Sunday, March 16, 2014

Getting the best of me.

Giving you the best of me. . .
amazing, amazing, amazing

~ Anthony Hamilton

I was proud of my day at work the other day. I'd come in with a good attitude and that translated into what felt like some effective teaching and patient care with my residents. Our rounds led to meaningful connections with our patients and their families and the communication was transparent and open. It was really good.

Later that afternoon, a few of the first year med students from my Small Group Delta came over to join me at Grady. They arrived in fresh white coats and eyes filled with wonder. With their help we diagnosed and treated a sweet, sweet man with a myocardial infarction and helped another who had pneumonia. I took them to speak with and meet other real patients and implored them to sit down and hear their stories. And during all of this, the fourth year medical student on my team guided them from his perspective as a seasoned student. And that part was really, really good, too.

A nurse hugged my neck and said she was glad to see me on the wards. Another paused in the hallway to ask me questions about my hair just before asking more about what our plan was for the patient we were caring for together. A family asked to speak to "a doctor on the team" and since I was right there that's what I did. And this time I didn't have my students with me, but I pulled up a chair and explained exactly what was going on and clarified the tiniest points of the plans until they got it. No, no students or residents were there for that part, but I assure you it was very good, too.


So I did all of those things and before I knew it time had escaped me. It was already 5PM which meant I needed to be hustling out of there to go and get the kids. I checked in with my resident and then trucked it over to the elevator. No one else was on the lift when I stepped inside. I felt my shoulders slumping and the tired setting in. I leaned back against the wall and let my eyes close for a bit.

The doors flew open and I strolled out into the sunshine. My footsteps were softer and slower. I instinctively reached back to massage my own shoulders; all signals that it was time for me to dial it down and start unwinding. Yes. That.

But then something happened. A funny image popped into my head from the previous weekend. The kids had gotten hold of my laptop and started taking silly pictures of themselves using the side effects. They made themselves look like martians and chipmunks and all sorts of bizarre things. And they just laughed and laughed because they are children and when you're a kid that kind of thing is really funny. I remembered that, on that day, I was tired from working 8 days straight without an off day. And while I did give them an obligatory chuckle, it wasn't until several hours later when they were fast asleep that I actually did look at those images and laugh out loud.


So the epiphany I had while walking out of the hospital was this:

Who should get the best of me? 

Let me explain. Who should get the very best parts of who we are? Who? Certainly, in a perfect world, everyone should, right? But I realized that when it comes to Grady Hospital, there are days that the patients, the students, the residents and all of the people in between get the very best of who I am. And, depending on the day, my family might be left with fumes.

No. Not on most days. But on some days that happens.

So I resolved right then that this wouldn't be the case. Especially when I'm on wards, I wouldn't allow work to have the best of me. That means I'll need to shadow box before going into after school care, but that's okay. It means that I'll need to put down my cell phone and listen to the differences between a piggy and a creeper on Minecraft. Because that's what some eight year old boys like to talk about after school. I'll also need to come up with a solid answer when asked, "Mom, would you rather be a free safety or a cornerback?" Because that's what some seven year old, football-obsessed boys want to discuss at the end of their day.

Then, when I get home it means that I will look at my man lovingly and tell him he's wonderful. Because I love him and he is. And in the midst of all of these things, it translates to doing things for myself--if only for a moment even-- like blog or dance in the kitchen or listen to some AC/DC while playing the air guitar. My point is that I will not spend up all of the best of me at work and not save any for home.

No. I won't.

Does it mean that work must get less of me? I don't think so. I think, instead, it means that I need to do things that recharge me so that there is more of the best of me to go around. But no matter what, Team Manning should be the first to get served when it comes to getting the best of me.  I think it just means making up your mind, you know? Just making up your mind to give your personal life the attention and TLC that it deserves. And not leaving the people we love nothing but the scraps and the fumes of our very best.

Oh, and those "people we love?" That includes ourselves, too.


Happy Sunday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . .and I'm doing the cha-cha in my kitchen and snapping my fingers loud and hard, too. Sure am.


  1. As usual, you speak the truth. Your blog should be required reading for those in academic medicine of all flavors.

  2. As my aunt Winnie would say, "That's right!"

  3. Oh yes, fumes for the family. I so get it. I need to make some adjustments myself. (And if you figure out the difference between a piggy and a Creeper on Minecraft, please share it with me.) xoxo

  4. Sometimes I wish I were married to you. Ha!

  5. yep totally agree
    Medicine is a communication intensive profession. Some nights I am just tapped out from it all...


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

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