The next day, when the director saw Cheng Xi drag a twenty-something-year-old patient in, she was slightly dazed.
“Didn’t you take leave to go visit Qin Shiya? Who’s…… this?” Due to how off-guard the director was, she involuntarily reverted back to her native accent.
Cheng Xi’s entrance was stunning, mostly because the girl she had dragged in had messy hair and was tied up. Even so, that girl was still struggling relentlessly and taking any opportunity she could find to bite at Cheng Xi, yelling all the while, “How dare you! To treat your princess like this, do you have a death wish?”
Cheng Xi was sweating and breathing heavily from the immense effort it took to drag her all the way here. She momentarily ignored the director’s shock and instead addressed the nurses who had followed the director out. “Help me get this patient into a ward first. Be careful, she’s extremely agitated and might resort to physical attacks.”
When they finally restrained her properly and brought her away, Cheng Xi took a deep breath and then explained to the head, “She’s the girl I was talking to you about last time. Yesterday, in Qin Shiya’s village, she threw a boy who provoked her into a shallow lake and almost beat him to death. I had no choice but to bring her back here.”
The head frowned in disapproval. “Given her home conditions, even if you brought her here, they probably won’t be able to afford her treatment.”
Cheng Xi stubbornly replied, “……Well, I’ll try my best for the moment regardless of that.”
Cheng Xi had originally taken two days of leave, but due to this girl, not only had she returned from her leave early, she had also brought a troublesome patient to the hospital.
When she left the girl’s ward, the head was waiting outside for her. “Were you attacked?”
“No,” Cheng Xi replied mildly as she washed her hands. “That girl isn’t really violent. The only reason why she attacked the boys yesterday was because they provoked her first, and the reason why she’s resisting now is because she’s scared.”
The head laughed. “You’re calling her a girl? She’s not that much younger than you.”
“Ha. Perhaps it’s because I feel much older mentally.”
The head didn’t pursue the topic any further and instead asked, “You know that her family can’t afford to treat her, right?”
“Yup.” Truth be told, there had been a big commotion over yesterday’s events, and the two villages weren’t too far apart so the news spread quickly. After Cheng Xi and the boy were rescued by a passing villager, the girl’s grandmother had been called over. As soon as her grandmother saw Cheng Xi defending her granddaughter, she immediately shirked all responsibility for the girl to Cheng Xi, saying, “Since you’re a doctor, why don’t you take her away? Once she’s better, you can do whatever you want with her.”
And then she had actually turned around and ran back to the village. From that point on, she didn’t respond at all, not even when the villagers threatened to beat her to death.
Cheng Xi did want to help the child, but when she saw her own family’s attitude toward her…… she didn’t know whether she should laugh or to cry, but regardless, her heart ached for this child.
The head looked at her and asked again to confirm. “You really want to help her?”
Cheng Xi nodded firmly.
The head stared straight into Cheng Xi’s eyes. “How can you be so soft-hearted? Do you know how many similarly mentally ill people there are in just our county? From last year’s census, there are at least forty of them roaming the streets who have a tendency to attack people, and there has to be hundreds of them altogether. Of these people, at least half of them are impoverished or penniless. Are you planning on helping every single person you see?”
Cheng Xi honestly replied, “I haven’t really considered it. But I met this one, and I want to help her.”
The crux of the issue for Cheng Xi was that the girl was too young, and Cheng Xi was seriously worried about what might befall a young and good-looking girl who roamed the streets. The villagers already spread a number of hurtful rumors about her, and her situation would only devolve without anybody’s intervention.
The head didn’t try to dissuade Cheng Xi, merely shaking her head as she said, “Just you see. After you take care of this one, another one’s going to appear to take her place.”
Cheng Xi didn’t really understand what the head meant. Then, one day, while she was out shopping with a colleague, she came back to a man strapped to the back of her car. He was bedraggled and barefooted, and someone had placed a note underneath her windshield wipers. On it was scrawled, “Please save him,” in uneven and rough handwriting.
Cheng Xi was struck speechless.
Due to these experiences, Cheng Xi would often tell people in the future that all the help she extended to mentally ill people was unwillingly given. She didn’t want to end up like Qin Shiya, to become someone who was only paraded in front of the crowds! Wasn’t it good enough to just be a regular person?
When Cheng Xi saw the strange man tied to her car, she was sent into a daze. The colleague accompanying her jumped up in shock and shouted, “Who is it? Who did something this immoral? What if we didn’t notice him and ran over him?” And then she whispered to Cheng Xi, “Dr. Cheng, quickly untie him. Let’s go!”
Cheng Xi let out a pent up breath and examined the person tied to the back of her car. He was leaning against the side of the car, and as the September sun shone down, he lazily smiled at her as she walked closer.
Cheng Xi said, “Let’s bring him back.”
Her colleague thought that she was crazy. “There are so many people around…… If we bring him back right now, it’ll be really troublesome later.”
She was right, but not bringing him back would also be troublesome. From Cheng Xi’s point of view, since the person who brought this strange man here could track down her car, they could naturally track her house as well. And the thought of waking up to the sight of someone like him hung against her door was even less desirable.
When she brought him back, the head asked her, “Now do you know what I was trying to tell you? The locals are like this: as long as you help one of them, there’ll be another one, and then another one. So, let me ask you again. Are you going to help all of them or not?”
Cheng Xi thought for a couple seconds before responding, “I guess I’ll help them all.” And before the head could reply, she asked, “Is there any way to help them more efficiently?”
While she might be able to help one or two of them with just herself, if she really wanted to reach out and help everyone in the county who needed it, she felt like she had to organize everything a little better.
She wasn’t a savior, but neither could she just ignore all these mentally ill people.
Her only recourse was to find people to help her out.
The head didn’t hesitate to reply, “Well, the best thing would be if the government led the effort.” But then she changed tones to remind her, “But, Cheng Xi, this isn’t something you can achieve with the snap of a finger. The first problem is the cost, and the second is our psychiatrists’ abilities. You’ve seen it for yourself, and that’s not even mentioning the fact we’re severely shorthanded. If you’re the only one who’s willing to take on patients, you wouldn’t be able to do much even if you worked yourself to death.”
“And you’re still going to go down this path?”
“Perhaps it’s because I want to do something big. That way, maybe I could get sent back quicker?”
The head laughed. “Even if you don’t do anything big, you’d be reassigned no matter what just based on your skills alone.”
Cheng Xi smiled calmly. Her adamant attitude left the head no choice but to give her a phone number. “This is the civil administration’s deputy bureau chief’s number. If you really want to try to help all of the mentally ill in the county, you should contact him first.”
Cheng Xi contemplated her options for the entire night and spent the day holed up in her office as she researched various laws and subjects. The next day, she went to see the deputy bureau chief with her own plan, but just like the head had predicted, this wasn’t an easy task to accomplish.
Gansu was one of the most impoverished provinces in all of China. As Cheng Xi continued to work, she was constantly thinking of ways to refine her plan. She made plans to talk with the government, contacted old classmates and professors from medical school and asked them to help. During one of her chats with Su Feng, she even joked, “I never knew how many resources I had all around me.”
When Tian Rou found out about what Cheng Xi was doing, it was already December. By then, Cheng Xi had already formed a preliminary plan with the government to help out the mentally ill in Gansu. On a stereotypical day, Tian Rou was hanging out with Baldy and his friends as usual. As they chatted over a meal, the topic of mahjong came up, and Baldy started bragging about how much he’d won the previous night. Xu Po sourly countered, “Winning against us isn’t anything to be proud of. If you really think you’ve got the skills, you should try to beat Dr. Cheng.”
Everyone suddenly quieted down as they subconsciously turned towards Lu Chenzhou. He continued scrolling through his phone, as if he didn’t hear a single thing.
Tian Rou couldn’t bear to let them drop the topic just like that, and she immediately jumped in with a cold smile. “It’ll be a long while before you guys can play mahjong with Cheng Xi. She’s doing something big in Gansu right now. Didn’t you know? She’s starting up an organization to help out all the impoverished mentally ill in the county, and she even managed to rope Renyi into her project. There’s a whole pipeline now, with students from her old medical school heading to Gansu to work for two years before being recruited into Renyi’s psychiatry department when they return. I recently asked her if she was going to come home for the new year, but she told me she wouldn’t have time. Ha! I don’t think that she’ll be back for another eight or ten years at this rate!”