Thursday, January 24, 2013


With change comes responsibility
Don't forget where you are 
ain't where you've been
Life's lessons then made you into a woman

And don't you forget it

Don't you forget your way home
For that little girl
Hold on to your world
And don't you forget it
Don't you forget your way home
For that little girl
Hold on to your world

~ Glenn Lewis

I met a Grady elder this week who reminded me of why I am here. The day that he was leaving, he held both of my hands in his and squeezed them hard. He narrowed his eyes and told me:

"This is all so much bigger than you. I think you know that. But don't forget it, Dr. Manning."

His lashes were glistening with tears that were threatening to fall. One of his arms shaking with the tight embrace he had on my hand. And I didn't dare let go or even think of looking away from him. No, I did not. Because this was the kind of moment that called for this kind of searing eye contact and that hand-gripping.

He wasn't nice to me when I first met him. In fact, I'd walked right in and introduced myself, trying to shake his hand. And he was scared and defensive so he kept his palms right behind his head and offered me nothing more than his elbow, if anything. 

And for me, that was okay. Because I knew that things like that weren't about me but instead about fear. So I withstood it all, and yes, there was a lot to withstand. He wasn't nice to me or to anyone in that room at all. 

But I waited it out. Waited out the fear and the anger and the lack of cooperation because I knew that underneath it all was someone who just wanted to be okay. And since I knew that to be so, I knew that, really, we wanted the same thing. 

And he saw that. He saw that I was waiting it out and eventually those barriers melted away. They really did. 

So by the last day of his hospitalization, he was telling me about his life because now we were beyond the anger and the fear. He was telling me what it was like to grow up in the Southern United States as a black man in the forties and the fifties, and sure, that meant he told me of some of the ugly parts, but mostly he was laughing and his eyes were dancing as he told me of the good parts. 

"We used to call shorts 'short-pants.' That's 'cawse you got you some pants when in the cold season and then when you outgrew 'em by summertime you jest cut 'em off into some short-pants." 

And I smiled when he told me that because my Poopdeck always calls them "short-pants," too when in the presence of his brothers or others of his generation. 

"I thank this short hair suits you, Dr. Manning." This was another random comment he offered me. That one made me grin, too. Especially coming from him.

So I walked over to him before it was time to go. He was sitting on the edge of the bed and I'd been on the edge of a chair across from him. And that gesture signaled that I needed to finish seeing the rest of my patients and that our time together was coming to an end.

I reached for one of his hands and he took both of mine instead. 

"It's truly been an honor to care for you and meet you, sir," I said. And I said that because it was true. 

That's when he clamped down on both of my hands and told me that sage advice.

"This is all so much bigger than you. I think you know that. But don't forget it, Dr. Manning." 

"Yes sir," I replied. 

Yes sir.

Happy Thursday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . .Glenn Lewis sings "Don't You Forget It."


  1. And you won't forget it. I know that.

  2. "yet do I marvel"--- I like the posts, I like the tag.

  3. Yes! I love his reminder to you, and I love how he finally let you see behind his anger and fear.

  4. I'm praying your strength. Be well and God bless.

  5. I love how God will confirm His word over, and over again! What really awes me is, He will use whoever to remind us. Stay the course, the best is yet to come! Muah...

  6. Jessie posted the video done by the Grady Foundation, "What If There Is No Grady", on her Facebook page with this comment:
    "This is why I work at Grady. Even though it would be easier elsewhere. I will never believe in healthcare catering to the rich. Health is a right, not a privilege."

    Your work is indeed a ministry and your trust is sacred. We are all in your debt...
    Love, Coach B

  7. From the deck of the Poop,
    As I read your words my eyes welled with tears and my chest heaved a little bit. I was thinking to myself, I really would qualify as an elder if I were there at "The Grady" and I would just love having a doctor like you. Some doctor are so sterile and disconnected that even with there best intentions, when they leave a patient's room the patient feels no better than when they came in. If the patient was in pain when you walked in, the pain pain might still be there when you left but they "felt" better. That's the gift that you have . During my days as a manager, when people came into my office with a problem, even if I couldn't solve their particular problem, I wanted them to walk out of my office feeling a little better than when they walked in. You are a wonderful doctor, Dr. KD.
    I love you dearly!

  8. I like the thought that it is "Bigger than us"...Allows God to do what he has to do through us! He certainly works through you, Dr. Manning! Keep Shining! ~Millicent


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

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