Michael loved the fact that he lived so close to the hospital for his second rotation. Michael jr. was so energetic and he would light up when Michael walked through the door.This delightful explorer of everything in the apartment would soon be joined in six months by their second child.This news came at a time when Michael was trying to decide whether he should continue his studies and explore residency programs.He had been counseled by professors and peers that he would make an outstanding pediatrician or gastroenterologist. He concurred that these opportunities would be fulfilling but the one rotation that captivated him was surgery.The hesitation on his part was that a surgical residency would be four more years of a crazy lifestyle ,and he questioned how fair that would be for his family.

Arlene could always sense when Michael was percolating the issues involved in a major decision.In many ways she knew him better than he knew himself.One night after they had put the energetic dynamo to bed Arlene said”Mrs Pittelli knew you would be home tonight and offered to baby sit while we went out for your favorite meal,a Philly cheesesteak. Michael jumped at the offer not only for the culinary delight on South street, but also it provided an opportunity for Arlene to have some adult free time.

Michael ordered the house special and said’If any of my patients could see me eating this instant heart attack they would be scandalized”. He offered a bite to Arlene, but she chose only to order a coke.Arlene started to probe their future as Michael wiped the last trace of cheese from his lips.” I know that soon you must make a decision about whether you are going to seek a residency and wondered where you were leaning.”At this request Michael smiled and realized that Arlene had an emotional radar that was always on target regarding anything that he was pondering.Michael said” I have been meaning to talk to you about possible next steps, but there has been no opportunity.I am having difficulty with the implications for you and the children .I am barely home now, and fear that a residency program may be worse.There is also the question of Danny because I know he has had great difficulty dealing with Donny’s death”.Arlene reached across the table cupping both his hands and asked”Which was your favorite rotation?”To his surprise he immediately responded”surgery.”

Arlene followed her initial question with a series of gentle but probing inquiries.Michael apparently had thought at least at the subliminal level a great deal about surgery because he gave chapter and verse about its’ appeal.His insightful wife asked “ what is standing in the way of your following your dream?”’It is the realization of the sacrifices you and the children will have to make over the next four years.” Arleme said”I understand your concerns ,but after all you have lost I believe that your taking a surgical residency will be worthwhile for all of us.”Michael touched her cheek and said “if I was just a general practitioner we would have a more normal life.””Michael you well know there is no such thing as a normal life so I vote for a surgical residency.”

At the end of their conversation walking back hand in hand to their apartment Michael. stopped and kissed Arlene.”What would I do without you?” Don’t worry Doctor you will never have that opportunity to lose me.However, there is one request from here on out. You mist share whatever your concerns are about any important decision.” Michael agreed and felt Arlene’s support had made his future more clear

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