One couldn’t hear, whilst the other couldn’t speak.
The young bloke gaped at Tao Xiaodong, astounded that he had put these two on his shop’s payroll.
After changing the needle, Tao Xiaodong said to him, “Have your lunch first.
I’m going down to eat as well.
Just holler if you need anything.”
“Got it.” The guy nodded.
Huang Yida saw him enter the kitchen and took a bowl for him.
Tao Xiaodong said, “Fill it up with rice.
Put the meat right on top.”
Huang Yida helped him switch the bowl for a plate, saying, “Eat slowly, there’s no rush.”
Tao Xiaodong scarfed his food down when working, practically polishing it off in a matter of minutes.
He found a stool in a corner, sat over there, and rapidly finished his meal.
Then, he took an apple and bit into it as he went back upstairs.
“Dong ge is scary when he eats,” a young staff said from the byline.
“He’s in a hurry.” Done with his lunch as well, Huang Yida started to brew his tea in a large mug.
“He’s been like this ever since I’ve known him.
It’s pressure from working.”
It was the truth.
Tao Xiaodong had always been this way.
As long as he had unfinished business on his hands, he’d eat like this.
It was force of habit by now.
Huang Yida made a trip out in the afternoon to discuss business matters with a partner.
When he returned, Tao Xiaodong was still working, but the young bloke, possibly desensitised to the pain or simply too tired, was asleep on his belly.
Huang Yida moved a stool over to sit next to Tao Xiaodong, asking him, “About the medical aid project you talked about before, do you want to support their second phase as well”
Tao Xiaodong tilted his face towards him.
Huang Yida said, “The one from San Hospital.”
“Yeah,” Tao Xiaodong said without hesitation.
“Aye,” Huang Yida nodded.
Shading the tattoo, Tao Xiaodong said with his head bowed, “Charge it to my own account.”
Huang Yida swore.
“What the hell are you yapping about”
“Money is money.” Tao Xiaodong was firm.
“Da Huang, this isn’t a one-time thing.”
“Shove it.” Too lazy to quarrel with him over this, Huang Yida stood up and walked away.
Translated on ninetysevenkoi.wordpress
– ❀ –
Please do not repost or retranslate.
San Hospital Ophthalmology Department.
The mother of the high school student that Tang Suoyan operated on during Lunar New Year’s Eve was kneeling outside his office, weeping, begging Tang Suoyan to save her son.
The medical staff of the Ophthalmology Department surrounded her, trying to calm her down.
Tang, please save my child! He can’t go on anymore! Please, I’m begging you to save him… please save him! I’ll do anything!” The boy’s mother desperately pleaded for help in front of Tang Suoyan, her hysterical breakdown and wails tearing at everyone’s hearts.
Tang Suoyan reached out to hold her up.
“Stop, hear me out first.”
“I’m listening, I’m listening! I’ll listen to everything you say, just save my child…” She was still whimpering, obviously on the brink of a mental collapse.
“My child told me that he doesn’t want to live anymore.
I lied to him that his eyes can be treated, that Dr.
Tang can still treat him! Save him, please, my son is in so much pain! Please, you have to save him!”
Having just performed a vitrectomy, removing the eye floaters and reattaching the retina, Tang Suoyan was still highly strung.
He had yet to even change out of his scrubs before being blocked at the door of his office by another patient’s family.
“You have to calm down.
You’re too agitated now to listen to what I have to say.
How about this, take five minutes to compose yourself while I change out of my scrubs.
Then, I’ll talk to you again.”
However, the other party, worried that he was simply coming up with an excuse to give her the slip, refused to let him leave.
The hospital was filled with the loved ones of patients crying out bitterly in despair every day.
It was a place that gave people hope, yet also obliterated it.
Tang Suoyan glanced at the high school student’s assigned doctor, a house officer fresh out of university with a master’s degree.
He immediately came over to brief Tang Suoyan on the patient’s condition.
The high school student suddenly had an emotional upheaval earlier this morning, kicking up a storm in the ward, exhibiting self-harm tendencies.
Tang Suoyan asked, “What are his examination findings”
“His intraocular pressure (IOP) is 3.6mmHg.
He has eye floaters and preliminary symptoms of optic atrophy but still has light reflex.
His IOP has dropped a little from when it was last checked in the morning,” the house officer whispered in Tang Suoyan’s ear.
Tang Suoyan nodded.
The boy’s mother was still crying.
Tang Suoyan didn’t say anything but motioned for the surrounding doctors and nurses not to make noise, but also not to console her.
After a time, her wails gradually softened into sobs, subsiding.
Tang Suoyan glanced at the nurse next to him—she passed the other a piece of tissue, softly reassuring her.
He kept his silence for a few more minutes.
By then, the boy’s mother had visibly calmed, and someone had gone into his office to take out his white coat so he wouldn’t look so out of place wearing his scrubs outside of the operating room.
As he slipped it on, he told the mother, “Parents are a child’s safety net.
When your child falls, you have to catch them.
If you fall, they’ll fall as well.
While it is hard to come to terms with how his condition has progressed, from a personal standpoint, I don’t want any of my patients to lose their vision.
I hope that every one of them can be cured.”
Across from him, the boy’s mother nodded furiously.
His words brought her close to tears again, turning her eyes bloodshot.
Tang Suoyan carried on, “The hospital takes every case very seriously.
We will not give up on any patient.
Professor Xu will be back tomorrow morning.
Your son already has a consultation scheduled with him tomorrow morning.”
A shred of hope emerged on the mother’s face, but Tang Suoyan gazed at her and dispelled it.
“However, I’ve already confided to you what the present level of medical technology can achieve.
So, there will be regrets, but we will do everything we can.”
Her expression congealed on her face, unable to react in time.
Tang Suoyan met her gaze squarely, and there was a trace of steel in his voice when he spoke.
“As a mother, you are your child’s moral support.
Your emotions are passed to him as well.
Even if he can’t see you, don’t let him feel the intensity of your despair.
It is only when you accept it that he will feel that it is something he can accept.
Do you understand where I’m coming from”
After a long time, the other stiffly nodded.
Translated by luckykoi
The moment Tang Suoyan stepped into his office, he loosened a long breath.
The intern that followed him in spoke softly.
“If I may ask, why didn’t you use more tact just now I was afraid that she’d have another meltdown at your subsequent words.”
Tang Suoyan said, “If you give her hope, she’ll be so keyed up that she won’t be able to sleep tonight, and her suffering will be twice worse tomorrow morning.
We shouldn’t give her hope for an impossible outcome.”
“But doing this also feels very heartless to me.” This young doctor had only just begun her residency not too long ago and had not come across many such incidents yet.
Thus, she was of the opinion that Tang Suoyan’s earlier words were excessively blunt, which might make it hard for the patient’s family to swallow.
Tang Suoyan looked at her and said, “Doing it all at once is the best way to soften the blow.
Sending knife after knife, dealing cuts interlaced on top of one another, will only make the pain excruciating.”
The young doctor was still flush with sentimentality from her schooling days.
In this situation, she was unable to approve of Consultant Tang’s methods even if he was her idol.
She believed that they should give the patient and their loved ones time, which would allow them to gradually and peacefully come around to the truth.
It was pointless to convince the other when it was an issue of having different ideologies.
Tang Suoyan wasn’t actually assigned to the ocular trauma team; he and Xu lao both didn’t have a fixed subspecialty and were proficient across all procedures in ophthalmology.
Few cases that came to him pertained to minor injuries and illnesses.
Under Xu lao‘s influence, he mainly treated patients with complications or knottier medical conditions.
This also meant that Tang Suoyan had a wealth of experience with complex cases and had seen far too much of such despair and grief.
The surgical indications for this patient weren’t strong and his surgical outcomes weren’t promising.
He had to undergo a vitrectomy to remove the eye floaters and have silicone oil injected, using this to lower the intraocular pressure.
The best outcome for this patient was to preserve his residual vision.
There was a high possibility that he would only be able to detect high-intensity light or lose his vision entirely.
But being able to perceive light was a type of hope.
Those dim blobs of white were still tinted with colour, which was a step above being trapped in eternal darkness.
Leaving him these glimmerings of light was the best that Tang Suoyan could do.
Translated by luckykoi
“Say, why are you so busy now” Chen Lin carried a set meal to Tang Suoyan’s place, asking as soon as he stepped past the threshold.
He was Tang Suoyan’s roommate in university, likewise an outstanding ophthalmologist.
Only, he didn’t stay in the public hospitals but opened his own successful private eye hospital, which now even had several branches.
Not seeing any indoor slippers on the shoe cabinet, Chen Lin opened it to take out a pair.
“Was there ever a time that I wasn’t busy” Tang Suoyan came over and tossed him a new pair.
Chen Lin stepped in after changing into the slippers.
“When are you going to leave the hospital and help me with my medical practice What’s so great about being a small-fry doctor in a hospital Come out and work with me, doesn’t that sound more liberating Half of the hospital will be yours.”
He’d occasionally try to brainwash Tang Suoyan with his incessant prattle, yet Tang Suoyan remained unmoved all these years.
Chen Lin initially planned to cadge a meal at Tang Suoyan’s.
On the way back, they passed by their university, so they dropped by a restaurant they used to frequent and ordered take-out from there instead.
It was only midway through dinner that Chen Lin thought to ask, “Is Tong Ning on shift today”
Tang Suoyan said, “He moved out.”
“Moved out” Chen Lin laughed right after asking this.
“Did you guys get in a tiff again Man, you guys are so amusing.
What is it this time”
To begin with, he wasn’t in a good mood after coming out of a full day at work dealing with critically ill patients, and Chen Lin’s questioning got him even more annoyed.
“You’re already in your thirties, can you stop being so gossipy”
Chen Lin blinked, laughing.
“I only said two sentences, Ge.”
“I don’t want to hear a single one at all,” Tang Suoyan said expressionlessly.
Chen Lin didn’t budge.
“For real this time Seriously”
Tang Suoyan didn’t bother to respond to him, pouring a glass of water for himself.
“Are the two of you kids It’s been ages now but you’re still having such messy breakups.
You guys are too cute.
My wife and I can’t even be arsed to get into arguments now; we’re dog tired, how can we still have the energy to argue with each other” Chen Lin laughed as he spoke.
As old friends, he didn’t have any scruples with what he said.
Tang Suoyan was so annoyed by him that even his shell of self-composure cracked.
He turned back to take a random knick-knack from the entryway cabinet, lobbing it at him, his impatience splashed across his face.
“I’m sorely tempted to drive you out right now.”
Chen Lin caught the object flying his way, beaming cheekily still.
“The way I see it, you two must not be busy enough if you still have energy for such childish antics.”
But after ribbing his friend, Chen Lin eventually sobered up to speak his mind, “Hey, Yan ge.
I get that outsiders shouldn’t stick their noses into a relationship between two people.
But with our friendship, I don’t consider myself to be an outsider anymore.”
He told Tang Suoyan, “You’ve spoiled Xiao Tong; he’s riddled with bad habits from tip to toe.
No one should be babied like this, no matter how much of a catch they are.
It’s too much, really.
He comes off like a damn flawless guy to everyone when he’s out, but in front of you, I really think that he’s a bore.
He’s way too immature.”