Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mad love.




"I'm just saying, you can do better."

~ Drake

I heard him when he said that to you. Looked you straight into your face and called you a "stupid ass bitch." You crinkled your lips and acted like you didn't care. But I knew that you did.

The story? I didn't know it and still don't. But what I did know was that this wasn't his first time calling you that or your first time hearing it. And I wondered what the circumstances were that had led to such venom and, better yet, what upbringing had left you okay with this sort of treatment?

I tried to scowl at him from where I was walking but I knew it was weak. Like I was trapped in this internal struggle--do I speak up and come to your rescue or do I just stand still in that moment and pray for you and your world with all of my might? It felt too big for either so, mostly, I just hitched my breath and continued to be a voyeur.

Shit.

He made reference to your "dumb ass" doing this and your "simple ass needing to know when to just shut the fuck up." I overheard it all while you walked down that street and I walked out of the hospital in just those moments. In response, you said, "Whatever." But it had no muscle behind it at all.

At all.

He stopped when you said that and just swung his head at you. Like the stare a stern parent gives to her child on the pew in church when he's playing instead of listening. But the anger, the meanness in it was nothing like that. And it chilled my blood to the bone.

Shit.

He didn't say anything at that point. That look was enough. Your eyes fell away from his and landed somewhere far away. And then you both started walking again.

You were both young. Very young. I'm talking young enough to be my children had I gotten started sooner, but still, perhaps, old enough to have children of your own. That is, if you had gotten started sooner, too. And some piece of me hoped-hoped-hoped that there wasn't a child around any of that. Yeah. Some part of me did.

We were outside. Traveling down the sidewalk between Grady and the Health Department. And since you were coming from the Health Department and not Grady, I made up all sorts of explanations why or what your story could be. I wondered what had just happened and what could possibly warrant anyone speaking to you this way. Were you there for a birth certificate? Had you just discovered you had some kind of sexually transmitted infection? Or was it something altogether different?

Hmmm.

But that's when I realized that there wasn't any sort of excuse for anyone speaking to you that way. So it didn't matter what had just happened. And so. You both kept walking and so did I, our routes perpendicular. As our paths nearly intersected the vitriol amplified. Him still those three steps ahead of you and you slightly shuffling behind with that saucy pout of your lips. Trying your best to feign some pseudo-spunk which no one was buying.

"I don't know why you making such a big deal," I heard you say as we drew closer.

"That's 'cause you a fucking dumb ass, that's why."

And when he said that, he was so close to me that those words smacked me in the side of the face and grabbed me by my throat, too. And because he was walking east-west and I was walking north-south, this was the part that I heard in Dolby stereo. I hated it.

And so. Against my better judgment, I spoke.

"Come on, dude. I need you to stop talking to my little sister that way. That's like somebody talking to me or your mama that way."

You both paused for a moment. I could feel my pulse quickening; I had no idea what might happen next. What was I thinking?  Fear started welling up in me in those first few milliseconds. Whatever kind of person he was to you, so disrespectful of you that he'd speak to you this way out on the street would surely make him a potential loose cannon towards me as well. What the hell was I thinking?

But then I noticed something. The way he was looking at me wasn't mighty or angry or even confrontational. It was boyish and juvenile. And even slightly embarrassed.      

"Yes, ma'am," he muttered falling into what was obviously some kind of habit.

I shook my head hard and sighed. "I've been listening to you. And you're hurting my heart so badly." I patted my hand on my chest. "So can you please just . . .yeah. . .just stop it." He nodded and slowly began to shrink.

And then I looked at you and wanted to say something more but couldn't. The words crashed together and fractured in pieces on the asphalt at my feet. Again, it all felt too big.

Yeah.

So after that you walked on. Him still ahead and you following. And no, I couldn't hear anything else after that but in my head I can still hear it all.

And that was that.

I wish I had the answers or some shiny pretty bow to affix to this story. I don't.

Today, I'm just thinking of you. I'm thinking of you both and feeling angry at this world you're in, whomever let you both down by robbing you of your innocence, and at myself for not being able to find any hope in any of it.

But here's what I wish I'd said: "You can do better, okay? You can."    


***
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mirrors.


"It's like you're my mirror--my mirror staring back at me."

~ Justin Timberlake


Students who have real, true support win. This is critical for all students--but is especially necessary for underrepresented minorities and women. My fellow Grady doctor Stacy H. and I celebrated that today with three of our recent Emory medical school graduates.



And you know what?




It was magical.





Man. These are the moments that give us wings. Because supporting you supports me.

Damn. I'm just glad to be here.

Yeah.

***
Happy Hump Day.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . .

Life in Pictures and Hashtags: Commencement '15


"Work is love made visible."

~ Kahlil Gibran

_______________________________________________


This year I came armed with Raybans.

#brightfuturescallforshades #sodotears #ialwayscryeveryyear


My sole survivor from SG Beta. Love her with my entire heart. I just get her.

#thebestisyettocome


The one who makes me weepiest.

#wanttokeepherinmypocket


They sit us side by side every year. Bad idea.

#shenaniganseverysingleyear #rolemodelstho #laughterisgoodmedicine #smizing #wefierce


I'm usually still just happy on this part. The water works come later.

#cantyoufeelthejoy #proudmoment #mybabies


It's surreal to know your students since the first day of medical school and then watch them march in to be hooded as bona fide physicians. And by surreal I mean awesome.

#smallgroupgamma #feelsliketheyjustgothere


One of the best people I know.

#goodtothecore #ifigetsickcalldrgeigerstat


This is what strength looks like. 

#youseetheglory #iknowthestory #mdphD #prouddaughter


You know how you wish for your babies to grow up and fall in love with someone wonderful? It's even better when you, too, love the wonderful person your baby falls in love with.

#ultimatepowercouple #allyoucouldwant #laurenrules


Ever meet someone with such excellent manners that you think they're pulling your leg? But then find out that they just happen to actually be a kind soul and nothing gives? Oh, you haven't? You need to meet Dr. Lockwood. For reals.

#professionalismpersonified #heartofplatinum


Nettie told Miss Celie, "Nothing but death could keep me from it." She was speaking of her love for her sister. That also goes for my colleague Cliff and his small group advisees. 

#resilience #dedication #ultimaterolemodel



I love seeing my friends all dressed up in regalia. I am particularly fond of Wendy's Harvard crimson. 

#swanky #theyknewtogivethattosomeonelikewendy #youcouldnttellmenothingifihadthatregalia #wouldgetamatchingboldlipandWERKit


Love this one.

#expectgreatthings #callherifdrgeigerisnotthere


And so it begins.

#nowaterworksyet


Wait for it. . . .

#justatinybitverklempt


I've known them since the first day of orientation, remember?

#fadingfast


#tryingtoholdittogether


Yeah. By this point it was a wrap. Bless my heart.

#thedeansareusedtoitnow #lookatdeanlarsen #healmostsmackedme 


This.

#theirswaggerismickjagger


THESE two proud parents (Dr. and Dr. Umpierrez) hooded their older daughter last year and (my advisee) their youngest daughter Erica, this year. Both honor society inductees and student leaders. Pretty much a big deal family. Ummm. . yeah. Pretty much.

#youcouldnttellmenothinifiwasthem #howbossisthat #BOOM #thatsthemicdropping


See? If Wendy had known she was going to win the highest teaching award at Emory--The Evangeline Papageorge Distinguished Teaching Award--she might have gone for that matching bold lip I was talking about. Ha. Her parents (from Michigan), her best friend (from Pittsburgh), and her children (uh, they live with her) surprised her. It was so awesome.

An added cool thing? Shanta sent her parents the link to a blog post I wrote about the meaning of that award. None of it was lost on any of them which, I think, made it even more pivotal for them. Her dad said, "I'm indescribably proud." I can't think of a cooler thing to hear a parent say.

#welldeserved #aboss #smartestpersoniknow #wewereproudtoo


Women need women friends. Shanta (the Profesora in Pittsburgh) is a die hard true friend whose loyalty defies description. She rules.

#hugsthatspeakvolumes #shecamefrompittsburgh #andgotherparentstherefrommichigan


A proud advisor selfie. For no reason. I'm certain someone was going to smack me here.

#becauseImhappy #donthate #imabloggerremember



This. This is why I always take photos.

#yougoglenncoco #feelinggroovy


And this. Hands down my favorite image of the entire day. If it doesn't make you happy, something is seriously wrong with you. Trust me, I'm a doctor.

#joyonathousandtrillion


More of my favorite super girl.

#acuteonchronicpride


This woman, Dr. Cathy M. makes me think of this awesome quote from the student commencement speaker, whose powerful speech brought us all to tears:

"We now know that mentorship is just a fancy name for friendship with adults."

~ Shreya Rao, MD, EUSOM '15

Becoming one of her mentors felt divine. 

#yesthis #bestquoteever #outofsightneveroutofmind



And it's never official until we get that last "mean mug."

#asmallgrouptradition #SGgamma


Bonus images:

These two gifts given to me by my graduating small group advisees in 2013 and 2015 exemplify why we all go so hard. This is what happens when we leave it all on the field. Thank you Dan. . .and thank you Anand for remembering Dan's story. . .  and then for destroying my mascara with this kind, kind gesture.


#alwaysastorybehindtheglory #firstchoicePenn



#bestmomentever #dejavu #firstchoiceUW #gohardorgohome



#bestjobever

***
Happy Commencement. Coming in July: Small Group Epsilon. Wow.

And as is tradition for every one of my graduating small groups, here is a 2 and a half minute journey through the last four years with them--courtesy of the Beatles (duh.) Once again, it's been a dream.



Monday, May 11, 2015

Fear, friends, and motherhood.



I was standing in the bathroom brushing my teeth when I first noticed. With the tip of my index finger I pushed into my right side. After 35 weeks of pregnancy, I knew exactly where your tushie was and just what it would take to make it dance. "Wake up, sleepyhead," I said aloud. When you didn't wiggle, I shook my head and chuckled. "And here I was thinking you were a morning person like mommy."

Normally, it was you who woke me up. Rhythmic hiccups that came in the wee hours of the morning like clockwork. Every moment of my pregnancy with you kept me in such awe. I'd lay my hand on that right side--the dancing tushie side--and try to predict the next tremble of your tiny diaphragm. Harry was always still fast asleep but I didn't mind. This was our me and you time. And I loved it.

Yeah.

You had a right to be tired that morning. I was giving a lecture to the residents that day at noon and my pregnancy brain had me pretty out of sorts as I attempted to finalize my slide set. I guess all of the late night movement made you euphoric. I felt your little legs kicking and arms punching with every stroke of my keyboard. It was well after 1AM when I finally turned in and, fortunately, you let me sleep that night. I guess that's why I wasn't too alarmed by the fact that you weren't up and at 'em at 7 the following morning.

By the time I was about a mile or two away from home and en route to work, I'd poked that right side at least ten different times without much of a response. Instinctively, a wave of fear washed over me and I tried to shake it off. I turned the nob on my radio dial to the gospel station and brought the volume up as loud as I could stand it. I guess I hoped that some throaty vibrato thumping from my speakers would reach God's ears a lot more quickly than my fretful whispers.

A few minutes and several more pokes later, I reached for my cell phone and called Tracey, my obstetrician. She immediately picked up on the first ring.

"How's my star patient?" she playfully asked.

"Good for the most part. But your little fella is being lazy this morning." I was careful not to sound like I was worried. And my hope when I said that was that the very act of bugging my OB at 8:30 in the morning would get the tushie dancing immediately. But it didn't.

"What do you mean, bud?"

"Um, well. I guess it's just a little weird because I've not felt him moving this morning. Like, at all."

I could tell she heard the mounting fear in my voice. "This happens when you have a big baby in a small space sometimes. All the little fella needs is a sugar rush and he'll be up in no time. Are you near a McDonald's?"

I looked from side to side to note my location. "Actually, I'm coming up on one right now."

"The orange drink," Tracey said. "That orange drink is like a doggone glucose tolerance test. He'll be awake until I deliver him. Get that and something to eat and hit me back, okay?"

"Okey dokey," I replied. And honestly? I felt fully confident in this plan and that it would be the money shot.

I should explain my relationship with my OB/Gyn to give better clarity. Tracey L., my obstetrician, was more than just my doctor. She was the very first person I met in the parking lot on my very first day of medical school in 1992. She, a recent graduate of Florida A&M in Tallahassee, and me, a proud Tuskegee alum, immediately clicked upon first meeting. Our friendship developed quickly and easily, too. And interestingly, we didn't hang out a whole lot during med school. But we did always have an understanding when it came to our friendship.

Yep.

As you've gathered by now, Tracey went on to do her post graduate training in Obstetrics and Gynecology. After finishing residency at Tulane in Lousiana, the Atlanta native returned to her hometown and arrived here right around the same time that I did. Time and other factors had caused a drifting between us. I think this is the reason why I felt comfortable seeking her out as a patient when I needed an annual one year. I knew her enough to trust her. Yet we weren't so connected that it would be weird. Tracey had just started up a solo private practice and I couldn't see a reason why supporting her wouldn't be a good idea. And so I did.

It may sound odd but that annual visit is what put us back in stride as friends. And since I didn't really need much of anything as a patient, I continued to go to her each year as her patient. Which was, in my opinion, no big deal.

By the time I got pregnant, we were very close again. I went straight to her to ask her opinion on a referral for an obstetrician to manage and deliver my pregnancy--because clearly our friendship was too tight now for her to serve as that person.

"Say what?!" she said.

"It's too close for comfort, don't you think? Way too much pressure for you, I think."

"Naaah. I'm good. But I tell you what--if I start to feel overwhelmed, I'll let you know."

And that was that.

The truth is that it was probably a horrible idea. Babies are so high stakes and having a close friend as the responsible party could be disastrous if anything went awry. But in our youthful idealism, we went forward. One of my best friends and medical school classmates would be the doctor to deliver my first baby.

That brings me back to that fateful day. Just as Tracey had advised, I bought an orange drink from McDonald's. And yes, she was right that there was nothing more sugar-laden that I could possibly have picked up through a drive thru than that. But even with that mighty high fructose bomb, I still didn't feel even the tiniest kick.

This was what I'd dreaded. A complication. And my friend having the agony of having to navigate the awful of it--not just as my physician but as someone who loves me.

"How's our little fella?" That was the first thing she said when she called me in my office a bit later.

"Uhhh," I stammered a bit, "he's . . uhhh. . .still being a little bit sluggish this morning."

"You didn't get the orange drink?" I could hear a twinge of something in her voice and I didn't like it.

"I did. A large one at that."

"Huh." That was all she said. Tracey was thinking. I know her so even through the phone I could tell that much. "Okay. So do this--where are you?"

"In my office where you called me."

"Oh yeah. Okay. So lock your door and lay down flat on your back on the floor. Babies don't like their moms to be flat on their back so that's a good way to get your little pumpkin moving." She was careful to use pet names to lighten things up. I appreciated that.

"How long should I do that for?"

"It shouldn't take long."

"Um, okay." I looked at the clock which read 10:30 A.M. My lecture was just one and a half hours away at noon. Before I could say more, Tracey got paged and had to get off of the phone. She instructed me to call her back as soon as I felt my baby move.

I carefully climbed down to the floor. First on all fours, then rolling over on to my bottom, and finally leaning back to lie flush with the floor. Limp like a rag doll, I lay there, staring at the ceiling. My heart was pounding hard in my chest and I wasn't sure if it was because I was nervous or due to some physiologic response to being supine.

But still. . .nothing.

Being down there hurt my back so I'd lie there for ten or fifteen minutes and then roll to the side and get back up. Then I'd do it again. Next thing I knew, it was 11:40--just twenty minutes before my lecture was scheduled to begin. I took a deep breath and fought back the emotion when I called Tracey back.

"I still can't feel anything," I whispered. "I. . I . . just. . I can't feel movement. At all."

"Buddy, really? Are you sure?"

"I'm sure."

"I'm coming to get you."

"I . . I. . I'm giving a conference in a few minutes. And I know folks will get all worked up if I cancel and say there's an issue with the baby."

"Kim. What do you want me to do?"

"I don't know." Now I was full on crying. I wanted her to make my baby move again. I wanted her to remove the sinking feeling and the dread that came from knowing the medical side, the reality that sometimes  babies stop moving. At near term. For unexplained reasons. "I need to call Harry. I need to.  . . okay. . .I'm just gonna get this lecture over with and maybe. . ." My voice trailed off.

"Call Harry. Or I can call him."

"No. I'll call him."  Which is what I did.

Poor Harry. He got this very matter of fact, staccato sounding call with me trying to sound anything other than terrified.

"What did you say?" Harry asked.

"I can't feel the baby moving. And haven't been able to all day. So I'm going to give my lecture. And after that, I'm going to drive over to Tracey's office to look for a heart beat. Yeah. So I'll keep you posted."

"A heart beat? What?"

"To see if that's why the baby isn't moving. Like to see if it's a intrauterine fetal demise." I used medical jargon to keep him at arm's length. I knew if he truly knew how upset I was, he'd be at Grady hospital in five seconds flat.

And so. I gave my lecture. It was supposed to be from 12:00 to 1PM. But I was so distracted and so worried that the entire time all I could do is poke my sides with my finger and imagine whether what I was feeling was in my head or truly some kind of real response. I reached my last slide by 12:33--shortest noon conference ever.

I fielded a few questions and then went tearing out of that lecture hall before they could even finish applauding. Scrambling for my phone from my lab coat pocket, I frantically called Tracey once again. "I . . .heee. . heeeee. . .I still don't. . I don't . . .no.. .  I don't. . .he's not . . .he's not moving." My body was heaving and those tears that I'd choked back for 33 minutes were now spraying from eyes like a faucet. And just as I reached the end of the sidewalk and looked up to cross the street, I saw something familiar.

Tracey's car.

"Do you see me?" she asked. "I'm here. I've been waiting for you. Just get in and come with me."

"I. . I. . .I need. . I need to . . I need to call . .Ha-Ha-Harry. And. . and . . I--"

She cut me off. "I called Harry. He's on his way to my office. And so is your mom. Okay? Come get in. I'm here."

And that was that.

I got in the car and not only was she in the driver's seat, my other best friend--also our med school classmate--was in the back seat. "We are with you," she said. "It's okay."

And she rubbed my back while I cried hysterically all the way to Tracey's office. Which, by the way, was closed that day since it was a Wednesday.

Harry was waiting near the entrance when we got there. He didn't say anything. He just took my hand and we followed Tracey into the office.

It was dark when we got in there. No people in the waiting room. No staff. No hustle or bustle. Just us.

She reached down to plug in the ultrasound machine. "Go ahead and sit up here, okay Buddy?"

I nodded and did as I was told. And all of us just sat there with hitched breath as she squirted that cool jelly onto my protuberant abdomen and pressed that ultrasound probe firmly into the side of it. Harry clasped his fingers around mine and Lisa stood by quietly. I think my mother may have come in shortly after that, but I can't fully remember. What I do recall is that poor Tracey had the horrible task of guiding that wandering device around my abdomen during all of this.

Ugggh.

Those moments. . .the ones where we were waiting and looking and hoping? They felt like a million years. Harry squeezed my hand harder. I wasn't sure if he was bracing himself or me for the impact of whatever could be coming. I just stared into his eyes and held his gaze, knowing that no matter what was going to happen next, we were together and we'd get through it.

And then. . . that's when we heard it. Hard like a washing machine. The welcomed whooshing of that heart beat--Isaiah's heart beat--strong and . . .just. . .alive. Alive. "Heartbeat!" Tracey announced. And when she said it, I could feel her arm trembling on my belly. She was fighting with all of her might not to break down crying.

But me? I came completely unglued in that moment. Because for those seven hours before that announcement, I'd been trying to get my mind and heart around this little baby who'd been growing inside of me for all of those weeks being a baby I'd never get to truly know. Because sometimes that is what happens. Except this time, it didn't.

Now.

I realized something really important with my pregnancies. I loved those boys from the first moment I peed on the stick. I mean it. Because even taking a pregnancy test when you desire pregnancy fills you with ideas and dreams. You imagine what if I am pregnant and then you pull out a calendar and count the months. He'd be a spring baby, you tell yourself, and then you start making mental plans around what that will mean for your summer.

Yeah.

So, to me, the love that goes into the idea of motherhood is a part of the tidal wave that becomes the reality of it. And I guess I'm just reflecting on that and how none of it is promised. I'm also imagining every single woman who has ever been pregnant, whether she carried her babies to term or had the dream of their life interrupted by bright red blood trickling into cotton briefs. For some, that happened many times. It did.

I guess, I'm thinking, you know? I was Isaiah's mother long before May 6, 2005. I was his mom when I stared at that pink plus sign as it emerged before my eyes in my guest bathroom. I was his mother as I stared at the ceiling tiles in my office while lying flat on my back hoping that would coax him into moving. I loved him just as much as his mama when that ultrasound showed me his beating heart and his nearly nine pound body in a breech position--that had simply run out of space in my smallish frame.

Yeah.

So. On this day-after-Mother's day, I'm celebrating every woman who has ever known motherhood at any of its stages. Because you, my sisters, are mothers, too. Your heart knows that love, that yearning, that angst. And whether you got the chance to see your babies walk and reach milestones or never had that part work out . . . or even said good bye to them too soon. . .you are mamas, still. You are.

And let me just say this lastly--I have some amazing sisterfriends. They are brave and loving and wonderful. But if you read here, you know that I believe in women needing women to survive. So yeah. I'm really glad that Tracey was my doctor that day. And also my fearless friend.

That cramped little baby who was mistaken for sluggish, decided to turn back over just one week before I delivered. He arrived a few weeks after that day and Tracey caught all nine pounds and two ounces of him. That beautiful baby boy is now a happy, healthy ten year old.




Yep.

I guess this is one of those stories that I'm writing down for him to read some day. So that he can know that he was loved before he was here and how these women that he calls his aunties and this man he knows as his daddy and his mama and his grandmama all cherished him even then. I want him to know that nothing is promised and that we must let our actions show our devotion. That day? That was a day of love in action. And that day when I stepped out of Steiner Auditorium and saw my friend's care parked outside--on her off day and waiting for me? It's one I'll never, ever forget for as long as I live.




The first person to ever meet my children--the one who delivered them, Tracey. 


Okay. I'm rambling. It's late and I'm getting tired. That's all I've got, okay? Thanks for listening. Really.

***
Happy Mother's Day to every version of a mother.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

On being a mother.



It is exhilarating
It is exhausting
It is empowering
It is terrifying
It is hilarious
It is frustrating
It gets you off of the bench
It puts you on the sidelines
It is being a friend
It is being a foe
it is a loud shout
It is a soft whisper
It is the pivotal moment filled with everything
It is the mundane nothingness of daily routine
It is uncertainty
it is absolution
It is trusting your gut
It is seeking good counsel
It is messing it all up
It is getting it just right
It is slowing down
It is speeding up
It is long days
It is short years
It is holding on tight
It is trying to let go. . . but never all the way go
It is yin.
It is yang 

It is motherhood. 

~ KM, 5/10/15

__________________

It's a blessing to be one and also to see one. I'm thankful for all of the new mercies that come with both, not just on Mother's day, but every single morning. Happy Mother's Day to all, including those without their own children but whose mother-wit and mothering instincts add to our villages of children day after day, year after year.

***
Happy Mama's day. To you and yo mama.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Life in Pictures: Power couples, selfies and other random parts of This American Life.



I love this city. Snapped this while walking during a very wet March of Dimes March for Babies.



I'm not fan of walking or running or doing much of anything in the rain. This former premie trucking ahead of me put it all in perspective though. She wore her superhero cape with pride. And stayed in front of me the entire time.

Yep.




Went to Toronto at the end of April for the Society of General Internal Medicine meeting. I'm a fan of Toronto for sure. Pretty strong photo of the CN tower taken from a cab window if I do say so myself.




It was awesome to see some of my favorite people like Kevin S. and Natalie L. I love seeing people I haven't seen in a long time and catching right back up as if we never left each others' sides.


I didn't know Natalie was coming. I saw her from the side and pretty much stalked her feet since she was on the other side of the poster presentation row from me. Was sure it wasn't her. Leaped for joy when I learned that it WAS her. Yay!



Our BST Mode (Bite Sized Teaching Mode) conference was presented as a poster at SGIM this year. The poster was put together by one of my favorite residents, Jennifer S. She rocked it!

That Jennifer.

This woman makes me better. Jennifer will be one of our chief residents at Grady next year. I have never been more excited to work with someone in my professional life than I am about Jennifer (and her co-chief Lucas) next year. It is going to be an outstanding experience and we are going to do some transformative things. I am SO happy to be connected to her.


This is Joe. He's a former chief resident of the Profesora in Pittsburgh and is now in Seattle, Washington at University of Washington. I met him during my visiting profesora-ship at University of Pittsburgh back in 2010. I re-met him when he stopped me in Toronto and then had the pleasure of learning from him during one of his workshops. It was awesome.



This beautiful, brilliant young woman is only an intern yet she presented at SGIM like a seasoned faculty. Also one of the Profesora's current trainees, I beamed in her direction just as Shanta would were she there. Yeah, so that was a highlight.



Something about drinking Canada Dry while in Canada just seems right to me. So I did. A lot.




Dude. It was snowing in Toronto. My Grady BFF Lesley was silly enough to react with me in this lovely selfie.

Snow. In April. What the -expletive-?!



Does your mom have an avatar that frolics on FaceBook AND sends you text messages like this one? Hmm. Well mine does. So there.

Hey. Tell your mom to do better.

Ha.



My boys get along very well. They fuss, of course, but mostly they are always in lockstep. They couldn't be more different, either. I love this and count it as a true blessing.



There's this company called King of Pops that has these popsicle carts all over Atlanta selling gourmet ice pops. We love them. It's finally warm enough for them to be out for the season. This was a snap of us after having the first of many King of Pops experiences this summer.



I don't know how to use chopsticks. But I always try for the first five minutes of eating sushi or ramen. Then I give up and use my fork. Or my fingers.

Yes, I've had multiple people try to teach me, too. I think I have a brain glitch that won't let me master it. Kind of like when your brain won't remember how to get to certain places by car no matter how many times you go. Does this happen to you? Or is it just me?






Sometimes we laugh at Grady. Sometimes we cry. But sometimes? We dance. Love this place.



I worked late the night I took this photo. This sign was sitting in the lobby and I really appreciated it.



Okay. So here's something super awesome. This delicious cake was made from scratch by one of my graduating students, Jennifer D. She is (obviously) gifted in the kitchen and loves to bake. But beyond that, she is--hands down--the most thoughtful human being I've ever met. And this is saying a lot considering I know some really, really thoughtful human beings.

So this cake. Yeah. Okay, so it is a dark chocolate-espresso-banana-nut cake. And that is significant--let me tell you why.


Dark chocolate, coffee, coffee-flavored things, nuts and banana-with-chocolate are my absolute favorite dessert-type-thingy flavors. Never, until this cake, had I ever had them all combined into one delicacy.

This cake is literally at the very top of the top three desserts I've ever had in my LIFE. Partly because it was simply delicious. But also because it wasn't lost on me that she'd carefully thought about these flavors and remembered what I liked. Moreover, she showed me the recipe and it was a lot of work. A lot.

One of the kindest gestures anyone has ever extended to me. I appreciated this cake so much.





Not only is she an elegant pastry chef, she is also gorgeous, driven, and kind. Orthopedics is lucky to have her joining their ranks in July.



Here's some cool shots from one of my favorite races of the year--the Atlanta Women's 5K. I was trying to get under 30 minutes for my time but missed it by 20 seconds. I still had an epic time, though--and stopped to smell the roses with friends, colleagues and students.



It was such treat to run into my SG Delta advisee Amaka at the finish line. Love seeing my students doing healthy things.


And my colleagues, too. Took this fun snap with my fellow Grady doctor, Natasha T. Good times, man.



Had an amazing time in D.C. at the Society of Hospital Medicine meeting. Added bonus? The BHE joined me. Awesome sauce!



His beard is a new thing. It has given me an insane crush on him. Doesn't he look hot?

Good heavens.

That beard is giving me LIFE, chile. LIFE!



This was one day when I was in my local Target getting a bunch of random things from a list and learned that the item at the top of the list--wine--was no longer being sold there. The Target associate told me that "Target stores in Atlanta have opted to stop selling wine and alcohol."

Say WHAAAAATTT?

I sure went to the Target corporate FaceBook page to let them know that I didn't approve of this little change. I mean . . . this mom needs to be able to get zip locks, tweezers, ground turkey, a bathing suit cover up, Swiffer refills, cabernet sauvignon, and some capri pants all in one place.




Turns out that THAT associate didn't have her info straight. My other local Target still has the vino row--yahooo! There were so many moms over forty on that aisle that we could have held a book club right then and there.

Bwaaah.



I sent this pic to my BFF to let her know that one of our favorite cabs was on sale. Not to mention the extra 5% off you get with the Target debit card.

Mmmmm hmmmm.

Yeah. So I'll never be shopping at that other Target again. I mean, unless I'm desperate and already have wine.

Ha.



Oh snap. Another thing about Toronto that also hurt my heart more than the snow in April was the fact that they closed all of their Target stores.  I talked to the cab driver for twenty miles just about that. I kept saying, "But WHHHYYYYYY????"

He had no idea what I was talking a-boooot. #nevergoingtoliveintoronto

Ha.



I used to joke my mom nonstop about her 757 trillion pairs of readers stashed all over the house and in her car. The eyeball gods must have heard me. I am typing these whilst wearing some leopard print readers and can picture at least four pairs in various parts of my car as we speak. And two more in my bathroom. And six in various purses.

Yup.


Our graduating students had their senior banquet yesterday. Totally one of my favorite events of the year. Am I blending in as a medical student? What do you say?


Loved seeing my two favorite newlyweds, The Lockwoods. Wink.



My sole survivor from SG Beta, Mara. She had a research detour and is on her way to Hopkins to do Anesthesia. Wow!


With my SG Gamma advisee Courtney C. and my adopted advisee Maureen M. Two of the strongest girls I know--literally and figuratively.



Oh, this one. Erica U. She just has my heart and knows it. It has been a dream being her small group advisor. I will miss her so much that every time I think of it I tear up a bit.

Oh! And this:



The senior class votes on a bunch of class favorites and awards. One of the most coveted is the "Ultimate Power Couple Award." How exciting was it to see two of my favorite students and power couples, Erica and Lauren, win this year!

Yes. All of that stunning beauty, sass, and brainpower is captured in one amazing duo. I was proud to see one minor difference not stand in the way of this acknowledgement. And sure, those awards are all in fun for the most part. But to me, this was significant and kind of a big deal. Yeah. So go, Emory, man.

Plus I love them both so it gave me an excuse to stand up, clap and hoop with my fist in the air.

Ha.



Last week Michelle Obama asked America to wear their college shirts for the day to inspire kids to reach higher. And so I did.




Here's me watching Zack play flag football. He told me I looked like "a cool mom" and not "like a regular mom." I'll take it.



My best friend Lisa left her designer shades in my car. To torture her I took a series of very obnoxious photos whilst rolling around the streets of the ATL with them on my face. With my Delta ring prominently displayed. Did I mention she's an AKA?

Ha.




I love hanging out with my favorite 10 year old boy. This was taken way back when he was only 9.


I was famished this day and my friend Lesley M. caught me scavenging in the break room. This random pasta was there along with lonely stalk of broccoli. Pathetic, yes. But surprisingly filling.

Ha.




I was so thrilled to pin and sponsor my BFF Lisa D. as a new member of Jack and Jill of America last weekend. Finally the Delta and the AKA get to belong to the same organization and attend the same meetings. Woo hoo!

Such a fun day at our annual mothers' luncheon.  Which, thanks to me and a few others, erupted later into a selfie-palooza.  Ummmm, yeah.










It helps me to stay connected to community service organizations like my sorority (Delta Sigma Theta) and Jack and Jill. It's definitely a crap ton of work. But it's so meaningful and makes a difference. Plus I think it makes me better at the other things I do.




Had another event right after the mothers' luncheon and didn't have time to change out of the all white attire. I simply added some red accessories and. . .voila! A new look. Well. . sort of. Hell, at least I was wearing my own shades.

Ha.


Wow. I'm just realizing that I know some ridiculously attractive people. I'm just saying.

Sheesh.




Punctuated that day by meeting up again with my best friend. That late afternoon was spent with Prosecco and tapas on a bustling intown restaurant patio with some excellent conversation and people watching.




I think that just about catches us up. What have y'all been up to?

***
Happy Thursday-almost-Friday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . .