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wildfire CH 66

Author:Bu Wen San Jiu Not Asking If It's Three Or Nine Category:urban Update time:2023-01-01 02:56:11


Tang Suoyan was a warm person.

The initial impression that he gave others was that he was slightly cold and aloof in his interactions.

Even after both men had expressed affections for each other, there were no visible fireworks going on with him.

He possessed a formidable intellect and was resolute and staid in bearing.

Perhaps Tao Xiaodong’s fall for him was inexorable.

Tang Suoyan always seemed to be standing over there, gazing at you, waiting for you, even if the gradual growth of his feelings made him appear cold and disinterested at times.

His tender warmth was one that slowly emerged after they got together.

Every day that was passed in his presence was a day that it became even more tangible.

Regardless of the time, he was always around and always able to hold you.

He made the heart feel hot and grounded, making you long to spend your days with him and find meaning in every day.

When he shaved Tao Xiaodong’s morning shadow, Tao Xiaodong fixed his eyes on him, barely blinking at all.

“What’s that look for” Tang Suoyan smiled at him.

He shaved his face cleanly, then kept the razor.

They were about the same height and build.

Tao Xiaodong evenly met Tang Suoyan’s eyes and asked in a low voice, “How are you so warm”

“All I did was shave your face.” Tang Suoyan quipped back, amused, turning over to rinse off the shaver.

“I think we don’t have time for breakfast; are you running late for work” said Tao Xiaodong.

“Never mind that.” Tang Suoyan said uncaringly, “I can eat along the way.”

Tao Xiaodong asked, as if jokingly, “But what if I can’t wash up on my own in the future”

Tang Suoyan replied, natural as can be, “We can just get up half an hour earlier.

I’ll take care of you, and then take care of myself.”

Tao Xiaodong looked at him.

“You wouldn’t be able to get out of bed.”

“I don’t get up so that you can coax me.

Just start coaxing me half an hour earlier, as well.” Tang Suoyan turned his head over to look at him.

“It’s the same even if you let me sleep in for another two hours.”

In a button-up, he was always a picture of professionalism and poise at work.

Now, as he carefully cleaned the razor with hands that were trained to wield a surgical knife, even this mundane everyday activity was a good look on him.

Tao Xiaodong was captivated by the look in his eyes.

He watched him for a while then turned and walked out from behind.

After he went out, Tang Suoyan’s hands stopped moving.

He held the rim of the basin, head lowered in silence for several seconds.

Translated by luckykoi

Tang Suoyan got out of the car at the hospital car park and happened to bump into an intern doctor from his department.

The cars were stopped next to each other.

Seeing Tao Xiaodong, the intern nodded at the car, and Tao Xiaodong waved back with a smile.

“Message me if you’re going to be busy.

I can head to yours after work, you don’t have to come over and fetch me,” Tang Suoyan looked back and said to Tao Xiaodong.

Tao Xiaodong, with a hand on the steering wheel, nodded in assent.

Tang Suoyan walked up with the intern doctor.

He didn’t have to see patients today; his day was filled with surgical appointments.

At the office, before changing his clothes to do ward rounds, he first made a call to the hospital’s health assessment centre.

They had just done a medical check-up after the Lunar New Year.

Tao Xiaodong wasn’t due for his medical check yet actually, but Tang Suoyan had taken him along with him and got him to agree to biannual check-ups from now on.

There were no abnormalities found in any of the indicators on the electronic copy of the physical examination report.

As he appeared to be given a clean bill of health, Tang Suoyan didn’t offer it any more thought beyond a quick skim through.

The call was to request a detailed hard-copy report from the health assessment centre.

By right, Tang Suoyan should have been able to clock off punctually today, but a last-minute emergency before the end of his shift forced him to stay back.

In the operating room, as Tang Suoyan’s last surgery was wrapping up, an ED doctor and a surgeon came in.

Seeing that Tang Suoyan was currently closing the conjunctival incision, they observed from the bylines for a while.

The actions of Tang Suoyan’s hands were steady and meticulous.

When he was done, he turned back and asked the two who had come in, “What’s the matter”

The ED doctor whispered to him about a patient that they were having trouble with.

The patient was a fifty-three-year-old middle-aged male who had received a blow to his right eye early on in life, resulting in him able to perceive not more than light.

Now, his left eye was suffering from a sudden onset of acute angle-closure glaucoma which had triggered several times over the years.

He had been lowering his intraocular pressure with drugs that his local hospital prescribed and had not undergone laser peripheral iridotomy.

The onset this time was severe and was unresponsive to drugs to lower intraocular pressure.

The patient had developed an extremely pessimistic attitude towards surgery and was also worried that if the surgery was unsuccessful, he would get postoperative complications and have to be hospitalised for observation, which he didn’t have the money to cover.

Therefore, in desperation, he opted for laser cyclophotocoagulation surgery in order to protect his eyes, instead of laser peripheral iridotomy, which was riskier but more effective.

However, his condition was such that cyclophotocoagulation was only a stopgap measure to lower the intraocular pressure and would not fix the pupillary block or restore the anterior pressure.

He was bound to go blind in that eye.

Tang Suoyan went to the next operating room, where the two doctors gave him a rundown of the patient’s medical history as well as his response to medication.

The patient was already on the operating table, but as they still had their apprehensions, and seeing Tang Suoyan in the operating room, they decided to seek Tang Suoyan’s advice.

The patient was slightly nervous watching them.

Tang Suoyan’s eyes curved into a smile above his mask as he said gently, “Relax, don’t be nervous.

Let me see your eye.”

He examined the condition of the patient’s eye through the surgical microscope, then said to the doctor by the side, “I can take it from here.”

After implanting a metal shunt under local anaesthesia and waiting a while, the intraocular pressure fell, and the cornea cleared up some.

The knife, puncturing the absent anterior chamber, touched the iris almost as soon as it entered.

A small amount of posterior chamber fluid flowed into the anterior chamber.

Needle drainage was applied to release the intraocular pressure and promote the reconstruction of the anterior chamber.

No one in the operating room said a word, all eyes silently watching Tang Suoyan perform a laser peripheral iridotomy.

The corneal incision was little more than three millimetres and made next to the aqueous humour on the peripheral iris.

After which, the iris was restored, the incision sutured, and an air bubble injected into the anterior chamber.

The difficulty of implementing the technique was high as the anterior chamber was too shallow, but Tang Suoyan’s hands held steady.

The entire surgery, executed with finesse and skill, was performed to a high degree of precision and went smoothly.

Surgical awareness and choice of actions during the operation relied on clinical experience, but also demanded a decisive judgement that all doctors should have.

The others in the operating room observed the whole process and collectively heaved a sigh of relief when the surgery completed.

It was fine now that the surgery was successful, but were it otherwise, Tang Suoyan would have been the one shouldering the responsibility for the failure.

The patient wouldn’t consider the doctor’s wish to preserve his vision.

Had the surgery failed, it was rather likely that the patient would latch onto it like a lifeline, with the more petty sort even escalating it to become an incident with major backlash.

It was a delight to watch Tang Suoyan perform surgery.

Out of the operating room, the ED doctor from earlier sighed.

“The patient seriously lucked out to have Tang Suoyan on his surgery.”

Few doctors would go out of their way to perform a surgery where they bore all risk and could potentially backfire on them.

Tang Suoyan smiled and didn’t speak.

Having already lost vision in one eye, they ought to do their best to save the other one.

Tang Suoyan had confidence in performing the surgery.

Just because a patient chose to forsake his sight didn’t mean that a discerning doctor should also succumb to the same apprehensions.

Ultimately, an ophthalmologist should do their best to leave patients with as much vision as possible, for as long as possible.

Since this additional surgery wasn’t accounted for in his schedule, Tang Suoyan got off half an hour late from work that evening.

Upon returning to his office and checking his phone, he saw that Tao Xiaodong had sent a message fifty minutes ago: Yan ge, I’m downstairs.

Tang Suoyan replied: I’ll be down soon.

Just a moment.

Tao Xiaodong: No hurry.

Tang Suoyan went down after changing his clothes and saw Tao Xiaodong’s car.

He walked over and got into the car.

Before he even opened his mouth, he stilled completely.

He looked at Tao Xiaodong in such surprise that for half a minute, words deserted him.

“Doesn’t it look cool” Tao Xiaodong smiled first, then took off his cap, feeling his own head.

A beat passed before Tang Suoyan raised his hand, softly feeling Tao Xiaodong’s head as well.

“Where did your hair go” he asked.

Tao Xiaodong put his cap back on, pointing to the spot behind his ear.

“I nicked this bit in the morning.

It bothered me so I shaved it all off.”

When Tang Suoyan continued to stare at him, Tang Suoyan said, “I’m a little sick of washing it anyway.

It’s troublesome, I keep having to maintain it.”

“I could have washed it for you.”

Tao Xiaodong shook his head, “It’s a waste of time.”

Tang Suoyan didn’t say anything else and simply went “mn.”

This matter might really have enraged Tang Suoyan, in the end.

Tang Suoyan seldom got angry, especially at Tao Xiaodong.

The number of times that the two have argued after getting together could be counted on one hand.

Tang Suoyan didn’t often lash out when upset as well; he wouldn’t argue intensely—usually, the only indicator was the chilliness of his expression.

Tao Xiaodong was extremely protective of him.

When others slighted Tang Suoyan, before the person in question even felt anything, Tao Xiaodong would be after their heads.

Therefore, at this time, when Tang Suoyan’s expression went glacial, it naturally didn’t sit well with Tao Xiaodong.

He quietly called “Yan ge.”

Still, Tang Suoyan simply replied with an “mn.”

What could he say to that, really.

There was too much that he wanted to say, but it was all not right, it all wouldn’t go over well.

Tao Xiaodong had been frank and outspoken for most of his life and these days were hell on him.

His throat felt as if it was caught in a vice grip, unable to speak, unable to breathe.

There was damaged skin on the corner of his mouth that wasn’t there that morning, where an enormous sore had formed.

The roads were jammed with people heading back from work.

They tried to drive around it but there might have been an accident up ahead that made the jam worse than usual.

Cars inched along, and many were sounding their horns from impatience, needlessly making everyone else restless with them.

“I really dislike the lack of clarity of this situation,” Tang Suoyan finally spoke.

Tao Xiaodong opened the window by a crack, allowing air to bore into the car.

“I can’t fathom what is going on with you.” Tang Suoyan said, “I can wait if you don’t want to say it yet.

I, too, have times when I’m not in the mood.

I can wait for you to digest your feelings before telling me what is wrong.”

“But don’t make me feel so lost.

I really don’t like that.” His brow furrowing, Tang Suoyan also cracked open the window on his side.

Horns started to blare noisily outside again.

The furrow in Tang Suoyan’s brow deepened.

Tao Xiaodong closed the windows on both sides.

He said, “Sorry.”

Sorry. In a relationship, that word was utterly superfluous, in and of itself, entrenched in superficial courtesy.

Tang Suoyan turned his head and looked out of the window.

“If that’s all you’re going to say, then don’t bother.”

Tao Xiaodong’s mouth parted but he still shut it in the end.

He frowned and took a deep breath.

The cars ahead moved along again.

When he next stepped on the brake, Tao Xiaodong looked at Tang Suoyan, then cleared his throat and said, “Yan ge, just… leave me alone.”

“What do you mean by that” Tang Suoyan asked him.

Tao Xiaodong mumbled, “Literally… what the words mean.”

The earlier impatience and irritation on Tang Suoyan’s face had vanished, contrasted by the composure that was on his face now.

He looked at Tao Xiaodong and his voice dropped.

“You want me to stop taking care of you”

Tao Xiaodong gazed deeply at him, unable to breathe a word.

“I have already told you from the first day that we got together what type of person I am.

Now, I’m a bit unable to comprehend what you mean by saying that you want me to step back.”

Tao Xiaodong blanked out for a moment, freezing, then cleared his throat and said simply, “…Who are you to tell me what to do.”

Tang Suoyan’s brow creased and then smoothed out again.

He glanced at the broken corner of Tao Xiaodong’s lips, and the silence drew out for a few long seconds before he nodded, opening the door and getting out of the car.


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