The 2 women who were there when Mom and I arrived, now leave and it’s time for me to see the doc. He’s sitting at the end of a couch also bundled up like his wife and his legs are propped up on an ottoman and wrapped in what seemed like several layers of blankets. My mom and I sit down on the couch adjacent to him.
Now, let me preface this visit with the fact that I asked my mom to come with me just in case I couldn’t completely understand the Chinese doc. I speak Cantonese fairly well but more complicated words or phrases stump me and being that this is something medical, I knew I’d need her.
And indeed I did. The first thing he asks me is about my urine and my period. I now some new Chinese vocabulary. He checks the pulse on my right wrist and then my left. He says that there’s bacteria in my urine and when there’s bacteria in the urine, it shows up on the skin and makes the complexion bad. He starts to inquire about my diet and my mom tells him I’m vegetarian. He’s a no-nonsense type of guy and when he hears that I’m vegetarian and am ‘not even eating fish’ he looks a bit outraged and says I need to put meat back in my diet…at least fish. He says that I have a poor complexion and need more nutrients in my diet and need to start including meat in my diet; at least some fish. Mom is delighted to hear this…it has taken her the last 2 years to accept that I’m not eating meat. I stopped eating meat 6 years ago…yes, even chicken.
He jots down his prescription for me in Chinese and tells us to go to the herb store down the street. Now it’s Mom’s turn to see him. She asks him about the pain in her lower back. He takes her pulse and tells her she has bad digestion. She’s been battling with acid reflux this year and has had variable stomach issues all year. He strictly tells her to stop taking her stomach medicine because it makes your bone brittle and instructs her to stop eating any rice noodles, preserved or pickled vegetables, soups, and no raw vegetables and fruit. He’s very stern with her and says, “Do you want to get well?!??” And Mom says, “of course I do!” Then you better listen…” and continues to repeat what she cannot eat for the next 2 months. I’ve never seen anyone talk to my mom like that. Not that she needed to be but he put my mama in her place! He writes his prescription for her, hands her the slip of paper and tells us to finish our medicine and come back to see him when we’re done.
Stay tuned for Part III…our adventure at the Chinese ‘pharmacy’ and buying my pot.