Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thursday Top 10: On my honor.

And now, Zachary has become a don in the Puppy Mafia.

I heard this guy speaking recently who was talking about leadership and success and getting ahead and achieving overall awesomeness-slash-genuine happiness. So obviously, there's a lot that can be said about that but of the many things he said, one thing stood out for me. He raised one eyebrow, and karate chopped his flattened palm with the other hand when he said (in his wonderfully staccato Austrian accent):

"Everything is a choice, my friends."

Uhhhh. . . .were you waiting for something deeper?

Ha. Well, he clarified that, of course, choosing things like getting a terrible illness, an unexpected loss of life or fortune, etc. was not what he meant by that. He meant that we have choices in our day to day operations. He went on to say that essentially being excellent is a choice, and that being happy is, too.

"I choose to drive home toward my wife thinking, 'I love her and I am looking forward to seeing her.' I choose to get a shoe shine so that I will look presentable, and I choose to personally sign every check coming from my business. Success at everything is a series of little choices. So is failure. Happiness, real happiness, is a series of choices. So is being miserable."

I was on the edge of my (previously hard and uncomfortable) chair. (I figured I had better choose to see it as sturdy and ergonomically correct instead.)

"Why not focus on the good a bit more so that you will be drawn to it? It is a great way to honor the life you've been given. Focus on being excellent at everything as much as you can through your little decisions. Do you know what happens when you do? It's contagious."

Real talk.

So, here's the thing. This week had been kind of crappy for me. In fact, very crappy. It started with me accidentally picking up and using an old book of checks from an old account on Sunday. It was from the same bank, in the same kind of box, but should never have still been living anywhere in my house. On Monday, Harry was at the bank making a deposit and asked me, "What's up with this deposit slip? This account has been closed since before Zachary was born." Errrr. . . yeah. I was supposed to shred them a while back, and obviously hadn't.

Oh, and did I mention that I had written a couple of checks before I'd realized the error of my ways? Oh, and did I mention that they were to. . .uuuhhh. . .my church?


So my church--yeah, my church--received a wonderfully empty offering from this well-meaning member who happens to be a sho' nuff and bona fide doctor of medicine-- from a closed account. (As it turns out, church folks are real nice about letting you square such things up, but I digress.)

So that's how the week started. And it didn't end there. A few more crap-tacular things took place which was giving this week the overall thumbs down--before it was even over.

But then, I remembered what The Choice dude said that day. I decided to choose to focus on the good things that had taken place in this week to see how that would affect my overall view of it. Turns out he was right.

And so. . . .in the midst of a week that gave the best college try ever at being worthy of throwing juicy tomatoes in the direction of at breakneck, fast-pitcher speeds. . . . .I CHOOSE to bring you this week's top ten list:

The Top Ten Great Things That Have Gone Down So Far in an Otherwise Crappy Week


I received an email from my friend Kris R. that was so sweet and so unexpected that it brought me to tears. It was a simple note sent after she'd walked her son to school telling me that she valued our friendship and believed in me. Simple as that. We don't email each other often, but it made me so happy because I feel the exact same way about her.


I visited with my mother on Tuesday who had just gotten back from a trip to Los Angeles. My aunt Renee passed away last month, and Mommy and others in my family flew out for her memorial service. For multiple reasons, I couldn't go. Mommy let me look at all the photos on her Facebook (ha ha, love that) which made me feel like I was there when combined with her narration. That was pretty great.


I got my hair cut. As y'all know, I love getting my hair cut. But the other thing I like is the whole energy of black hair salons. Almost everyone knows everyone and for some reason, no one seems to have a filter on what they say. One sista-friend came in with a hat on her head after work. She couldn't even put her purse down before three other sista-friends peered from under dryers and behind magazines saying, "Girrrrrrl! What you do to your hair??!!" Ha. Love that place for all the same reasons that I love Grady.


Woke up this morning and smiled because I knew what would happen when I see one of my favorite senior faculty Grady doctors, Dr. Lubin, today.

He will see me in the hall and predictably announce: "Hey Manning! You got a hair cut!"

To which I am scripted to say: "Yup! I got all of 'em cut!"

Dr. Lubin and I have been saying that to each other about our hair cuts for the last ten years without fail which--now that I think of it--warms my heart.


Harry sent me a random text that simply said, "Love you.'' He managed to do that at the exact climax of the crappiest part of my week. I needed that.


All of my second year medical student advisees started their clinical rotations. Yesterday, I saw Marla, one of that group, sitting on the Grady wards in her crisp white coat. She was learning from Brett, an intern that I have known since he was a medical student, too.

I loved the excitement in her eyes as he taught her and the excitement in his eyes to be teaching.


My five-year-old MacBook Pro ran out of memory and this week, it got more memory. Yay.


I spent over an hour talking to my mentor and favorite Grady doctor, Neil W. I realized while writing this list what a wonderful resource, cheersection, motivator, role model, and friend he has been to me. Neil makes me laugh until I am sick but also manages to be one of the only people other than my Dad who seems more interested in my career than me.


He is ridiculously smart. Yesterday I told him that he was my "Human Answer Key," which I am laughing about because I should have pronounced it "YOU-man Answer Key" since that's how he pronounces words that start with "hu." Anyways. I run all confusing cases by him, and even had him on speaker phone when my dad had a few medical questions last week. When I was doing my board recertification knowledge assessment modules, Neil even went over an unspeakable number of questions with me--which, if you ask me, goes above and beyond the mentor job description.

I'm thankful for that funny, smart and selfless guy.


I received an acceptance letter for a manuscript I sent for consideration of publication in "The Annals of Internal Medicine." Here's the thing: The manuscript was a story about a patient that deeply touched me and many other people. Knowing that so many people will be able to meet this prince of a man made my week.

Neil and I were talking earlier this week about ways to honor our patients. We health care providers meet some pretty amazing people and get to often know the most intimate details of their lives within two minutes of meeting them. It feels good to give something to someone who has given so much to me.


On Monday it rained so hard that I referred to it as "a monsoon" to my kids (who promptly asked, "What's a monsoon?") As we drove through the monsoon, Isaiah and Zachary started spontaneously singing in the back seat:

"It's raining today, it's raining today
Hello rain, hello rain. . .

I want to go outside and play, I want to go outside
Hello rain, hello rain. . .

Raindrops fall, raindrops falling down
Everywhere, all around. . . "

And just like that, my own raindrops started falling. I remembered where I'd learned that song and when I used to sing it. From my Auntie Renee. I can see it like it was yesterday. . . .when I was in elementary school, my T'Renee used to sing that with us while driving us in her car on rainy days. Just like Isaiah and Zachary, my sister, my cousin, and I would be in the back seat belting out those words as she tapped the steering wheel to keep us on beat.


It was a full circle moment that reminded me of how much I loved my T'Renee. And just when I was feeling bad and conflicted about not being there at her memorial service to honor her . . . . .my children's pitchy rendition of the song she'd taught me years and years ago reminded me that I had been honoring her. . . . all along.


Happy Thursday.


  1. LOVE THIS POST!!! Thanks, I needed that confirmation as I go through one of the craziest weeks I have had in a long time, and it's not over. I've had my down times this week, but overall my focus on God has helped me discover happiness and peace in the middle of stressful situations. It helps to know that others are traveling along the same path of realization.

  2. I am pretty sure this is not dust in my eyes...
    Thanks. I wish you a wonderful rest of the week and weekend.

  3. I'm so glad I found my way to your blog. Your writing is wonderful and insightful. Thank you!

  4. Lovely as usual. It's all about gratitude and having the presence of mind to recognize and acknowledge it. What a wonderful gift to give yourself and a gift to others when you write about it.

  5. Greetings Gradydoctor!

    I'm one of your biggest stalk-, I mean followers/fans, and I recently had the opportunity to nominate fellow bloggers for a Meme Award. You, good doctor, are on my list (otherwise, why would I be bothering you? you are a busy gal!). You can check out my post at the link below (a good old fashioned cut-n-paste adventure) - I hope you'll accept and have fun nominating your own favorite bloggers. Thank you for a truly excellent site, and PLEASE don't stop writing anytime soon (oh, and maybe come to my med school and be my attending?! ;) )!


    P.S. Sorry, there was no other way to contact you about this. Please delete this from the comments when you get a chance - not something that should follow such a wonderful post.


  6. As I proceed to wipe my eyes....
    Love this one. I sing that song in my car every time it's raining... I can't help myself. I try to sing it high like she did, but I can't sing like her. :-)

    T'Renee loved you & was SO PROUD of her niece. I know you know that, but I wanted to tell you again.

    I love you,


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

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