Monday, October 17, 2011

We came. We walked. We conquered.

 Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights

In cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

In five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes
How do you measure
A year in the life?

How about love?

How about love?
How about love? 
Measure in love.
~ Seasons of Love from the Broadway Show "Rent"

Man I love that song. I could not get it out of my head today. Could. Not.

So today was the AIDS Walk and it was amazing.  Just amazing.  Everything about it.  Me and both of my small groups present and accounted for. Which is really a big deal.

Hold up.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get sixteen medical students at different levels of training in one place at one time when it isn't a mandatory school function? On a sparkling, perfect day? That they DON'T have class?  Answer:  Hello? Very to impossible!

But they were there. All sixteen of them. Most of them because it's an important cause. Some because I asked them to be there and expressed that it was important to me.  And others for both reasons.  . . . yeah. You know. . . I remember what it was like to be a medical student. I remember having sunny days off and feeling extra stingy with them.  The last thing I wanted to do was be somewhere with an attending! I'm sure not that much has changed. For that reason, I deeply appreciated their presence. I really did.

You know what else?  Some of you donated to the AIDS Walk on behalf of our team. And I want you to know how much that meant to me, too.  For a person who has never seen me in three dimensions to use their hard-earned cash to give to this little effort. . . . .it's . . well. . amazing.  I'm so thankful for that. I really am. You know exactly who you are. . . and so do I.  Thank you.

Yeah, so it was a beautiful day. I mean beautiful.  The energy was phenomenal and  people were in such high spirits.  Pieces of the AIDS Memorial Quilt were out and that always moves me in my soul.  A woman spoke into the microphone about her personal experience with HIV/AIDS and shared all about how she was an overcomer. She looked younger than me and I felt really proud of her and inspired by her bravery. At another point during the walk, the Spelman College Glee club was walking along and singing together which I also loved.  Loud and proud and strong and harmonious.  Which now that I think about it perfectly punctuated how I was feeling.

No day but today!

It was awesome. It really, really was.

When I walked back to my car, I thought about the money we'd raised, the memories we'd shared, and felt so happy.  It was a long walk back to the car and I was alone. Which was fine, because actually the streets were teeming with people, so I wasn't full alone. Anyways, I was in my own head. . . walking and daydreaming and thinking. . .and almost tripped over this guy rolling up 10th avenue in a wheelchair.  That part of the street had a brick path with lots of uneven areas but he seemed to be doing his thing. I kept walking for a few paces with the pack and felt that little something inside that said, Stop.

And so I did. I stepped to the side and watched him for a few moments and also watched the others who passed him. He was pleasant and happy and wearing a "Volunteer" shirt so honestly? None of these folks were wrong to pass him by.  But something in me wanted to meet him -- not in that Good Samaritan way either. I just figured, hell, I was going the same direction so why not ask?

"Sir? You seem to have this under control but if your arms are anywhere near as tired as my legs I thought I might see if I could help you with a little push."

And you know what he said?

"Thank you so, so much. I'd really like that."

And so I did. He agreed to hold my bag on his lap and I agreed to push his wheelchair. What a fun guy! He was super chatty and super cool so we walked all the way up to Juniper just a-laughing and a-sharing and enjoying each other's company. We talked about AIDS and who we knew that had been affected by it and we even talked about how animal prints are all the rage now. (He was that kind of guy.) He said I could "totally wear leopard print up in the hospital" and said "long as the heel ain't all high and skanky." Ha. He described his cerebral palsy as "a trip, chile" but still he just "keeps it movin', baby." He spoke in the third person a lot, too, which I completely enjoyed. So glad I got to walk up 10th with him and even gladder I didn't miss out on that encounter because it was great.  Really, really great.

Anyways. That's all I got today. I guess all of it together is just making me feel glad to be here. Yeah, man. Life is good.


And all I could hear in my head playing on my mental iPod afterwards was this:

And here is just a little sample of all that lovely we got to hear from the Spelman College Glee Club. I appreciate them for letting me move my mouth in the middle of their pack pretending like I could sing, too!  



  1. Ah-these are the things which restoreth the soul.

  2. Congratulations to you and your team. I forgot how much I loved that song. Thanks for sharing.


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

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