Great Doctor Ling Ran Chapter 655
657 Old Friend
The waiting hall of Beijing University Sixth Hospital was always full of people.
The higher the number of surgeries that were being carried out in the operating theater, the more patients' family members there would be in the waiting hall. Most of them were considerably calm. Of course, most of them had troubled and upset expressions on their faces, but not many of them were emotional.
Scheduled surgeries allowed patients to choose the day where their fate was decided. As for the patients' family members, they would get more time to deal with their emotions and accept what was happening.
Of course, there were always those who failed to come to terms with reality. This was especially true for family members of patients who suddenly got diagnosed with a grave disease and had to be wheeled into the operating theater as soon as possible. Family members of such patients got emotional the easiest. Those who were not doing well financially often felt even more anxious. Having a sick family member was hard to deal with as it was, and the fact that they had to borrow money from left and right for treatment made things even more difficult.
Ever since the middle-aged woman, Wang Xuemei put down her signature once again and watched as her husband was wheeled into the operating theater, she had been kneeling before an amethyst geode without getting up at all.
She was not highly educated, but she understood what was going on after signing all kinds of documents such as the notice of critical illness and the informed consent form. Doctors and nurses were not always fierce and impatient. There were also times when they would be friendly and patient. Whenever a patient was diagnosed with major illnesses, or more appropriately, an illness that involved one of the most difficult treatments the department was capable of administering, he would be treated like a VIP.
In Beijing University Sixth Hospital, surgery for patients with gallbladder cancer was considered quite difficult. Moreover, Professor Feng Zhixiang had been hired as a freelance surgeon. No junior doctors wanted to cause a hitch in the treatment process. Hence, throughout the duration of the patient's stay, they would try to do everything related to him as well as possible. Of course, this did not involve making the patient and his family members feel better.
Doctors were not always successful when it comes to comforting patients. It had nothing to do with the doctors' skills. Rather, it was because the patients and their family members were in too much pain.
Wang Xuemei did nothing but cry nonstop.
If she were more highly educated, she would probably come out with a whole poem to describe the things that she was feeling right now. Her life was full of hardships, and hardships often led to great art. However, her life was so hard that she did not even receive enough education to be able to talk about her miserable life in an articulate manner.
"They said that things would get better when we arrive in Beijing… They said that things would get better when we arrive in Beijing…" Wang Xuemei muttered nonstop. She could not help but reach out and touch the amethyst geode with her fingertips. However, she withdrew her hand immediately after.
She intended to make her prayers stronger by doing this, but she was worried that she might have done the wrong thing.
An old man who had just entered the waiting hall advised her, "The floor in the hospital is cold, and you might catch your cold. You have already done your part by kneeling here. Why don't you get up and sit for a while?"
After the old man said this twice, Wang Xuemei took off her jacket and placed it on the floor. She then kneeled down again with her knees resting against the jacket.
The old man did not know whether to cry or laugh when he saw this. After a while, he bought Wang Xuemei a waist cushion. "It's a bit small, but you'll have to make do with it. In my opinion, praying in the Lama Temple works better. Why don't you give it a try? It's a large and proper temple, and the place is always full of smoke as a lot of people pray there. There's this old friend of mine who suffers from various ailments. He asked someone to burn the first incense of the year there on his behalf, and he got better in a blink of an eye. His business is also going well nowadays?"
"The first incense of the year in Lama Temple? It's almost impossible to get the chance to do so, isn't it?" A person who was sitting behind the waiting room could not take the conversation anymore and said mockingly, "Countless people try to burn the first incense of the year, and it's not something money can buy."
The old man gave another party a sidelong glance. "Why don't you offer her some advice, then?"
"What's the point of advising her? Just let her continue kneeling if that's what she wants. If you can cure a patient just by kneeling, what's the purpose of seeing a doctor. If you think that kneeling helps, then you might as well not seek treatment at the hospital," the man said scornfully. He had been annoyed at the middle-aged woman in front of him for quite some time.
The only Du family member there was Academician Du's plump grandson. He looked a little helplessly at the amethyst geode that belonged to his family. If it were not for the fact that his grandfather had ordered him to get it no matter what, he would have just left the amethyst geode in the waiting hall.
But there was no way that he could take the amethyst geode away right now with the middle-aged woman kneeling before it. Academician Du's plump grandson could only look at Wang Xuemei with an anticipatory gaze and hope that the other party would come to her senses by herself.
Wang Xuemei paid no heed to these people.
She did not understand what they were saying and had no intention to do so either. People around her were mostly liars, and she would rather do whatever she wanted to.
*Thud, thud, thud*
Wang Xuemei kowtowed thrice, and this was considered her rebuttal against those who had a problem with what she was doing.
The clear knocking sounds made all the patients' family members who were present speechless, but they at least understood where she was coming from now.
"Sigh, if she kneels on such a cold floor, she will definitely experience knee problems when she gets old. My legs are hurting now thanks to my job, which required me to fix dams years ago."
"I know, right? During my confinement period, my mother-in-law said that my body was too heaty and only gave me a thin quilt. Other people's daughters-in-law all get to wear thick cotton pants and use comforters during their confinement period."
"Before this, my husband refused to listen to me either and always went out with unlined trousers. I was so pissed that I have actually hit his legs with a slipper and a stick before."
"Wow, you're such a vicious lady. What happened after that? Did your husband end up listening to you? Did he apologize?"
"I have no idea. He did end up in the operating theater, after all."
The doors of the operating theater were magical things. Every time it opened, the patients' family members in the waiting room would go silent.
"Are Li Gang's family members here?" The junior doctor in charge called out, and Xu Wen was standing beside him.
Xu Wen was the only doctor who was working under Beijing University Sixth Hospital. The chief surgeon, Feng Zhixiang and the first assistant, Ling Ran were both freelance surgeons.
The moment Wang Xuemei heard the word "Li Gang", she placed her palms on her floor and tried to stand up. However, she immediately plopped to the ground again.
"My legs are numb from the kneeling," Wang Xuemei muttered to herself and looked at the doctors. She raised her hand and said, "I'm Li Gang's family member."
After she said this, she walked over to the doctors with a limp.
Xu Wen immediately walked over to help her and said, "Don't be anxious. Your husband had been sent to the ICU, which means the intensive care unit. His surgery was a successful one, and we'll need to see how the recovery goes."
"Intensive care unit… does this mean that his condition is very serious?" Wang Xuemei felt a chill run down her spine.
"Your husband had been diagnosed with late-stage gallbladder cancer. It's a malignant tumor. However, the surgery went very smoothly and the doctors have cleared your husband's body of all the cancer cells. If the recovery goes smoothly, he would be able to survive this ordeal." Xu Wen did not correct what Wang Xuemei said. Instead, he talked about it from another perspective.
Wang Xuemei hesitated for a moment and asked, "Will there be a recurrence?"
"About this, we can't really promise anything."
"Then, how much longer would he need to stay in the hospital? When can he go back to work?" Wang Xuemei immediately thought about the debts that they had to pay back. The income of her and her husband was not low as both of them were working. Even though they changed jobs all the time, on average, they could earn 120,000 to 130,000 RMB a year. They were capable of saving up around 10,000 RMB yearly. If it weren't for the fact that they built a house in their village, they would be considered pretty rich in their village.
This was exactly why when Li Gang got sick, Wang Xuemei did not have much trouble borrowing money so that her husband could get treated in Beijing.
However, she only borrowed enough money for the surgery. Now that the surgery was over, she was trying her best to spend as little as possible.
Xu Wen knew patients like Wang Xuemei very well.
Most of the patients in Beijing hospitals were actually from other places. Even though the families had no choice but to pay so that the patient got a chance at life, there were always those who could not afford to foot the bill."
"Regarding the charges, you can talk to the doctor in charge. If your family is really facing financial difficulties, there is a green channel  where the authorities of the hospital can omit some of the fees at their discretion." Xu Wen did not mention that the chief surgeon was renowned. He did not tell Wang Xuemei that her husband was operated by freelance surgeons.
Without taking the round trip business class tickets and the assistants' pay into consideration, to outsiders, it cost more than 10,000 RMB to have Professor Feng Zhixiang as a freelance surgeon. Of course, whenever Professor Feng Zhixiang was helping out someone he knew, he would charge a lower fee of around 30,000 to 40,000 RMB. Together with the tickets and the assistants' pay, it would go up to around 70,000 RMB.
In China, this was considered the typical price. From the perspective of the doctors of Beijing University Sixth Hospital, it was extremely cheap. Even without comparing it to the cost of seeking treatment overseas, ever since private practice became widespread in China, renowned doctors working in private hospitals would charge way more than this for a surgery.
Take chief physicians working in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou as an example. Even though government hospitals would only pay them a little more than 10,000 RMB for a freelance surgery, they would get up to three times more money if they were to do the same thing in a private hospital. There were even private hospitals that only charged a low sum for patients' consultation and treatment fees, but made the patients pay for the surgeons by charging more for their hospitalization. The hospitals would also collect various miscellaneous fees for the same purpose.
Of course, if Xu Wen were to tell these to Wang Xuemei, she would not understand them.
As they did not come to an agreement beforehand, it would be hard to make Wang Xuemei pay an extra 30,000 or 40,000 RMB. Aside from this, she would also have to pay for Ling Ran's freelance surgery fee.
Fortunately, Associate Hospital Director Wang was around, and he merely had to put down the signature for the hospital to reimburse part of the expenses. This was the right way to go so as not to cause trouble for Professor Feng Zhixiang.
There was also another reason why Xu Wen talked about the green channel. Since Professor Feng Zhixiang and Doctor Ling Ran were the ones who operated on the patient, they had to provide the patient with quality drugs and good postoperative care whenever possible. If the patient's family members were to ask for a change in treatment plan because of financial reasons, the hospital might end up offending those excellent surgeons, and the hospital would not want to risk this.
Wang Xuemei flashed a smile when she heard that part of the expenses could be omitted. "We're facing financial difficulties indeed as we have kids. Our parents are still around too, and they are farmers without a pension. My husband doesn't have medical insurance too. Now that my husband is bedridden, I can't work because I have to take care of him. If it weren't for the fact that our relatives and friends are helping out, we probably wouldn't even be able to afford food."
Xu Wen smiled and did not continue the topic. Instead, he said, "You don't have to worry about the fees first. The most important thing now is to nurse the patient back to health. If you have any problems, you can talk to Doctor Wang."
Wang Xuemei nodded furiously and tried to build rapport with the doctor in charge. "Your surname is Wang? My surname is Wang too. We're probably from the same ancestors five hundred years ago."
"Yes… Do come with me. I'll talk to you about the patient's condition." Doctor Wang was in a pretty good mood as he got to operate on the patient with Feng Zhixiang and Ling Ran. However, he did not dare to speak in the waiting hall as he was worried that he would say something wrong. He would be in trouble if someone recorded him saying something wrong.
Wang Xuemei nodded earnestly and followed closely behind the doctor in charge, as she was afraid that she would lose him. However, she suddenly stopped in her tracks when she passed by the amethyst geode. She fished out all her coins inside her pocket and placed all of them inside the amethyst geode.
After she bowed at the amethyst geode, she immediately chased after Doctor Wang and left.
The crowd behind them went into a commotion as they looked at the amethyst geode.
Someone threw a coin, and it bounced off the amethyst geode.
*Clink, clink, clink*
More coins were thrown toward the amethyst geode.
All the patients' family members in the waiting hall could not help but crowd forward and throw coins into the amethyst geode.
Even though the amethyst geode was small and not everyone's aim was accurate, the waiting hall echoed with the sounds of coins hitting the crystals inside the amethyst geode.
Academician Du's plump grandson who was responsible for collecting the amethyst geode had no choice but to smile at the sight.