It's like saying your Easter speech and getting a standing ovation from the whole congregation--even when you didn't get all of the lines right.
It's like coming home from college with your University sweatshirt on and noticing a glisten in the eyes of the proud elders when they see you.
It's like the first day of school and the last day of school--but at the same time.
It's like riding your bike without training wheels for the first time down the big hill.
It's like the gigantic Christmas Day crossword puzzle in the New York Times or the Atlanta Journal Constitution that seems impossible to solve. But that you stay at all day and all night because some piece of you believes that it can be. And should be.
It's like that feeling that wells up in your chest when you hear someone hit the biggest notes in a gospel song.
It's like coming home from summer vacation and learning that your very best friend on your block has moved away for good.
It's like dancing in rain; you get soaked but it feels good and right.
It's like loud music booming from the speakers of a souped up muscle car but also like the symphony, too.
It's like running to the top of those stairs like Rocky did and finally reaching the top out of breath.
It's like locking your keys in the car and not having any idea how you'll get them out.
It's like being given the key to a diary every day and being trusted to read it, carefully lock it back, and keep the contents hush.
It's like watching someone throw dirt on top of a casket of someone you love.
It's like going back in the bathroom to check a pregnancy test and finding out it is positive.
It's like going back in the bathroom to check a pregnancy test and finding out it is negative.
It's like sitting next to your daddy in his Lincoln Continental as he plays Donny Hathaway singing "Young, Gifted and Black" for you on the tape deck. And not moving because he admonished you to soak up every word.
It's like re-listening to Dinah Washington singing "This Bitter Earth" as an adult--another from your daddy's collection--and this time actually having something to relate it to.
It's like the sting of a bad, bad breakup.
It's like the euphoria of brand, new love.
It's like the hug your mama gives you after you've fallen and skinned your knee.
It's like the hug your sister gives you after that bad, bad breakup.
It's like the angst of waiting for the school bell to ring when you know a fight awaits you on the playground.
It's like the long walk home with a bad report card.
It's like finding out you're going to DisneyWorld.
It's like the rap song you know all the words to coming on the radio--and not caring that people laugh at you while you recite each word.
It's like missing your plane right after the doors close.
It's like making your plane right before the doors close.
It's like morning yoga on a crisp autumn day in the mountains.
It's like coming home and seeing flowers waiting for you on your doorsteps.
It's like the sun; sometimes too hot, but usually welcomed.
It's like feeling the hand of God sometimes. Even if you're someone who isn't so sure what that means.
Someone asked me what it's like to be a Grady doctor. And at that time I was at a loss for words. But now? I'm not.
Honestly? It's like all of these things, which are really just the rhythm of life . . . . with its ticking metronome of high-highs and low-lows. Yes, that.
I doubt that the person who asked me will ever read this. But I will. I will read it again and again and again.
Happy Tuesday. Again. Now playing on my mental iPod. . . . first Donny Hathaway singing the song my daddy played for me in middle school that I can't wait to play for my own children. So life affirming.
Next, this. . . .Miss Dinah Washington singing about pieces of the what I see each day. . . .
. .and last. . .gospel singer Yolanda Adams hitting the big notes and taking the wind from my chest. Just like so many of my days at Grady.
Honestly? I write this blog to share the human aspects of medicine + teaching + work/life balance with others and myself -- and to honor the public hospital and her patients--but never at the expense of patient privacy or dignity.
Thanks for stopping by! :)
"One writes out of one thing only--one's own experience. Everything depends of how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give."
~ James Baldwin (1924 - 1987)
"Do it for the story." ~ Antoinette Nguyen, MD, MPH
Details, names, time frames, etc. are always changed to protect anonymity. This may or may not be an amalgamation of true,quasi-true, or completely fictional events. But the lessons? They are always real and never, ever fictional. Got that?