After the awkward and almost confrontational greeting (if it could even be called a greeting), Dr. Zhong began to explain to Zhou Qin the intricacies of her condition. Like Uncle Zhou, Li Yundong stood beside Zhou Qin's bed and listened to Dr. Zhong's every word.
Dr. Zhong was a plump, rotund man with a full head of white hair and a slightly receding hairline. The man wasn't tall. Li Yundong would put his height at around 170cm, which was nowhere enough to compensate for the man's large girth; hence the rotundity.
One thing about the Dr. Zhong did stick out at Li Yundong: his confidence. When the guy spoke, he expected everyone in the room to listen to him. Even his colleague—the other doctor who came in—seemed a bit hesitant to voice out his thoughts even though his face clearly showed that he had a few points of his own to add. Then again, Dr. Zhong was a famous expert in the country, so he was probably used to people looking at him like he was a Buddha or Avalokiteshvara.
For some reason, Dr. Zhong reminded Li Yundong of Yan Hua.
At some point during Dr. Zhong's lecture, Li Yundong stole a glance at Zhou Qin.
It would seem that Zhou Qin's Ice-Queen demeanor was back in full force. She sat on the bed with her back ramrod straight, giving noncommittal single-word answers whenever Dr. Zhong inquired about her condition or asked her questions. Dr. Zhong sounded kind and loving when he spoke to Zhou Qin, though for some strange reason, Zhou Qin seemed a bit annoyed with Dr. Zhong.
"And now, Miss Zhou… Regarding your treatment options..." Dr. Zhong suddenly cleared his throat. "After a thorough review of your case, it seems to me that you'll most likely require surgery."
Li Yundong tensed up at the mention of surgery. What the heck? His eyes darted briefly to Uncle Zhou, who stood stoically beside Zhou Qin's bed.
"The only problem is that it is impossible to carry out the procedure within the country," Dr. Zhong continued. "I'm sorry to say that we do not have the proper equipment to facilitate the procedure—"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on a second here," Li Yundong cut in. "Surgery? I thought..." He glanced at Uncle Zhou once again. "But what about the risks?"
"Oh?" Dr. Zhong turned away from the bed and raised a brow at Li Yundong. "Do you have a better way then?"
Li Yundong met Dr. Zhong's challenging gaze with a steely look of his own.
The other, after Uncle Zhou mentioned about the risks of removing the blood clot from Zhou Qin's spinal column via surgery, Li Yundong went home and did some digging.
And his research revealed another consequence of the surgery that was far more devastating than Zhou Qin losing all her motor functions: it was unlikely for Zhou Qin to even make it out of the surgery alive, let alone walk again.
Yes. Zhou Qin would die if she went through with the procedure.
And the reason for that was so simple that Li Yundong had wanted to smack himself for not realizing it sooner: the Du Meridian runs along the spinal column; if they cut open Zhou Qin's spinal region, her Du Meridian would be severed.
"What do you know anyway, kid?" said Dr. Zhong's colleague. "You should keep quiet if you don't know what you're talking about."
Li Yundong ignored the other doctor and turned to Dr. Zhong instead.
"I urge you to reconsider, Dr. Zhong," Li Yundong pleaded. "She wouldn't survive the surgery."
"There are always risks when it comes to surgery," Dr. Zhong said patiently. "But that's just it. Those are only risks. She needs surgery if she wants to make a complete recovery. There's just no other way. The risks might be worth it if it means that Miss Zhou can stand up again."
"Not in this case," Li Yundong said insistently. "The chances of Zhou Qin surviving the procedure is close to nil."
Li Yundong heard two sharp intakes of breaths beside him. When he glanced sideways, he caught a glimpse of Uncle Zhou and Zhou Qin's shocked expressions.
Dr. Zhong frowned and exchanged a look with his colleague. "That's a rather bold claim, don't you think?" Dr. Zhong studied Li Yundong's face for a moment. "How, may I ask, did you arrive at that conclusion?"
"Well, the Du Meridian runs along the spinal column," Li Yundong said. "So if you cut open that area—"
"Wait, you know Traditional Chinese Medicine?" Dr. Zhong interrupted him rudely.
Li Yundong sighed. "Yes. I dabbled in it a little."
Dr. Zhong shared yet another look with his colleague. Seconds later, the two doctors started chuckling and shaking their heads.
"With all due respect," Li Yundong said in a tight voice. "This is no laughing matter. Like I said—"
"Say, kid," said Dr. Zhong's colleague. "What year do you think we're living in, eh?" There was a pregnant pause. "Nobody believe in all that stuff anymore." The doctor rolled his eyes. "I mean, you might as well feed Miss Zhou a vial of enchanted water if you still believe in all that Traditional Chinese Medicine crap."
Li Yundong stared at the doctor for a few seconds, aghast at the complete travesty of Traditional Chinese Medicine that the doctor had just spouted.
Enchanted water? Seriously?
"Your understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine is flawed I'm afraid," Li Yundong said.
Dr. Zhong's colleague stopped laughing instantly.
"Oh?" The doctor raised a brow challengingly. "Why don't you enlighten us then?" Then, he gestured at Zhou Qin's bed with a hand. "What type of treatment plan do you propose to treat Miss Zhou's condition?"
Li Yundong narrowed his eyes at the doctor.
"With improved blood circulation, the blood clot will eventually disperse on its own," Li Yundong said without taking his eyes off the doctor. "And Traditional Chinese Medicine has a lot of good ways to enhance blood flow. The most effective method is Qi control. But there are other methods such as acupuncture and massage—"
The doctor laughed again. "Tsk. Tsk. Did you hear that, Dr. Zhong?" He glanced at Dr. Zhong. "This kid is trying to teach us, trained medical professionals, by spouting all these nonsense. Qi control, he says." The doctor snorted and rolled his eyes. "Please. Don't you know that most Qigong masters in the country were arrested and convicted of fraud?"
Li Yundong exhaled slowly. "Just because there are a bunch of frauds out there operating under the banner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, it doesn't mean tha—"
"Listen, young man," Dr. Zhong cut in abruptly. "History have shown over and over again that these so-called Qigong masters were all charlatans. And the same goes for those traditional nutritionists or practitioners of alternative medicine. Don't you see what the problem is? The problem is that none of their methods could withstand the test of time." Dr. Zhong paused to look at Li Yundong. "Why do you think that Traditional Chinese Medicine, despite its long history, had failed to establish a strong foothold in the world of medicine? Obvious, isn't it? It's because Traditional Chinese Medicine isn't based on scientific principles. It's a pseudoscience, not a legitimate science." Dr. Zhong sighed heavily. "Look, if you're really serious about medicine, then I suggest you enroll to a good medical school and start from there, okay?"
A wry chuckle escaped Li Yundong's lips as he shook his head.
At the end of the day, it wouldn't matter how he put forth his points or how he presented his case to them. Hell, he could write a frigging thesis that put forward a cogent treatment plan based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, and they would still dismiss it as quackery.
These doctors were already prejudiced to begin with. To them, Traditional Chinese Medicine was nothing but nonsense.
Li Yundong glanced over at Uncle Zhou and Zhou Qin, then looked back towards the doctors again. He didn't really have to waste his breath trying to convince the two doctors, of course. Ultimately, the final decision was still up to Zhou Qin. All Li Yundong had to do was make Zhou Qin stand up before then, and everything would be fine.
But still, Li Yundong had to admit that the two doctors' blatant dismissal of Traditional Chinese Medicine rubbed him the wrong way.
"Look, I fully acknowledge your expertise, Dr. Zhong," Li Yundong said with a gracious smile. "You're the best in your field, I get it. But I still think it's a bit unfair to dismiss Traditional Chinese Medicine just like that without considering its merits."
"Merits?" Dr. Zhong's colleague scoffed. "We just told you that—"
Li Yundong silenced the man with a raised palm.
"Please allow me to demonstrate to you what Traditional Chinese Medicine really is." Li Yundong paused and gave each doctor a pointed look. "Until then? Please reserve your judgements."
Despite the doctor's protests, Li Yundong pushed past them and strode into the bathroom. Seconds later, Li Yundong returned with a Zhou Qin's makeup kit, which he had grabbed from the bathroom counter.
Li Yundong flipped open the kit and held it in front of Dr. Zhong's face.
"Take a look at yourself in the mirror, Dr. Zhong," Li Yundong said. "Pay attention to your eyes. Do you think they look healthy?" Li Yundong didn't wait for an answer. "Well, I'll be blunt with you, Dr. Zhong. This is the unhealthiest pair of eyes I've ever seen in my life." He paused for a second. "The eyes of a healthy person will be clear and sharp. Yours look murky and cloudy, like there's some kind of opaque substance coating them. The dark circles around your eyes are pretty telling as well. And also the fact that your eyes look totally sunken." Li Yundong raised a brow. "Based on these physical symptoms and, of course, my understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I have a pretty good guess of what Dr. Zhong's daily habits are. Including his vices."
Li Yundong smirked and glanced at everyone in the room.
Zhou Qin and Uncle Zhou were both looking at him curiously.
"Yeah right," Dr. Zhong's colleague scoffed.
Li Yundong ignored the man and looked Dr. Zhong right in the eye.
"Tell me, Dr. Zhong…. How long have you been struggling with your drinking problem?"
There was a gasp.
"Wha… H- How... How d- did you..."
"The eyes are connected to the liver," Li Yundong explained. "One look at your eyes is enough to tell me that your liver health is severely compromised. And your lack of sleep is pretty obvious from the dark circles around your eyes, which is understandable since you're a doctor with a busy schedule. Sleep deprivation does affect liver health, but not to this extent." Li Yundong gestured at Dr. Zhong's eyes. "Something else is messing up your liver. You're an alcoholic."
Silence permeated Room 502. Gone were the doctors' condescending and smug attitude. Instead, they looked utterly mortified.
Li Yundong didn't plan to just stop there though.
"And then your hair," Li Yundong said, closing the kit with a snap. "All your hair has gone white, but you don't look that old to me. From your face, I'll put your age around fifty-ish." He handed the kit back to Zhou Qin and glanced at Dr. Zhong. "Your premature greying implies severe kidney problems."
Dr. Zhong's eyes widened when Li Yundong suddenly approached him.
"H- Hey, hey... what are you—Argh!"
Li Yundong jabbed two spots on Dr. Zhong's lower back with his thumbs.
"You felt that, didn't you?" Li Yundong smirked, easing the pressure of his thumbs slightly. "Renal Yin Deficiency, that's what you have, doctor."
"Renal—What? That's nonsense!" Dr. Zhong twisted his back away from Li Yundong's hands and shot him a glare.
"Nonsense?" Li Yundong raised a brow. "Is the constant ringing you've been experiencing in the middle of the night nonsense too?"
Dr. Zhong gasped. "How could you possibly—"
"The ears and the kidneys are linked," Li Yundong said flatly. "That's how I know."
Ignoring the angry flush on Dr. Zhong's face, Li Yundong gave Dr. Zhong's body a quick once-over.
"You don't exercise at all, do you?" Li Yundong's eyes darted briefly to Dr. Zhong's face, focusing on his double chin. "Your body fat levels are way too high…" Li Yundong paused in thought. "I suppose that makes sense considering your drinking problems. Alcohol contains a lot of calories after all."
Li Yundong reached over to and grabbed Dr. Zhong's wrist.
"Hey!" Dr. Zhong protests.
"Shh!" Li Yundong raised a ringer, then spent the next minute giving Dr. Zhong a pulse reading.
Suddenly, Li Yundong looked up at Dr. Zhong's face.
"Open your mouth," Li Yundong said.
"What? No!" Dr. Zhong looked completely affronted at that point.
Li Yundong rolled his eyes and pinched Dr. Zhong's cheeks until the latter's mouth dropped open. Then, he peered into the man's mouth, wincing when he saw Dr. Zhong's tongue.
Li Yundong shook his head and pushed on Dr. Zhong's lower jaw until the man's mouth clicked shut.
"Slightly swollen tongue? Weak pulse?" Li Yundong said, ticking the items off on his fingers. "Again, these are all symptoms of Renal Yin Deficiency." Li Yundong lowered his hand. "The liver and kidneys are integral to overall health. Not only that, but your liver and kidneys also depend on each other. Whenever either organ is compromised, the rest of your internal organs will be affected as well." Li Yundong held up five fingers. "Five years. You're going to run into serious health problems in five years if you don't change your lifestyle, Dr. Zhong." He lowered his hand. "Of course, I can't predict the exact illness or illnesses that you'll be experience in five years. That's beyond the scope Traditional Chinese Medicine and more towards Western Medicine's domain. But I know beyond a single doubt that your health will suffer a devastating blow in about five years."