The personal sacrifices of professionals in demanding careers are not without notice to close friends and specially family, who know firsthand how time is a precious commodity to the people having to make every moment outside of work, however small, count.  

We interviewed gastroenterologists Drs. Subodh K. Lal and Anuj P. Manocha and orthopaedic trauma surgeon Dr. Douglas Lundy, three highly accomplished doctors working in immersive schedules. Balancing a busy work life with life itself may seem like a Sisyphean effort, but it is possible. Drs. Lal, Lundy and Manocha attest to it.                       

Dr. Subodh K. Lal

“The best way to manage your time is to define your priorities so you can manage them. Map things out to do things in order of priority. Be organized. For example, kids’ conferences always occur in the middle of the day, and my wife and I work, so we both compromise to attend events that conflict with our work schedules.”   

Where are you from? Tell us about your family.   

I was born in New York, and I am Indian by heritage. As a child, my family relocated to New Jersey. I have been married for 20 years to my wife, Chhavi. We have a 14-year-old daughter, AAshna, and an 11-year-old son, Saahir.

What motivated you to pursue your specialty?

My specialty is gastroenterology—pure insanity would be the best answer! I chose GI because it was the best match for me. It is a challenging field, and I enjoy talking to patients. The best part is doing life-saving procedures like ERCP; it helps patients with life-threatening conditions.

How do you manage a busy work life and also make yourself available for personal time, friends and family? 

I think that is extremely challenging. Now my kids have all kinds of activities, but they understand that when Dad cannot be there, it is because there is a work emergency. Ten to 15% of the time, I have to leave for my patients. My wife is fantastic! I could not do what I do without her. It is a collective endeavor between us. I have always been an efficient person who can multitask and am generally able to handle my daily life with work and family well. I love what I do, and when I get out of work, I look forward to being with my family. 

Parenting is harder for people in time-consuming careers. What can busy professionals do to remediate being away?             

I think it is open communication. Always keep an open mind with your spouse and kids. Have your family understand that you love them, and explain why you must be away for work. Every field has its pitfalls. Talk to your family, and they will understand. Keep them in the loop.

What are your plans for today after this interview?  

We are heading out for my brother-in-law’s house to hang out with more family members and watch Game of Thrones together.

Gastrointestinal Specialists of GA

4441 Atlanta Road SE, Suite 204, Smyrna

678.741.5000

Dr. Douglas Lundy

“Live intentionally. If you do not consciously think about it, stuff is going to happen, and you will look back on it and maybe regret it. You may not feel like doing something when you are tired, but once you do it, you find out that you are glad for it. Later on, you have no regrets because you were intentionally present. Make it happen.”             

Where are you from? Tell us about your family.  

I am from Atlanta, and I have been married for 25 years this year. My wife, Peggy, and I have two boys, Zack, who is 19, and Ryan is 18.

What motivated you to pursue your specialty?

My specialty is orthopaedic trauma surgery. Surgery picked me; I did not pick it! Becoming a surgeon is something you just know. I take care of people with severe musculoskeletal injuries to get them up and moving quickly. It makes a significant impact on people, so it is a very addicting specialty.        

How do you manage a busy work life and also make yourself available for personal time, friends and family? 

It is a life of long hours in inopportune times; trauma patients do not get hurt in convenient times. It is on weekends and evenings, when you have stuff planned with your family and friends. When the kids were younger, we took separate cars to almost everything, because we never knew when I was going to be called away. I got other jobs as well: I am co-president of Resurgens Orthopaedics and president of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. I am also on the board of the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, so I travel a lot and work on medical missions overseas. My wife is a great wife! I married the right woman. She is a nurse, and she intentionally decided to be a stay-at-home mom. I did not have to worry about the kids’ daily activities because of her. When our boys were little, no matter how tired I was, I would go out with them for football and baseball and take them hiking, fishing and all the stuff that they wanted to do. They understand that when I leave, I am taking care of someone who really needs me to be there. I have an extremely understanding family. My older son is in college, and we talk almost every other day on the phone.  

Parenting is harder for people in time-consuming careers. What can busy professionals do to remediate being away?             

When you are there, be there. If your kids want to play, do it. Talk about things, and do not waste moments. If an event was on the calendar, it was a done deal, and I was there, unless circumstances absolutely kept it from happening. My kids grew up understanding that it was about planning ahead.      

What are your plans for today after this interview?

Tuesdays are usually devoted to being president of the Resurgens group. I have a town meeting in one of our sites in Cummings, and then I have got phone calls and meetings all afternoon.    

Resurgens Orthopaedics 

61 Whitcher St., Suite 1100, Marietta

770.422.3290

Dr. Anuj P. Manocha

“Find activities that your family enjoys; it is the best way to bond with them. As parents, we get wrapped up in ourselves, and doing what they like is the most important thing. Forcing them to do something that you want does not provide what they are looking for. It is too easy to do work from home, and you have got to learn to turn it off.”   

Where are you from? Tell us about your family.  

I am originally Asian-Indian; my parents came directly to Atlanta, where I was born and raised. My wife, Bindu, is also a physician, and it will be our 25th anniversary. Our kids are Shefali, 22; Ajay, 20; and Nikhil, 18.      

What motivated you to pursue your specialty?

I wanted to hone my skills to a single specialty, and I just fell in love with doing endoscopy. I grew up addicted to video games, so it was literally like playing a video game to me. Gastroenterology is a perfect mix of getting to do procedures and spending time with patients; that is what appealed to me the most.      

How do you manage a busy work life and also make yourself available for personal time, friends and family? 

When I first started practicing, we were able to see patients and come home. In the last decade or so, medicine has developed a business side to it; a lot of things that hospitals used to manage, now doctors manage. Everything is computerized, and it has become more of a 24/7 job even when you leave work. Balance has become more difficult. When my kids were in middle to early high school, that is when things were tough. You have to prioritize and make sure to carve out time to family. The good part is being in a large practice; the nighttime haul is spread out among doctors. As far as social and family life goes, my wife and I spend time together on the weekends. We are changing now as empty-nesters come August, when our youngest goes to college. My biggest transition was in 2017, when I was elected president of the practice.  hat changed my work load, as I became half-clinician and half-administrator. I have more responsibilities after hours than I used to have; that definitely affected my home life. It has gotten much better now compared to my first year. My wife took over many things and allowed me to do that. She completely understands me and helps me a lot.                   

Parenting is harder for people in time-consuming careers. What can busy professionals do to remediate being away?             

Learning to multitask. Parenting is the hardest job of them all, and you learn on the job. The time that you do spend together is memorable. Talking and listening makes you learn from your kids. Keeping those lines of communication open has been great for our family.         

What are your plans for today after this interview?

It is late for me now. Normally, I would be doing something with my son since he is leaving and spending as much time with him as I can. But at this point, definitely going to bed.

Gastrointestinal Specialists of GA

6002 Professional Parkway, Suite 200, Douglasville 

678.741.5000