Scene: The vascular surgery workroom circa 6 PM on a Friday evening as we anxiously await evening rounds and the end of the week. My colleague and I have been the students on service for three days, but the tall, late-30’s vascular fellow has acknowledged us only to dole out reprimands in heavily accented English.
The fellow strides into the room, “Well, hello!”
My classmate, the residents, and I exchange glances.
“I’d just like to apologize that the service has been so busy. We used to have time to laugh and give each other nicknames, but times have changed,” he continued.
The residents whisper to each other across the table as he takes the seat next to me.
“And how was your day? Did you learn a lot in your lectures today?” he asks, smiling.
“Yes,” I respond hesitantly. “We learned about venous disease. And diverticulitis. I’d say it was a good day. How was yours?”
The fellow cocks his head to the side and clicks his tongue. “Oh, Papa always has a bad day. Papa’s got to make sure the family has a good one.”
I blink back, dumbfounded and lost for words.
But there’s no need for a response. In almost the same breath, the fellow demands we begin to run the list and starts barking orders. Business as usual.