Saturday, May 14, 2011

Top Ten: One awesome week.

This week was a good week. In fact. . . it was great week. Here are the top ten moments from it. Enjoy!

#10 -- Snoopy came home. Well, actually, Puppy did.

We found Puppy. (I won't go into all the detail again since that was Wednesday's post.) But isn't this a funny text from my mother? I love how texty my parents are!

Yes. My mother wrote "LMAO" and profusely uses emoticons. You gotta problem with that?

#9 -- You are not alone.

Small Group advisor and former Grady doctor Nat F. watching his small group enter commencement.

On Monday, our senior medical students all graduated. By now, you all know how special the medical students are to me, so I won't go into that again. Instead, what I am reflecting on right now is how I am not alone in those feelings. At commencement, that was ever apparent. For every drop of pride that I had swelling up in me for all of these special students whose lives I'd had the honor to enter, there were at least five other faculty members who felt the same way.

Small Group Advisor and Grady doctor Lisa B. congratulates her advisee. (Dean Eley hugs another behind her.)

What a beautiful thing it was to see that all of these special feelings weren't just my own! One of my colleagues who I'd describe as rather stoic cried while hooding his small group students. Wow. I can speak for all of us when I say this-- our hearts were all up in their education. And now, they are all up in our hearts.

#8 -- Extraordinary Grady.

I was covering my friend and fellow Grady doctor Neil W.'s team for the day. The team was post-overnight call and I was rounding with them on the new admissions and also the pre-existing census of patients. We went to see one patient being treated for something truly life-threatening whose family members were at the bedside. That's when this happened:

Me: "So, essentially, that's our plan for today. It looks like you are really tolerating the treatments well, and your labs and physical examination look fantastic. Dr. Winawer will be back here to see you tomorrow along with the team, okay?"

Patient: "That sounds great."

Me (to patient and her family): "What questions do you all have for our team this morning?"

Patient: "Honestly? None. I have not questions. You all have been wonderful. From the moment I came in with this scary, scary illness to right at this very second. Every question has been answered and I am at peace."

Me: "At peace? Wow. What a high compliment to the team."

I looked over my shoulder at the interns.

Patient: "Yes. Everyone has been . . . .wonderful."

Patient's daughter: "You know what, Dr. Manning?"

Me: "Yes, ma'am?"

Patient's daughter: "I thought Grady was just a place you go if you're poor or if you get shot. Never in a million years would I have wanted my loved one to be here. But y'all have shown me how wrong I was. I mean it."

Me: "Wow."

Patient's daughter: "I know for sure that my Mom could not receive better care anywhere else. Maybe more bells and whistles, but care? I mean real, true care? This has been unbelievable. Grady gets a bad rap."

Me: (smiling) "I'm so happy you feel that way." Because I agreed with her. And I was happy she felt that way. I looked back at the patient who was smiling, too.

Patient: "You know. . . .It feel good to trust the people caring for you." 

She put emphasis on "good" like she meant it. Daughter nodded in agreement.

Me: "And it feels even better to be the ones you are trusting with your care."

I'm so happy I covered Neil's team that day and even happier that I got to meet them.

#7 --- Girlfriends first.

Yolanda's 40th birthday

On Thursday I went over to the Morehouse School of Medicine to give a lecture for their institutional resident orientation. My medical school classmate and good friend, Yolanda W., is the head of Graduate Medical Education at Morehouse and invited me to give the talk.

As she introduced me, I looked at the faces of the residents and then at her. Suddenly her mouth seemed to be moving in slow motion as I suddenly imagined us studying together almost twenty years ago, giggling and head-scratching over concepts that are as every day as riding a bike now. I remembered us on match day, fingers crossed and nervous, at our celebratory post-match trip, and even later when she drove all the way from her residency program in Chicago to watch me receive an award in Cleveland.

Graduation week, senior year of medical school 1996

Here we now were, full on grown up medical school faculty members slash residency program directors slash medical school leaders slash wives slash mommies. After reflecting on our many years of friendship in those moments, I felt a mini wave of emotion come over me. Instead of simply thanking Yolanda or shaking her hand after the introduction, I gave her tight shoulder squeeze to let her and all of those residents know that although she is my colleague and med school classmate, she is my girlfriend first. And honestly? That's why I was there.

Oh and Yolanda? She's kind of a big deal. Trust me on that.

#6 -- Promotion emotion!

My friend and fellow Grady doctor, David M., was promoted to Associate Professor this week! For those who don't know how the ranking works in academic medicine and universities, it goes like this:

Senior Associate: Woo hoo! You aren't an assassin! You have a job!

Instructor: Not only are you not an assassin, you can actually teach people a thing or two!

Assistant Professor: Hey! We kind of like the way you teach, man! Now, build yourself a national reputation for it and get some publications and we can talk!

Associate Professor: You are officially kind of a big deal. And officially at a senior rank which means that people should recognize you as a big deal everywhere you go.

Professor: Such a big deal that you have license to ill. And sometimes even chill. But mostly to scare the crap out of people when you ask really hard questions.

Endowed Professor: You are such a big deal that you get two names. Not just "Joe Schmoe, Professor of Medicine" but "Joe Schmoe, Pee-Wee Herman Professor of Medicine."

Go David!

#5 -- I, too, sing America.

This speaks for itself. You tell me what's better than the Preamble at the crack of dawn?

#4 -- Yet I do marvel.

Say it ain't so!

The graduating medical students at Emory give this really rad award at the end of their four years called "The Golden Stethoscope Award." Word on the street is that they all take a vote and decide on one attending physician or faculty member in the school of medicine that they single out as the most . . .uhh. . .things like. . . . inspiring, a good teacher, a halfway decent role model and such.

Turns out that this year they thought that person was me.


'Preciate that. For real.

#3 -- Reading my Nook.

Even though I own and LOVE my iPad, I haven't been able to fully get into it as an e-reader. I recently received a "Nook" e-reader from The B.H.E. that I am so very in love with. I'm currently reading "The Help" which I'm thoroughly enjoying (although my Mom gives that book the hairy eyeball.) The point is, it feels like a book in my hand which I am digging.

#2 -- Dinner with my besties.

Lisa D. and Tracey L. are two of my med school classmates, but more important, are two of my very best friends in the world. Last night we had dinner together and yucked it up over wine, soft shell crabs, and juicy burgers. We laughed out loud and just enjoyed each other.

Of course, we ooh-ed and aahh-ed over Lisa's 4 month old sugar plum of a baby boy. We also decided that it is slightly eerie how much he favors Isaiah at that age. Maybe it's because Tracey delivered them both? Hmmm.

After the obligatory kid talk, we switched subjects to all things grown up. It was a lovely evening, I tell you. There's nothing like having good friends. Nothing, man.

#1 -- Speechless.

A lot of folks who teach get the chance to receive an award here or there for their efforts. Of course, being human and all, it always feels good to be recognized and appreciated. But every now and then, somebody does something that takes it to a whole 'nother level.

Adam C. is one of my advisees that graduated last week. In addition to being one of my absolute favorite people of all time, he is often thoughtful yet stingy with outwardly showing extremes of emotion. In fact, our going joke was always that in four years, Adam is the only member of our entire small group that I never once saw cry. The good news is that he has never been appalled by my touchy-feeliness so it's always worked fine.

Adam was at the speech I gave a few weeks ago to a group of high school students, and as I mentioned before, the topic was "mentoring." He was one of the volunteer mentors to the high schoolers as a part of something called the Emory Pipeline Program. The main theme of my presentation was about how we mentor people whether we realize it or not, and that our lives can serve as mentors. In other words, just the fact that you have done something or achieved something or said something can give someone else the audacity to believe that they can, too. Even if you've never met face to face.

Me and Sparky aka Dr. Carlisle.

After commencement, Adam gave me a brown paper bag and asked me to open it at home. When I reached my house later that afternoon, I opened it up and inside was this:

Yes. It is a service award with his name on it that he received for mentoring others. And yes, he gave it to me.

On the back of it were these words that Adam had added:

"Your life should be a mentor. You never know who's watching."

~ Dr. Kimberly D. Manning

I cried. Thanks for everything.

Love, Adam.

::insert tears here::

Yeah. That was on a whole 'nother level.


I hope your week was great, too.


  1. Great post! And I love that Puppy found his way home!

  2. I am a DPT student at GSU, and I'm not really sure how I found your blog, but I love reading about your life down the street. And I may or may not have gotten a little teary eyed with Adam's award. We NEED people like you and Adam, and I am so appreciative that you guys are around. Even though of course, we don't actually know each other. Minor details. :-)

  3. #1 brought a tear to my eye...glad I clicked on whole 'nother level because that way hilarious : ) thanks for being such an awesome mentor to those near & far!!! adam too!

  4. Your Mum says 'LMAO'? Oh my, you're definitely 'down' with the youth, Sheryl!! Awesome! :) That's something I've definitely noticed about your culture, not sure if it's just black culture, but it always seems to me that often the older folk are very in touch with popular culture, culture of their grandkids etc. :)

    So proud of your students, your sons and daughters, y'all are amazing. And I read the link about Yolanda, she sounds amazing too, and DEFINITELY a big deal! And Adam, aww, man, I have tears in my eyes.

    'The Help'? You mean the one by Kathryn Stockett? I read it last year, that book is so so amazingly good - definitely one of my favourites!

    Have a beautiful day! :D

  5. Guess what, Anon? Everyone was worried that I would do the "ugly cry" at commencement while hooding my small group. For a minute, I was sure I would. . . .until I hooded Adam first and he whispered, "It's about to be on a WHOLE NUVA LEVEL." I couldn't do anything but smile from that point on!

  6. This post was incredibly powerful and heartwarming in so many ways. That being said, I am going to digress into the most girly comment ever! David M. is a tasty morsel! LOL! Love him!

  7. Some of your posts just hit in such soft places that words become pale and insufficient. This is one of those posts. Thanks you for being in this world and for being you.


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

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