Saturday, March 3, 2012

Top Ten: How YOU doin'?

Back on the wards and man! Don't even know where to start. How about a top ten?

Don't mind if I do.

I bring you. . .


And no. I have not taken the time to really edit this, so forgive any typos in advance. (Got that, Shug?)

#10  --   All the single ladies?

So on the first day of wards, I step onto the A elevators heading down from the floor. The doors open and there's four or five youngish dudes standing inside. Well, not even just youngish. They were young, for real. So anyways, I join the young dudes and am immediately reminded that just maybe I still have my mojo (if being looked up and down with a creepy smirk counts as having your mojo.)

Yeah, so finally one of the dudes hits me with the Wendy Williams "how YOU doin'?" and I sort of giggle and nod in reply.

So we ride. And they creepy-smirk. Finally we reach the ground level and the doors part.

And guess what? Do you know all four of those young dudes stepped off right in front of me? Maaaaan, in my head, I was like, Can a sister get even a little bit of chivalry?

So I say to them, "Maaan, can a sister get even a little bit of chivalry?"

To which the how-YOU-doin' dude says, "Get a little bit of WHO?"

And I was like, "How are all y'all just gonna step off the elevator first? What happened to 'ladies first?'"

So the spokesperson dude looks at me incredulously for two seconds and laughs. Then he says, "You MARRIED!"

And I'm like, "What the heck does that have to do with y'all letting me off of the elevator first?"

We all laughed but they stuck to their guns. Another dude, not even the how-YOU-doin' one says the same thing again, "Yeah, you MARRIED!"

"Wait. . . . so if you're married then. . . you . . .no longer get ladies first?"

"Tha's what your husband is for."

This was the reply. And seriously? They meant it.

So. . . .the point of me telling you this? Uh, zero. It was just funny.

#9  - Ro-sham-bo!

This morning on rounds we asked our young patient this:

"What questions do you have for us?"

And he said, "I don't have any."

That wasn't surprising. Even though he wasn't even legal yet, with his chronic medical problem he knew the ins and outs of how such hospitalizations work. Then he added:

"Wait, yes I do. I have one question."

"What's that?" I asked.

"Do you know how to play 'rock, paper, scissors?'"

"Do I?"

Our patient smiled for the first time at that point. A big, bright smile that peeled back his lips and showed all of his teeth and a whole lot of his gums, too. That smile brightened up that room.

"Alright, let's see who wins!" he announced while squirming to sit upright in bed. I loved how boyish and playful he was about it, too.

And so we started. Me, the patient, the resident, and the intern. Playing rock-paper-scissors which I hadn't played since Isaiah was a newborn and Harry and I were trying to determine who had to wake up next.

"Rock-Paper-Scissors. . . . Shoot!"

The best part: Our patient won. Best out of three.

#8  -  Sugar pie honey bunch (but not like that.)

Patient was lying in bed this morning. She's been very, very short of breath so we wanted to limit her talking. I saw her alone on rounds today. She was resting on her back with her eyes closed which she opened only for a moment when she greeted me.

"Hey, sugar."

"Hey," I replied. "How you doin' today?"

"Good, sugar."

"Your breathing?"

"If I stay still, it's okay, sugar."

"Okay. Can I listen to you?"

"That's fine, sugar pie."

Sugar pie. Sigh.

I listened to her chest and back. Felt her tummy and made sure she was okay. When I got ready to leave, she opened her eyes again.

"You beautiful."  She smiled at me and squeezed the hand I was already holding.

"You are, too."

She closed her eyes again and looked like she was falling asleep. Then suddenly they flung open.

"I wasn't trying to sound funny. Like. . .I meant you beautiful like inside and out. Not like you beautiful like I'm trying to date you."

Wait, huh?

I smiled and then laughed because that was the last thing I thought this grandmother was saying so it was funny.

"Nawww, I never thought that. I got what you meant."

"Oh okay, sugar. 'Cawse, you know, I didn't want you thinking I was trying to be all like 'how YOU doin'?'" She gave a weak laugh and then coughed.

Not. Kidding. That's what she said.

And okay, the dude on the elevator didn't really say it like Wendy Williams but her? She really did.

#7  You smell me?

A man gets on the elevator with me on Thursday.

"Damn! Somebody in here smell good!"

Then. He commences to sniff person after person on the lift. And I am thinking we should have moved away or something but for whatever dumb reason we all just withstood his sniffing.


"Doc, you smell pretty good, but I thank it's her right here that I smellt when I got in here. She smell the best."  Then he looks over at this other lady and says--I kid you not--"now baby you might need you some more Sure."  And he threw his head back and laughed. Then he leaned back over, sniffed her near again, and shook his head."Wheeeeew. Yeah, baby. You got to do somethin' bout that!"


Wait. Seriously? Seriously.

#6  Tell me how you really feel.

"Good morning!"


"Beg pardon?"

"Get out!"

"Get out?"

"Get out!"

"I need to examine you."



"I said NO!"

"Okay. Is there anything that I can do for you before leave?"

"Let that door hit you where the good Lord split you."

Well alrighty then.

#5  You probably think this song is about you.

"Can I go home today?"

"I'm pretty sure. We just need to confirm one more thing, okay?"


"What's wrong?"

"Manning said I could go. Manning! She's the boss. Call her so I can speak with her about me leaving. You need to call Manning."

"I'm Manning."

"You Manning?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Oh, damn. I thought I could trick you into getting me on out. I thought you was a intern."

"Thought I was an intern?"

"Yeah, you looked kinda younger."

"And for this reason, I will totally be expediting your discharge."

#4  --  What's in a name?

"You're all set to be discharged!"


"Do you have someone to pick you up?"

"Yes. My lover is picking me up."

"Your lover?"

"Mmm hmmm. My lover."

*all of us laughing together*

"Your lover?" I repeat. "That sounds awesome."

"And baby if you knew my lover like I know my lover you'd know that he really is awesome."

*gives me two exaggerated winks*

Love. This. Place.

#3  --  The Hard Questions on the way home.

Isaiah:  "How was your day, Mom?"

Me:  "Kind of rough. One of my patients is pretty sick. She might die."

Isaiah:  "Die?"

Me:  "Well she has a bad illness, so yeah, she might."

Isaiah:  "Did you give her some medicine?"

Me:  "We've tried but for this kind of illness it won't work."

Isaiah:  "Mommy?"

Me:  "Yes?"

Isaiah:  "Are you sure you know what you're doing?"


#2  --   Full Circle.

Small Group Alpha - First year of medical school 2007

Me with Dr. Wetmore, Dr. Nguyen, and Dr. Carlisle in 2011

One of my interns this month is a student from my original small group -- "Small Group Alpha."  I've known him since his very first day of medical school.  Yesterday on rounds, every time he presented his patients or every single time I referred to him as "Dr. Wetmore"  I sort of wanted to cry.

#1  --  I do not speak Spanish.

I have come to accept this. Louder and slower does not turn English into Spanish. Neither does saying "como se dice en Espanol" before every single thing you say.  And so. I have vowed to call a Spanish interpreter whenever I have any situation at all where the patient does not have full mastery of English. No using the eight year-old in the room or the clerk on 7A.

On Friday, I went with the interpreter to see a patient and his family. And I did what the interpreters have taught me to do--speak exactly as I would normally speak with pauses for them to interpret.  I held my patient's hand, looked him in his eyes, and even cracked jokes. The interpreter slowly faded into the background (which is their goal) and I connected with my non-English speaking patient and his family. It was awesome.

It doesn't sound so deep does it? But it was. It truly was. I realized how many patients I haven't connected with due to a language barrier. It felt so good to wait those few moments for someone to stand in and allow us that connection.

Claro que si.

Happy Sabado y mucho mas.


  1. Como usted que hace?
    This was a beautiful post and you are a bonita doctor.

  2. This was a funny post. Even though it had me shaking my head in places. whew! Glad you got the interpreter. Hope the one lady gets some sure and the other gets her breath.

  3. crying laughing I MISS THE GRADY!!! LIKE CRAZY!!! thank you for this- i needed all those elevator stories BIGtime.

  4. 10) You should've busted some heads! Hmph!
    8) LOLOL How you doin?
    7) Eeeeembarrassing! WOW!
    ROTFL!! @ most of this post!

  5. #3--I have the same problem at home. Mark 6:4 in full effect :-)

  6. I love your Grady stories. I just wish whenever I come in contact with doctor's they're as compassionate as you.

  7. Thanks for sharing. I hope that patient (the last one) does OK / gets better. He is my clinic patient. Thanks for using an interpreter with them. It's so funny, teams generally don't use one with him because he is so proud that he likes to try to speak English. Unfortunately his English is not really very good at all. He's very good at smiling and playing it off though. He's actually a great guy with (to me) an inspirational, though tragic story. I'm glad he's on your team Dr Manning.

  8. Hermana moon -- Gracias.

    Kristin -- I hope so, too!

    Kris -- The Gradys miss you, too. Like CRAZY!!

    Jameil -- Tha's what your husband is for!

    PJ -- Sometimes I ask myself that question, too. Do you know what you're doing?

    Unity -- I hope so, too.

    Roger -- That patient is so fortunate to have you as a primary. Thank you for being you and for all of the times you've interpreted for me. You're awesome.


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

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