It took Michael days to get adjusted to the normal way of life that he had left before going to Vietnam. There were no firefights, no shelling ,and the absence of helicopters blades and the moans off the wounded had vanished. It was a completely different world, and even the silence and stillness of the nights initially made it difficult for him to sleep.It was marvelous being with Arlene and the children, but going from a war zone to the slow pace of having no medical responsibilities was awkward. To his pleasant surprise he had three job offers the second week he was home.The jewel of the three was a position at the Hospital for Special Surgery .He was unaware that one of his former colleagues at Bellevue Janice Brewington had become the head of nursing at the hospital. She was notified by the head of surgery that Michael had applied for a position ,and gave him a rave review. She told the search committee that”Michael was the most outstanding surgeon she had the privilege of working with in her career.”
The position at the hospital was accompanied by an academic appointment at Cornell University medical faculty. Michael would begin as a lecturer with the possibility of becoming a tenured professor in the future.It appeared that the stars were all falling into alignment, and over the next six months Michael made the successful adjustments to civilian life. There was an occasional flashback ,and at times loud noises brought back the memories of shell fire, but these were rare and he had settled into his new life.
The entire health system at the hospital was vastly different than Vietnam.There were surgical c conferences,perfectly equipped operating rooms, and the absence of four surgeons performing surgery on the patient at the sane time.Michael never took any operation lightly, but in fact most of his operations were simple and paled compared to the work he had performed in a combat zone. Occasionally there would be an incident where the patient had multiple injuries ,but these were rare and done under almost perfect conditions.Michael’s surgical skills were immediately noticed by staff members ,and his collegial approach to every member of the team was exceptional. The surgical skills were complimented by his bedside manner and ability to relate to the patients and their significant others on a personal level. The news spread rapidly that the hospital had landed a star ,and nurse Brewington was praised by the administration for her recommendation that Michael be hired.
Michael never forgot his experience in Vietnam, and though he was not forthcoming in bringing up what he had experienced,when asked he occasionally shared stories about the war.