C108 – A Soft-hearted Man
As Tang Yue prepared to depart, Zhang Chun naturally stuck close behind him. However, before he could exit the room, Wang Dingjun had already left him trailing.
“Disciple, where do you intend to go?” Wang Dingjun inquired with a friendly smile.
“Let’s return home,” Zhang Chun replied, standing behind Tang Yue with an innocent grin.
“And where is your home? Does Loyal and Brave Marquis Prefecture still exist in Ye City?”
“A friend’s home is like one’s own home, right, Brother Tang?” Zhang Chun playfully pinched Tang Yue’s arm, urging him to vouch for him.
It was evident to Tang Yue that Zhang Chun had the demeanor of someone caught in an affair and was incredibly deferential towards him.
Tang Yue furrowed his brow and replied vaguely, “Staying here is fine. We’ll be departing tomorrow, so there’s no need for you to shuttle back and forth.”
When he wedded Crown Prince Zhao, he would also have to stay here. While Zhang Chun might be a bit dense, he would manage just fine within the Crown Prince’s Palace.
Wang Dingjun’s sinister grin sent shivers down Zhang Chun’s spine. “I don’t mind the trouble at all. I promise to arrive early tomorrow morning. Brother Tang… you won’t leave me to fend for myself, will you?”
Tang Yue gazed at his timid expression in disbelief. He was tempted to claim he didn’t know Zhang Chun. After all, he was a newcomer from the twenty-first century—how could he fear ancient customs?
With a merciless push, Tang Yue handed Zhang Chun over to Wang Dingjun. “Then I entrust him to Scribe Wang. He’s still young and inexperienced. You must teach him well.”
“No worries, His Highness has tasked me with instructing him in martial arts. I shall take it very seriously.”
Zhang Chun wished he could ask Wang Dingjun not to be too serious, but he had no words.
Tang Yue waved farewell without any lingering concerns, leaving Zhang Chun to amuse himself in the somewhat eerie mansion.
On the first day, Wang Dingjun didn’t subject him to any torment, remarking, “We have a long journey ahead.”
After Tang Yue departed from the crown prince’s residence, he instructed the coachman to take him to Imperial Doctor Wu’s abode. It was impractical for him to run a clinic by himself. If he sought to hire a renowned physician and a herbalist, he needed to establish connections with the Imperial Medical Office.
Imperial Doctor Wu was a true master in the world of traditional Chinese medicine, ranking at the pinnacle of this era. In this age, traditional Chinese medicine held great sway, and Tang Yue urgently required such a skilled practitioner.
When they arrived at Imperial Doctor Wu’s residence, Tang Yue dispatched a messenger to convey his request. The doorman was courteous and invited them to wait in the inner chambers, personally going to inform Imperial Doctor Wu.
After a brief wait, Tang Yue spotted Imperial Doctor Wu, sporting a short haircut with mud-stained feet and a few dry leaves adorning his head.
He exclaimed as soon as he entered the room, “Young Tang scion, what brings you here when you have no urgent matters?”
Tang Yue promptly rose from his seat and offered a respectful bow. He politely began, “I find myself with some free time today, and I’ve taken the liberty to seek your counsel.”
“Ah, such formalities today. Is there something specific you require from me?”
Tang Yue smiled awkwardly, realizing he needed to approach the matter with humility when seeking someone’s assistance. At the same time, he needed to gauge the receptiveness of the individual he sought help from, concerned that this seasoned elder might not be swayed by soft words.
“I genuinely hold deep admiration for your medical expertise. I should have approached you for guidance earlier, but my prior commitments kept me occupied.”
“Humph!” Imperial Doctor Wu nonchalantly kicked off his shoes and ambled over to his designated seat, going barefoot. He knelt down and motioned for tea to be served, without offering any verbal response. It was evident he harbored skepticism toward Tang Yue’s words.
Tang Yue opted not to beat around the bush. He got straight to the point, saying, “I’ve recently established a modest pharmacy, neither grand nor small. I find myself in need of additional medical practitioners and apprentice alchemists. Might Imperial Doctor Wu have any recommendations?”
Imperial Doctor Wu cast a skeptical look at him and remarked, “Why inquire of me about such matters? You are the Marquis’s heir. Why should you worry about staffing for your shop? Moreover, you’ve saved the Crown Prince; you could easily seek His Highness’s aid.”
Imperial Doctor Wu had spent recent days holed up at home cultivating medicinal herbs and had not been privy to Tang Yue’s impending betrothal to the Crown Princess. Otherwise, he might have indulged in even more teasing.
“No situation is identical. You hold a distinguished position in the realm of medicine and lead the Imperial Medical Office. Hence, I believe your guidance is more fitting for me,” Tang Yue offered flattery, knowing full well that the other party couldn’t be swayed with material gifts but could be softened by flattering words.
“Pharmacy differs from other industries. Our primary focus should be the welfare of the people, not commercial interests.”
“I’m not lacking in wealth, and I’ve established the pharmacy not for pecuniary gain,” Tang Yue asserted firmly. Even without taking action, he was assured of lifelong financial security.
Money did not captivate him. A modest standard of living would suffice to fulfill his contentment.
As Imperial Doctor Wu absorbed Tang Yue’s words, his demeanor eased slightly. There was no animosity between them; it was merely a matter of a younger individual surpassing an elder, which might appear somewhat unjust.
Observing the relaxation in Imperial Doctor Wu’s stance, Tang Yue continued, “You may not be aware, but my pharmacy’s primary objective is to provide medicinal herbs to wounded soldiers on the battlefield. The battlefield is a cruel place, and the dearth of medical supplies leads to countless casualties. If you recommend individuals to me, please ensure they possess exemplary moral character. I refuse to enlist those with questionable medical ethics.”
“Is that so?” Imperial Doctor Wu found himself deeply moved. He responded earnestly, “Though the Imperial Medical Office doesn’t focus on military medicine, we do dispatch a group of medical practitioners to the border each year. Unfortunately, very few return due to a lack of adequate medicinal herbs, rendering them powerless at the frontier.”
The Imperial Medical Office routinely trained students, with graduates being sent to various locations for practical experience. Some were even assigned to battlefronts. Those who survived and displayed progress were eligible to join the Imperial Medical Office as imperial doctors, akin to modern medical interns but under harsher conditions and more perilous trials.
Imperial Doctor Wu pondered for a moment and asked with a furrowed brow, “I’m afraid that Young Master Tang’s medical skills differ significantly from mine, and they deviate from my teachings. Will he be able to make use of them?”
“You underestimate yourself. While my methods may differ from the current medical system, you undoubtedly excel in skill. Medicine knows no boundaries; as long as it heals and saves lives, it serves its purpose. There’s no need to declare it ineffective.”
Imperial Doctor Wu suddenly found himself impressed by this young man. His prior biases had vanished. He admired Tang Yue’s medical prowess and held deep respect and curiosity for this unconventional approach to medicine.
Lately, the members of the Imperial Medical Office had convened multiple times to study Tang Yue’s treatment techniques, yet they hadn’t reached any conclusive findings.
Imperial Doctor Wu rose from his seat and led Tang Yue out of the room. “Haha… You’re absolutely right. A physician is indeed a member of the family. That’s a positive sign. I have a challenging and intricate medical case. Young one, lend me your expertise in diagnosing it.”
Tang Yue followed in the footsteps of Imperial Doctor Wu and entered a study adorned with shelves of books and disheveled bamboo scrolls. Numerous unfinished manuscripts lay scattered across the floor.
“There was a patient in his sixties who, despite his overall good health, experiences occasional bouts of abdominal pain, vomiting, chest discomfort, and other symptoms. The most severe episode even left him breathless, but he would recover after a few days of rest. What could be afflicting him?”
“Have you observed any irregularities in his heart rate?”
“Based on the pulse examination, there does appear to be some heart rate instability.”
Tang Yue’s initial diagnosis leaned toward cardiac infarction, a common ailment among the elderly, but cardiac failure couldn’t be ruled out either.
The definitive method involved checking the electrocardiogram, white blood cell count, and red blood cell sedimentation rate. Unfortunately, there were no available instruments for such tests at present.
Tang Yue proceeded to inquire about the patient’s daily habits, strengthening the suspicion of cardiovascular infarction.
Heart attacks could be triggered by various factors: excessive workload, overindulgence in food, constipation, emotional distress, or exposure to cold.
“While there isn’t a perfect treatment at this stage, there are several recommendations the patient should adhere to. Please relay these messages to the patient, senior.”
“Please give me a moment.” Imperial Doctor Wu hastily fetched a writing utensil and bamboo scroll, positioning himself seriously in front of Tang Yue.
Tang Yue located the brush he needed. It appeared this type of brush was highly efficient. He inquired, “Is the brush ready?”
Imperial Doctor Wu paused before breaking into laughter. “Excellent! Quite excellent! Using this brush is far less taxing than wielding a carving knife. At my age, my hands aren’t as steady as they used to be, and carving is a cumbersome task. This brush is much lighter.”
Tang Yue couldn’t help but smile. It seemed fulfilling the wishes of others was a source of great pride.
“His Highness’s invention is truly a boon for the people. Learning to write will become much easier in the future.”
Tang Yue recognized that what truly revolutionized literacy was the introduction of paper, which stood as the most significant innovation.
“Keep in mind that patients like this one should adopt a conservative diet. They should consume smaller, more frequent meals, avoiding high-fat and high-calorie foods. Spicy or overly stimulating foods, as well as alcohol, should be avoided. Encourage them to consume more porridge.”
“Wait, what constitutes… high-fat and high-calorie foods?” Imperial Doctor Wu inquired, puzzled.
“In simple terms, it refers to fried foods, meat-rich dishes, and certain pickled items. These can lead to excessive consumption and exacerbate the condition.” Tang Yue decided not to delve into high blood pressure, as explaining its definition would prove challenging.
Apart from these dietary guidelines, Western medicine offered some medicinal treatments like aspirin enteric-coated tablets. Tang Yue didn’t mention these options for now, planning to later secure a few bottles of oxygen therapy for the patient.