- OverDrive Read
- EPUB eBook
t all began in the third year of my Western medical school training. For the class of ‘63 at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, it was a time of extremes. First was the heady realization that we had at last ascended to the elite status of being called doctor, let loose on the unsuspecting patients of San Francisco General Hospital (SF General). Could they tell that we were not really truly doctors yet? Our practicum was about to begin. One of my classmates paraded around town in his newly acquired white lab coat. He began to have second thoughts about such ostentation when someone in a public parking lot asked him to park his car. The final blow to his ego came at the supermarket when someone asked him, “Where is the aisle for canned soup?” Later came our descent into hopeless hypochondria. We imagined we had every disease described in every medical textbook we read. Going through dermatology rotation, most of us imagined every mole we had was a malignant melanoma. Medical students requesting biopsies overran the skin clinic.
One day, while rotating through the pediatrics service at San Francisco General Hospital, I felt ill. (Back then, the pediatrics ward was equivalent to today’s day-care center in terms of being the most efficient propagator of infectious diseases known to man.) I experienced chills, fever, and a cough. My brother Wally, then an intern at Santa Clara County and two years ahead of me, diagnosed pneumonia over the phone. My professor of internal medicine confirmed Wally’s diagnosis. He promptly put me in the hospital and prescribed antibiotics. After a week, I was much improved. Soon I was allowed to return to classes and the work of seeing patients at SF General. I felt well except for one thing—a persistent, dry, hacking cough, usually worse in the evening. The prescribed cough medicine with codeine only made me nauseated without relieving the cough. Patients teased me that I sounded as if I needed a doctor more than they did. This went on for over a month. Thoughts of saving the ills of the world soon faded as I struggled to get myself better.
My mother ultimately came to my rescue. Mom believed in Western medicine and followed doctors’ orders assiduously. She was one of those who would set her alarm clock to take her pill on time if it was prescribed every six hours. Yet when Western medicine had been tried and failed, she was not above turning to Chinese remedies. She consulted with one of her friends about my cough. Mom’s friend recommended that I see a well-known Chinese herbalist, Dr. Ding Jung-Ying. Out of desperation, I agreed to do so. Dr. Ding’s office was located in the heart of San Francisco Chinatown, up several flights of stairs. Unlike my family doctor’s office, Dr. Ding’s was sparsely furnished with only a small writing table and several chairs. Looking around, I saw none of the medical equipment usual in a doctor’s office. Dr. Ding was elderly and spoke only Chinese. Correctly assuming that my Chinese would be inadequate, he directed his questions about my illness to my mother. He then felt my radial pulse in each wrist, looked at my tongue, wrote a prescription in Chinese, and gave my mother instructions about brewing the herbs he had prescribed. It was not an unpleasant experience for me. No tongue depressor to look into my throat, which always caused me to gag, no cold stethoscope on my chest, and best of all, no shots. I timidly clung to the hope that his remedy would work. We paid the doctor, and my mother and I went off to fill the prescription at an herbal store in Chinatown.
About the Author-
- Patricia Tsang, MD, received her MD from the University of California–San Francisco and studied traditional Chinese medicine at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has lectured widely to health care professionals and to the public on the subject of traditional Chinese medicine. She lives in San Francisco.
- Barbara Bishop, MD, chair, department of family medicine, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco "Dr. Tsang turns the spotlight on the wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine and through the prism of her own Western medical training explains its virtues and limitations for both lay readers and fellow professionals. I highly recommend this book for anyone considering using or studying this important avenue to health."
PublisherBalance for Health Publishing
OverDrive ReadRelease date:
EPUB eBookRelease date:
Digital Rights Information+
- Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.
More titles may be available to you. Sign in now to see your library's full collection.