Saturday, October 10, 2009

Reflections from a Saturday at Grady: Grady-isms

Kicking up my feet on Saturday post rounds in my office. (Yep, I wear jeans on weekends.)

I was rounding with my team post call on rounds today and one of my interns, Tyler, asked me a very reasonable question:

"What in the world is a 'risin'?"

Let me put this into context for you. We'd seen a patient with multiple soft tissue abscesses on her arms, legs and abdomen, likely pus collections from a germ we commonly see in the hospital called staphylococcus aureus (or "staph" for short.) While the whole team was at the bedside, I asked the patient, "When did you first start getting these risins on your body?" (What can I say? I'm one to cut to the chase.)

That launched us into a glorious discussion of "Grady-isms," or words and phrases that you probably should know if you want to navigate the waters of this fire-breathing dragon of a county hospital called Grady. Oh, I should mention that a lot of these "Grady-isms" do reach beyond the doors of my dear old Grady. It's probably fair to say that a lot of this language is indigenous to folks in the southern United States, and some of the terms tend to be more common amongst African-Americans. (FYI: As a sho' nuff African-American, I can authorize this statement.)

one must know for survival and effective communication in Grady Hospital:*
*(NOTE: Use care with YOUR personal use of these words unless you are are culturally competent enough to do so-- otherwise, it comes out all WRONG. . and can border on offensive. Trust me on this, people.)

"Risin"' - an abscess or a boil or an alleged spider bite. "I'm here because I got a risin on my behind."

"Nature"- anything referring to a man's ability to gain an erection "I ain't taking that medicine 'cause it messes with my nature."

"Running off" - having diarrhea "I started running off last night."

"Fell out" - fainted "One minute I was standing there, then I just fell out."

"The Gouch"
- gout "My toe swoll up and somebody told me I had the gouch one time."

- arthritis (as in Arthur-itis) "How you doing, sir?" "Well, ol' Arthur is messing with me today."

"Minute" -
a really, really long time. "Hey there, Miss Manning! I ain't seen you in a minute!"

"Hot minute"
- a really short time "My chest has only been hurting for a hot minute."

- fine, well, okay. "Sir, are you okay?" "Yeah, I'm straight."

"Straight" - really? seriously? "Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize today." "Straight?" (can also be "straight up")

"Straight "- really, really awesome. "How did you like Dr. Malebranche when I referred you to him?" "Aww man, Miss Manning! He was straight!"

"Black n' Milds"
- Pipe tobacco cigarillos

- how much a person smokes. "Sir, how much do you smoke?" "Awww, Miss Manning, a pack-a-last me 2 days." "Oh, so you smoke half a pack per day?" "Naww. A pack-a-last me 2 days." "Gotcha."

" - family "Wher're your peoples?" "They all over Atlanta, but I don't never talk to them."

- your church "Ma'am, do you have a church-home?" "Yes, I go to Berean Christian Church on Panola."

" - live
"Where do you stay?" "I stay off of Bankhead with my cousin and his son right now."

"See about" - check on, visit, take care of. "You said you live by yourself?" "Yeah, but my son lives around the corner and he sees about me 'bout once, twice a week."

"Toot" - snorting cocaine

" - injecting any kind of illicit substance. "Do you shoot?" "Aww, heck no. I'll toot sometimes, but I don't never shoot."

- putting smokeless tobacco in your cheek or lip "Do you smoke, ma'am?" "No. But I do dip."

"Billy Dee
" - Colt 45 beer
(disclaimer: only heard this one once, but think it's hilarious!See my post from 9/4/09)
"Deuce Deuce" - 22 oz beer, usually malt liquor

"The Shakes"
- Alcohol withdrawal tremors

- little kids
"Hey there, Miss Manning! How them crumbsnatchers doin'?" "Oh they're great, thanks so much for asking!"

"High blood" - hypertension

"Low blood" - anemia

- tests "I'm only here to get the results of my testes."

" - push
"What floor, ma'am?" "Can you mash twelve please?"

" - Doctor "Hi there, my name is Dr. Manning." "It's nice to meet you, Miss Manning."

Okay, for real. . .what is there NOT to love about this job? I'm sure that I am blanking on some really important ones, but this is definitely a start. (If I forgot a whopper, hit me in comments.) Like I said, a lot of these terms are not unique to Grady and Atlanta only, but understanding these words sure does help with caring for folks at Grady!

Gotta run. . . Harry and the crumbsnatchers have been gone for a minute and will be getting back soon! :)


  1. that was some funny stuff!!!

  2. "I'm needing to make water". Took me a minute to figure that one out.


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