< — The Taran Duke’s Family Doctor — > (1)
TN: ‘Employees’ is changed to ‘servants’.
Several months passed since Anna and Philip’s steady exchanged continued. Anna found Philip for teaching whenever she had free time and Philip admired Anna’s great passion for learning at such an advanced age.
Once a week, Anna and Philip went to offer their medical services to the poor and needy. Just like always, they set up a simple treatment room in a remote location at the back of an alley and received a flood of patients. It was difficult but as Anna treated patients with all sorts of diverse symptoms, her skills dramatically increased.
“Look here, don’t you think the stupid thing is to say you ate mugwort to make medicine?”
The voice of a hot-tempered middle-aged wife rang out loudly. The simple treatment room had two tables set slightly apart and in between them, a thin cloth acted as a wall. So when one raised their voice a little bit, one could be heard from the other side.
On the other side of the wall, Anna payed attention to the audible voice of the patient who came to Philip.
“Did I know and eat it? I only knew it had wild herbs.”
“Are your eyes crooked? How does that thing look like herbs!”
“Why did you leave it in the kitchen then!”
Mother and daughter went back and forth, raising their voices to each other as they quarreled.
Mugwort! Anna paused treatment on her side and fixed her gaze on the obscuring wall of cloth. Then she heard Philip’s calm voice.
“So what is the matter? Did you perhaps contact an ailment?”
“Aiyo! Doctor! This one ate that thing and her monthly period didn’t come. I don’t know what to do if this lass cannot perform her duties as a woman so I can’t sleep at night.”
“Tch, I like it this way.” (Daughter speaking)
“You crazy thing, ah! Do you want to be a woman that can’t give birth?”
Anna suddenly sprang to her feet. She didn’t notice the confused expression of her patient who was being treated. Anna lifted the wall made of cloth and went into the other partition.
Philip glanced at Anna once then spoke to the patient.
“I cannot treat you if you’re making so much fuss. Quiet down. How much mugwort did you eat?”
“About as much as a side dish? I mixed it up with vegetable and ate it.” (Patient)
Her mother next to her: ‘This crazy-! How can you happily eat that foul-tasting thing and call it vegetable? Aiyo, I didn’t give birth to a human, I birthed a good-for-nothing. Ai! I can’t live in peace.’
She continued to grumble inwardly.
“When did you have your first menstruation?” (Philip)
“I think the year before last?”
“You didn’t keep eating the mugwort, did you?”
“Then, this is just a temporary state, your menses will start again next month. So you don’t need to be worried. You too, Mother.”
Both mother and daughter were in disbelief so they had to be persuaded and promised several times before they left.
“What’s wrong, Anna? Is there a patient with a problem?” (Philip)
“…No. I’ll tell you later.”
After they finished giving free treatment and the day was darkening into night, the two returned to drink tea at Philip’s residence.
“Earlier…I mean the patient who took mugwort. That was my first time seeing a such a symptom but Sir Philip seemed to know all about it. I know mugwort has a hemostatic effect but for that to stop menstruation? How could that be when the blood from menstruation and the blood from wounds are from completely different structures?” (Anna)
“It’s rare but occasionally, it occurs in patients. It can happen when the poor hunger and don’t distinguish between what they eat. However, there’s nothing to worry about. There’s nothing wrong with the body, it’s just a temporary state.” (Philip)
“Then, by any chance, do you know of menstruation stopping entirely after eating mugwort?”
Philip’s hand lifting the teacup to his mouth paused for a moment. A mysterious glint flashed through his eyes, disappearing just as fast as it came. His relaxed smile remained unchanged and his voice was very relaxed as he spoke.
“Interesting. Do you have such a patient?”
“Yes, in state of complete amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods). The herb intake was for quite the long time.”
In the meantime, Anna had purchased hundreds of medicinal books in order to find a cure for the Duchess. She scrapped up all the books on the market and not only that, she asked around for the doctors living in Roam (city) and went to them diligently. However, there was not one person who recognized the symptom of menstruation stopping after eating mugwort.
Anna would have rather preferred to experiment the diet on herself but unfortunately, she was already in her menopause and because she didn’t know the side effects, she couldn’t test it on another person.
So, it was both surprising and frustrating to stumble across that patient today. If she knew beforehand, she would’ve gone digging through the slums. Anna admired Philip anew.
[How did you obtain such excellent medical skill? You know much of what is in the books and what is not in the books.]
The more she knew, the more amazed she was by Philip’s medical knowledge so one day, she asked him directly.
[There are simply a lot of miscellaneous things I picked along the way when I was wandering around.]
Philip spoke modestly but Anna thought of it as his reward for wandering the hinterland to offer his medical services. He was really an excellent doctor.
“Philip, didn’t you say you treated a lot of patients while traveling? I feel very embarrassed in comparison. True medicine should be performed with the heart yet my lowly medicine is priced with greed.”
“Anna, your medical skill is superb. You are enthusiastic and true to your patient. It is a shame you don’t receive proper recognition because you are a woman.”
“You speak too highly of me.”
Anna smiled and brought the teacup to her mouth. If Anna had seen Philip’s eyes then, she would have felt strange. The pupils of his eyes flickered silently, revealing his impatience.
“Who is the patient?” (Philip)
Anna hesitated. Keeping a patient’s confidentiality was the duty of a doctor. However, Anna couldn’t let go of the only and definite clue that she’d barely managed to fine. The longer she couldn’t grasp a clue, the more anxious she felt. No one was urging her but she felt agitated.
‘It’s okay. He’s the Duke’s doctor and one with excellent medical skills. He’s a true doctor who finds the poor to offer his medical services.’
She didn’t know why he was under surveillance, but if he was someone who would harm the Duke, it wouldn’t just end with surveillance. She made up her mind. Still, she felt too uncomfortable to readily mention the madam.
“To be honest, I came to find you at first because I wanted some advice on this symptom.”
If the Duchess’ doctor was seeking advice from another doctor, without one even saying who the patient was, it was obvious. Anna nodded her head to Philip who was quietly looking at her.
“By any chance…was the mugwort taken from the first menstrual period?”(Philip)
Anna yelled out cheerfully.
“Do you know a way to treat it?” (Anna)
“Fortunately, I do.” (Philip)
The cure she had been looking for all this while had been right next to her. If she had honestly asked for advice from the beginning, she would have gotten it without going through so much trouble.
However, she didn’t regret the time spent going through that trouble. Searching for books and digging through them were of great help to her skills.
“How did the patient happen to take mugwort?” (Philip)
“The patient wasn’t knowledgeable as a child and did not know of the changes in a woman. Summarily, in the patient’s young mind, it was a drug that stopped bleeding so one tried to fix the first menstruation.” (Anna)
“How long was this intake?”
“I heard it was taken for about half a year, after which there was no more menstruation. Is it really possible to treat?”
“Listen a little longer. This symptoms require special conditions to be treated. One must not be a virgin and one must not have experienced union with more than one man.”
Anna’s expression fell. The symptom itself was already strange now even the treatment condition was strange too. Because of Anna’s experience treating the Duchess, she knew of the Duchess’ purity better than anyone else.
But this matter was privately hidden and concerned the Duchess’ reputation. She hesitated for a while but in the end she chose her belief that as doctor, if one was embarrassed about their patient’s condition, one would not be able to treat their patient properly.
“That won’t be a problem. The patient was married some time ago and the first night was the patient’s first union.”
Anna stubbornly did not directly mention who the patient was but they were both understanding each other.
“Then, does this mean it can be treated?” (Anna)
Philip lowered his gaze a little and said nothing in reply. Anna waited quietly, not wanting to interfere with his thoughts. But in actuality, Philip was only trying to calm his overwhelmed and turbulent emotions. After some time, he lifted his head with a calm expression.
“I’ll go see Milady immediately. I’m sure she will be much pleased that I have found a cure.”
Anna shuffled restlessly in her seat as if she would get up at any moment. She didn’t even realize that she had directly said who the patient was. Philip used a hand gesture to tell her to calm down.
“This treatment is one of the visions passed down in our family. The exact method of preparation is in the notebook passed down and I have to check it but I don’t have it right now. I put it someplace else. It looks like I’ll have to leave for a while.”
Anna felt regretful. She was filled with impatience as she didn’t want to lose the clue she had finally gotten.
“Will it take long? Is it possible for me to go with you?”
“I apologize but I cannot take you with me. It is a secret location passed down in our family for generations.”
“I was too impatient. I’m sorry for making an unreasonable request.”
“There’s no need to be in a rush. I will definitely give you the treatment. Therefore, in the meantime, don’t tell the patient. There’s no need to make one wait in vain.”
“You’re right. When do you expect to be back?”
“At the latest, I will be back in a week.”
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