A CASE OF INDEPENDENCE

A CASE OF INDEPENDENCE

 

In 1984 or 1985, dad developed a leg disease. There was a sharp pain in his left leg. Whenever he walked, the pain made him suffer a lot. It was so excruciating that he managed to move around with the aid of a walking stick slowly, with a hobbling gait. Generally a man of good health, he expected to shake off the pain in a short time. The disease prevented him from working on the farm and from practising his carpentry.

 

So anxious to get better was dad that he consulted some local quacks in the neighbourhood. All the remedies he got failed to cure it. Someone recommended a herbalist to dad, but the place where the herbalist lived was about 10 kilometres away from our village. Dad decided to pay a visit to the herbalist. Mother suggested that we ask some neighbours to carry him there on a cart but dad rejected the idea.

 

So he set out alone in the morning on the walking stick. It being summer, the sun was beating down around midday. Because of his pain, he limped extremely slowly. It took him a whole day to reach the herbalist. He stayed overnight at the herbalist’s. The family put him up and provided him with the meals.

 

After the herbalist examined him, dad got a prescription of herbs and some insects such as scorpions and centipedes commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. The next day he hobbled home alone. On the way back he passed a family who were building a new cottage. Dad offered them some advice on the construction. The family treated dad to the midday meal as a way to show appreciation. After the meal, dad continued on the way. By the time he got home, it was already dusk.

 

The prescription was not very effective. Dad was so eager to recover that he even chewed the herbs and swallowed them after he took the potion. It took several months for the pain to wear off.

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