Ganghyuk stayed in Ryu Sonegyong’s house. After all, there was no better house in Geoncheondong or its neighborhood. As a matter of fact, it was far better than the house that the governor lent him to use.
These were good days full of food and drink.
There was only one thing that made him uncomfortable: the groaning of Seongyong.
There was no need to look for the source of the sound.
“Your lordship, are you ok?”
“I am dying Too much pain! Are you sure that I am getting better?”
It was a war to have a pooh every day after the operation. It was natural because he had cut all hemorrhoids to remove them. Hence, the patient complained of pain every day.
Ganghyuk did not even want to remember the day he first had bloody stool.
“How dare you contempt my lord!”
Ganghyuk might have been killed if Sunshin had not stopped them. Even now, some servants still did not trust Ganghyuk, constantly observing him with hawk eyes.
“Yes, you are getting better. You feel much better than yesterday, right?
“Yes, that is true.”
Fortunately, he got better quickly. Whenever Ganghyuk examined the lesion, he felt satisfied with the progress. Even if a proctological surgeon came to Joseon, he would not do better than Ganghyuk.
“Well, please take a sitz bath”
“Ah” Seongyong followed the instruction, and the sitz bath was very effective. He thought that his treatment was something more beyond the normal therapy of doctors.
“Do you feel good?”
“Yes, the blood amount is reduced indeed.” Seongyong murmured while watching the blood in the basin.
At first, as soon as he put his in buttocks, the water in the basin changed into red. But now, it took some time to change color.
“Well, show it to me.”
“Yes, thank you.”
It was very shameful for a Confucian scholar to give his buttocks to somebody else every day. But, he was accustomed to it, and was grateful for Ganghyuk, as the latter took care of it very well.
“It is good!”
“Is it? Thank you!”
“I will apply some ointment.”
When Ganghyuk gave a signal, Dolseok ran to him, holding a small porcelain bottle on the tray. Meanwhile, Ganghyuk wore gloves; he did not want to touch an anus with bare hands.
“Here you are.”
“Good! Do we have enough?”
“Yes, sir. We have more than ten bottles.”
Ganghyuk had used the bandits in many different ways. At that moment, they made medicine in the house that the governor let him use. Most of them were well-known prescriptions for longer use, such as the one that Ganghyuk held in the hand.
‘It is called Jawungo, they say.’
They boiled Lithospermi radix and angelica for a long time to make an extract. It took a long time to get the extract, but the effect was very good. It had an especially excellent effect in moisturization, so Ganghyuk applied it as a lotion.
‘If I had a steroidal ointment, it would help me a lot.’ But, there was no way to get it in this world. Like the situation of ‘gum instead of teeth’, he was very thankful for what he had anyway.
“It is going to be a little bit cold.”
“Oh! Alright, no problem!”
“As it works better when it is cold, please endure it.”
Ganghyuk applied the Jawungo at the anus of Seongyong. The sutured parts were already closed, so there was little risk of infection. However, he gave some antibiotics nevertheless.
Although he cleansed in the sitz bath, it was right after the secretion, so the odor was still there. To make matters worse, there was no soap either.
Ganghyuk took off gloves as quickly as possible, as finishing was Dolseok’s responsibility.
“Ah, you took them off like this again.”
“Take care of them.”
“Yes! Can I burn them?”
They would disappear tomorrow even if he left them there. If the things from his bag were not attached to a human body, they would disappear no matter what.
‘Where on earth can I use them again?’ Although he was a famous and great man, where could he use the gloves that touched someone’s anus?
“Burn them. Empty the basin, too.”
“Yes. The red color has become quite weak now.”
While they whispered, Seongyong wore the trousers. Ganghyuk had custom made the trousers, so he could see his buttocks through them.
“Now, it is time to take medicine.”
“Yes Your medicine has little taste, but the effects are good!”
“Glad to hear that!”
Having informed him of that, Ganghyuk gave him antibiotics, painkillers, anti-inflammatory, and antacid. Seongyong took the medicine and asked Ganghyuk. “When can I go back to work?”
“It will take another ten days.”
“Gosh! I have not been in the palace for a while.”
“I think the King might understand. I heard that you could not move for a month and a half the last time when you were collapsed in the palace.”
‘It is possible, I guess.’ Staying in the bed for more than a month was truly unbelievable. He reckoned that Seongyong might have had a hernia which did not go back properly. He was sure that the latter had not been treated properly.
“I had thought I would be dead at that time.”
In fact, he even wrote a letter that he would resign. If he had resigned, Lee Sunshin could not have had such a big achievement.
It was not an exaggeration that the fate of Joseon depended on hemorrhoids here.
“From now on, you will not have such incident again.”
“I hope so.”
“Ah, here comes our breakfast.” Seongyong pointed at the maid who brought the table with a pained expression.
When one ate, he had to excrete feces as well. Hence, he felt that he was eating pain. Additionally, the side dishes were poor.
“It’s all vegetables” The maid bowed down in the face of Seongyong’s complaint, unable to give any excuses.
“Scholar Baik told me to do so, sir.”
“I see. I heard that it would be good for me. You can go.”
Seongyong did not start eating for some time while watching the table.
“Well, I had not thought that I wanted meat. But, it is really hard to eat food without meat for days.”
“You should be patient. If you eat meat, you will have more pain when you excrete.”
Hemorrhoids occurred mostly because of constipation. Although, the hygiene took a great part of the reason in Joseon., But the importance of diet couldn’t be emphasized enough.
‘More fiber, better health.’
Of course, doctors did not always follow the principle.
“The food is good.”
“I know.” His face was full of complaints. Ganghyuk’s table was full of good side dishes, unlike Seongyong’s: chicken, oyster and octopus
“I am sorry, sir.”
“You told me that my table would be good for health, so why do you eat like that?”
“I have been taking a sitz bath for my life, so I am ok. You can have these a while later.”
“I hope so.”
And soon, Seongyong’s wish was realized. After the ten days that Ganghyuk had promised, he could have a good laugh.
He did not lose the smile even during the bowel movement. It was not because he was crazy. After all, the pain that had tortured him for many decades had disappeared completely.
The mayor of Anseong was changed after the operation. Seongyong was great even when he was sick. Therefore, after the recovery, he had become a saint.
After the sitz bath, he felt even better. To soak it in the warm water made him feel good. If one did it once, one might understand his feeling as well.
“Yes, your lordship?”
“I don’t know if it is accurate or an exaggeration…” Seongyong looked at the moon in the sky for a while and continued, deep remorse visible in his eyes, “I feel reborn.”
“Haha…I am honored.”
“Thank you very much! I had never thought that I could live like this without pain.”
“Please eat good things and keep taking a sitz bath.”
“I will. I will follow your instructions. But, can I drink some tomorrow?”
Tomorrow was the day when Sunshin would leave for Hamgyeongdo. Ganghyuk was not a cold guy to turn the request down.
‘I will let him have more sitz bath after it.’
He did not want to interfere with the farewell meeting of two great men, so he nodded his head. “Of course.”
“Oh, that is good to hear!”
“To compensate, you must eat vegetables.”
The news that Seongyong was recovered was spread among the servants.
HemorrhoidsThat was the disease that tortured their master for a long time. No medicine worked, and no doctor could cure it. They remembered the full history.
“He is a divine doctor.”
“As he came from Suwon, we thought he was a second-grade doctor. But, he was clearly not.”
“Did you see our master’s face these days? He’s always smiling.”
“Yes, you are right.”
Even though the news was spread among the servants first, it did not stop there. Lots of people paid a visit to Seongyong’s house, as he was a powerful man in the government. People from Dongin, the Eastern party, such as Kim Yungil, Kim Seongil, and Lee Sanghae visited his house quite frequently.
Besides, some people who belonged to different parties visited him quite often as well; such as Jeong Cheol, who was the Chief of Seoin, the Western party.
Younger generation scholars such as Lee Hangbok and Lee Deokhyeong visited him frequently too. They did not come alone, bringing their servants as well.
“Yes, right. You had heard that our master had been suffering for a long time, right?”
“The doctor treated it completely.”
“Really? Heo How come?”
There were not many things to entertain oneself with at that time. So, whenever they gathered, they spent time telling stories. Their stories were then delivered to their masters, making most of them curious.
“Really, did he cure the lord’s disease? It is interesting!”
However, there were some who were really interested in.
“I will visit him someday.”
“Is his name Baik Ganghyuk?”
It was mostly the people who had a disease themselves developing an interest in him. Among them was an unexpected man who showed great interest in Ganghyuk.
“There is such an excellent doctor in Joseon! Good! I will see him for sure.”
He was Lee Hangbok, who worked as Yeojojeongrang, and was a Grade 5 official. He had married the daughter of General Gwon Yul, and it was known that he lived in conjugal harmony.
However, he had some complaints. His wife resembled the general, so she was not a beauty.
Lee Hangbok himself was selected as one of Three Handsome Guys in Hanyang, along with Lee Deokhyeong and Ryu Seongyong. So, he was not satisfied with his wife’s appearance.
“Can he change the face?” He had a shocking question at that time; his prankful personality played a role as well.
Hangbok asked again to the servant who had responded back with embarrassment.
“He is fully recovered now, so I have to pay a visit.”
“Eo Yes. He will have a drink with Lee Sunshin.”
“Good. I will visit him tomorrow, as I have a good drink to share.”
“Ah, I see. I will let them know, sir.”