Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Like home.

Living here in this brand new world
Might be a fantasy
But it's taught me to love
So it's real, real to me

And I've learned
That we must look inside our hearts
To find a world full of love
Like yours
Like mine

Like home.

~ from "The Wiz"

Do you ever just sit and reflect on something. . . . and allow yourself to get all worked up to the point of the ugly cry?

I do.

Not all the time. Just sometimes.

So tonight I was just looking at this picture. I was looking at this picture and thinking about the fact that this month marked my eleventh year as a Grady doctor.


This image--that my patient graciously gave me his permission to share here--was taken yesterday in clinic. It includes one of my most favorite patients of all time.

And I don't know what it is. . . .but I cannot even look at this photograph without blowing my nose and wiping my eyes. Not even kidding. I think it's because it absolutely captures everything I love about working at Grady Hospital.

The people.
The privilege.

I look at this picture and. . . yeah. My heart just feels so glad. . . so happy when I look at this. I just feel so fortunate to be here. Sitting across from people who have so much to teach me about life and love and peace of mind. Of struggles and overcoming and joy and faith. About what it means to be alive.

We also share some good laughs.

On this day, my patient was with his son who looks EXACTLY like him. Almost to the point of looking like they could be identical twins. So I poked fun at them before getting down to business.

"So who is this guy?" I teased.

"That's my son!" he replied as a smile began to spread across his cheeks.

"Really? He looks nothing like you." I put on a pseudo-serious face, which made my patient laugh out loud. Big, bellowing laughs from deep down in his diaphragm.

"You don't see the resemblance?" I love how he tried to look serious too but his lips kept quivering from his amusement.

"No, sir. I think you should see about getting a paternity test to make sure." I stuck with my deadpan.

"A who?"

His spitting image son chimed in. "Daddy, that's a blood test they can do to tell you if you the daddy or not. They do it on Maury Povich all the time." And he chuckled a chuckle so eerily similar to his father that it made my mouth fall open.

My patient knitted his brow. "You mean they can DO that? They can tell you with just some blood for sure if you somebody daddy?"

"Yeah, Daddy. They been able to do that for a long time!"

My patient let that marinate for a bit -- like he wasn't sure if we were just pulling his leg. Then finally replied:

"Shoooooot. Bet that make for big ruckus at the family reunions, don't it?"

And with that, we all collectively laughed out loud without even the slightest concern for how it sounded. I took in the similarities of their mannerisms and even the lines framing their mirror image smiles. I was so happy to see my patient, and seeing his son beside him made me even happier.


I told a group of medical students today that the reason I love working at Grady Hospital so much is because when I am there it feels like home.


So I guess when I look at this photograph of this very special patient sitting in this very special hospital I feel so full because it reminds me of how good it feels to be at home. Because home feels safe and right. I also know that a wonderful home that rises up to embrace you every single day is a blessing. It sure is.

For the last eleven years, that is exactly what I've had. A world that was initially a brand new world and so intimidating at times that it felt like a fantasy. But just like that song says--it's taught me to love, so now it is so, so real to me.

It is.

Grady inspired me to start writing here. . . and from that I gained the courage to do so many other things. And through it all--this privilege--I've learned now, in every aspect of my life, to look inside of my heart to find a world full of love. . . .

Like yours.
Like mine.
Like Grady.

Like home.

And when I think of that? That makes me cry.

Happy Tuesday and happy Grady-versary. May you feel at home and think of home often--wherever you are.

Now playing on my mental iPod and making me cry even more. . . .the late Whitney Houston singing "Home" in her first ever television debut. . . .


  1. It is such a blessed thing to feel like that about your work and about giving service to folks who need it, and need you. Truly, you have been called. It so plain to see and so magnificent to be privy to. Beautiful post. Thank you.

  2. What Angella said. A beautiful post, a beautiful man and your smiles - they made me happy. I'm so glad you found your home.

  3. I love this post. It's a joy to have a job that you love, one that you feel makes a difference in this world. That's what I loved so much about being a teacher. Every day brought something new and exciting. And like you, I got as much as I gave. Maybe it's a calling that we have.
    Whitney sang her heart out, didn't she? Though, I must admit, when Diana Ross sang it in "The Wiz", she knocked it out of the park!!

  4. It's wonderful that you have this relationship with your patients.
    Now, about that "ugly-cry" of yours. Didn't Claire just advise you not to go there?

  5. Yay! Happy Gradyversary! You are both, indeed, lucky to have one another-so very lucky indeed.

    Maria, fellow Meharrian

  6. I only made it 1/3 of the way through this post before my vision started blurring badly. I share your love of medicine and consider myself very lucky, because despite the arduous road I have had to travel to get this far (and I have yet to arrive), to feel this calling, to have your heart filled with such love of your chosen profession is one of the greatest joys of life.


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

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