"Then we will use the drip!" Qiao Dongliang said without hesitation. He noticed that the doctor was looking strange. "What's the matter, does my daughter have other problems?"
The doctor thought for a while and asked, "How's your family doing?"
"Still alright." Qiao Dongliang was stunned and his face was full of anxiety. "Has my daughter contracted a serious illness that will incur high medical costs? It does not matter. If my daughter is sick, I must cure her regardless of how much money it takes. Doctor, please don't give up!"
Qiao Nan, who was seated to one side, was also stunned. During her previous life, she suffered a lot and had many minor ailments but not major ones.
The doctor's frown softened. "Don't worry, your daughter is not sick, it's just that… "
"What is it?" This doctor's speech was accompanied with heavy breathing. It made people anxious.
"Your daughter does not have any major illness. She is just a little malnourished, and had been in hunger. If this continues, her heath will eventually suffer."
The doctor's words made Qiao Dongliang's face blush red. It was not as if they were in the 1960s and 1970s, when they were dealing with famine.
His younger daughter was actually malnourished.
As it was not convenient for the male doctor to pose certain questions, they shouted for a female doctor to come in.
After the female doctor came, she was direct in asking the questions. "How old are you?"
"Have you started menstruating yet? Have you taken a biology class, and know that the young ladies menstruate once a month?"
Qiao Nan did not respond, Qiao Dongliang's face was red with embarrassment. "Nan Nan?"
Qiao Nan looked dazed and she shook her head. "I don't think so."
In fact, Qiao Nan was clearly aware that, to date, she had not had her first period.
As per the doctor's account, she was malnourished. She often went hungry as she was growing up, and frequently had cramps when she was sleeping at night. Because of this, her menstruation only started when she was 18 years old.
Qiao Zijin was two years older than her but had already had her first period three years ago. Qiao Nan had helped her wash the stained pants. In other words, Qiao Zijin started menstruating when she was 14 years old.
Qiao Dongliang did not know his younger daughter's condition, although he knew about his elder daughter's condition due to his wife as she often mentioned matters regarding Qiao Zijin.
Each time Qiao Zijin was having her period, his wife would wait on Qiao Zijin with hot water bottles and brown sugar soup.
Qiao Dongliang calculated that when the eldest daughter "grew up," she was one year younger than the younger daughter now.
Upon comparing, Qiao Dongliang was a little nervous. "Is this too late for my daughter?"
The female doctor said in an orderly manner, "Not really, typically a young girl's first period will occur between the ages of 12 and 16. But your daughter is too skinny, she hasn't been getting enough to eat!"
If this continued, her period may not come even when she has reached 16 years old.
Qiao Dongliang was dumbfounded by the questions. Food, of course food was given. He could not possibly have given his younger daughter one less mouthful of food.
However, both doctors said that the younger daughter was malnourished which delayed her puberty. Qiao Dongliang's face was full of shame.
Although his family did not often feast on delicacies, there were always protein dishes on the table from time to time. Qiao Dongliang was puzzled as to how his younger daughter had become malnourished.
Qiao Dongliang did not know how she had become malnourished, but Qiao Nan knew in her heart how it had came about.
Since she was a child, her mother did not allow her to have her fill - she was only 50 to 70 percent full for each meal.
She also had to attend school, which unfortunately was during the same time as her puberty.
Qiao Nan clearly remembered that her tummy often started to rumble like thunder when the second lesson began in class.
In the previous life, one of the reasons that she was cajoled by her mother to quit school and work is that she figured with money, she would at least be able to feed herself with proper meals.
Oblivious to the awkward situation of the father and daughter, the female doctor said responsibly, "You don't need to supplement too much, however, you must at least prepare some protein dishes. The child is at the stage of puberty, no proteins, does your family favor boys more?"
"No, I have two daughters!" Qiao Dongliang shook his head. There were no grounds for such favoritism. Both daughters should be equally well.
At this moment, a very loud rumble came from Qiao Nan's tummy.
As soon as she heard this, the female doctor knew that the child had been hungry for a long time. "Did you eat today?"
Qiao Nan's little face drooped, she looked listless.
The female doctor was angry. "What kind of parents are you? The child is sick and you did not give her food?"
Qiao Nan was weak, her voice was as soft as that of a mosquito. "Doctor, don't blame my dad, my dad goes to work and he doesn't know."
"Your dad doesn't know. How about your mom? Or your mum doesn't care?"
When asked about her mother, Qiao Nan started to act dumb.
At this juncture, Qiao Dongliang understood all that was happening. Qiao Dongliang had never felt this ashamed in his entire life, he wished that he could dig a hole in the ground and disappear into it.
Putting aside the matter of the medicine, the younger daughter was not even given a meal?
Qiao Dongliang rubbed his face. "Doctor, my child still has a fever, could you administer the drip while I get some food for her?"
"Something light. She has been hungry for a long time and should not eat too much at once." The doctor gave the prescription and stopped talking.
Qiao Nan, whose head was still dizzy, was held and brought for the drip. Not long after, she smelt the aroma of porridge.
Qiao Dongliang was full of sweat. "This bowl was borrowed from the hotel next door. Eat, I will return the bowl later."
"Okay." After Qiao Nan responded, she started eating the porridge in small mouthfuls.
Seeing the younger daughter eating the porridge quietly, and thinking of what the doctor said, Qiao Dongliang did not feel good at all. "Nan Nan, is it because of your poor appetite?"
Qiao Nan, who was drinking porridge, was stunned for a while. "My appetite is very good, but mom won't let me have more, saying that there isn't much rice in the house, and that it's better for girls to be thinner."
Her father could not seem to believe that her mother would starve her to the extent of causing malnourishment, and therefore tried to find an excuse for the mother.
"I love to eat." Qiao Nan continued with a similar answer. "But Mom said you have to eat more as you work every day, it's hard, and my sister also has to eat more as she needs to study and work her brains out. Mom too as she worked hard for the family."
As for her, she made no contribution to the family and was considered an unimportant person leeching on the family, and was thus not fit to touch the better dishes.
Qiao Dongliang took a deep breath and could not believe that his wife had said that to the younger daughter. "When I'm at home, each time there were protein dishes, I saw your mom giving you some."
Qiao Nan did not say a word. She finished drinking the bowl of porridge, then said. "Mom has said, even if she gave me the food I should be too ashamed to eat it. So she each time she passed me the food with her chopsticks, she would hint at me to go to the kitchen to put back the meat."