Sunday, April 29, 2012

Top Ten: The Good Parts.

This past week was quite a week. Most of it I liked. A few parts. . .not so much.

Oh well.

I've chosen to focus on the parts that I liked. What better way than a top ten? Wanna hear it? Here it go!


#10  Ant-fest

Of course you know how much I enjoyed that day! Hands down one of the main highlights of my week. 

We talked a lot that evening. I realized that even though I was her advisor and she was my student. . . that the last five years had allowed us to forge a friendship. And of course a friendship with your student is not like a friendship with a faculty member but still. There is a place for befriending your learners as long as you recognize the unique boundaries. And we both did so it was good.

Also? I know for sure that these student-advisor relationships are symbiotic. I grew just as much as she in those five years. She had something to do with that, too.

#9  Hug it out.


Something disappointing happened to me on Friday. Nothing earth shattering or end-of-the-world-ish but still kind of disappointing. Anyways, since it didn't involve my husband and his health or my kids and their health or my basic needs or my own health, I had decided to be a big girl and move on. 

So that afternoon, I had to pick Isaiah up early for a doctor's appointment so that was good since caring for my family always takes my mind off of anything that is a bummer but not so high on the Richter scale.  

But. This was Friday. And Friday at Isaiah's aftercare is movie day and ice cream day. Picking your kid up at 3:30 on a Friday is like giving someone only an hour to go to Disney--unforgivable. So as soon as he saw me, his face twisted up and he erupted into tears. 

I was too mentally tired to scold him or even launch into whatever a psychologist or super nanny would describe as the proper response. So I said this:

"Hey bud. I'm sorry you're disappointed to be leaving early. I totally understand. Something disappointed Mommy today, too."

And just like that he stopped crying. 

"Come on, let's get your backpack and go."  No promises to make it up to him. No negotiations for the following week. Nope. None of that.

Isaiah quietly followed me and picked up his backpack. Every few seconds his whole body quivered. I was okay with the aftershocks of his big disappointed cry. Yep, I was.

"Mom?" Isaiah asked as we walked to the car, "Why does there even have to be disappointment in the world? I wish there was no disappointment ever." 

I opened his door and replied, "Hmm. Let me think about that." So he jumped in and so did I and I started the ignition. I thought some more about that statement, even if it came from an almost seven year old. "Isaiah? It's probably good to have some disappointments. It makes you appreciate the good times."

"But it also really makes you need a hug." 

"Hugs are okay."

"Mom? I think we both just need a hug." And with that came another aftershock and then he started getting back on the edge of crying again. 

And you know what I did? I put my car in park right there in the driveway heading out of aftercare, got out of my car, opened up his door and wrapped my arms around my son. And we just hugged it out until we felt better. We sure did.

You know what? If we hadn't both been disappointed, we would never have had that conversation. Or that moment together. 

So yes, I guess we kind of need disappointments.

#8  French Connection

 Our anniversary is coming up next week. Grandma Shugsie was gracious enough to take the boys to a festival on Friday evening AND allow them a sleepover with her. Yessirrrr. We decided to make this night our anniversary celebration dinner.

We went to this swanky contemporary French restaurant called Bistro Niko. It was a perfect evening with perfect weather so we sat on the patio overlooking Buckhead. We talked bout our eight years of marriage and how fortunate we are to have found one another. I thanked him for allowing me to be me and for making me feel like I am his ideal every single day. And he simply said, "You are my ideal every single day." 


And this is why I refer to that man as the BHE because, seriously? He is the best husband ever. That is, for me he is. 

Which reminds me: Please read this sweet post by Ms. Moon where she beautifully shares about her BHE, Mr. Moon. Be still my beating heart. For real.

Yes, ladies. If me and Sister Moon got us a BHE, know that one is out there looking all over for you as we speak. For real.

#7  Lunch Bunch

This past week was the American Program Directors in Internal Medicine's national meeting. It just happened to be in Atlanta this year which meant that my favorite profesora from Pittsburgh was in town! Unfortunately, it's a pretty jam-packed meeting and she has family here so I had resigned myself to thinking that the stars wouldn't line up for me to see her. But we talked and texted so that was cool.

Then on Wednesday the stars aligned. And boy did they align. Shanta (the profesora) had a window open for lunch and right at the same time, my other favorite infectious disease medicine nerd girlfriend Wendy did, too! And! Wendy just so happened to be dropping someone off at the host hotel so she picked up the profesora from Pittsburgh and just like that three busy as hell clinician-educators-slash-program-directoras were sitting on the patio at La Fonda Latina on Ponce yucking it up. 

Here is what I realized during that lunch:  When Shanta still lived in Atlanta, we were friendly and deeply respected one another but we weren't nearly as close as we became after she left. But somehow we evolved to this very close friendship that has become an important one in my life. Wendy and Shanta have been good friends for some time. I have been extremely fortunate to get to know Wendy better -- initially through our shared admiration for Shanta. Though that part still exists, we have become friends in our own right. 

So yeah. I sat on a patio eating inexpensive Cuban food in the middle of the day in the middle of the week with two people that occupy a space in the middle of my heart. That part of my week? I really, really liked.

#6  Fox Trot

Due to lots of changes in programming and scheduling, I hadn't been doing my weekly segment on our local Fox affiliate. We mutually agreed to have me come in on an as needed basis for salient topics. At first that translated to twice per month or so. Things got so busy for me that I hadn't even noticed that it had been a couple of months since I'd been on. Right when I did, serendipitously they called me for a segment. 

It was really nice to see everyone. The security guard at the gate was so sweet when I pulled up! He was like, "Dr. Manning! Dr. Manning!" And that was it--he just said my name twice with a whole lot of glee in the way he was saying it. That part was my favorite part of going, actually. 

I got tongue-tied a couple of times but the segment was fun, too.

#5  Some Bliss-ful BFF time!

Lately my best friend and I have been like two busy mommy-doctor ships passing on the interstate. With so many responsibilities, it's been hard to get our calendars and even our chat-on-the-phone windows to match up. But finally on Saturday we did.

We went to the spa together which is slightly funny since we both always declare that we are not "spa-ey" people. But Lisa had heard that this awesome spa in the heart of downtown Atlanta had a swanky infinity pool slash relaxation area that overlooked the city. So we arrived early, sipped some bubbly, and pointed out how surprisingly refreshing water tastes with cucumber slices in it. (Who knew?)

Then we sat by the pool and talked and talked and talked. We got fully caught up and it was awesome. (We also got some fancy-shmancy triple oxygen facials and that part was awesome, too.)

#4  Super Self Image

Overheard in my house this week:

Isaiah:  "Mom? Would you be willing to get us a Robin costume?"

Zachary: "You mean like from Batman and Robin?"

Isaiah:  "Yes, Zachary. Mom, would you? We want a Robin costume for Zachary to wear when we--"

Zachary:  "Dude. I don't want to be Robin. Never."

Isaiah:  "No no, Zachy . . .Robin is Batman's sidekick. He's cool."

Zachary:  "No, I don't never want to be the sidekick. I only want to be Batman or the main superhero."

Isaiah: "But Robin is cool, Zachy!"

Zachary: "Then you be Robin. Nobody's gonna be the boss of me when I'm a superhero."

#3 Me time

I took a nice long walk this morning. It had been a long day on Saturday so we didn't make it to church. That walk I took by myself was spiritual and reflective. I recapped my week--the highs, the lows and the pieces in between. I felt the breeze on my face and sun on my shoulders. All of it was good.

The music on my iPod was uplifting and especially, so was the beautiful scenery. I felt good so I started to run. Slowly, of course, but still it was a run. So I ran and thought and prayed and gave thanks. 

All of it was good. Very good.

This song makes me think of me on my walk because I was thinking a lot about Harry and love.

#2  High off of someone's happy

My dear friend and fellow Grady doctor, Lisa B., won a big teaching award this year. This national award was given by the prestigious American College of Physicians and is the largest organization of physicians in the world. Two weeks ago the ACP held their national meeting in New Orleans and Lisa received her award at the convocation ceremony. We were all so proud of her and wanted her to know how elated we were about this remarkable accomplishment.

And since y'all know that I have declared war on anything that makes us feel self doubt (especially during times of accolades) I was all for it when a colleague asked me to help with some gesture to acknowledge Lisa's award. 

So in addition to someone getting a cake and us getting a few more things, I walked around the clinic and grabbed a little bit of footage on my iPhone which (with the magic of iMovie) became this short little music video:

The best part was when we surprised her with it! Watching her watch that video was SO awesome. Lisa's expertise is teaching the physical examination to medical students. All of the people who participated in the video were her former students or residents. We also had some awesome Grady staff members to serve as our "patients." (No actual patients were harmed in the filming of this video.)

#1 The write thing to do.

This week I did a lot of writing. Some of it was on this blog. Some of it wasn't. But I got to write. . . . .and that's so important to me.

So yeah. That was good.

There was a time that my husband would see me with my laptop open for the umpteenth time and start to grumble. He fussed at me a few times and finally I had to explain to him that I have to write. I just have to. 

For the most part, I've given up most television shows. Because writing takes time. And I need to write more than I need to watch television. So I tried to explain all of this to Harry who decided to drop it but who I've secretly believed sees my laptop as some type of. . . hmmm. . . at this very moment I am feeling annoyed that there is no masculine version of the word "mistress." 


Yeah. That.

Anyways. Earlier this week, someone asked me how often I write. And Harry was there and he said, "She writes something every single day. She has to." And it wasn't even with a drop of bitterness that he said it either. It conveyed a deep understanding or at least acceptance of something about his wife that could not be more different than him. 

So this week? I wrote. And to make it even better, someone read what I wrote. In fact, I met two people this week simply because of this blog. One was a smiling first year medical student named Anita who made my day with her kind words. And the other was on the soccer field--a mutual friend of my long distance sister friend, Kris R. She walked right up and asked, "Are you the Grady doctor? I'm Erin and we're both friends with Kris!"  We laughed and hugged and chatted about our friend and how much we both miss her. I told her how glad I am that Kris still blogs from Uganda because it feels like I talk to her every day. 

Which, in a way, is true.

So I write because I must. But this bonus of connecting with people through writing? It's a bonus that I didn't see coming. So those of you who come and read and connect with me--thank you. For real.

Oh, and as for the BHE needing to worry about my laptop being my man-stress? Two words:

Not. Possible.

I think he knows that now. I guess that's because he's my ideal.

Happy Sunday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . .this one is for the BHE. This is real music.


  1. I loved your Top Ten -- each and every one.

  2. Yay! A Grady Doc Top 10. I was fascinated by your video segment. Just because the voice that I hear in my head when I read your blogs did not match the voice that I heard on the video talking about sunscreen and such.

    But then I realized, that is why blogging (writing) is sooooooo way more cool than video/TV.

    Cuz we blog (write) using the voice that is speaking out from the inside of us.

    It is our "inner dialogue". Our Reflections are like a means to understand our lives backward while we live it forward.

    I have no idea what my point is here. Except for that I love your reflections.

  3. This was so much fun. I loved the videos and the hug. You are tremendous. I really like your writing and am glad you HAVE to do it. But after reading your blog for some time now I can say I really like YOU. How many times have I said, 'you are so cool?;' Joanne

  4. Elizabeth -- #11 Sweet comments from people like Elizabeth. Thanks, sister.

    Omgrrl -- "Our reflections are like a means to understand our lives backward while we live forward." Yes! That! I will totally be using that quote somewhere very soon. You're awesome.

    Anonymous Joanne -- And you know what? I really like you, too. Ever since the f-bomb I feel like we've become even closer, too. Ha ha!

  5. I love all your Top Tens, but I think this one has been my favorite.

  6. I am sorry about whatever disappointed you, but your sure made lemonade out of it, and I especially love your BHE knowing what writing means to you, I get that, the need to write, the work it through that way, and i am glad you do because here we are, and it is a gift.

    that last picture of you and your sweet boy, divine.

  7. Karen -- Aww, thanks sister. 'preciate you.

    Angella -- I know you get that and you get hugging it out and you get me. Thanks for being who you are and for being there.

  8. I think you handled the disappointment just right. It happens, it makes us appreciate the good times even more and we move on. Love it. Rock star Mom and rock star doc. Oh and rock star human.

  9. #8 ... keep your eye on that jacket when I come to town. LOL!

  10. I love reading your blog. You're truly an inspiration for the kind of doctor (and mother) I hope to be some day.

  11. I am sorry that I have not been able to comment on the wonderful and thoughtful posts you've written in the past couple of weeks. Things have been busy and not always pleasant in my neck of the woods, so I have tried to keep that sort of energy away from this blog. Nonetheless, I want you to know, yet again, that your writing matters to me and even though I haven't commented, I have read every word you have written and appreciated all of it.

    Sending a big smile, positive energy and a virtual hug your way...

  12. I'm not sure if my last comment came through (Blogger gave some strange error). Here is the quick version: thank you for writing, it really matters to me, and I am sending all sorts of good thoughts, positive energy and a big hug your way...

  13. I'm so glad I am catching up and read this. Thanks for the shout-out, my sister. It's true, too. There are some really fine men out there. Of course, you and I (and okay, my friend Lis) have the best ones but...

    And speaking of Lis, I was telling her about you the other day and I said, "She is a fine, fine writer. She WILL have a book one day."

    Serendipity. Truth.

    (You sure are busy. You put me to shame.)

  14. Thanks for writing Dr. M.


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

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