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Reflections
December 2003

To Go Home Again

Author Affiliations
 

WILLIAM J.RICHTSMEIERMD, PhD

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2003;129(12):1267. doi:10.1001/archotol.129.12.1267

ON A Sunday evening 29 years ago, as a surgical resident 12 hours through a 36-hour stint on call in the West Haven VA Hospital, I moved through the ward, checking my patients, making sure their surgical wounds were OK, that their pain was controlled, and that they had no postoperative fevers or other complications. I was immersed in self-pity, wishing I could have spent Sunday with my wife and 18-month-old daughter instead of being at the hospital all day, and looking forward to another 24 hours "in the house." I must have been a little grumpy, since one patient greeted me with "What's wrong, Doc? You look a little down in the mouth." I replied, "I'd rather be home with my family than be here today"—to which he looked me right in the eye and said evenly, "So would we."

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