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Traditional Chinese Medicine

A violent illness turns into a valuable learning experience

As mentioned above, I became violently sick after eating dinner Thursday night. I had gone out alone to a nearby restaurant and ordered sweet and sour chicken and hot and sour soup. It was WAY too much for just one person to eat, but I esteemed myself up to the task. I ate all the delicious chicken and about half the massive bowl of soup until I really couldn't have eaten a bite more. I walked back to the dorm "puffed up like a tick," as my dad is wont to say, with my leftover soup. I studied a bit for my test the next day, but was feeling very tired and more than a little bit queasy and so went to bed at nine o'clock, planning on waking up early to finish studying.

My plan was ruined, however, when I awoke at midnight knowing that a fit of sickness was imminent. I made it to the bathroom just in time, thank goodness. I will spare you the gory details, but I will say it was a rather loud business. At about one or two o'clock, the noise attracted the attention of one of the Chinese roommates, my next door neighbor. This roommate happened to be a traditional Chinese medicine major obviously eager to put into practice his classroom learnings, and I was desperate at this point for some chance of relief via any means necessary, and was pretty intrigued besides.

First, he prepared me a delicious glass of warm salt water, which I sipped very slowly. While I drank the water, he placed on various parts of my ear little bumps with some sort of adhesive to make them stick there. When he was finished his precise, careful placement of the bumps, he pressed down on them. I guess it is a traditional Chinese belief that the ear is connected to every part of the body or something. I think he was trying to explain to me in Chinese, but I was in no state to try to figure out what he was saying. All I know is that it hurt and I really could not speak to its effectiveness, and that all the salt water came back up minutes later and it was awful.

Even though I was feeling horrible, I also found the situation a bit humorous as I mentally juxtaposed Western and Chinese medical practices and ideology. And despite my misgivings as to the effectiveness of his remedy, I thanked him profusely for his kindness and concern once it was obvious there was nothing more he could do for me. Who knows, though; maybe I would have returned to bed later than four o'clock without his help. Regardless, I was truly grateful for his help. If nothing more, it made the experience less lonely.

Moral of the story: if you see a restaurant called Shui Ju Yu, steer clear. Trust me on this one.

Posted by Kevin Deese 04:26 Archived in China

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