Thursday, September 20, 2012

Random goodness.

"What is it you think you see when you see me?"

~ Mary Mary



I can't say I have the energy to type the story that's in the queue of my mind. Promise to get to that soon. In the meantime, here's a little bit of random goodness.

Let me start with this:

I was in clinic on Monday and a patient that I have been seeing for several years came in to be seen. I mostly see patients with the residents and for this patient, we'd together seen two trainees from internship to board eligible graduation. Now seeing her third resident primary care doctor, we felt like the seasoned camp counselors returning year after year as constants in an ever-changing system. Instead of the doctors showing this patient all of the ropes, she knew Grady so well now that she schooled them.

It had been a while since i'd seen her. As a matter of fact, it had been well over six months considering all of her medical problems were under such great control. On this day, everything was still in great shape, so the encounter was easy and familiar. After the resident saw her, I came in and socialized more than anything else. I examined her briefly and then jumped straight to the pleasantries. It was great.

But then, she reached into her purse and handed me something. It appeared to be some kind of card and I could tell she wanted me open it right then and there.

So I did.

A birthday card. With my actual date of birth on it. My mouth fell open.

"I remembered from one year that I was here in clinic and it was your birthday. I always remembered that it was on September 7 after that."

I was speechless.

"I wanted to bring it sooner but I knew this appointment was coming up. So happy belated birthday, Dr. Manning."

But by the time she said that, I was getting choked up. Reading this card with my date of birth on the front that this patient with all of her medical problems and life issues had remembered.

Here is what it said:

"You're such a cheerful giver, Dr. Manning. You give of your spirit. Thank you for blessing me with that gift."

Come on, y'all. Now you know what happened next. And if you think I didn't do it right there in front of her, you haven't been reading this blog very long. Yep. Cried right then and there. Didn't even try to front like I wasn't moved to tears.

She gave me a meaningful hug, hand tight on my back. And I was tired that day, too. So reading that card and feeling her hand pressing between my shoulder blades made my soul just open right up.

She pulled back from the hug and looked at me. With a chuckle, she said, "You know? This isn't the first time I've seen you cry, Dr. Manning. And I love that about you."

And well. What do you say to that? Especially on a day when you're tired and you really, really needed something like that?

"Thank you. You have no idea what this means to me."

"I do. This is why when I saw that card, I knew I had to get it for you. "

And that was that.

Can I just say this? I have done some cool things in my career. Like, I've been on really high profile television shows talking medicine and taught some amazing students and have received some really unbelievable awards, too.  And hand over heart, I appreciate every last experience and accolade. But these moments? These one-on-one pivotal moments with real people are the ones that tell me the most about who I am and what I've accomplished.


Someone at Grady Hospital felt like I was a cheerful giver--of my spirit. My spirit, y'all. This? This is making me cry right now because this is what I want to do in my life more than anything else.

Whew. Let me lighten things up with a change of subject.

The hair salon was great today. Nobody was selling peach cobblers or talking about Mrs. Obama, but two of my good friends had appointments today so that was awesome. And we weren't expecting it, so that made it even better.

Joy, one of my besties and college sorority line-sisters, was there. We caught up and agreed that we should coordinate our appointments more often.  That's Joy on the left.

Isn't she gorgeous?

Yolanda, my med school classmate, was there with her daughter, Ryan, who is turning six next week. Ryan had the appointment--not Yolanda.

Yolanda and me, both medicine nerds

Her first press and curl? Chile please!

This is a milestone, people. We all applauded Ryan as her little afro puffs slowly took on another form. And this is not saying that we have any issues with afro puffs. Or the darling braids and twists she normally wears. No, we do not. I'm just saying that there's something about getting your hair straightened as a kid that feels like a big deal. I know you couldn't tell me NOTHING (yes, I meant to say nothing instead of "anything") when I got my hair pressed out as a kid.

Don't believe me? Here's one of my very first press and curls. Clearly that sidewalk in front of our house was a runway. And clearly I was FIERCE. (Can't you see me smizing?) JoLai was ready to take up the runway next.

You betta work, honey! (That's Top Model lingo for those unfamiliar.)


There's her mom, Yolanda, standing in the background. I took out my phone and said, "Girl! This is a milestone! Why ain't you snapping pictures?"

And yes. I said "ain't" and not "aren't" because that's just me being honest.

I can say for certain that I did NOT have an iPad to keep me company when I got my first press and curl. Furthermore, I was not in a salon but in a kitchen. And I was not sitting in a fancy chair but on three to five phone books.

I'm just saying.

You can't really see it in this light, but one thing that hasn't changed:

You couldn't tell Ryan NOTHING when she strutted out of there. That baby almost broke her neck from swinging her hair. And yes, the parking lot was a runway.

Sashay, Shante! You beta work, Ryan!

That made me think of this, listen to this, and pause from this post to "sashay, Shante!"

First press and curl? Been there. Sho nuff done that.

What else?

Walked to campus today for my meetings. How gorgeous was it? A fall teaser of a day, I tell you.

I snapped these shots while strolling along and humming a song.

Here's another shot from another meeting I had downtown. I just liked the view.

Purty, huh?

What else do I have? Oh this:

Isaiah had a family tree project due this week. He really worked hard on it and got into the whole process. I loved seeing his face light up with ideas. When I'd try to redirect him, he'd say, "It's my project, Mom." To which I'd say, "That it is."

He was very proud of his finished product.

"This is awesome, Mom, right?"

"That it is."

Happy Wednesday-pretty much-Thursday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . .


  1. Well, you've brought your cheery spirit into my heart and home, too. As the estimable Dr. Manning says, "Sho nuff."

  2. This is such a happy post. Love it! And I'm so touched, the Grady elder not only remembered your birthday but also picked a card which made you special to her. I mean how many people actually put in the effort to pick a card or write a letter these days?

    -- Tara

  3. Happy belated Birthday! I love you and I think of you often, especially when I am about to complain about my morning cup of coffee. Your post reminds me to appreciate it, even when it doesn't turn out perfectly.

    You are dear to me, and I still wish you were my doctor. Damn geography.



  4. You can always make me smile!!! Love you LS😀!!!

  5. Rats ...whenever my inner cynic regarding people is on the cusp of being comes you with another example to the contrary. Thanks to your patient for that reminder.

    Maria, fellow Meharrian

  6. Love this. Your sweet boy's project is spectacular. Brings back memories. Ah.

  7. I love your blog and I am a second career seminary student (42 years old) and I'm a crier and there are not too many criers in the ministry, so when I hear about your ministry of medicine and that it touches you and brings you to tears, I, of course, cry and then am validated that this life we are living is tough and tender and tearful.


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

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