Great Doctor Ling Ran Chapter 278


278 Chicken Broth Jelly


He Xiufang's coach and teammates were not the only ones who went to Shanghai along with her. Her father, He Zhong, was also present.

He Zhong was an honest farmer. He was anxious, solemn, profound, concerned, and stubborn at the same time. 

Even though he arrived in Shanghai the same day as He Xiufang, he had departed from his house a day before her.

He Xiufang was immediately teary-eyed when she saw her father standing at the exit of the station with a nylon bag, smoking restlessly.

She last saw her father when she was recuperating in the team, and back then, her fate was hanging by a thread.

Meeting him again this time, she was already a medalist of a national competition. Even though it was only a bronze medal and a national track and field championship, the fact that she got to stay in the team meant that her biggest crisis had already been averted.

However, it felt as if her father had always remained the same ever since she was young.

"Why did you take the green train again? [1] Didn't I buy you a bullet train ticket?" He Xiufang felt that she was the epitome of a country bumpkin in her team. However, when she stood next to her father, she realized that she was already a far cry away from being a country bumpkin. 

He Zhong mumbled in their native dialect, "It's a few times more expensive than the green train. I returned the ticket and got a refund."

"It only takes a few hours to reach Shanghai by bullet train. Even our neighbors take the bullet train when they go to work in the city…" He Xiufang also started to speak in their native dialect a little without realizing.

He Zhong said scornfully, "They can take the bullet train if they want to. I don't want to."

"Uncle He." The coach only went forward to shake his hand at that moment. The coach was around ten years younger than He Zhong and often spoke on the phone with him.

When He Zhong saw the coach, he flashed an honest and good-natured smile again. "Sorry to trouble you once more…"

"Don't mention it…"

He Zhong held the coach's hand tightly and said, "If my daughter hadn't gotten a medal this time, I would've been too embarrassed to even come and see you. You've wasted quite a few years just to train her, and she didn't deliver any results at all. She did nothing but waste the country's money."

The coach did not know how to respond. He Xiufang took off her bronze medal from her neck and passed it to her father. "Dad, take a look at my medal."

"Good! Good!" He Zhong held the medal with one hand and ran his fingers over it. But then he adjusted the straps of his nylon bag and said, "Let's make a move first. I'm carrying something. I'll look at the medal later once I've settled down in the hotel."

"Dad, you said that you wanted a kitchen, right? So I rented a house for you…" He Xiufang paused for a moment and quickly added, "It's not too expensive. I rented a cheap place. Nowadays, they call it short-term rental."


"As long as it has a kitchen." He Zhong did not scold anyone this time.

He Xiufang froze for a moment and said, "There's a kitchen. The place has cooking utensils too."

"You can rent it for as many days as possible, right?"

"You can stay as long as you want to." As a member of the track and field team, He Xiufang received a monthly salary. It was not a lot, but she did not usually spend much because her meals and accommodation were taken care of by the team. Hence, she had some savings. Even though she would be reluctant to rent a house for herself in Shanghai, she was very willing to rent a house for her father. 

He Zhong nodded. "All right then, let's hurry up and go over."

It was only after they took the bus to the short-term rental home that He Xiufang got to know why her father wanted a house with a kitchen in it and why he was in a hurry to come over. 

He Zhong's nylon bag was filled with wild vegetables.

"Dad, why did you bring so much shepherd's purse… You could have bought less." As He Xiufang grabbed a bunch of vegetables, she felt a surge of warmth in her heart. Because they could not afford proper vegetables when she was young, they often ate shepherd's purse and other wild vegetables.

He Zhong snorted and said, "I didn't bring them for you. I brought them for your leaders and coach. I'll also give some to the doctors. You can just take a few bites. Come on, let's go and buy a chicken."

"Are you making chicken broth jelly?" He Xiufang immediately knew what her father was planning the moment she heard that.

At home, chicken broth jelly was considered a very scrumptious dish. It was made by grinding shepherd's purse into powder and mixing it with flour. The mixture was cooked until it became a paste before it was chilled. It would then be cut into small pieces, over which chicken broth would be poured over.

Even though it sounded like a specialty snack, if you thought about it carefully, it would just be an upgraded version of Fan Zhongyan's [2] solid porridge with salted vegetables [3], with the salted vegetables being replaced by wild vegetables.

However, it was a relatively new thing to add chicken broth into the dish.

"Dad, people don't really eat that anymore," He Xiufang said, sounding a little troubled.

"It's other people's business if they want to eat it or not, but it's up to us whether we want to make it." He Zhong waved his hand and began to busy himself. He only secretly glanced at He Xiufang's ankle when she walked out the door.

"He Xiufang's Achilles tendon is in pretty good condition. We only allowed her to participate in the competition because our team's doctor said that it has completely recovered." The coach knew He Zhong well and took the trouble to explain the situation to him.

He Zhong was reluctant to admit it though. He snorted a few times and said, "Everyone who has participated in the revolution knows that those with even the slightest injury shouldn't participate in battles. My daughter's just finicky."

The coach could only chuckle apologetically. He could not tell He Zhong the hardships that 176-pound He Xiufang had to endure throughout the recuperation process and how difficult it was for her to start practicing again over the last few months.

The next day...

He Xiufang and the others headed to the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center for an examination.

He Xiufang was specifically asked to undergo a series of follow-up examinations.

The leaders of the track and field team watched the scene happily with relieved expressions on their faces. Nowadays, the city track and field team received relatively sufficient funding, and they could choose to use those funds to their liking. They were willing to pay for such physical examinations with specific goals and treatments as well as proven effects.

Ling Ran only showed up in the afternoon. He took the examination report and read it carefully.

"According to your recent report, your Achilles tendon has recovered completely." Ling Ran glanced at He Xiufang and said, "How do you feel right now?"

"Amazing. My body's filled with so much strength that I can't finish using it." He Xiufang tried to show how strong her 176-pound body was.

Ling Ran pursed his mouth. That was not what he meant. However, it did not matter in the grand scheme of things.

Ling Ran then carried out a physical examination on He Xiufang while he was at it, and the follow-up examination was completed.

Nonetheless, He Xiufang's condition was as clear as day even before the follow-up examination. Her Achilles tendon was not completely ruptured, and there were no more problems because it healed after it was sutured. If the healing process had not gone well, she would not have been able to get a medal. The reason being that an Achilles tendon that was sutured in a problematic manner would not even be able to withstand high-intensity training, let alone allow the person to participate in a competition so soon.

Ji Tianlu also took the scans and looked at them out of curiosity after Ling Ran was done with the physical examination.

He was an actual orthopedist and one of the most skilled surgeons in the country when it came to joint replacement. However, he was extremely astonished as he looked at the scans right then.

"It has truly recovered completely." Ji Tianlu clicked his tongue in bewilderment. It had only been three or four months, and if the surgery had been carried out by someone with ordinary skills, he did not even know if the patient would have been able to start training yet.

The leaders of the track and field team held more trust in Chief Physician Ji Tianlu's words. When they heard Ji Tianlu's verdict, they became very happy. "It's great that she's fine now. Now that the veteran has returned, we have another great fighter again!"

In the city's track and field team, members who could win medals in national competitions were already considered first-string members. Not only would they not be laid off, they would be entrusted with a lot of important responsibilities. Of course, if second-string members were unable to prove themselves, they would have no choice but to leave the team when they reached a certain age. There was no right or wrong in the matter.

When He Zhong saw that everyone was in a joyous mood, he whipped out a stack of aluminium lunch boxes from his backpack and said with a smile, "Leaders and doctors, I'm He Xiufang's father. I made our local specialty for all of you to try when I came over this time. It's to thank all of you for taking care of my daughter all these years and for treating my daughter's injury…"

As he spoke, he took out a thermos and said, "There are pieces of jelly in the lunch boxes, and there's some chicken broth in this thermos. Chicken broth jelly is our local specialty…"`

He Xiufang was in a joyous mood when her father suddenly pulled that stunt. It was not appropriate for her to stop him or say anything, and for a moment, He Xiufang was extremely panicked.

However, it was not the first time the leaders of the track and field team had encountered something like that. The associate director who had the highest position among all the leaders suddenly smiled and said, "He Xiufang's father brought us their local specialty from so far away. How could we not give it a try? He Xiufang, sit down and have some too. Everyone, come over and have some, doctors included. It's good to replenish your energy. It'll allow you to perform even better. Let's eat and drink before we continue with the examination. Oh, by the way, we can eat in the office, right?"

The treatment room was obviously not an appropriate place for people to eat. But in that situation, unless Ji Tianlu had become stupid because his head was hit by a tendon, he definitely would not follow the rules.

"Hey, you-what'syourname, bring some chairs over and get some bowls as well as chopsticks from the canteen on the surgical floor." Ji Tianlu did not remember the names of most of the resident doctors. He simply pointed at one of them and ordered the person.

The resident doctor quickly left to do as he was told.

"I've brought a lot of lunch boxes," He Zhong shouted at the resident doctor who ran out of the treatment room. He then opened some of the lunch boxes and showed everyone the chicken broth jelly he made.

Ling Ran sat beside He Zhong too and looked at the contents of the lunch box curiously.

There was a green jelly. which had been cut into four, in one of the lunch boxes. He Zhong took out one of the pieces and placed it inside an empty lunch box before he opened the thermos and poured the still-boiling-hot chicken broth into the lunch box. He then added some spices, and the dish was ready to serve.

All of them did not say much. They each took a piece and ate in silence.

He Xiufang got the last piece. The green jelly was a little cracked, and when she placed it in her mouth, it had a glutinous texture. However, it was refreshing.

Without realizing, He Xiufang started crying. Tears rolled out of her eyes into the chicken broth, which was already a little cold. 

Translator's notes:

"Green train" is a nickname for old-style trains that went out of service in China in July, 2012.

One of the most prominent figures in the Chinese history, as a founder of Neo-Confucianism and a great statesman, philosopher, writer, educator, military strategist, and philanthropist.

In ancient China, the poor leave their porridge out to harden before cutting them into pieces and eating them with salted vegetables. It is a metaphor for poverty.