Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Here was today. . .

Gave a lecture this morning at 7-something in the morning for a Board Review/Medical Update program. At the end of my lecture as I prepared to leave, a really senior physician walked up and shook my hand firmly. His skin was as dark as coffee grounds, which made his wide smile both striking and lovely. He nodded, almost bowed before me . . .

"You make me feel proud, little sister."  

That's all he said, with full emphasis on "proud." 

And then he walked away.

Drove to Grady.

Joined my ward team for rounds at 9-something in the morning. One senior resident, two interns, one pharmacy resident, one fourth year med student, one third year med student and two six-day-old first year medical students. I did a teaching case on the whiteboard and everyone was engaged and learning.

When I finished, one of the six-day-old first year med students looked at me and said, "Thank you, Dr. Manning! That was really fun!"

Which made me super-happy because I was hoping they would see what I see.

"Yes, this is really fun," I told him, "and you ain't seen nothin' yet."


Rounded in the afternoon one-on-one with the fourth year medical student. He talked and I listened and I talked and he listened. Together we went to speak to a patient about a complicated medical situation. Halfway through the discussion, I asked him to take over explaining what our plan would be.

I watched and listened and learned as he carefully and respectfully communicated very serious information in a way that somehow didn't sound intimidating. It was great.

"Thank you for including me in that!" he said.

"No," I said, "thank you."


Harry tells me stories of when he was in Army Ranger school. He said every Ranger had a "Ranger Buddy" who had their back and makes sure they don't die. (Yes, "that you don't die" is what he says.)

Today, I realized that I have a Ranger Buddy at Grady, and it's my friend-slash-mentor-slash-fellow-Grady doctor, Neil W. Yes, I have many wonderful friends and colleagues at Grady, but it is Neil who can always be counted on in a pinch to cover my patients or help me out with a project--even on a weekend. And sure, it's a reciprocal thing, but damn, I appreciate him.

In the hood, they call this "holding you down." When someone "holds you down", they take care of you. Sounds funny, right? Like, I know it seems like the meaning should be the opposite, but in this context, being "held down" is totally a good thing. In fact, it's a great thing. Reserved for the very few people that you know always "have" you--no matter what. See, the people who hold you down sacrifice for you and make sure you have what you need to make it. And survive. And well. . not die. So yeah. My Ranger Buddy, Neil W. has held me down in more ways than I can even begin to describe.

This week is crazy. Today, I called and told him I needed help. There is something I need to be present for with my children that conflicts with my rounds schedule. And you know what? I knew he would help if he could. And he could. So he is.

Thanks, Neil W. for having my back and holding me down and making sure I don't die.


Drove to the med school to meet with Small Group Beta. I hadn't seen them in two weeks and seriously? Even though I was exhausted from being up since the crickety-crack of dawn, I couldn't wait. Man. They didn't disappoint.

We learned, yes, but also laughed so hard that I though we would all be sick. At the end of the session, I said, "You know? I love you guys. I really do."

And this didn't weird them out at all because they know that it's true.


Got a text from Harry that said, "Love you." Out of the blue.

Texted back, "You more. . . How is the day going?"

And he texted back, "Excellent. Really, really excellent."

Which I know is a blessing when you are a person who owns your own business in this crazy economy. Yet somehow God has shown him some sort of favor and he continues to live to tell. And I am so proud of him and his work ethic and his honesty and who he is. I really, really, really (three reallys) am.

Then he came home from work and showed me his new smart phone with "the good camera." This was very necessary because his last phone was "do not resuscitate" for real. He took a picture of me sitting at the kitchen table in my glasses looking really, really scary. Then he looked at it and said with a genuine smile, "You look so pretty, babe."


I felt bleccchh. So deeply appreciated that the man who I really want to find me "pretty" does.


Watched the kids run through the house in their new school shoes with all of the lights off--because they, yes, GLOW in the DARK.  Which clearly correlates with excellent school performance.

Zachary screeched to a halt and squealed at the top of his lungs. "I'M JUST SOOO HAPPY!!" And he really did look so happy that he couldn't even stand it.

I looked at Harry. He looked at me. And we both felt the same thing.


Harry just said, "Come on to bed," and I nodded okay. I'm going . . .I'm going. . . but first I will sit for a minute at my kitchen table feeling thankful for little things. . . .

Like unsolicited encouragement from senior physicians, memorable experiences for six-day-old med students, a chance to be included for fourth-year medical students, Ranger Buddies who hold you down and make sure you stay alive, small groups of med students who make your heart soar, husbands who think you look pretty at the most ordinary times, and having the where with all to stop long enough to proclaim in the midst of it all that, yes, you are sooo happy.

Good night.


  1. This post made me teary-eyed.

    I had such an anxiety-filled, rough Tuesday and at one point I stopped and wondered and hoped that the universe was balancing this anxiety out somewhere. This is my general approach - when I am having a hard time, I tell myself that someone, somewhere needed to have some extra happiness and it makes me feel like my sadness or downright misery are not in vain, that whatever happiness is missing from me has been sent to someone who really needed it on that day. I am so glad that you had this wonderful day, and your happiness has made me feel so much better about my day. Thank you for sharing!

  2. You must be fabulous to work with, besides being a great mom and loving partner. You deserve all the great feedback your are getting and this gratitude post is sure to bring you more. Sweet dreams! N2

  3. ok they totally need to make glow in the dark shoes for adults. I would so sport those on my night shifts at work! How cool would that be? haha this post made me smile :)

  4. Trying to channel some of that positive energy here in Guatemala City. I think the novelty is wearing off some and I'm beginning to miss the small comforts of home and life in the A. But then I remember to be thankful for this experience and that I'm living and learning and growing. And isn't that what it's all about?

    ps. I absolutely love that shout-out to Dr. W about "holding you down."

  5. OK . . . So I may not have the patience Pa Pa has, but I'll always be your "Ranger Buddy" for my grandkids when you need me.

  6. Really are you just trying to make me cry?? Really, are you?! You just made me appreciate my life with my husband and kids A LOT more. Because I have felt blah (choking up here) for the past few years and then on those really bad days, my husband can make me feel "pretty" :)

  7. What a great post :-) Thanks for sharing!!!

    ps. i'm a friend of rachael copponex's and found your blog through hers! LOVE it!


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

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