Tales from the Practice of Medicine: Diarrhea

Li Defu

PureInsight | March 24, 2003

[PureInsight.org] Fernando and I have been working together in the same clinic for many years. He is one of the most respected family doctors in the area. We frequently discussed the differences in Western and Chinese approaches to medical treatment and diagnosis, as we wanted to address our respective deficiencies and learn from each other's strengths.

Once I noticed that he appeared very troubled, so I asked him what was bothering him. With a weary smile on his face he admitted that his child had been having diarrhea for a while. He tried all kinds of treatments; however, neither injections nor pills could stop the diarrhea. The child was in misery. Today his wife, overcome by frustration and anxiety, picked up the child and declared, "Let's go! We shall find a real doctor!"

Fernando did not know how to respond to these words. He is a highly respected doctor. If he were not regarded as a real doctor, then who would be? On the other hand, this time even Fernando could not cure his own child of such a minor illness, such as diarrhea. How could he blame his wife for losing confidence in him?

He looked at me for a moment, and suddenly his eyes brightened up. "Why didn't I think of asking you for the Chinese medical treatment for children's diarrhea?"

Therefore, we started to discuss his child's symptoms. He told me that at midnight or daybreak, his child would come down with a very bad case of diarrhea, which resulted in the child's abdomen becoming tough and swollen. Nonetheless, the child did not eat any less, nor did it lose any weight. According to Fernando, his child had been sleeping with its navel exposed for months. Therefore, I told Fernando how important it was to keep the navel warm, as encouraged from a Chinese medicine standpoint. We then continued the discussion into the differences between Chinese and western culture, habits and customs. For example, people in western culture would not connect a chilled navel with diarrhea. I explained the impact of the western children's diet. Raw, cold, greasy food and drinks, such as ice water, french fries, chocolate ice cream, and hamburgers, are hard to digest for a child. A chilled navel in the evening is all the more aggravating to the child's stomach. How can a child's stomach take all these abuses and not complain at all? Fernando finally realized the root cause of his child's diarrhea.

He asked about the relevant Chinese medical theory in detail, analyzed the theory, and found it very reasonable. He returned home, adjusted his child's living style according to the Chinese medical theory, and assured that the child's navel was kept warm. Before long, his child's diarrhea stopped.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/3/4/20673.html

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