The patient opened his eyes slowly.
The pure white fluorescent light was dazzling to his eyes.
‘By the way, where am I now?’
He felt fuzzy. The moment he lost his footing at the construction site, he fell down, and immediately lost consciousness.
He felt pain on his legs and abdomen.
“Are you okay, daddy?”
He nodded at his daughter’s asking.
“Yes, I’m okay, Hwajung.”
“Honey! Let’s go home. I’m scared here.”
He was slowly turning his head to his wife this time.
“Okay, let’s go back home.”
Then Prof. Han came to him, with Suhyuk standing next to him.
“Where do you think you are? What’s your name?”
“A hospital. My name is Lee Jinhan.”
Han continued to check the patient’s condition.
“Does it hurt a lot?” Suhyuk asked.
Though he was administered lots of analgesics, he was still feeling pain because of too much damage to his body.
“Well, I can stand it…” said the patient.
Looking at his wife and daughter, he made a faint smile.
It was so fortunate that he survived. Yes, it was.
“Honey, stop sleeping and let’s go home!”
‘No, I can’t die like this with a wife like this left behind. ‘
“Boohoo… Daddy. Does it hurt a lot?”
‘Yes, I have to survive until Hwajung goes to middle school.’
“Let me keep an eye on him, sir,” said Suyuk to Prof. Han.
Nodding his head, Han said, “Ok, Report to me about his condition from time to time.”
Han and his medical staff left the intensive unit room.
Though the vital signs of the patient was unstable, it did not get any worse.
2am. Looking at the monitor quietly, Suhyuk looked at the patient’s family members sleeping next to him. His wife was asleep like a log, and his daughter fell into sleep with tears all over her face.
They were holding the patient’s hands, so he could not go anywhere.
Then, some sort of voice came into Suhyuk’s ear.
“I feel the pain on my legs getting more severe.”
“Let me administer more painkillers then.”
That’s all Suhyuk could do for him.
He could not do anything about the patient’s legs because he could not bear it in his current condition.
Putting a needle through an IV pack, Suhyuk turned his eyes to the patient looking at the ceiling.
“You’ll feel better a bit later.”
At that moment, the monitor showing the patient’s condition, was sounding off with a noisy alarm.
“Open your eyes!”
When Suhyuk checked the pupil in his closed eyes, there was no reaction.
A sharp sound of the machine was piercing into Suhyuk’s ear.
Heart arrest. His heart stopped.
“Oh my god!”
When the nurses passing by were stunned, Suhyuk put the crash cart on his heart, with an electric shocker.
When the fully charged electric shocker was put on the patient’s heart, his body went up and down, with Suhyuk checking the monitor. No response.
The patient did not move at all with his eyes still closed, as if he could not hear anything.
“Don’t die! You should wake up!”
At the sound of the patient’s bed moving up and down, his wife and daughter also woke up.
They started crying, shouting, “Daddy! Please don’t die!”
Suhyuk wiped off the beads of sweats from his forehead. He barely managed to revive his heart.
As a result of the electric shock, his heart was back to beating.
Suhyuk thought about it for a moment.
His heart beat again thanks to his wife and daughter’s shouting, that was certain.
One week passed like an arrow.
Prof. Han touched the patient’s legs cautiously.
Surgery of his legs, though done in an unusual situation, did go well, fortunately.
And the patient also put up with it well. The surgery was done because he wanted it anyway.
He said he wanted to get discharged as soon as possible.
With his daughter in his bed, the patient smiled.
Nodding his head while looking at his legs, Han opened his mouth,
“How do you feel now?”
“I feel much better, sir.”
Suhyuk smiled bitterly at his words.
Over time his skin became yellow, and he would feel fuzzy because a lot of painkillers were administered.
“Honey, honey,” said his wife.
His wife tapped his belly lightly, was saying, “You have a baby here?”
His abdomen was swollen high like a pregnant woman.
“It’s because I ate a lot.”
“Stop eating any more food. You’re going to be a pig if you eat like that!”
At his wife’s words, he nodded his head.
Another week passed.
“I’d like to get discharged,” said the patient.
Han and Suhyuk could not say anything.
His condition was such that they could not do anything about it.
Suhyuk said first, “Okay, you can get discharged tomorrow.”
“I wonder how much the bill is...”
The patient’s face became dark with bitterness.
Han tilted his head.
“Did anybody from the insurance company come here?”
“According to the nurse, there are some items not covered by insurance.”
“I can’t believe that. The treatment you received is all covered by insurance. Looks like the nurse was mistaken.”
The patient nodded his head. How fortunate he was...
“Okay, have a good night then.”
Han and Suhyuk went out of the patient’s room.
Suhyuk said, “Why did you say that, sir?”
Walking through the hallway, Han turned his head, saying,
“I want to use my own money in my own way. Any problem with that?”
Suhyuk smiled at his words, shaking his head.
The more he got to know about Han, the more respect he felt for him.
He just cared only about the patients.
From the moment the patient was taken into the hospital, Suhyuk had never seen Prof. Han taking a rest. He was even seen sleeping in the patient’s room.
“Take a break. It’s my order as your supervisor,” said Han.
Then Han left the place to see other patients.
Suhyuk stood up and called somewhere.
“Thanks, crispy chicken please. Two chicken, one for an adults’ taste preferences and the other one for children, please.”
“Ok. Where do I deliver?”
“Daehan Hospital, please.”
The patient’s wife, shaking her legs while seated on his bed, cried with joy.
The Chicken and pizza that Suhyuk ordered was delivered.
“Oh my god! I’m so…”
The patient made an expression as if he was sorry.
“Actually I wanted to eat chicken and pizza, but it was too much for me to eat alone.
So, please share it with me, if you can.”
On the table were pizza, chicken and soft drinks.
She swallowed her saliva when Suhyuk offered her a chicken leg.
“Please try it. Hwajung, you, too!”
Being handed chicken legs, they swallowed their saliva.
And then Hwajung said, “Daddy, try it!”
Suhyuk let out a sigh, while the patient smiled pleasantly.
“Look at my belly. I can’t eat because I’m full.”
“Please have just one bite.”
At her daughter’s insistence, he took the chicken leg with a smile.
Holding a slice of pizza, Suhyuk looked at them with bitterness.
They looked happy, though.
Staying all night awake while monitoring the patient, Suhyuk went out only in the morning.
Then he came back to the patient’s room and offered a paper bag.
There were a lot of syringes inside the bag.
“You remember what I said, right?”
And Suhyuk gave him another paper bag.
“I’m sure it will help you, but when you can’t bear it, please visit the hospital.”
It was medicine mixed with a very strong sedative and painkiller.
He packed the medicine after consultation with Prof. Han.
“You can use it for six months. When you use them up, come visit us.
Then I’ll give you one year’s worth of refills.”
Smiling, the patient slowly nodded.
One year. He felt it was too short. Could he even live that long?
“Honey, let’s go home quickly”
“Okay, let’s go now.”
With crutches, Lee Jinhan stood up.
When he was going out of the patient’s room, Suhyuk grabbed Hwajung’s hand, and angled his eyes towards hers.
Suhyuk gave her several 10,000 won notes, saying, “Buy some delicious food.”
Lee opened his eyes wider.
“Please don’t do that. It will ruin her manners.”
Suhyuk smiled, and then said, “You can teach her about manners right beside her for a long, long time.”
Then Suhyuk escorted him to the hospital lobby to help him get discharged.
“Thank you, sir.”
When the patient said goodbye, bowing his head at the main gate of the hospital, Suhyuk did not reply with anything. There was nothing he did for the patient. He felt he just looked on at the patient like a fool.
Lee Jinhan stroked his daughter’s hair, and told her,
“Show your manners and say ‘Thank you.’”
Hwajung opened her mouth, and said, “Thank you, doctor!”
Her mother repeated after her daughter, and so did Suhyuk a reply in response.
‘Sorry, really sorry… I’m sorry to let you go like this.’
There was someone watching Suhyuk engaging with them.
In the professor’s office, through the window Prof. Han murmured while watching him, ‘Yes, that is how a doctor is supposed to behave.’
“Daddy, you feel great as you go home now, right?”
He nodded at Hwajung’s words while waiting for the bus.
“Yes, I feel so good.”
Humming a song, holding her father’s hand, Hwajung suddenly searched her pocket, and she found and opened a note Suhyuk gave her.
<Who treats a sick person? Here’s my phone number 010-73...>