C109 – Couldn’t Stop His Sad Mood
Imperial Doctor Wu advised Tang Yue, “Your ability to acquire medical skills at such a young age is commendable, but remember not to become complacent.”
“You’re absolutely right,” Tang Yue replied with a bow and a smile. “I have a request to make.”
Imperial Doctor Wu listened patiently.
“I wish to become your apprentice and learn traditional medical techniques,” Tang Yue proposed after careful consideration. In this era, Western medicine still had a long way to go, primarily in terms of technological advancements and medical expertise.
Consequently, the optimal approach in adapting to the current circumstances was to embrace Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and incorporate some knowledge of Western medicine. Combining both Eastern and Western medical practices would be most advantageous.
“…” Imperial Doctor Wu’s expression underwent a sudden transformation, rendering him speechless with shock.
He had already felt that his earlier words might have appeared overly reliant on his seniority. However, if he were to genuinely accept Tang Yue as his disciple, how would Crown Prince view him? What would the people of Ye City, as well as those in South Jin, think of him?
Would he end up tarnishing his own reputation?
“Why do you believe so? Your medical skills already surpass mine. I doubt I have anything to teach you,” Imperial Doctor Wu shook his head.
Tang Yue sat face to face with him and posed a straightforward question, “How would you recommend treating typhoid?”
“Typhoid?” Imperial Doctor Wu sat upright and responded earnestly, “Typhoid fever is a common and complex ailment. When a patient presents with symptoms like chills, headache, coughing up white phlegm, nasal congestion, and an absence of sweating, their pulse may be either tight or slow. In such cases, treatment involves frying with green onions and ginger.
But if the symptoms include fever, throat pain, coughing up yellow phlegm, a thin or yellow tongue coating, a red tongue tip, and a rapid pulse, and the patient consumes mulberry, honeysuckle, and pericardium, it may be an even more severe form of typhoid. In such cases, where the patient experiences fever without significant elevation in temperature, along with vomiting, diarrhea, headache, limb pain, and a lack of sweating, the previously mentioned prescriptions may prove ineffective.”
Tang Yue recited the symptoms, saying, “This appears to be a gastrointestinal cold or a hot summer cold, for which Cangshu, Chen Pi, Thick Park, Baizhi, Fu Ling, Large Belly Skin, Half-summer, licorice cream, patchouli oil, and purple sesame oil can be used. These ingredients are combined to create patchouli righteous water infused with dried ginger juice.”
“Indeed, a cold is another term for describing typhoid.”
“The young gentleman may be youthful, but his knowledge of medicine surpasses my lifelong learning. I’ve been studying medicine all my life, and I truly admire him,” sighed Imperial Doctor Wu.
Tang Yue blinked and swiftly turned around. “Imperial Doctor Wu, you flatter me. I have only a rudimentary understanding of medicinal formulas and can identify just a few dozen common herbs. I couldn’t recognize some of them even if they were right in front of me.”
Imperial Doctor Wu shook his head, expressing his melancholy. “I fear the young gentleman will find it amusing. It has been decades since I last heard of such herbs, but there are still countless undiscovered plants in the world.”
Tang Yue felt somewhat helpless. The world of herbs had myriad names, and over the span of a thousand years or so, the herbs remained the same, but their names might have changed several times. It was quite common not to recognize them.
“I genuinely seek your guidance. I am ignorant about acupuncture and medical inquiries,” Tang Yue admitted.
“If you are truly eager to learn, you need not formally take me as your teacher. We can mutually learn from each other,” Imperial Doctor Wu suggested, his eyes sharp.
Imperial Doctor Wu had long been intrigued by Tang Yue’s medical skills but had been hesitant to ask for guidance. Now that Tang Yue had taken the initiative to seek his advice, he felt it was not right to refuse.
Tang Yue also found this proposal favorable. After assisting Imperial Doctor Wu, he would essentially have half of the Imperial Medical Office’s affairs settled. In the future, he wouldn’t need to worry about lacking guidance whenever he had questions.
This era was vastly different from the 21st century. In this era, if you didn’t understand something, you had to figure it out yourself. There was no internet to search for answers or connect with experts. Obtaining a medical book was also a challenge.
Tang Yue glanced at the cluttered study room filled with bamboo slips and said with a smile, “I can see that you are quite occupied. How about letting me organize this room for you?”
This place might contain ancient texts that held unorthodox methods.
Imperial Doctor Wu paid no mind to Tang Yue’s ulterior motive and agreed, “Since the young gentleman is willing, it would be quite helpful.” He would be delighted if he could get the renowned doctor to tidy up his study.
With a shared understanding, the two of them finally reached a favorable agreement.
Tang Yue didn’t return home and instead stayed at Imperial Doctor Wu’s residence for the time being. On the same day, he meticulously arranged the bamboo slips in the room. His efficiency amazed the elderly doctor, who had struggled to organize the space.
While there were numerous bamboo slips, the collection didn’t consist of many books. It was primarily the sheer volume that created the clutter. Tang Yue had memorized over a dozen formulas he hadn’t encountered before and was eager to study them further upon returning home.
On the following day, Imperial Doctor Wu arrived with ten individuals of varying ages. Among them, three were seasoned physicians, while the others were apprentice alchemists who had recently delved into the study of pharmacology.
“These three gentlemen have been my companions for many years. Their medical expertise speaks for itself. Regrettably, they incurred the wrath of a noble family and were ousted from the Imperial Medical Office. If the young master doesn’t object, I would be grateful if you could accept them,” Imperial Doctor Wu disclosed openly, having previously informed Tang Yue of their contentious history.
Tang Yue perceived nothing amiss with this arrangement. Doctors inevitably found themselves at odds with certain individuals. Cases could go unsolved, diagnoses could go awry, and myriad factors could strain the doctor-patient relationship.
Tang Yue extended a respectful bow to the three physicians and addressed them, “Seniors, if you don’t mind my modest apothecary, please consider assisting me with your expertise if you’re disinclined to yield.”
“Young master, your sincerity is deeply appreciated,” the three doctors responded. They were presently without promising prospects, and having someone place trust in their medical skills was a significant boon.
Furthermore, they had heard of the young master’s remarkable accomplishments within the Tang Family. While tales of legendary physicians abounded in history, genuine recognition was a rare achievement. Many were mere products of unfounded rumors.
Yet this man before them had indeed cured the seemingly incurable ailment that had afflicted the entire Imperial Medical Office.
“We thank you for your faith in us, young master. If it becomes inconvenient for you in any way…” A slender, sun-weathered elderly doctor began to speak but hesitated.
Imperial Doctor Wu interjected, “This gentleman’s name is Chen Jiang. He specializes in… gynecology. Three years ago, he attended to a concubine of Duke Lu who faced childbirth complications. Unfortunately, he was unable to save her life, leading Duke Lu to seek his life in retaliation. Thankfully, I arrived in time and managed to save him.”
Imperial Physician Chen let out a wistful sigh and remarked, “I owe my life to your intervention, Sir Wu. It’s just that, looking back now, I made a grievous choice.”
In this era, there were very few male specialists in gynecology. Even if there were, very few would dare to engage them for consultations.
While the people of South Jin were relatively open-minded and the boundaries between men and women were not as rigid, the prospect of male gynecologists requiring patients to undress was a line few were willing to cross.
Even in modern times, many female patients felt uncomfortable consulting male gynecologists, creating a peculiar awkwardness.
Tang Yue’s eyes gleamed with enthusiasm as he clasped Imperial Physician Chen’s hand and expressed, “I never imagined that I’d encounter a gynecologist. In the future, I entrust my younger sister’s well-being to Imperial Physician Chen.”
“Young master, your praise is too generous. Moreover, I no longer hold the title of Imperial Physician. Please call me Elder Chen.”
“Haha… Alright, Elder Chen, let’s get down to discussing the reward,” Tang Yue wanted to resolve the matter promptly. It wasn’t just about him; there were also the seven apprentice alchemists who had dedicated years to their studies.
Money wasn’t an issue for Tang Yue, so he was quite generous with his offer. His salary exceeded that of Imperial Doctor Wu’s, and in addition to that, there were year-end bonuses and various perks. He even enjoyed four days of rest each month, which was undeniably a significant benefit.
Everyone was eager to sign the contracts that Tang Yue had prepared right there. Tang Yue and his associates agreed to acquaint themselves with the surroundings tomorrow. When the first batch of herbs arrived, there would be personnel to begin processing and organizing them.
At noon, Tang Yue was still contemplating whether he should prepare a meal to satisfy their appetites when unexpectedly, food was delivered to them.
Imperial Doctor Wu’s concierge brought in the food with an inscrutable expression, and upon closer observation, it was evident that he had wobbly legs.
“Which restaurant sent this food?” Imperial Doctor Wu, being advanced in years, often ordered food from outside since his children were not with him.
The gatekeeper hesitated for a long moment before stammering, “They… they said it’s from the Crown Prince’s residence.”
Tang Yue stepped forward and saw two familiar figures carrying two large food containers. He couldn’t believe his eyes.
Hehe, was this concern for his well-being or something else?
“Young sir, His Highness’s servant has delivered food for you and the Imperial Physicians. His Highness believes it’s good for you to discuss medical matters, but you must take care of your health as the wedding date approaches. Don’t let your health deteriorate. If you require anything, simply instruct this servant.”
A hush fell over everyone as they finished speaking. Then, they turned their gazes to Tang Yue, wondering, “Is this really the Crown Prince they know?”
Tang Yue felt his face flush. He was about to respond when Imperial Doctor Wu pulled him aside. “The wedding date is approaching? The young sir is getting married. I’m overjoyed!”
As he prepared to open the food containers and present a gift, an old friend whispered in his ear. The sight of Imperial Doctor Wu’s startled expression left everyone wide-eyed.
“Haha…” Tang Yue scratched his nose and addressed the group. “Let’s dig in first. The chefs in the Crown Prince’s residence are renowned for their culinary skills. Everyone, come and savor the flavors.”
There was no need for words; the enticing aroma had already wafted through the air. Moreover, the Crown Prince’s chefs were rumored to be exceptional, surpassing even the imperial chefs by several notches.
It was rumored that because of this, the Crown Prince had no choice but to send two of his chefs to the palace, ensuring that the rumors did not spread any further.
“Crown Princess… this old man is truly impolite.” Imperial Doctor Wu bowed, tears welling up in his eyes. Anxiety gnawed at his heart.
Despite Tang Yue being a man, he was also the future Crown Princess, residing and dining at his palace. It left no room for ambiguity. He couldn’t fathom what the Crown Prince might think.
When Imperial Doctor Wu arrived, he realized that he might have unwittingly put himself in a precarious situation. What the heck!
He suddenly wanted to send them away, but with everyone present, he couldn’t say a word. All he could do was join them for the meal. Regardless of how delectable the food was, it couldn’t dispel his inner unease.