Thursday, February 18, 2010

Reflections from a Day in the Life of a Grady Doctor: Joy and Pain. . .are like Sunshine and Rain

"Over and over
You can be sure
There will be sorrow
but you will endure. . .
Where there's the flowers,
There's the sun and the rain
Oh, but it's wonderful. . .

. . .they're both one and the same."

from Frankie Beverly and Maze's "Joy and Pain"

Today I:
  • Woke up at 5:35 a.m. to go to Body Pump. I stepped only on the non-creaking parts of the floor so that Zachary wouldn't wake up and ambush me.
  • Did bonified, bad-ass, military pushups on my toes (and not my knees.) Kept saying "Come on, Manning!" all the while, which kind of helped.
  • Talked on the phone to my mom most of the way to Grady, even though she's been nagging me to fully commit to Oprah's "No Phone Zone" pledge for my car. (Working on it, Mom.)
  • Waved at Johnny the Parking Security Officer as I pulled into the parking garage.
  • Had excellent parking lot karma and snagged a ground level parking space (no, not the MD IN/OUT space, either.)
  • Accidentally left my badge in the car so had to ask medical students to get me access in the stairwells all day.
  • Passed one of my patients in the elevator lobby as she headed downstairs to take a smoke. She has lung cancer.
  • Rode the elevator with one of my favorite Grady staff members, Ms. Saadiq from Neurology. I showed her a picture of my sons on my iPhone before getting off.
  • Gave a medical student a fist bump for a doing a good job.
  • Laughed out loud with one of my favorite Grady Social Workers, Myoshi T., who happens to be from New Orleans, LA. I teased her for the way she says "baby" (bebbby) and "today" (t'deey). In return, she gave me and my medical student, Joshua Z., beads from her recent trip to Mardi Gras. (But nobody had to show anything for them.)
  • Watched two medical students do physical exams on their patients. (Strong work.)
  • Asked my patient to show me a picture of her new baby. (Really cute, no really.)
  • Talked to a family for 45 minutes about their loved one.
  • Talked to my team about talking to a family about their loved one for 45 minutes.
  • Saw Gabe W., our chief resident, teaching in a conference room on 7a.
  • Told one of my favorite senior faculty members, Dr. Lubin, that he looked handsome today.
  • Heard my medical student offer to walk down the street to buy his patient a phone card so he could call his family long distance. (That was thoughtful.)
  • Introduced one of my favorite residents, Ayushi A., before she gave her Senior Resident Grand Rounds Lecture on "Women in Cardiology." (So proud of her.)
  • Gave Ayushi a fist bump, too.
  • Saw Dr. Wenger, a female pioneer in Cardiology, stand up and speak before all of the residents and medical students as a representation of living, breathing history at the end of Ayushi's lecture. (Awesome.)
  • Hugged one of my former medical students who was interviewing for a faculty position in our division. (Wow.)
  • Had some girlfriend time with one of my best friends and fellow Grady doctors, Lesley M., after our division lunch. (Love her.)
  • Smiled at a man in the elevator who had a gold grill.
  • Looked up something on the computer and learned something new with one of my medical students.
  • Talked to my mentor, Neil W., about a paper he just wrote and submitted for publication.
  • Saw all of my favorite 12B nurses and called them by name, "Hey Ms. Smith! Ms. Fairley! Ms. Green!"And they all said, "Hey Dr. Manning!" in unison. Love that.
  • Saw my patient's loved one fall to her knees and hysterically cry in the hallway after hearing bad news.
  • Hugged my patient's loved one, but really wanted to fall to my knees, too.
  • Saw my patient looking worried and pained--not because of bad news, but because I knew he'd heard his loved one fall to her knees and cry in the hallway.
  • Cried about my patient on my way home from work. And for his loved one.
  • Heard my dad getting choked up on the phone because he said was proud of me. I said I was proud of him, too.
  • Hugged my loved ones as soon as I got home.
  • Talked on the phone to one of my other most favorite friends and Grady Doctors, Lisa B., about teaching med students and raising rowdy, screaming sons. Overheard her 4 year-old son Aaron -- apparently clad in a bicycle helmet and goggles--cheering at the TV as he watched that redheaded pro skier zip down half-melted Vancouver slopes. Of note, Aaron is also very much a redhead, which only adds to the fanaticism.
  • Ordered my kids a pizza online because I was too tired to cook. (Online ordering rocks.)
  • Read Isaiah three chapters from "Charlotte's Web."
  • Told my husband about my entire day and thanked him for listening.
  • Cried one more time for my patient before I went to bed. And his loved one.
  • Prayed for my patient. And his loved one. And my loved ones. And me.
  • Went to bed. . . but not before kissing my loved ones. . .and even watching them sleep for a few minutes. . . .soft breaths from Zachary, whisper quiet sighs from Isaiah with occasional teeth grinding, and a faint but one-I'm-totally-used-to snore from Harry. . . . .
  • Laid my clothes out so I can do it all over again tomorrow.
  • Felt thankful for more joy than pain and more sunshine than rain.
"Oh, but it's wonderful. . .
they're both one and the same. . ."


  1. Today, I cried a little inside for my FP of the week. He was finally placed in a nursing home. When I went to say bye, I overheard him asking his wife of almost 60 years, "Mother, why don't you want me to live with you anymore? I want to go home." It about near broke my heart...but simultaneously, I celebrated their marriage and commitment. Joy and pain. La alegría y el dolor.

  2. Ahhh, love this one soooo much!!!! Love you too!

  3. Very nice Kim. Very nice indeed. This is your girl from Skegee, Tres!


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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