Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
There was a sea of people in the demonstration room of the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center, and it was overcrowded.
More than thirty permanent doctors in the center, more than ten doctors receiving in-service training, more than ten interns, and a considerable number of nurses as well as office clerks not only filled the seats, but blocked the aisles until the back of the room. There were even some people who stood on the tables later on.
Everyone was really curious.
They were not curious about the surgery itself, but curious about the patient who was about to undergo the surgery.
Liu Weichen was considered the biggest star athlete the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center had received ever since its establishment. Of course, Academician Zhu Tongyi was involved in the operations of patients with even greater fame when he was younger, but after he became an academician, there were instead fewer opportunities for him to operate on important people.
That was especially the case for domestic star athletes. Since the millennium, more and more people had gone to medical institutions overseas to receive treatment. It was fair to say that the wave of globalization affected hospitals and associated medical communities alike.
Basic medical care, which was not profitable, was taken over by imported drugs. However, in the most profitable medical service industries, competition came from everywhere like Japan, the United States, South Korea, and even Hong Kong. The competition was between world-renowned specialists and well-known doctors in China; the head of [New England Journal of Medicine] against the head of journals in China; the names on the textbooks of Johns Hopkins University against the editors of the textbooks from the Chinese Ministry of Education; and the Great Devil that was Mayo Clinic School of Medicine looking down at the little magic fairy that was Beijing Jishuitan Hospital…
The market in sports medicine was particularly competitive.
Top athletes were far and few to begin with, plus they had a plethora of choices available in terms of medical treatment. When they were injured, only the few elite of the elite among the medical institutions and doctors could fight for a spot to treat the athletes.
Liu Weichen would not have received his treatment after so long if his injury had not been so serious, and his requirements had not been so high.
In fact, Achilles tendon ruptures in the world of sports were known as an athlete’s career terminator. It was an athlete’s “Achilles’ heel.”
It was not terrible for ordinary people to suffer from Achilles tendon ruptures. One could get a slightly better postoperative result if he either chose to receive a minimally invasive procedure or an open surgery. If a person wore high-heels a few months after surgery, that person would just need to pay attention to her actions and activities before complete recovery. At most, she could no longer participate in badminton, basketball, and other sports that required more running or jumping.
However, if athletes could not run and jump, if they could not perform an emergency stop, and if they could not do a quick jump, how could they compete?
Actually, in terms of restorative treatment, the development of modern sports medicine was enough to deal with Achilles tendon ruptures. The more famous Achilles tendon rupture patients such as Kobe, Beckham, and Serena Williams could not only run and jump after surgery, but they also had no signs of chronic Achilles tendon ruptures.
However, most athletes could not return to their previous level once they suffered from Achilles tendon ruptures. People such as Kobe, Beckham, Billups, Baby-faced Assassin Thomas, and others basically announced their retirement a few years after they suffered from an Achilles tendon rupture.
Although Kobe, Beckham, and the others still played at a professional athletes at the time of their retirement and still possessed skills that surpassed most of people in the world, in the end, the super-high requirements of competitive sports did not allow even the slightest bit of skill regression in its participants. Therefore, extremely high demands were placed on sports medicine, and athletes demanded near-miraculous feats.
However, there were indeed athletes who had achieved miraculous recovery. For example, after Williams’ Achilles tendon rupture in 2010, she continued to rule in women’s tennis. Earlier, NBA star Wilkins once again gave an outstanding performance on the court nine months after he received Achilles tendon repair.
Such miracles gave birth to hope.
What Liu Weichen wanted was the same hope.
He already ranked first in the world of track and field in China. If he continued to fight, while he might not win an Olympic medal, it was still possible for him to make a comeback in the IAAF Golden League.
That was also his minimum requirement. If one could not meet such a requirement, what point was there to continue running with the risk of chronic Achilles tendon rupture?
Even the advertisers and fans expected a certain level of performance from the athletes.
Liu Weichen knew this well. Everyone may have been shouting “being healthy is the most important thing” to him, but if he could not reach the crowd’s minimum expectation after his recovery, his popularity would decline instantly. Once that happened two or three times continuously, it would turn into what Cao Gui said, “When the drums first beat, the spirit is excited. A second advance occasions a diminution of the spirit, and with a third, it is exhausted.” It would not take long for him to be replaced by other star athletes who had more exposure, were more attractive, and produced better results.
If he could not be among the top three in the world, he should at least rank first in China.
All of China’s star athletes believed in a similar logic, and they had the same requirements placed on their shoulders.
Liu Weichen changed his clothes and lay on the operating bed. He had a hoop on his arm. His whole body was cold, and there was a gloomy expression on his face.
His gaze was fixed on the floor of the operating room. It was blue as per what he saw on the screen.
Meanwhile, two nurses were chatting and laughing. They talked about his calves as well as his muscles, and asked Liu Weichen a few questions. He chose the shortest questions and answered. He did not want to talk.
Normally though, Liu Weichen was actually good in holding conversations. He was often able to joke with reporters, and when he was on television, he was also called a man with a sense of humor. Advertisers had an exceptional liking towards Liu Weichen. Often because of one joke from him, they would accommodate Liu Weichen’s ideas when they came up with the advertisements. Needless to say, when he was with his teammates, every time he traveled in the bus with them, Liu Weichen would not act all bossy, but always start the conversation with a joke…
Perhaps the cold operating table froze his enthusiasm.
Liu Weichen suddenly missed his parents a lot.
Right then, his father was in his hometown, raising the child of his older brother who was a civil servant. His mother was likely on the way home to help with laundry.
Liu Weichen suddenly felt a little regretful. Maybe he should have waited for his mother to come back, chat with her, then decide to do the operation. It would have perhaps soothed his anxiety. However, his mother would probably burst into tears again. Maybe his mother would cry for the exact number of hours he received surgery. She may even call his older brother.
He should have looked for a girlfriend, a girlfriend who could take care of him, unlike the previous one who only indulged in sex with him so that he would buy her handbags.
When he thought of this, Liu Weichen began to feel that Ling Ran was not compassionate or warm. He was unlike Doctor Qu, who was good in getting along with people. He was able to take necessary measures before and after surgery, such as comfort his mother and also reassure Liu Weichen. He was just lacking in standards when it came to performing surgeries, and he did not have any specialties…
“Have you identified the patient?” The operating theater door opened and Ling Ran’s voice traveled into his ears.
“I’ve confirmed it with my own eyes. It is Liu Weichen.” The young nurse looked very lively.
Liu Weichen thought that the joke was good, but he did not want to laugh. He just raised his head, wanting to say hello to Ling Ran.
“Begin anesthesia,” Ling Ran’s voice was unprecedentedly calm.
Liu Weichen was stunned for a bit before he heard the footsteps of the anesthetist, and shortly after, he heard the anesthetist say, “Dalang, time to get up and take your medication …”
Liu Weichen cursed and raised his head. After a few seconds, he lost consciousness.
It was unclear whether the two young nurses found the mention of “Dalang” funny or they were humored by Liu Weichen’s sudden curse. They all giggled and smiled until Academician Zhu Tongyi entered. Only then did they stop laughing. They were still grinning, though.
“Is everyone ready?” Academician Zhu Tongyi was in his scrubs, and he had his arms folded across his chest. He gave the position of chief surgeon to Ling Ran and stood by the side. He was there to guide the surgery… No, that was merely something written on paper. He was really just there to supervise the surgery.
Ji Tianlu and Lu Wenbin stood to the left and right of the operating theater as Ling Ran’s first and second assistants, as usual. If anyone judged the current situation based on the internal environment of the research institute, one could say that Academician Zhu Tongyi pretty much abandoned the system that allowed them to run the institute based on its members’ qualifications and hierarchical relationships, and he did it perfectly.
After making a few confirmations with a few people, Ling Ran said, “We’re ready.”
“Well, you’re all familiar with the surgery plan. The key now is to choose the right path, reduce the damage to the nerves and other muscle tissues, then strengthen the suture as much as possible…” Academician Zhu Tongyi emphasized once again. He mentioned each requirement as if it was a very simple task, but in truth, every requirement was extremely difficult to achieve.
Ling Ran nodded silently. He did his best every time he performed an operation, but if he wanted to perform a surgery beyond perfection like the one before him, which they intentionally chose, it would require them to spend a lot of money on consumables as well as equipment, and they would also inevitably require a stroke of luck.
Fortunately, Liu Weichen was rich, and the medical instruments and equipment in the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center were good enough to provide sufficient technical support.
Nevertheless, external aid could only do so much. Once he made the incision, Ling Ran would have to operate on Liu Weichen based on a plan that sought for greater perfection.
“Let’s start.” Academician Zhu Tongyi waited for two minutes. Once he saw that everyone had calmed down, he gave further orders.
Ling Ran made an S-shaped incision on the back of the calf; it was 0.55 inches long.
Academician Zhu Tongyi’s eyes flew wide open. He almost cried out.
Ji Tianlu coughed hard and thought, ‘What do you think this is? The start of a race?’
Only Lu Wenbin was calm. He had a look that said everything was under control.