NASHVILLE, TN – Although aware how busy he is, the family of second-year neurosurgery resident Dr. Michael Duke planned a dinner to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. His wife, Laurie, knew he was not on call past 5 PM after checking Amion and was hopeful that he would be home in time for dinner with immediate family. She knew she was taking a chance because the last time he was not on call she had scheduled a marriage counseling session but he was unable to keep it due to an elective procedure.
The party of eight was pleasantly surprised to see Duke come home midway through dinner. His mother Victoria who lived nearby was extremely excited to see her for the first time since they met on her birthday two years back. Duke himself was not expecting to be home till just before midnight but was able to leave work after he had to postpone a surgery because the internist had continued his patient on anticoagulation and the patient had received his last dose earlier that day.
“I didn’t even know we had a dinner planned,” explained Duke. “But I must thank my wife because I am sure she had told me and I think that was the reminder that beeped on my iPhone this afternoon but I was being chewed up by an attending for not seeing his VIP patient early enough and didn’t pay attention to it. At our program, the second year is called the hardest year of our life so I’m happy I could see family over dinner.” Duke was very grateful.
“But I was not sure who one of the kids at the dinner was,” admitted Duke. “I could recognize my only nephew because he called me Uncle Mike and, of course, my son Anthony who I have the job of giving his ADD medication twice a month when I’m off. I was a little unsure about the other kid at the table who resembled our neighbor’s child I sometimes see in the driveway.” He gave an awkward pause. “Thankfully I was quickly reminded that it was my 18-month-old son Richard who I had assumed was sleeping in the bedroom, thus saving me great embarrassment.”
Duke is also thankful for having matched in his favorite specialty, meeting his wife before residency began, quickly growing children, and the high salary guaranteed for neurosurgeons per anonymous contributors at various online forums.