage during white coat ceremony, having their words of…
By Benji Ho - May 11th, 2014 | Updated May 11th, 2014
Three mothers and their children – L to R – April, Leah, and Irene Ho.
Ever since I became a parent, I appreciate more than ever the patience, dedication, and sacrifice that you made in your life to raise us to become the individuals we are today. Being a mom is not easy, especially to four boys. You taught us…
By Benji Ho - May 10th, 2014 | Updated May 10th, 2014
Can you find me?
Unlike US medical schools that have only one start date per year in the fall, Caribbean medical schools typically have 2 or 3 start dates. At AUC, students may start medical school in January, May, or, September. I’ve gotten quite a few questions about the difference between start dates and so I’d like to address the answer here in…
By Benji Ho - May 7th, 2014 | Updated March 7th, 2015
Med school is no doubt very expensive, and for international medical graduates like me, living in the Caribbean where cost of living is high and traveling around to different clinical rotation sites does not help the amounting debt that we build up during our training. After four strenuous years, I now have an MD degree, a Dr. in front of…
My name is Benji Ho and I am a family medicine resident physician and graduate of the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC), located on the Dutch side of the beautiful island of St. Maarten. My time at AUC has been quite a worldwide adventure, studying two years of Basic Sciences on the island, then completing my clinical rotations in the US as well as the UK. I am currently a family medicine resident physician at Mercer University / Navicent Health. I hope you enjoy my site as I share with you my journey. Thanks for visiting Diary of a Caribbean Med Student!