Lee Mansuk and Kim Jinwook’s attention were immediately focused on Suhyuk’s lips.
They did not care about the sound of the wind, nor the chattering among those on the benches in the park. Suhyuk slightly looked at Lee Mansuk; the best neurosurgeon in Korea.
One day he asked Lee about the injuries that Hana’s father had, and Lee shook his head, saying that modern medical science could not treat it.
If that was true, it meant that even Prof. Lee could not do anything about it.
So, Suhyuk gave up on choosing neurosurgery.
At the same time he recalled stem cell research. He reaffirmed his determination that someday, or in the near future, he would solve the questions left long standing by himself.
Suhyuk opened his mouth.
“I’m thinking of choosing thoracic and cardiovascular surgery.”
He firmly decided on it as there were not many doctors in that field compared with other clinical departments, and it was something the residents felt reluctant about doing.
It was the foremost frontline where he could save one’s life.
Suhyuk thought it was thoracic and cardiovascular surgery that could save the lives of those falling into desperate condition.
If the emergency room is to blow the wind to revive a spark, thoracic cardiovascular surgery is to make the spark burn brightly. The place where life and death is decided directly is in the operating room.
So, he decided to go to that department.
Lee Mansuk made a disappointed expression. How much efforts had he put in to find such a talent… Why would he choose to suffer hardship as a thoracic surgeon in doing thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, often called the 3Ds job - difficult, dangerous and dirty.
As a matter of fact, neurosurgery was almost as hard, but thoracic cardiovascular surgery was just a bit harder.
As there were not a sufficient number of doctors, the scheduled surgeries had to be delayed sometimes.
Even for that reason, Suhyuk wanted to go there all the more.
When Lee was making a deep sigh, Kim was smiling with a satisfactory look.
“Nice decision!” said Kim.
He was the professor in charge of emergency artery team.
That meant he would have more time to see Suhyuk.
“Are you really serious about your decision?”
At Lee’s asking, Suhyuk nodded his head.
“Yes, I want to go major in thoracic cardiovascular surgery.”
Rising from the bench, he tapped Suhyuk on the shoulder a few times, and then walked to the elevator. Still there was one more month left for him to change Suhyuk’s mind.
What kind of options are there…
Today out of all days, Lee Mansuk looked feeblish.
“Suhyuk, you made a great decision. Just move on from now on.”
Suhyuk smiled at his words.
It would be only for a brief time that he would stay at the thoracic cardiovascular surgery, because he had some other work to do.
A strange rumor began to float around in the thoracic cardiovascular surgery department.
It was about the coming arrival of a monster resident at the thoracic cardiovascular surgery one month later. It was Prof. Kim Jinwook who spread that strange rumor.
For several days in a row he went around with a smile, telling the doctors about it, with the caveat that they had better stay alert.
Binna, a nurse of the thoracic cardiovascular surgery department, was composing a text message, recalling him. Wishing he would come here, she put her earnest heart in each word of the message.
<How have you been, sir? I wonder if you’re majoring in thoracic cardiovascular surgery.>
<Yes, I’ve chosen to do so.”
Confirming his reply, her heart was beating strongly. It wa as if she was dreaming.
She looked at the hallway she used to walk down usually, and she imagined him walking there too.
And his smiling warmly at the patients.
Folding her arms to her chest, she asked her fellow colleague, “This is not a dream, right?”
Her fellow nurse cast a weird look at her.
“Why? Are you on call today? You want to wake up from a dream hoping that your oncall duty is just a dream? Wake up!”
Binna’s dimple appeared with a blush on her face.
<I have no doubt you will pass the test! Are you available this evening?>
<As you treated me everytime, let me return the favour this time.>
Time passed like a light.
Day by day, Lee Mansuk contacted Suhyuk. But he could not break his stubbornness.
In contrast, Kim Jinwook just looked at him in a relaxed manner, smiling as he was the victor.
In the meantime, the medical doctor’s test was around the corner. It was tomorrow.
Suhyuk, waking up in his bed at home for the first time in a long time, was lying down a little longer than usual.
He thought he had a sound sleep, but it was not that long.
It was now 9am. He went out into the living room.
His parents had already gone out to work.
He noticed a piece of paper covering a dining table, with a yellow memo pad on it.
<Enjoy the food happily. I’ve cooked japchae (stir-fried noodles with vegetables), so heat it in the microwave!>
Reading it with a smile, he took off the paper from the memo pad and put it away. A variety of food he liked was on the table, such as rolled omelet, spicy kimchi soup with pork neck, and the delicious japchae his mother mentioned.
“Thanks for the food.”
Suhyuk slowly ate rice and the side dishes.
Everytime he moved the chopsticks, he thought of her rough hands.
With her rough hands, she cooked the kimchi soup, and stirred the japchae. She never stopped moving her hands even for a moment.
Emptying the rice bowl, he reaffirmed his determination that he would lessen her burden of work. And the same for his father. It’s about time they were enjoying their life, freed from the burden of work.
Suhyuk ate up all the rice and side dishes, cleanint the dishes before leaving home. And he got on the bus.
‘Is it okay for me to go around in a leisurely manner like this when I will take the test tomorrow?’
All of a sudden, he came to think of it, but shook his head to blow away any nervousness in his mind.
Unless there were an earthquake or a war, he was confident he would pass it. He looked out the window, resting his chin on his hand.
How long did time pass?
Soon the bus stopped, and Suhyuk got off.
It was none other than Hana’s Rice & Soup restaurant that he walked up to easily just like an old timer.
It’s been a really long time since he visited. He felt sorry for Hana’s father.
He opened the door and went in.
There was only one customer as it was just before lunch time.
Going into the kitchen, he smiled.
“How are you, sir?”
Hana’s father opened his eyes wide, “Uh. How come you came here on a weekday like this?”
“I’m off today because I have a test tomorrow.”
“Oh my god! Why did you come here then instead of studying at home for the test?”
“Because I wanted to see you, uncle.”
Going down on one knee, he touched his ankle cautiously.
“How do you feel?”
He looked at Suhyuk silently. He just felt pitiful about him squatting to touching his ankle. No matter how often he told Suhyuk not to come, he would not listen.
“I just feel okay.”
Suhyuk tightened his grip on his ankle a bit.
“Don’t you feel any pain here?”
“Let go of me. Don’t you see I’m working right now?”
Suhyuk stood up, and looked carefully at his legs now when he walked with limp.
He could not find any worsening in his condition. Only with thzt could he feel relieved a bit.
“I didn’t come here often enough, right? I’m sorry. I was so busy.”
“Hey, if you don’t come here, that’s how you help me. You’re bothering me…”
Moving to the kitchen sink, though, he was smiling.
Suhyuk went up to him, and gently pushed him to the side.
“Let me do it.”
Shaking his head from side to side, he moved to the side.
Then Suhyuk started washing the dishes.
“Didn’t you say you have a test tomorrow? How come you’re relaxed like this? What kind of test is it?”
“It’s nothing in particular.”
“Was there any test you thought was nothing particular?”
“It’s a test we take when we progress from an intern to a resident.”
“What happens if you do badly in the test?”
After finishing the dishes and washing off his hands, he turned around, saying
“Then I have to take it again one year later.”
At his reply, he smiled dumbfoundedly, and pushed him away.
“Just study more instead of idling away here.”
“I’m out here because I’m confident,” replied he.
Suhyuk would not move a bit even if he tried to push him out of the kitchen.
With a sigh, he shook his head. “Are you really so confident?”
“Two bowls of rice and soup here!”
Hearing the order from the customers, Suhyuk went out of the kitchen quickly.
He worked there until 5pm.
Watching him doing the dishes silently, he opened his mouth.
“Now just go.”
Without turning back, he nodded, and cleaned up the tables with a dishcloth after clearing the dishes.
“In a little while Hana will be here…” said Suhyuk.
“Yes, that’s right. So go home and study. Don’t worry about here.”
Though he said he was confident, he felt he needed some sort of caring about his physical condition. There were lots of other chances he could see Hana. Nonetheless, he could not help but feel sorry for Hana’s father.
“Okay, let me go home first.”
Only then did Hana’s father smile brightly.
“Take care, and do well in the test!”
With a smile, he left the restaurant.
Suhyuk was on his way back home on the same bus that he got on when he left his house earlier that day. Then his cell phone buzzed. It was a text message from Oh Byungchul.
<Do well in the test. I know you will pass it even if I don’t say this.>
Then, another message was received.
<I’m not worried, but given the choice, you had better get the first place.>
It was sent by Prof. Kim Jinwook.
Messages continued to come in.
All those he got acquainted with at Daehan Hospital were sending messages cheering him on.
At the continuing vibrations on his phone, he murmured, “I’m afraid the battery will die…”
The smile on his face did not disappear for a while.
Leaving home early in the morning, Suhyuk headed for the testing place.
The place was crowded with a lot of interns, as if all the interns had already gathered there.
They had anxiety and nervousness on their faces. In contrast, Suhyuk’s expression was calm.
He went into the place and took his seat. Some murmuring could be heard from some of the other interns which seemed like praying, while some were carrying talismans to help pass the test.
“Did you study a lot, Suhyuk?”
One of his intern friends asked, with an anxious look.
Suhyuk agonized a bit. How could he reply?
“I studied until this morning.”
He wanted to encourage him by sharing some sort of kinship with him.
“Well, me too. I just have no idea though...”
Smiling a bit, he patted him on the shoulder.
Then the test began. How long did time pass for?
Suhyuk was walking out of the test place alone. No, a lot of other interns went out in droves, with a variety of expressions on their faces.
However, Suhyuk’s face was as calm as it was before.
A guy was entering into the main gate of the hospital.
Once he went into the lobby, he got on the elevator just like an old timer, and he swept up his hair lightly.
<The door is opening> sounded the recorded announcement.
The sound of his walking echoed in the hallway.
Doctors, turning over the medical charts, turned theirs heads to the side.
Suhyuk smiled at them.
“How are you? I’m resident Lee Suhyuk.”