Thursday, July 21, 2011

Random recap: Celebrations and Sucker Punches.

Homegoings = Celebrations of Life.

Here's a glimpse into a few random parts of my day yesterday. . .

It was a great day. First, I went to a really special patient's homegoing celebration. (Most who read this blog already know what I mean by "homegoing"--but click the link in case you're drawing a blank.)

Okay. So I know it seems like I am constantly saying this, but this patient was totally an F.P. All-Star. She was awesome.  . . .and I loved being involved in her care. Man, we had the best time. She was the one who I used to download and play music for on my iPod.

The last song I downloaded and played for her was Nat King Cole singing O Tannenbaum--it made her so happy (which made me so happy.) She wasn't even on my team during that hospitalization, but of course I had to come and see her.

Yesterday after the funeral her daughter reminded me of something from that last time with  O Tannenbaum. We were standing around talking to a group of her family members when she grabbed my arm and said, "Remember when Mama patted the bed and asked you to sit next to her that day?" She chuckled and told them, "Dr. Manning jumped right in next to Mama in that bed!" Everyone laughed, and I did, too. But only for a few moments because I'm pretty sure I saw tears forming in her daughter's eyes right after that.

To break up the mounting emotion, I reminded her of something else from that day--something funny that her mother said.

"Hey. . .Remember what your mom said about Nat King Cole that day?" She covered her mouth and gave a knowing nod. I looked at the family and went on. "Y'all. . . She said, 'That ol' Nat sho' had the voice but he ain't have much of a face, did he? Bless his little ugly heart!'"

Bless his heart.

This time everyone broke up in laughter. Her daughter hugged me tight and genuine, and I hugged her back, glad that I knew just a little piece of her mother. Yes. Her mama  was a beautiful person inside and out . . . and so. . . . the homegoing celebration reflected that---it was beautiful. 

Me and my colleague/fellow Grady doctor Shelly-Ann F. were asked to say a few words.  Okay, here's the thing. Y'all know that I'm not shy, so that wasn't the issue. The issue was that the last time I "said a few words" at a patient's funeral, I went into a full on ugly cry. Full on. 

But how do you say no to this? Answer--you don't. 

That last time? It was bad, y'all. Real bad. Although one part did get rather comical because this lady (who I'm assuming worked for the funeral home or church or whatever) made it her job to wipe snot off of my face as I was talking. Like the whole time I was talking. Which made me cry even more. It was really, really weirdly intrusive (but mostly weird.)  The only thing that helped me to stop crying was when I looked at a friend who was there who was, literally, stifling a laugh at how ridiculous it looked -- me chest heaving and dragging the heel of my hand across my snot-exploding nose while this woman with a lop-sided wig accosted me with a giant ball of Kleenex every five seconds.

Okay, so that's why I felt nervous about speaking yesterday. The good news is that I didn't cry when I spoke, and I kept it well under the "2 to 3 minutes, please" that black folks always request but no one adheres to. So nope. No crying and no ugly crying.

At least while I was speaking there wasn't. I made it through the whole ceremony with a few dainty eye pats, and then the organist started playing music and someone started singing. . . .

"Soon ah will be done. . . .with the trouble of this world. . . "

That did it. First I started sniffling a little. . . trying hard to be cool about it. . . but then I just said "bump it" and went on ahead let loose. "Boo-hoo crying" as my best friend Lisa calls it. See, I was tripping because I had just posted Mahalia singing that song on my blogpost not even two or three hours before. Literally. That very song on that very day. And the soloist was singing it all Mahalia-Jackson-like in that throaty, low octave. Bananas.

Whew. It was a lot.

Anyways. All that celebrating and crying made me hungry, so I stopped in a restaurant to have lunch. Shortly after I got there I notice this woman staring at me. Hard. She narrowed her eyes and finally says (kind of loud-like) from across the room, "Excuse me! Excuse me, can you come over here for a minute?"  With her index finger she pointed at me and then turned over hand to summon me with a come hither wag.

As a side bar, I have to admit that I am absolutely amazed at how many people recognize me from Fox 5. I mean, I am on for like two seconds once per week yet nearly everywhere I go (in Atlanta) I am approached by people who say, "Aren't you Dr. Kimberly from Channel 5?" And honestly? No matter how many times it happens, I'm touched, because it's flattering to know that somebody not only watched but remembered.


That's what I thought was about to go down. So over I go. I run my tongue over my teeth hoping there's nothing trapped in them, and try to turn a wee bit of--ah hem--swagger on as I approach.

"Yes, ma'am?"  I say in a decidedly welcoming and non-snobby way ('cause you know--being a quasi-local-celebritoid and all, that kind of thing is important.) 

Alright, so check it. So much for me getting recognized. This lady didn't know me from Adam. For people who don't know this phrase, all it means is that she didn't know me from a can of paint. Still confused? Look. She didn't know me, y'all. At all. I wasn't no parts of a quasi-local-celebritoid to her.

"I need to see yo' necklace," she said pointing at my neck with her fork. Through a mouthful of food she continued. "Yeaaahhhh, I like that necklace! Tha's a beautiful necklace!"

I patted my neck with my special, sparkly necklace on it and thanked her. She was right. It is a great necklace and every time I've worn it I've gotten compliments out the wazoo. My patient was special so I wore my special, sparkly necklace in her honor.  Anyways, I bought it from this super cute yet super affordable boutique in Atlanta's old fourth ward. I like the boutique owner and also liked the idea of getting her some business so I prepared to share the wealth.

But first I had to gush (because any time I get a good deal on something, I have to gush.)

"Would you believe that this necklace wasn't even that expensive? Oh my gosh! It didn't cost a lot at all."

Guess what that lady said to me? Just guess--no, don't. I'll tell you:

"Oh. I could tell it wasn't expensive. Mmmm hmmm."  She sucked her teeth and leaned in to look a little closer.

No she di'in't!

Um. Yes. She actually did.

"Uuhhh, okay," I responded with a nervous laugh. That's all I could think to say about that sucker punch.

"Yeah. I could tell it's cheap." (STILL CHEWING) "It's probably from the Apparel Mart."

I quickly hit her with a rebuttal. "Well, actually, I got it from a boutique here in Atlanta and not from there at all."

"Oh. Well, I'm sure they got it from the Apparel Mart. Mmm hmmm. They got all that cheap stuff. But it do look cute on you. It do."

Seriously? Seriously.

Still staring at my neck, she sucked her tongue on her teeth again and went on. "See, I makes jewelry. Tha's why I know all about jewelry. Here. Take my card. My stuff ain't from the Apparel Mart."

"Uuuuhhh. . . . thanks?"

What's extra crazy is that she was dining with a friend who didn't seem to think this was the least bit odd. 

Yes. This is what happened. So I took her card and off I went to sit down and eat my lunch.

Me and my cheap ass necklace.

What else?

Oh yeah. I flew home to Los Angeles to visit the fam and also to retrieve the boys from Camp Papa. Sad. . .I know. The flight was pretty uneventful, but when I got to L.A.X. and walked down the hall toward baggage claim, I saw this:

The actual setting of the ultimate Aww Hell Naww.

Don't know what this is? Y'all! This is the hall where that super, ultra, horrible long line was the last time I here. Remember? The one when the people were running late and asked if they could go ahead of everyone? When the lady shut them down?

I was so psyched to get a picture of it with my iPhone so that you could have the full picture.  If you get a chance, go back and reread that post---I did last night and it's even funnier when you have this picture in mind. New to this blog? You've got to read that one--sure it has absolutely zero to do with medicine, but it's a great story. For real.

Whelp. That's all I've got today. Nothing deep.

Oh, and if I haven't told you lately? I sure appreciate you reading. I appreciate every click on your Google reader and on your favorites and on whatever way you get here. I love seeing your comments waiting and knowing which things made you smile or laugh and which posts you were feelin' too. So thank you. Because your time is precious and I appreciate you spending it with me. Seriously, y'all. I really, really do.

Happy Wednesday.


  1. The image of the funeral home lady with the lopsided wig attacking you with a ball of Kleenex made me burst into loud chuckle. The mental image you painted is so vivid that it will likely stay with me for a long time... and make me laugh every time I think of it.

    On another note, you are an exquisitely beautiful and priceless human jewel... definitely NOT from Apparel Mart.

  2. Your random posts are a hell of a lot better than mine. And you ROCK that necklace.
    I was recognized yesterday from my blog at the GOODWILL! Which makes sense because it's one of the few places I go but anyway, I was so taken aback that all I could think of to say was, "Well, you sure do know a lot about me, don't you?" It was very odd.

  3. Wow. What a great blog post. I cried and laughed within a span of 15 seconds! You are truly a gifted person, and not just in medicine. Keep up the great work.

  4. I knew where things were headed with the necklace story from the moment you were summoned to the ladies' table. And the entire time I'm saying to myself, no, no don't "fall" for it, LOL!!!!

    Yet another highly entertaining blog entry!!!

  5. that was great...i visit from time to time and read the post about the long line and the lady..anyhow, i have a young cousin that's a doctor. you guys are inspirations!!!

  6. If I ever get the pleasure of meeting you, I will never ever wipe your nose.

  7. What a beautiful post. :) The pendulum swings on!

    And girl, you OWN that 'cheap ass' necklace.

  8. My hairdresser sells that necklace in their boutique. I have admired it and now that I know that the famous Dr Kimberly Manning, blogger extraordinaire owns one, I may just go and buy one myself, cheap ass or not!


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