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Medical school and training took the Hohmans from New York to Pittsburgh, to Boston, and over the years they grew tired of harsh winter.
When the time came to plant their flag, they wanted to be somewhere warmer, between Donald’s family in Los Angeles and Dena’s in Toronto.
“One of the things that stuck out for us about Dallas, and in particular the Park Cities, is the true sense of family and home,” Dena said. “We just had a very warm welcome to Dallas, and for people that have traveled our entire lives for training and school, this was a really nice change.”
Donald is a pioneer of custom hip replacement, the first orthopedic surgeon in Texas to use this cutting edge technology. Starting the joint replacement program at the Texas Health Center for Diagnostics and Surgery in Plano has been one of the highlights of his career.
“I had to train everybody, and basically teach the entire hospital a new operation and new process,” he said.
Dena, an anesthesiologist, is in high demand across North Texas, but as often as possible, the couple operates together. They’re proficient at reading each other’s cues, enabling them to work smoothly and get ahead of problems before they become serious.
Dena’s acuity in the operating room has saved lives, Donald said. “She steps in and in one second makes everything right.”
As Donald puts it, when you give someone a new joint, you’re married to that person for life.
“If you do big-time surgery on people, that means that anytime, any hour of the day, no matter where you are, anywhere on the planet, you are responsible for what has happened to those people.” -Donald Hohman
For couples where one is a doctor, and the other is not, it is often hard for the non-doctor to understand their partner’s lifestyle. But Donald and Dena know what the other is going through. If Dena has to work all weekend, Don’s not getting upset — he’s been there too.
“There was a lot of concern we weren’t going to make it,” Dena said with a laugh.
She was 26 when she eloped with Don, a year her junior, while both were still in medical school.
“Especially now that I have a son, if Mason (age 2 and a half ) said he was going to get married at 25, while in the middle of medical school, I might have to ground him for life,” she said.
A year after marriage, they began residency in Buffalo, NY, chosen in part so Dena could be close to family in Toronto.
The 100+ hour work weeks typical of medical residency are a test for many relationships; Donald and Dena suffered through it together, and the camaraderie strengthened their bond.
Said Dena, “When you go through a stressful scenario with somebody, it either makes your relationship fall apart, or it allows you to form bonds that are extremely difficult to then destroy in the future.”