Chinese Herbal Medicine

A Visit to a Chinese Doctor

Comparison Medical Exam

While I was visiting with the Chinese doctor, I was also going through a series of exams by our “regular” family doctor practicing in our town.  I never told him we were seeing a Chinese Herbologist in D.C.  In March, our family doctor decided that he really wanted me to have a full set of lab work performed.  Winnie and I were also beginning to consult with another OB/GYN, and this doctor wanted me to have another fertility exam.  Once again, the needs of two doctors coincided and in mid-April, 2007, I was poked, prodded, tested and inspected in the finest practices of modern American medicine.

I will hereby refer to these tests as my comparison medical exam, as I use them to show the difference with my baseline tests of the previous summer.  The results of my comparison tests are summarized as:

  1. My fertility issues had improved by over five times from the baseline.
  2. No indication of liver or kidney problems.
  3. My blood cholesterol was down to 238 but my LDL cholesterol had climbed to 151.

What I found most interesting was the reactions of both our family doctor and Winnie’s OB/GYN at the differences between my baseline and comparison test results.  “Astonishment” would be one description.

To be fair, there were some life-style changes between the time of my baseline and comparison tests.  For one, I had cut back on my drinking to about 2 – 3 drinks per night or less.  I was eating a better diet containing fresh vegetables and fruit with much less grease and MSG than the last six months in Mississippi.  Our living environment was much healthier, and my stress factors had dramatically decreased even though I still had occasional bouts of diarrhea.  I still was only getting about 6 hours sleep each night, but was getting some “makeup” sleep on weekends.  I was also getting some exercise from walking between home, the commuter bus stop, and work each day, a total of about two miles. While not much, it was the first regular outdoor exercise I had routinely engaged in for several years.

I don’t know that my life-style changes can fully explain the dramatic differences in my lab work between August 2006 and April 2007.  Nor can I prove that any of the positive differences between my baseline and comparison lab test can be completely explained by the herbal prescriptions provided by Dr Zhung.  I do know the following;

  1. Dr Zhung was able to correctly diagnose my liver and kidney problems on my first visit without having any access to my previous lab results, and without the use of any medical laboratory equipment.
  2. Over a period of time that included some lifestyle changes and a regiment of herbal medications specifically prescribed to counteract diagnosed liver, kidney, and fertility problems, all three areas showed positive improvements as measured by standard American medical tests.
  3. My LDL Cholesterol had significantly increased, but this was something I neither consulted with Dr Zhung about nor expected to have addressed by herbal medications.
  4. The differences in test results caused expressions of astonishment from two different doctors, neither of whom knew that I was consulting with a Chinese Herbologist.
  5. The prescriptions Dr Zhung prescribed for Winnie did not appear to have any effects.  However, we have no before or after lab tests to either confirm or deny any effects to her.

The following year, April, 2008, my doctor had me perform another fertility test.  My results of this test were essentially consistent with those of April 2007. One factor had improved 1.4x higher than the previous year.

Despite all this medical work, we were never able to have children. I consulted with Dr Zhung several times after April 2007, then stopped completely after more discussions with Winnie.  She wasn’t convinced that the results were worth the effort.

Postscript

In June 2011 Winnie and I traveled to China on a three week vacation trip. By the end of the second week, while we were staying with Winnie’s older sister’s family I came down with a serious flu-like cold, probably the worst I’ve had in over 20 years. After a couple of days it was obvious that I wasn’t getting better on my own, so Winnie’s brother-in-law took me and Winnie down to the local clinic. Once at the clinic, Winnie’s brother-in-law went off and came back a few minutes later to usher us into the office of the head doctor. Coincidentally, Winnie’s brother-in-law grew up with the head doctor and was best of friends, which may explain our quick appointment.

The doctor, with translation assistance from Winnie, had me stand up and stick out my tongue. He peered into my mouth using a small flashlight, looked in each of my ears, and felt my forehead for temperature. He backed away from me shaking his head “tsking,” then wrote out a prescription and handed it to my brother-in-law.  We marched over to the pharmacy, waited in line a few minutes, and received three small envelopes each containing a small number of pills. Total time at the clinic for a medical exam and receiving medication was less than one hour. There was no charge for the doctor’s exam. I don’t know the exact cost for the medication, but it wasn’t enough to be a concern for either Winnie or her brother-in-law.

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