Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“Dalang, wake up and take your medication.
“Dalang, time for medication.
“Dalang, eat some medication.
As night came, the anesthetist grew increasingly lazy to talk. He did not even have the energy to tease the patients and young nurses.
When the next patient entered the operating theater, the anesthetist only matched the patient’s name and gender to the name list before he gavaged the medication down the patient’s throat. Lu Wenbin could not stand it, and in the end, he whispered, “Excuse me, how many anesthetists are there in our center?”
“There are only two left for now.” The anesthetist’s mind suddenly became clearer. He widened his eyes and stared at Lu Wenbin before he asked, “What now? Are you looking down on me?”
“Of course not. How could I?” Lu Wenbin was shocked before he said in a low voice, “I’m just worried that you’ll be too tired.”
“There are a total of five anesthetists in our center. Two of them are women, and both are pregnant now. Another anesthetist is pursuing advanced studies overseas, so there are only two left. I’m the one on shift tonight, so who do you think can exchange shifts with me?” The anesthetist raised his head and laughed. He then said, “Do you think that there are as many doctors in the Department of Anesthesiology as the Surgery Department? If you think you’re capable, you can find me another anesthetist. I’ll definitely thank you and make you happy with three bowls of medication. If you aren’t happy by then, I’ll enter your family registry.”
There was a strong wave of resentment coming from the anesthetist, and Lu Wenbin could sense it even though they were separated by the operating table. He dared not speak anymore, and just asked for help from the nurses next to him.
The young nurses also did not want to make the anesthetist, who had not slept for thirty hours, angry. So, they just lowered their heads and pretended like they did not see anything.
Ling Ran calculated the time. It had been almost ten hours since he drank an Energy Serum in the afternoon. If he performed another surgery, then the total time he worked would make it so that he will have been on the effects of the Energy Serum for ten hours. Even though it was a slight waste, the surgery could not continue if the anesthetist was not able to persist any longer.
“Let’s take a rest after we finish this surgery, shall we?” Ling Ran pouted. He did not expect the anesthetist to first serve as an obstacle before the hospital beds and rehabilitation rooms in the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center were full.
The anesthetist tried very hard to open his eyes and observe the monitor. He then said, “No need. I just have to take a short nap. Help me take a look at the monitor for the time being. It functions automatically. Call me if it starts to blare warning signs.”
Anesthetists always moved around operating theaters. They did not have to observe the monitors all the time. But naturally, according to strict surgical rules, they needed to observe the monitors throughout a surgery. However, the doctors would not make themselves suffer when they could make things easy for themselves.
Ling Ran thought for a while and said, “Give me another twenty minutes, and I’ll probably finish the surgery by then.”
“Even if you don’t perform surgeries, I still have to be on shift duty,” said the anesthetist.
“But you can still take a nap.” When there was no surgery, anesthetists could just go and get some rest. They did not have to stay in the operating theater to feed medication to all the Dalangs around.
The anesthetist pondered over it for a while, his train of thought moving slowly. Soon after, he said, “Let me wash my face first.”
Ling Ran nodded while he watched the anesthetist step out of the operating theater slowly. His speed was just like that of a sloth.
The opening and closing of the airtight access door were heard. It sounded just like a fart but interrupted.
Lu Wenbin was worried and said, “If he keeps on working overtime like this, he might die of a heart attack.”
“Isn’t it pretty normal for anesthetists to suddenly die?” The nurses near the operating table were slightly free. They hid from the camera and went to a hidden corner in the operating theater, away from the windows of the airtight access door. Then, they played with their phones at the corner and commented on the anesthetist callously.
The young Lu Wenbin sighed and said, “He initially seemed quite happy feeding all the ‘Dalangs’ medication every day.”
“Don’t you know how Dalang ended up after he ate the medication in Water Margin?” the nurses near the operating table laughed and said, “Forget the anesthetist for now. Just look at yourself and at Doctor Ling. You’re the ones who are making others worried. Aren’t you afraid of dying from heart attacks?”
“I usually sleep for seven hours. I’m fine,” Lu Wenbin said while he looked at Ling Ran.
Ling Ran answered without raising his head, “I’m okay… Oh, is there no other anesthetist in the research institute?”
“We’ve already exceeded our quota with five. We only brought up our number of anesthetists to five when Academician Zhu wanted to start performing hip joint replacements,” the nurse said and laughed, “Who would’ve thought that they would launch the two-child policy?”
“Yun Hua has also launched the two-child policy.” Lu Wenbin pursed his lips.
Small but excellent specialist hospitals always had such a problem. A large-scale general hospital like Yun Hua Hospital, which owned three thousand hospital beds and was directly controlled by the provincial government, had about eighty anesthetists. Even when some of the anesthetists applied for leave or went for in-service training, and some female anesthetists became pregnant, the hospital’s operations would not come to a standstill.
However, it spelled trouble for the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center if many of their staff took leave at the same time. The center contained less than forty authorized personnel, and they would reach the limit of the number of people they could hire if they brought in a few more postgraduate students and interns. In fact, their capability of attracting interns to join their ranks was incomparable to general hospitals.
In short, specialist hospitals found it much harder to survive than general hospitals in current China.
If there was a surgery maniac like Ling Ran in a general hospital, the leaders of the hospital would probably do everything to keep him around. An example of this was how Yun Hua Hospital’s Emergency Department decided to increase the salary of every member among them to keep their staff and Ling Ran happy. However, a surgery maniac would make the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center almost collapse.
“Forceps. Pull it wider, Okay… Stop the bleeding…” Ling Ran took out the patient’s Achilles tendon and sutured it. After he finished the most crucial step, Ling Ran raised his head and said, “Rest for a few hours. We’ll continue tomorrow.”
Lu Wenbin looked up and asked, “How many hours?”
“Four hours, hmm… Five hours. A new anesthetist will come in tomorrow at nine o’clock in the morning.” Ling Ran had already thought things through. Anesthetists who worked night shifts were already tired enough to begin with. It would not be ethical if he continued to perform surgeries like that. However, the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center had to perform surgeries during the day. At that time, the operating theaters could just share one anesthetist.
Of course, they were not to waste their night away either. Ling Ran calculated the time and said, “We’ll start tomorrow morning, and we’ll perform surgeries until midnight. Then, we’ll take a nine-hour rest at night. That should be quite sufficient, right?”
“Totally enough.” Lu Wenbin nodded without any hesitation. Those working hours were much better than the ones in Yun Hua Hospital. Also, it was less stressful for a first assistant to perform the Achilles tendon repair technique compared with finger replantation. There was also another resident doctor to take his place. If he continued like that, even though his workload would still be comparable to a senior resident doctor’s load in a busy department, he would still have an easier time than unlucky resident doctors.
From Ling Ran’s perspective, if he rested for nine hours a day, he could even save up on his Energy Serums. Although he did not really have a full workload, he still felt more satisfied than when he was in Yun Hua Hospital, where there were no beds for him to fill patients.
“Dalang is sleeping very soundly.” The anesthetist came back after he washed his face. He looked at the figures on the monitor and felt slightly more energetic.
Ling Ran nodded and let Lu Wenbin tell the anesthetist about his newly-made decision.
The anesthetist nodded and did not respond much. With or without Ling Ran, he would still need to stay up. The recruitment for staff in public hospitals went very slowly, especially when a colleague decided to pursue advanced studies or when a female colleague became pregnant. They were still considered authorized personnel, so it was impossible for the hospital to recruit a new anesthetist. If there were only two anesthetists who took turns in their shifts, neither would feel better than the other.
Ling Ran utilized twenty minutes to complete an Achilles tendon repair surgery, and the results were excellent.
The few of them worked together and cleaned up the mess. Then, they clocked off.
Ling Ran and Lu Wenbin came to work at eight o’clock the next day. They started the surgery at nine o’clock sharp and ended at midnight. This cycle continued non-stop, and they performed around ten surgeries every day.
Ji Tianlu started to figure out the trick to recruiting more patients with Achilles tendon ruptures, and the number increased day by day. He even learned how to switch the patients up. From time to time, he could get some patients with flexor tendon ruptures, severed fingers or severed toes, which made Ling Ran delighted.
Yun Hua Hospital’s Hand Surgery Department was the most famous hand surgery department in its region. Not only did the department receive millions of injured industrial workers who worked in Yun Hua, but they also received patients from other places. Therefore, if Ling Ran could perform finger replantations well, he would be able to get more patients with severed fingers.
The Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center were not in such a condition for Ling Ran to receive patients nonstop. Forget the patients from nearby counties and cities, even the local people from Shanghai may not necessarily come to them. Hence, if they could not receive patients with severed fingers, they would receive patients with severed toes. Although it was easier to replant a toe, it was still a valuable experience.
A few days later, when Zhu Tongyi came back from the capital, even Ji Tianlu found himself unable to hold back his complaints any longer.
“If you had taken any longer to come back, the research institute would have collapsed.” Ji Tianlu’s face was all wrinkled up when he saw Zhu Tongyi because he had to make too many phone calls.
Zhu Tongyi laughed. “Did you suffer a lot?”
“We added forty beds.” Ji Tianlu stared at the sky. “Can you believe it?”
Zhu Tongyi’s eyebrows rose upwards when he heard that.”The other doctors—”
“The other doctors are all normal people.” Ji Tianlu smiled bitterly. “If we don’t give him surgeries, he will leave immediately. But when we give him patients, he completes them very quickly.”
Ji Tianlu did indeed have a lot of words to say, but they were not all complaints. After all, Ling Ran performed the surgeries on behalf of the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center. Hence, the surgical fees from the patients and the reputation gained from the surgeries performed would also belong to the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center.
As a result, although Ji Tianlu was irritated, he still found enough medical cases for Ling Ran.
However, the main problem was the fact that Ling Ran performed way too many surgeries. He had already performed around one hundred surgeries, but none of the patients had been discharged. If Liu Weichen had not been discharged yet, then the other patients who received surgeries later would naturally not be discharged as well.
“I convinced four athletes this time. Get Ling Ran to carry out some of the preparations, then he won’t have time for other things. That shouldn’t be a problem, right?” Zhu Tongyi was not omnipotent either, so he did not carry any hope in convincing Ling Ran to stay.
Ji Tianlu sighed and agreed. “Ling Ran won’t be opposed to performing surgeries. Do we use plan A for the Achilles tendon repair?”
“Of course.” When Zhu Tongyi talked about this, both his eyes shone. At that moment, he could not help but say, “Make a phone call to Ling Ran now and ask him how long he’ll need to prepare. I’ll try to arrange for the patients to come as soon as possible.”
“All right, I’ll rearrange the time for the other patients’ admission as well,” Ji Tianlu said and picked up his phone.
Within half a minute, Ji Tianlu frowned and put his phone away.
“What did he say?” Zhu Tongyi was curious about Ji Tianlu’s expression.
“He says tonight,” Ji Tianlu said.
“Then we’ll do it tonight. Will a restaurant owner fear a glutton now?” Zhu Tongyi laughed.
That night, He Xiufang followed her coach to the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center. They were the first among the four athletes to reach the place.
He Xiufang was a discus thrower from the Beijing team. She was 5.74 feet tall and weighed 88 pounds. Her hands were rough and her arms were muscular. She never used a wheelchair before, and now, even when she had to use it, she never got into and off the wheelchair with her legs. She could just get into the wheelchair with her arms, and she did the same when she got off.
When Ling Ran saw her, He Xiufang had finished the full set of check-ups, and there was a lot of food in front of her.
“Oh my! You need to perform surgery later. You can’t eat anything now.” Lu Wenbin had followed Ling Ran for a ward round. When he saw that, he became nervous.
“I didn’t eat. My coach did.” He Xiufang wore an innocent look, and she said, “I just smelled it.”
Her coach looked like a man in his forties. He coughed in slight embarrassment and said, “I was planning to eat outside, but Young He was really hungry, and she insisted that she watch me eat.”
He Xiufang said, “I’ve suffered from starvation since I was young, so I’m afraid of starvation.”
When Lu Wenbin noticed that the time she spent staring at the chicken chop was longer than the time she spent staring at Ling Ran, he instinctively believed her words.
“All right. Fortunately, you didn’t eat it.” Lu Wenbin breathed a sigh of relief and quickly proceeded with introductions. “Later, Academician Zhu Tongyi, whom you’ve previously met, will join your surgery. He’s currently making preparations. The chief surgeon is Doctor Ling Ran. The first assistant is Chief Physician Ji Tianlu, and I’ll be the second assistant. I’m Lu Wenbin.”
He Xiufang glanced at them one by one, and she chose to focus on Ji Tianlu’s face in the end since he was the oldest and looked like the person-in-charge the most. She then asked, “Excuse me, doctor, when I was in Beijing, Academician Zhu told me that we don’t have to spend any money on the surgery in your hospital, right?”
“Huh? Um…” Ji Tianlu hesitated for a few seconds before he said, “If Academician Zhu really said that, then that’s the deal.”
He Xiufang was relieved, and she said, “That’s great. In that case, could you check my other injuries as well?”
“Where are the other injuries?”
“I feel discomfort in my cervical vertebrae all the time. The doctor says it’s cervical spondylosis…”
“Let me massage your neck for you.” Ling Ran took out the alcohol-based hand sanitizer that he carried all the time. He then spread the sanitizer on his hands and used a clean towel in the room to get it on He Xiufang’s neck.
As a person who had massaged more than one thousand people, Ling Ran immediately identified He Xiufang’s unique features when he started to massage her.
First, her neck was thick. Second, she was muscular.
Ling Ran was curious. “Do you need to train your neck as well for discus throwing?”
“I just train it for fun. Ah… Yes, that’s the spot…”
Three minutes later, He Xiufang looked at Ling Ran as if she was looking at God. She could not help but sincerely say, “Doctor Ling, you must treat my Achilles tendon.”
“I need to get ready for the national games next year.”
“If I can’t get any medals, I’ll have to quit.” He Xiufang turned around swiftly and used her strong gaze to stare at Ling Ran. “I started to practice discus throwing when I was thirteen. I haven’t even won any medals in any national competitions, and I have to retire… I don’t want to retire. I don’t want to go back to my hometown… I’m an old woman now and can no longer get married. I even eat a lot, especially meat…” she said, her voice trembling.
The female athlete who weighed 88 pounds instantly broke down, and all the men in the room were completely at a loss.
The coach put away the chicken chop slowly. Then, he lowered his head and said, “At her age, unless Young He wins a national medal, she will have to quit the team. Um… Please don’t feel too burdened by this matter. As long as you make the surgery a success, we’ll start practicing when we get back…”
The last few words were for He Xiufang.
Yet, He Xiufang just went on crying, and her face was covered in tears. She wiped off the tears, smearing her face before loudly saying, “Rehabilitation will take eight months. Even after I recover, I still can’t use too much strength. It’ll take me more than a year to recover. How can I train? Why don’t I just quit the team earlier to save the team some money…”
“What nonsense are you talking about? If you leave the team and go back home, are you going to farm the land while you rehabilitate? Or do you want to be a cripple for the rest of your life?”
“It’s fine if I become a cripple, I-I’ll just chop off this leg so that I can participate in the paralympic games.”
“Any more nonsense from you, and I’m going to call your dad,” the coach said sternly.
“Please don’t…” He Xiufang instantly became quiet.
“Using our plan, you may only need four months to recover. There will still be a chance for you to participate in the National Games.” Ling Ran raised his chin and said, “Your Achilles tendon isn’t completely ruptured, and the damage isn’t very serious. Rest well first. If there aren’t any problems, we’ll perform your surgery the next morning.”