Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Top Ten: Hit me with your best shot, Volume 1.

Whelp. It wasn't a bust!

Woo hoo!

You asked. You did! You hit me with your best shots and fired away. You sure did. And keeping true to my promise, I have answers. In the interest of you not reading a five thousand word soliloquy, I will limit this volume to ten. . .well sort-of ten. . . . of the questions I received and I promise to include the others in a Volume 2.

Volume 2!

Did you get that? How cool is it that I received enough questions to even do a Volume 2? And, perchance, a Volume 3 even? Hush yo' mouth.

(Pardon me while I do a happy dance for feeling so accepted by y'all!)

Okay I'm back. So here we go with Volume 1 of your best shots. . . .

Hey! I wrote a little top ten about it! Like to hear it? Here it go!

#10  Why Grady?

Question: What originally attracted you to Grady? 

I did my residency at a county hospital and loved it. Although the experience during training with indigent patients in Cleveland, Ohio challenged me immensely, when others felt overwhelmed, I felt right at home. Though there was tremendous poverty where I was working, I began to learn about other public teaching hospitals with even greater need. When I finished my chief year, I knew I wanted to go to a larger metropolitan area to work in one of the fire breathing dragons; I set my sights on the legendary public hospitals.

What did that mean? It meant:

Grady in Atlanta (my very first choice)
Bellevue in New York City
Jackson Memorial in Miami
Parkland in Dallas
Charity in New Orleans
Cook County in Chicago
Ben Taub in Houston

I was over the moon when I got an interview at Grady. I nearly fainted when I received an offer. I'd always wanted to come to Grady because I knew I would feel at home when I got there.

And I have from the moment I arrived.

#9  Don't forget the lyrics.

Question: All those lyrics you use to begin a post -- do you know them by heart or do you have to check them?

While I do know a scary-large amount of the lyrics to a scary-large number of the songs I use to accompany posts, I always, always double check them and also fill in the gaps of what I don't know. It's so funny when I realize that I've been butchering the lyrics to a song for over two decades!

The musical accompaniment is hands down one of my favorite parts of finalizing the post. That and the title. Sometimes I know the title from the very start. Other times I start with one in mind, write the post, and something better comes to mind.

But you were asking about music and lyrics, weren't you? Oh yeaaaah.

So back to that. . . hand over heart, no kidding-- when I include songs playing on my "mental iPod" they really are. I usually start writing the post and then the song pops into my head. That's when I'll add the lyrics and sometimes thread it through the story. I choose songs that I am familiar with, not just ones that pop up on random searches. As you can see I have a wide and scarily random array of musical tastes. It works for pairing with blog posts, though!

#8  The Funny Section.

Questions:  What do you think of sectional sofas? And what's with the minivan fascination? You are too fly for that! 

This is SO random--I love it! I think sectionals are freakin' awesome. No. They won't win you first place on "Design Star" but if you are looking for a hard core nap, a sectional is what's up. My sister JoLai has a gigantic denim sectional in her den that is both swanky and ridiculously comfortable. I took a nap on that sucker the last time I was home in L.A. that was so good that I needed to be defibrillated to wake up.

So what do I think of sectionals? I think that if my built in the 1920's house had more space, I'd have one.

Disclaimer:  This is coming from a woman who wants a minivan.

And about the minivan fascination. . . .ah hem. Two words: AUTOMATIC DOORS. Period. End of story. Say what you want to say, wrinkle your noses and give me the hairy eyeball all you like. I am very close to complete little kid-mommy nirvana which is defined as:

Little Kid Mommy Nirvana Criteria

1. Can pump their own legs on swings. Which means Mommy can read e-reader and shoot breeze with girlfriends whose children also can pump own legs on swings.

2. Can buckle own seat belts.

3. Can prepare own bowl of cereal.

4. Can swim in deep water unassisted.

5. Is fully conversant.

6. Can read stuff. Not all stuff.

7. Is fully, all-the-way potty trained to the point of being able to sleep over at a friend's house without an oopsy.

8. Can leap into and out of my car in a single bound as I sit calmly in PARK with both hands daintily wrapped around an insulated NPR mug pausing only to (also daintily) press the AUTOMATIC DOOR  button with my manicured fingernail.


I have seven out of the eight right now. By 2013, I fully anticipate marking off the eighth one. And to the nice person who asked this question and who suggested that I am "too fly" for the minivan, you MUST know that I have a master plan. This involves me getting so ridiculously fit that (in those rare instances) when I saunter (yes, saunter) out of my tricked out swagger-wagon, the dudes in the valet and the haters waiting for their sedans will be forced to drop their mouths open and say, "I cannot BELIEVE that she has children!" To which I will respond with a CHIRP-CHIRP of my alarm and a sultry glance as the TWO-SIDED automatic doors flush under the swanky vacuum closure mechanism.

My inspiration:

"Where my MOTHER-FATHERS at???" 

Oh! And the haters waiting for their sedans are hating ONE because they have a $700 car note and TWO because despite that, their kids have STILL spilled Cheez-its, Gold Fish and Pirates Booty into the cracks of their butter soft leather interior.


That reminds me of one of my favorite old school Prince songs now playing on my mental iPod. . . .  Now. . .picture me with my AUTOMATIC DUAL SIDED SLIDING DOORS and ridiculously fit body as you listen to this song. And please, don't hate . . .because you know what that means, right? It means you totally have minivan-envy.

Mmm hmmm. Don't hate. Participate.

#7  Going back to Cali? I don't think so.

"Her bikini small
Heels tall
She says she likes the ocean."

~ LL Cool J in "Going Back to Cali"

Question:  Do you ever miss Los Angeles and if you do, what do you miss (other than family?)

Since I can't say that I miss my daddy and my sister, that's hard. I love how Atlanta is full of trees and has less concrete than Los Angeles. Even after I've visited home, I never wish I lived there. But there are some things that I absolutely miss besides the family. Those things are:

The ocean!
The Mexican food!
The Asian food!
The swanky-ness
The laid back-ness

But mostly I miss my sister and my dad. JoLai and I are only ten months apart. It stinks living so far from her after spending a large part of my life in the same room as her. It's awesome having her there to visit though. And my dad to expose my kids to L.A., too.

That said. . . .as for me ever going back to Cali? Uuuhhh, I don't think so.

(Peep this old school LL Cool J playing on my mental iPod to get the pop reference.)

#6 Ah hah moment.

Question: At what age did you know you wanted to be a doctor and what inspired this calling?

Calling? Uhhh, I wouldn't say it was that.

I honestly don't know what age I was when I decided I wanted to become a doctor. My mom tells some family lore about my sister JoLai's eye doctor dubbing me empathic at a very early age. Allegedly, he said I'd make a good doctor because I really seemed to care a lot about all that my baby sister was going through with her eyes. Maybe that dude planted the doctor seed (unless Tounces just made that up.)

For all we know, he saw her at the visit with me in tow and muttered that it was "tragic" that she had two kids only ten months apart. And she heard "empathic." (Juuuust kidding, Tounces.)

Either way, it worked out.

Seriously though? In 9th grade I took a science class and was good at it. Math was a struggle but science and people were always my thing. That combination made me feel like I could have a future as a physician. I never had a major ah hah moment. I just wanted to find a career that would make me happy. Since science always seemed to feel organic to me, I never doubted myself when I went into college with my sights set on getting into medical school.

So the truth is that I can't say that it was a true "calling." Instead I was fortunate enough to grow up in an environment where the idea of being a doctor seemed fully attainable to me. Lots about what I do is unconventional in terms of your standard doctors. I mean. . .crying in front of people? Who does that?

Answer: Me. Still working on that tear-drying mechanism. Ha ha ha.

But seriously? This career has been wonderful. I love the relationships the most--it's my favorite part of being a doctor and a clinician-educator.

#5  The Wanted Ads.

Question: As a Program Director, what about an applicant, besides their numbers, would persuade you to hire them? In other words, for those of us who don't necessarily have the best numbers, what part of our application should we emphasize the most in order to catch a Program Director's eye? How do we put our best foot forward?  

It always depends upon what one means by "the best numbers." Does that mean board scores only or grades, too? That matters.

Honestly? The best thing that any applicant can do is to shine in the clinical setting. If you do, then you will gain allies and advocates. For those with less than shiny scores, etc. having a respected person speak up on your behalf makes a difference. So what does "shine" mean? It means being uber-professional. It means working hard and being a team player. It means communicating well with patients and nurses and colleagues. Your work product has to be impeccable and you have to strive to be better every day. If someone reaches out to another program director or writes these qualities into a letter, it helps.

Also remember that there are some very, very good programs out there that may not be attached to big names. Don't underestimate those places.

My biggest advice is to get some allies and a solid mentor at your institution who's willing to fight for you. Oh, and always, always, always LOOK professional. Always. White coat--clean. Clothes -- neat. It makes a TREMENDOUS difference.

#4  Eeewww. And Aaaaaah.

Question:  Are there any medical procedures that gross you out? Also who do you think is the most handsome movie star right now?

I don't like feet. Especially ones that are maggot-infested or with toe jam that looks and smells exactly like feta cheese. Yes, I have experienced both.

Okay. That isn't a procedure but for real? I nearly fainted when I saw a man with trench foot way back when. Hadn't removed his shoes in over three months. And his feet were wet. So, yes. I almost fainted.

In fact, I almost fainted just now whenI typed that.

Oh yeah! Here's something! Post-delivery vaginal tears! Wow. Now that? That 100% sealed the deal on me NEVER doing Ob/Gyn. Like, ever. Especially when I saw a fourth degree laceration. (You don't even want to know.)  And wouldn't you know when I was a med student all of the WORST vaginal delivery related tears happened on MY call nights? My classmates used to be all jealous of me for all the action I was getting and my attending would be all like, "Hey, Student Dr. Draper! You want to suture?"

And I used to be all like:


"Uhhh, yeah. . . I'm good."

(Just go ahead and Google "fourth degree laceration" if you want to have nightmares.)


That time I really did faint.

Hmmm. . . .

And the most handsome actor? Right now? Hmmm.

Love me some Brad Cooper. Especially the He's Just Not That Into You version. I thought Justin Timberlake was adorable in Friends with Benefits. Yes. I said Justin Timberlake. And though it isn't "right now" I still find the I am Legend version of Will Smith to be SMOKING. To the point that Harry calls me into the living room when it's playing on HBO just so I can see the chin-up scene.

And, though obscure, I looooove the dude who played Beyonce's love interest in the "Halo" video (his name escapes me, I know he's an actor on a TV show now). Michael something-or-other. Dig that dude. But mostly because of how he looks at her in that video. I look at it and think, "Now see? This is why I am not an actress-singer-entertainer because I could not EVEN be playing opposite that dude looking all up in my face like that."  They'd be all like "Okay, cut! Uuuuhhh . . .Cut! HEY! CUUUUTTTT!!!!"

Peep it here.


#3  Hard hitting.

Questions: Are there reeeeeally Dr. McDreamy types at your hospital? Has a patient ever laid a pick up line on you? What's the strangest thing a patient has ever asked you? What kind of doctor are you?

McDreamys? Uuuhhh, not that I look at that way. I'm sure somebody somewhere is feeling McDreamy about one of my colleagues. I did once hear a nurse using some very flattering words to describe my friend and fellow Grady doctor Neil W. And my mama thinks he's "really, really handsome." Does that count?

Oh and have I ever told you about how steaming mad Grey's Anatomy used to make me because of all of the inappropriate resident-faculty relationships? Don't worry, I'm over it now. But seriously? We are so not moving in with our interns and hunching in broom closets.


Pick-line?  Peep that here.

Strangest question:  My iPhone rang and my patient had a visitor who asked if he could have it. As in, my cell phone. I was like, "Ummm, yeah, that's a no."

I also love when people ask me "what am I?" followed by "are you regular black or from somewhere?" I am still not certain what "regular black" is. And please note that it is only my own people who ask me this.


What kind of doctor am I? I'm a general internist by trade. I'm board certified in both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics but no longer practice Peds. Unless you count me closing a teeny weeny laceration on my friend's daughter's head recently using her OWN hair. Yes! I tied pieces of her hair together to close a small lac and it was WAY cool. They didn't have to go to the ER and everyone was looking at me all like "five points for Gryffindor." For real, they were.

#2  Balancing acts.

Question: Some of my friends and I were talking about life with our husbands post kids. Some of us are really struggling with maintaining crazy work lives and our kids yet managing a relationship with our husbands. You and the BHE seem to have it together. Were there any low points? How did you break through it?

Well, first of all nobody ever has it as together as anyone thinks. The BHE and I are always a work in progress. I can tell you that there have been times when we've been flying on one wing but fortunately we've always pushed through. I'm certainly no expert but I will tell you a few things that I think of and try to live by.

First, I heard a woman who'd been married for many years tell me early in my marriage:

"Always keep your husband first. Always. Work at that relationship harder than the one with your kids. If you do, the kids will always be alright."

I always remembered that. So I work hard to be Harry's wife and not just the mom of his kids. I do things that make me feel desirable and feminine. I take off my pink fleece Paul Frank pants and put on something else sometimes. I exercise and consider the things he finds attractive. And a lot of times, I wear things he likes. Yes, I wear and do the things I like, but I want to be my husband's ideal. This means not letting things go. Or at least trying not to. And. Even when I am very, very tired (which is often) I make no excuses not to be intimate with him.

Yes. You read that part right.

When I go to work, I throw myself into it. And then I go home. When I'm home, I try to be present. I spend time talking to Harry without the kids interrupting. I stay up a little later sometimes just to do that.  Even when I'm tired.

We also read this book called The Five Love Languages which really made a huge difference in our marriage. I know it sounds cheesy, but we speak each other's love languages. We really do. The BHE's love language is "words of affirmation." Mine is "acts of service." So pretty much, I tell him what an awesome husband he is and he washes some dishes. Afterward we are both in the mood for amor! Ha!

Most of all, I really do make our relationship the one of highest priority in our house. Yep. Before the kids. And no, I am not like that lady who wrote that NY Times article about how she loves her husband more than her kids. But I do get the sentiment and think that kids sometimes take the place of spouses a bit too often. Sorry, but Isaiah and Zachary cannot do for me what the BHE can.

And I think that woman who said if WE are okay then the kids will always be alright was right on the money. She sure was.

That same lady also said "Girrrrl, you got to keep it HOT."


#1  Book worming-my-way

Question:  I would like to know how your book is coming along. 

My book. How's it coming along? Errrrr. Yeah. It hasn't been. Every time I try to write on it, I either feel overwhelmed or I feel pulled away from writing here. But here's the good news. After reading that surprisingly craptacularly written NY Times Bestseller "Fifty Shades of Grey" I am ready to at least try.

So to answer your anonymous question, Lisa from Smacksy, I have pretty much been a LA-HOOZER on the book writing front. But your question has nudged me. In a good way.

Related question:  Have you thought about putting a collection of these stories into a book?

Definitely yes. I did speak to a literary agent and did some research on the whole thing and found out that anthology books are very hard sells. No one seems to want to publish them for some reason. And they want nearly all of the stories to be original, which means I couldn't use the ones that have been here already. People that are already big time authors can get away with it but no new kids on the block  like me.

I guess I could self-publish and sell them out of the back of my mini-van. Hmm. There's a thought.


Bonus:  What's something random that you've always wanted to do but haven't?

A TED Talk. I'm obsessed with them. The thought of doing one terrifies and excites me simultaneously. Added that to my vision board recently and it gave me palpitations when I did.

Happy Wednesday.*

*(And stay tuned for Volume 2 in the future because I saved the other questions.  And, perchance, Volume 3!)


  1. You closed up a lac (lol at you teaching me that dr. vernacular and me immediately using it!) WITH HER OWN HAIR!!!!! Awe.some! Yes balancing act! *takes notes for the future* I've never been west of St. Louis but I'm ITCHING to go to California. You're making it worse! Yay to whoever suggested you do this, asked you the questions & you for answering.

    1. California is an AWESOME place to visit. You must go!! And yes, the hair lac situation was EPIC.

      Yay to you for reading all of this!

  2. Dang. That guy in the Beyonce video is outrageous. I got stuck there and will read the rest tomorrow.

    1. Girrrrrrl, I watched that video again and had to go take a cold shower. LOL.

  3. Love it! Thanks for an entertaining middle of the night pregnancy insomnia read! :) I'll be looking forward to volume 2. Also, would love to hear your thoughts on the developing role of NPs and PAs in both primary and acute care setting. I'm working on my PNP now and am fascinated by the variety of opinions about mid-level providers. (and you don't have to keep this anon if you don't want to).

    1. Oooh, good question! I have thoughts on it, too. Letting it marinate. Thanks for the question! And for reading!! :)

  4. My favorite part was definitely the hair-suturing. Yeah. Stop. Love. You.

    1. EPIC, I tell you. They call it scalp approximation. I felt so Peace Corps when I did it.

  5. Love love love the Love Languages book. The interesting thing is that the principles apply to kids as well...they also speak love languages. That book changed how I think about interacting with everyone else in my house!

    As always, a pleasure to read your latest post with my morning coffee. ;)

    1. The Love Languages book is awesome. Love love love it. Heard about the kid version. Have to check it out still. Thanks for the reminder! Hugs to you!

  6. #8 I'd add "can take a bath/shower unassisted" to that list.
    #6 Yes, that story is 100% true. It was, indeed, an ophthalmologist who told me that. You were very attentive to JoLai during her visit and he made that comment. Ten months apart? Well, I did get a hairy eyeball or two when I went places with four kids under 5 in tow...
    #3 Dr. Neil was on Fox5 one morning wearing a yellow shirt, a tie, and brown slacks. He looked particularly fetching in that outfit - so much so that I don't even remember what he talked about...sigh...
    #2 It also helps when you have a mom who's willing to take her grandkids for the weekend from time to time and a dad who takes them for part of the summer so you and the BHE can get in some grownup time.
    #1 Now I need to google TED.

    1. Tounces! Thanks for clarifying! I thought it was all urban legend. You sure he didn't say tragic? LOL?

      LOL at Neily being "fetching."

      Yes, it does help that you, dad and Deanna are very much hands on deck for us keeping balance. Thanks for that.

      TED talk -- getting palpitations thinking of it. Ha ha ha. Funny since I'm almost never nervous about speaking anywhere! I think that's what makes me so intrigued about it!

  7. Suggestion on the book thing... E-publish it, through amazon... Seems to be pretty danged easy and you can sell it for less than a paper book would sell for :)
    I love, love, love reading your blog (makes me wish I could be more committed to blogging myself).

    1. Hmmmm. . .good idear! Thanks soooo much for reading. 'Preciate you!

    2. I second that Emoticon :)

      Don't believe the stereotypes of self-publishing. Times have and are a-changing. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is the way to go. And the fact that you already have a platform... child please.

  8. That hair laceration thing--rock star status.

    I was cracking up @ SUCKAAASS! That's my 5 year old's buzzword.

    TED is so cool. Thanks for the introduction. Now I'm going to get caught in a TED talk vortex this morning--so many interesting topics!

    1. Ha ha ha. . .I live to crack you up, Stacey! Beware of the TED talk vortex!

  9. My Fave. sentence: "we speak each other's love languages"

    I dig it.

    -- I think you are simply marvelous, passionate, & oh-so-interesting.

    Thanks for including my quesions.

    You. Rock. Like. Gaga. X

  10. Love this post! Hope I'm not too late to ask a question. Here it goes: Do you watch the medical documentary/reality series NY Med (it follows the staff and the patients)? If so, would you participate in a series like that if Grady was offered a show?

    1. Love NY Med. Totally makes me cry. I think I would be willing to do something like that if it were at Grady. Like for an episode or two, not for some crazy amount of time though. I think my day today would have won an Emmy.

  11. I really love this post! But then, I love all of them. So, I have a minivan and I still think I'm hot. It's so easy for my 3 kids though. I never wanted one until I tried it out at the lot and was sold.

    I almost had a 3rd degree laceration when I was having my 1st child because I just couldn't stop pushing long enough for the episiotomy. My doctor told me I had to stop right now because I didn't want to heal from anything more than what had already torn so I stopped immediately and he cut me immediately (with nothing to numb my nether regions) and I was saved from further butchering myself. My doctor told me I was very close to a 3rd deg lac and would have probably gotten to a 4th degree if he didn't scare me into submission.

    You really are an awesome woman.

    - Bridgette

    1. I am SO glad that you didn't have a 4th degree laceration.


      I would have run to wherever you are to hug you. An episiotomy with no anesthetic? Bad. Ass.

      Sounds like YOU'RE the awesome woman with three babies and no analgesia for an epesiotomy.

  12. Omg, see this is what I miss out when I'm travelling over the past few days! So I'm adding my two bits into the question pool

    1. What's the story behind Isaiah and Zachary's names? How did you decide upon them?

    2. What are your top ten all-time favorite books (okay, I confess as a bookworm, I do tend to judge people by what they read - but I'd love you even if you put "Fifty Shades of Grey" up there ;) )

    -- Tara

    PS: Did I mention (again) how SUPER cool the whole suturing-with-hair bit is?

    PPS: I sense a TED coming your way - and soon! You know what the laws of attraction say about positive thoughts and such.

    1. Tara--first let me be VERY VERY clear. "Fifty Shades of Grey" royally sucked. It is not EVEN on my list. NOT. EVEN.

      1. Isaiah -- I love biblical names so this was a no brainer. He was almost a Joshua but we decided that Isaiah was bolder name. We loved the stories of both of those men in the bible. Zachary's name came from Zechariah/Zacharias (John the Baptist' father.)

      2. I'll have to think on this. :)

    2. *Cheeky grin* - was pulling your leg with the "Fifty Shades of Grey" Dr M, it gets the book version of the Razzie from both of us.

      Thank you for sharing the story behind the names..I LOVE the Isaiah and Zachary snippets in the blog - they always make me smile!

      Have a great weekend :)

      -- Tara

  13. Love it!! Especially the one about the BHE. If fifty shades of grey taught us anything, it's that u have to keep it hot! Haha ;-)

    1. Ha ha ha! Fifty Shades of Grey taught me that if THAT book can be a NY Times Bestseller, we all can.:)

  14. totally off topic: my niece just got an interview at meharry dental school!!!!

    1. But of course she did!!! Congrats to your beautiful and smart niece--the very best is yet to come! :)

  15. Love this series. And you would so Rock a TED talk!!
    TED lectures are my vote for best thing on the internet!

    1. Mel! Thanks for those kind words--even if they give me palpitations! LOL!

  16. Love all of these.
    Thanks for answering my question too! *nudge, nudge*

    1. Yes, ma'am. Same question--right back at you. But my guess is that you actually have done something. :)

  17. This is awesome. And you could give a KICK-ASS TEDTalk.


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

Related Posts with Thumbnails