You: “Hello! Will this be your first dose today?”
Me: “No. Second.”

You nodded and then entered something into the tablet in your hands. Suddenly your head flung up as if you’d forgotten something.

You: “I’m sorry. How y’all doing this evening?”

I offered a thumbs up.
Me: “Especially glad to get here before y’all closed.”
Son: “Not me!”


Me: “What about you, friend?”
You: “Ma’am?”
Me: “How're you doing?”
You: “Oh! Me? I’m good!”
Me: "Yeah?"


You: “You’re the first person to ask me that all day!”
Me: “Awww dang.”
You handed me two forms to fill out and gestured for us to roll forward.

Son: “Do you think this one will hurt more?”
Me: “Mine didn’t.”

When I finished filling out the forms, you were back beside my window.

You: “Perfect. Y’all should be next.”
Son: *groan*

I looked over my shoulder back at my teenaged son and then back at you.

Me: “Can you cosign with me that the second shot doesn’t hurt any more than the first?”
You: *to my son* “That’s the word on the street, little bro.”

My son groaned even louder.
Son: “Did you go in the same arm both times?”
You: “Most people go in the arm they don’t write with both times.”
Son: “But what did you do?”
You: *chuckling* “Every person is different. I say if you righty, let’s do the left.”

I swirled your responses around in my ears.
Your exchange with my son ended with your gloved hand meeting his for a fist bump through the window.

As we waited our turn, you gestured to the stethoscope sitting on my passenger seat.

You: “You work in a hospital?”
Me: “Yeah. At Grady.”

You gave me a nod of respect.
You: “I was born at Grady.”
Me: “Grady babies STAND UP!”
You: “Aaayyeeee!”

As if on cue, we both did a little dance—you beside my window and me in my car.

Me: “Grady babies are royalty. Loooove me some Grady babies.”
You: *shrugs* “Then you love me.”

We laughed again.
Another person approached the other side of the car and began preparing to vaccinate my son. For whatever reason, you hadn’t moved on yet.

Me: “Grady baby? Can I ask your thoughts on getting vaccinated against COVID?”
You: “Me?”
Me: “Yeah, you.”

You took in a drag of air.
Even behind your mask I could tell that I’d embarrassed you. I shook my head and raised my hand.

Me: “Wait. You don’t have to answer that. I'm sorry, fam.”
You: “Nah you cool. Funny. You the first person to ask me THAT, too.”
Me: "Yeah?"
You: "Actually yeah."
You: “Ha. Seem like you knew ‘fore you asked me anyway.”
Me: “Them roundabout answers was kinda smooth though.”


You: “Yeah. Crazy as it sound, I haven’t yet.”
Me: *listening*
You: “I know you like, ‘How are you working in a vaccine spot and ain’t vaccinated?’”
Me: “Nah. Everybody is different, you know?”
You: “You got yours I know.”
Me: “Yup. I was in the Moderna study. Or rather I’m still in it.”
You: “Word?”

We both paused in deference as the needle entered my son’s deltoid. I watched the grimace on his face relax.
Me: “See?”
Son: “Man. I barely felt that.”

He pressed his Airpods back into his ears and shrugged. And I turned my attention back to you.

Me: “Thanks for the help, Grady baby.”
You: “Ummm. . .hey, so what you do at Grady?”
Me: “I’m a doctor.”
You: "Good stuff."
Me: “Listen--if you want, I can answer any questions about the shots you might have. That’s if you have any.”
You: *looking over your shoulder* “Now?"
Me: *shrug*
You: "Ummm. . . . “
Me: “But if you need to get back to work, that’s cool, too.”
You froze and just sort of stared at me for a few beats. Then you spoke.

You: “That’s crazy that nobody never asked me straight up like that.”
Me: “Nobody in this line? Or nobody period?”
You: “I mean when I started they said we could get it. But that’s it.”
Me: “Hmmm.”
You: “So. . .you think I should, huh?”
Me: “You still didn’t tell me your concern about it.”


You: *squinting an eye* “It just seem shady. Like they got this hella fast and still don’t have nothing to stop AIDS? That sound crazy to me.”
Me: “I hear you.”
I pulled my car up some more & over to the side. My son looked up when he saw you walking by my window again.

Son: *Airpods in, loudly* “I know already what you’re doing, mom.”
Me: *eyeroll* “No you don’t.”
Son: *shaking head & looking back at his phone* "Uh, ok, mom."
Me: “So is that the thing that’s your concern? That we don’t have something similar to prevent HIV?”
You: “Not exactly. But that does make it seem like they can find a cure to anything they think is important enough to cure depending on who it’s killing.”

Me: “I can see how someone would think that.”
You: *shrug* “That’s why a lot of us feel some type of way about all this. Feel me?"
Me: *listening* "Yeah."
You: “Plus I kind of feel like I dodged the #COVID bullet already.”
Me: *raising eyebrows*

You laughed. I did not.
Me: “I wish it wasn’t still a few in the chamber. Shit. More than a few.”
You: *looking down nodding*

Then you looked up and trained your eyes back on mine.

You: “Dang. I can tell you don’t be faking when it come to the people you love.”
Me: “Nope."

Me: “Okay, then, Grady baby. I hope you’ll make one of these shots yours.”

You stopped, looked around, and then back at my pulled over car. It was as if something clicked in that moment.

That I loved you, too.

You: “Damn. You serious about yours.”
Me: “We got to be.”
I noticed more cars joining the queue. You did, too.

Me: “Alright then. Let me let you get back to work.”
You: “Hey listen—I 'preciate you.”
Me: “You a Grady baby. I love you too much to not try. Plus I'm serious about mine.”

You gave a knowing nod and waved goodbye.
And that was it.

Will you take the #COVIDVaccine? I’m not sure. But I'm glad we had that exchange. And I'm glad you were the one checking us in that day.


There's still work to do. Thanks for reminding me to do it in love.


#BlackWhysMatter #loveisthewhat

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More from @gradydoctor

4 Jun
Y’all! In less than 1 week, the first of hopefully many #HDPHumpDay drops will happen!


@ash_mcmullenMD and I are nervous + excited + + grateful + ready (which pretty much sums up how we feel every day as academic physicians. 😂)

Here’s what you can expect. . .
1. A glimpse of the interaction between 2 Black women physicians & friends being their entire selves and uplifting one another.

2. Stuff we learned or are learning.

3. A story of the week then us unpacking it.

4. A whole lot of unfiltered #BlackWomanMagic.

Yes indeed!
Our first #HDPHumpDay will kick off with 3 (!) episodes for the price of 1 (which is #free btw!😂)

👊🏽Ep 1: #BlackWomanMagic Intro to us (and our hair)
👊🏽 Ep 2: “Oh, you work here?”
👊🏽 Ep 3: “Some people just don’t like pizza.”

Mmm hmmmm, chile. Intrigued, ain’t you?
Read 6 tweets
2 Jun
You: “‘How do you even know how you feel? You’re still young.’”

I listened in silence as you reflected on the response your parents gave when you told them who you are. And because they were seemingly older and wiser, you said OK.

But you knew. Even then, you knew.

Me: “When did you know?”
You: “I feel like I knew for a while. But for a long time I kept telling me what they kept telling me.”


You: “I’m young. And that maybe the right person hadn’t come along yet.”
Me: “Damn.”
You: “Yeah. Damn is right.”

You stared straight ahead and sighed.

You: “A piece of me wishes my family was just fully opposed, you know? This quasi-openmindedness combined with this idea that I was ‘too young to know’ sucked.”
Me: *listening*
You: “Then again. . . I don’t know.”

You sighed again.
Read 11 tweets
26 May
If I close my eyes, I can see it
My daddy in a faded tank top
Standing in front of a rusted, half barrel grill

Uncles and aunties slapping down dominoes
On rickety folding tables
Wet with condensation from cold drinks

And us with our feet in a circle
To pick who would be it
If I listen hard enough, I can hear it
Gravelly laughs and nicknames
Hard finger snaps to the O’Jays
or Frankie Beverly & Maze

“Hot Peas and Butter! Come and get your supper!”
The explosion of bare feet running
Cornrows with beads on the end clatter

A screen door slams
If I inhale deeply, I can smell it
BBQ from a charcoal grill
a wad of bubble gum

Hot combs on kitchen stoves
and sizzling Blue Magic hair grease
My Auntie’s perfume when I kiss her cheek
And tell her that the “Sock It To Me” cake is good

The funky aftermath
of kids outside
Read 7 tweets
13 May

I'd just gone hard on some #motivationalinterviewing about smoking cessation with a Grady elder one day. We talked about his grandbabies and his life. We even talked about his "nature."

He was looking deep into my eyes--like it was really resonating.

Me: "Well?"
Him: "Well what?"
Me: "What're your thoughts?"
Him: "My thoughts 'bout what?"

I groaned. He was tickled.

Me: "Sir! About quitting smoking?"

He raised one eyebrow at me and laughed again. This raspy, gravelly chuckle.

Him: "Miss Manning?"
Me: *listening*
Him: "Tell me. Have you ever had somebody piss you off on a hourly job real, real bad--then step outside, flick your lighter, and then take a good, hard drag on a menthol cigarette?"

I shook my head no. Because I had not.
Read 19 tweets
29 Apr
Grady Hospital, 2019

Her: "Um. . . the family invited us to the funeral. Dr. Manning, how do you handle something like that?"
Me: "Like what?"
Her: "Like being invited to a patient's funeral."
Me: "When I am, I'm honored. So if I can go, I go."
Her: "You do?"
Me: "I do."
Her: "Should I go?"
Me: "Do you want to go?"
Her: "I do."
Me: "Then let's go.”
Her: *smiles*
Me: *smiles back*

And so. On a wintry Saturday, we met up at our patient's church. And from the countless cars surrounding every inch of the building, the love was evident.

"Loooord...help me to hold out...until my change has coooome. . ."

Those are the words that the mass choir lifted over the sanctuary as loved ones walked down the center aisle into our patient's homegoing service that next day.

And those loved ones included us.

Read 22 tweets
11 Apr
I remember saying in a talk once:

“Bad intentions aren’t a prerequisite for something to be considered a #microaggression.”

Funny how our own words and lessons can come back to tap us on the shoulder.

Let me explain.
All of our luggage was clustered near the front porch. It was about five minutes to the hour that we had to be fully vacated from the house that we’d rented for spring break.

Everyone was scrambling about and making sure we had everything after a lazy week of relaxing.

The hatch was up on the back of my car and my teen son was loading in bags with me.

That’s when I noticed a gentleman walking toward me from what appeared to be a truck filled with cleaning items. I could see that he was accompanied by some others gathering what they’d need.
Read 18 tweets

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