Chapter 45: Conditions
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
(Unedited – Editor on Vacation)
The rain lasted for three days, making the temperature drop sharply. The air was cold and humid. The trees on the street were bare. Every corner looked bleak.
Whenever the weather was bad, Lu Shang’s condition would aggravate, and his usual medications were no good in just a few days. Li Sui would often rush back from work to remind Lu Shang to take his medicine, but it still had no effect. Recently, too many things were happening in the company. The mess at the harbor had just been resolved, but Liu XinTian was already close behind, giving them new problems, they couldn’t t relax for even a moment. Li Sui was sometimes too busy, and he would wait for Lu Shang to fall asleep, then secretly go back to the company for overtime.
Near evening on a certain day, Lu Shang stayed at home boringly, he did not want Li Sui to rush back and forth the company, so he asked Xiao Zhao to drive him to the new office building Li Sui was working in.
Li Sui was discussing transport rules with his coworkers, when he saw Lu Shang coming in. Li Sui did not show anything on his face, but the joy was clearly in his eyes, those couldn’t possibly be hidden, “Why did you come? Have you had dinner yet?”
“Just here for a small sightseeing trip.” Lu Shang did not wear a formal suit today, he was wrapped up in a thick goose feather coat. Seeing them discussing, Lu Shang found an unoccupied seat in the corner of the room.
Li Sui asked his assistant to go downstairs to buy a meal. Li Sui stopped him when he was about to go out. Li Sui ran out with an umbrella, “Never mind, I’ll go myself. You don’t know what he’s going to eat.”
Many people here only heard of Lu Shang and had never seen him in person. The director of a conglomerate who lived in a modest house, suddenly appearing here. It was unavoidable that everyone was somewhat exhilarated, trying to take a peek at him. Lu Shang noticed, he lifted his head up and smiled gently, “There are a few boxes of snacks in my car trunk. Please, feel free to take them and share them.”
The young ladies seemed to be very pleased and went out cheerfully, the office was empty in no time. SiMa Yan got a cup of hot tea from the pantry and handed it to Lu Shang, “Director Lu, have a drink.”
Lu Shang thanked him and asked, “Are you doing okay here? Do you need my help?”
“We don’t need help yet, our family used to do logistics in before, so a lot of resources were available. My father also helped us find a lot of connections.”
Lu Shang nodded, “Remember to come to me when you need something.”
“You’ve helped us a lot already,” SiMa Yan continued, “You’ve helped us smooth out the problems at the harbor recently, didn’t you?”
Lu Shang smiled lightly and did not deny it. He only said, “You guys are starting a company for the first time, so I want you guys to have things as smooth as possible.”
Sima Yan nodded with strength, “I was just saying how I always feel like someone is helping us behind our backs. Li Sui also said he felt the same way, but he always thought it was my father.”
Lu Shang lowered his head and rubbed the rim of the teacup, he said, “If I’m no longer here in the future, please help him.”
A strange feeling flashed across SiMa Yan’s heart when he heard Lu Shang speak, but he did not put too much thought on the subject. He nodded and said, “Of course.”
Li Sui walked up the stairs with some food. He saw the boxes of chocolate and beef jerky on the office table. He then glanced at the packaging and asked, “Who’s so generous?”
A female employee next to him joked, “Guess who?”
Li Sui’s eyes fell onto Lu Shang, who was sitting at the side of the office, reading a report. Li Sui knew immediately, there was no need to guess. He walked over and put the food in front of Lu Shang, “Have some food first.”
Lu Shang raised his head up from the report and pushed his glasses up, “Too much budget is placed on taxes, you should ask the accountant to adjust it.”
“Understood,” Li Sui felt bad seeing Lu Shang worrying about these trivial matters, he handed the chopsticks to Lu Shang as he laughed, “I wanted to play safe, especially in the early stages, but I’ll find a way.”
In truth, Lu Shang had no appetite, but he still picked up some vegetables and ate them. His hand paused after the food entered his mouth, “Did you make this?”
Li Sui looked back at him with a smile, “Is it delicious? The spices were of different brands from those at home. I begged for super long before the boss of the restaurant let me in the kitchen.”
Lu Shang nodded and reached out his hand to touch Li Sui’s hair, which was wet from the rain, “Take care of yourself, don’t get sick from overworking yourself.”
“That’s what I should say to you,” Li Sui took Lu Shang’s hand off his head and held it, “You have to be fine, you’re my battery after all.”
After they finished their meal, Li Sui stood up and saw that the office was mostly empty. The employees were either in the pantry or the conference room, almost like they were fleeing from something.
“What’s wrong?” Lu Shang asked him.
Li Sui turned back and smiled, “I have to work overtime since we must finalize a proposal today. Can you wait for me for a little? We can go home together in the evening.”
Lu Shang naturally had no objection, but whenever it got dark, Lu Shang’s eyes would become an inconvenience, so Li Sui brought him to the sofa in his office and let him settle down. After that, Li Sui went out to call the staff back to continue the meeting.
After filling their stomachs, they were also force-fed some sweet fluff. None of the employees dared delay their bosses’ happy couple time. All of them brought their A game and finished the work in the faster time in history, work that usually took three hours were completed in less than an hour.
“Thank you for everyone’s hard work, let’s cut off here.” Li Sui did not say anything extra. He just had his assistant stay behind to sort out the minutes of the meeting and let everyone else leave.
Li Sui pushed open the door of his office, Lu Shang was leaning on the back of the sofa, his eyes were closed. When Li Sui approached, he realized that Lu Shang was sleeping as his breaths were shallow. He didn’t have the heart to wake Lu Shang up, so took off his blazer and covered Lu Shang up with it.
Someone outside the door came in and was going to open his mouth, Li Sui immediately turned around and made a “shush” gesture.
The one poking his head in was Li Sui’s assistant, he saw the scene in front of him and swallowed back what he wanted to say. The assistant pulled out Li Sui’s phone and pointed at it with his fingers. Li Sui understood, he carefully covered Lu Shang with the blazer, he got up and walked out the office.
Li Sui took the phone from his assistant, and there came Leung ZiRui’s excited voice, “I, I found Leon!”
Li Sui’s chest tightened, “Where is he?”
“It’s a long story,” said Leung ZiRui, the signal from where he was at was apparently not good, the sound was intermittent.
“I was going to bring him back, but now I’m stuck.”
“Someone is following us, and we don’t know who those people are working for,” Leung Zirui said without elaborating, “Ask Lu Shang if he can do something about it, I can’t get through to his phone.”
Li Sui looked back at the sleeping Lu Shang and said after some thought, “He’s resting. Where are you? I’ll arrange someone to pick you up.”
“Okay, I’ll send you my exact coordinates via email in five minutes,” said Leung ZiRui. “Leon has promised to help me examine Lu Shang. You should also do some preparations for that.”
Li Sui paused, he hesitated for a moment, and said, “I’ll tell him after I get more details.”
Leon was willing to help, that, of course, was something Li Sui was dreaming for, but Li Sui had to be careful. If Leon had a way of treating Lu Shang, naturally everyone would be happy, but in case Leon could not do anything, he would only hurt Lu Shang by giving him false hope. With Lu Shang’s current physical condition, Li Sui couldn’t risk letting Lu Shang go through that additional emotional rollercoaster.
Xe WeiLan and the others often praised Li Sui for being thorough in his work. Nobody knew that most of that ability came to be, because of Lu Shang’s illness. If anyone had a lover that was dealing with the God of death every day, and a word or a single action could lead to his death; growing up in such an environment, anyone would be thorough and careful.
Lu Shang had to go out of the house, so he was tired and did not wake up. Li Sui was afraid that Lu Shang would catch a cold if he stayed in the office any long, so he carried the man to the parking lot.
The movements were too much, so Lu Shang woke up. He laughed on Li Sui’s back, “This is pathetic, let me down.”
“So your wings had hardened?”
“My wings aren’t hard, but…” Li Sui whispered something at Lu Shang’s ear, then both of them laughed.
“I can’t really satisfy you now.” Lu Shang laughed, his face was still pale.
Li Sui touched Lu Shang’s forehead and said, “So, you must get better quickly.”
When they got home, it was already late at night. Before going to bed, Li Sui said to Lu Shang, “I will be a little busy in recent days. If it’s too late, you should go to sleep first. Don’t wait for me.”
Lu Shang didn’t even ask Li Sui what he was busy about and only said, “It’s going to be windy these two days. Remember to wear thick clothes when you go outside.”
“Hmn.” Li Sui replied, he seldom lied to Lu Shang, so his expression was not quite natural.
Lu Shang couldn’t see that, he just thought Li Sui was being careless and ignoring his reminders. Lu Shang laughed and said, “I’m still having a cold, don’t let my disease infect you.”
“Let it infect me.” Li Sui hugged Lu Shang tightly, “Other couples wear matching clothes, but we can get matching diseases. How great is that.”
The next day, as expected the wind picked up and it was cold outside, cold enough to make people shiver to their cores. Leung ZiRui’s plane landed after dark, Li Sui went directly to RuiGe Hospital after getting off work.
At first, hearing Leung ZiRui say that he was being followed, Li Sui thought someone might had found out that they had a way to cure Lu Shang, so they were trying to stop them. This was why Lu Shang seldom let anyone else treat his illnesses, he had always been on guard when it came to keeping his disease a secret.
After walking up the stairs, Li Sui opened the door, and in front of him stood a tall, energetic man. He looked nothing like the drug addict Leung ZiRui described him as.
“Did you find the wrong person?” Li Sui questioned.
Leung ZiRui pointed to his own face and said, “I swear he’s real, even if I’m a fake, he isn’t.”
The two men were looking at Lu Shang’s past surgical recordings. Li Sui greeted Leon in English, but the latter just vaguely responded.
“How did you find him?” Li Sui asked.
On the topic, Leung ZiRui was amused, “He owed a lot of credit card debts, so he was restricted from leaving the country and was caught at the airport. A friend of mine was working there, he knew I was looking for him, and informed me.”
“Who followed you?”
“Rest assured, it has nothing to do with Lu Shang. They were just looking for Leon for his debt.”
Li Sui looked back at Leon with a sigh of relief and asked, “Didn’t he refuse to help Lu Shang with his illness before?”
“I helped him pay off all his credit card debts,” Leung ZiRui said. “I heard that the institution that provided him with research funds went bankrupt. With his debt records and marijuana smoking habits, I’m afraid it would be very difficult for him to apply for new funds in the future, so……”
Li Sui found that a little unexpected, but he said almost immediately, “Money is not a problem.”
Leung ZiRui nodded, “Remember to deal with the credit card debts for me then.”
Li Sui turned to Leon and said in English, “Professor, please. As long as you can help Lu Shang cure his illness, we will provide all of your future research funds.”
Leon turned around and made an “OK” sign with his hand.
They studied the medical data for a long time, stopping finally when it was around midnight. After reading all the data and watching all the films, Leon proposed a surgery plan for Lu Shang’s condition. There were too many medical terms, so Li Sui had to turn to Leung ZiRui for help.
After listening to Leon’s proposal, Dr. Leung compared his proposal to the data at hand, he commented, “It’s bold, but thorough. If this operation is successful, as long as Lu Shang stop being crazy and take care of himself, he should have a long life.”
Li Sui looked slightly agitated and asked, “Is it risky?”
“Very,” Dr. Leung breathed in air and said, “It’s not just very risky, I could almost describe it as juggling scalpels on a thin rope.”
This was also one of the most difficult point of doing surgeries, even with Leon, the top expert in doing heart surgeries, risks were unavoidable. On the operating table, medical skills and experiences were the supporting elements. Doing an operation wasn’t magic, no matter how good the surgeon’s skills were, that could only increase the probability of success, a single scalpel could never get pry open the gates out of hell with 100%.
The room fell into silent, each with their own thoughts and concerns.
Li Sui watched Leung ZiRui pacing back and forth the room and asked, “Is there no other way?”
Leung ZiRui stopped and sighed softly, “The procedure is flexible, but this aneurysm can’t be avoided, and its location is too dangerous. With a case like this, no matter which hospital you go to around the world, the doctor will recommend a direct heart replacement, only Dr. Leon would suggest removing the aneurysm through surgery.”
Leon expressed a different concern, “Rather than the aneurysm, I’m more worried about whether his heart could recover beating after removing the ECMO machine (i).”
T/N: (i) Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine, provide temporary heart or lungs functions for patients undergoing heart or lungs surgery.
On the subject, Leung ZiRui found his head getting more painful. He was only thinking about how to get the aneurysm off, he had forgotten that the thing had almost completely merged with Lu Shang’s heart. If they cut it rashly, Leung ZiRui had no idea what adverse reactions it might cause.
Leon thought for a while and said tryingly, “We can try using Digitalis.”
Leung ZiRui frowned slightly, “I have never used Digitalis type medicine on him except for Digoxin.”
“A controversial heart stimulant, it is poisonous but very effective. Using it is not impossible, but the dosage varies greatly among individuals. The suitable dosage for treatment is very close to the dosage that causes poisoning. Insufficient dosage affects the treatment ability, and excessive amount leads to poisoning, the medicine dosage is not easy to control.”
Leon shook his head after a bit, “There’s too little clinical data at the moment. If his physical condition permits its, we can test the poisoning threshold beforehand though.”
“I can test it for him,” Li Sui suddenly said. “Try it on me.”
Both of them looked at him. Leung ZiRui was amused and was going to ask him to stop joking. Li Sui was dead serious though, he added, “I have the same blood type as Lu Shang, PRA negative (ii), and our HLA (iii) are almost a complete match. I am the closest person in the world to him.”
T/N: (ii) Panel Reactive Antibodies, if the percentage is lower than 10%, it is counted as negative. The lower the percentage, the less chance that the person’s donated organs will cause rejection in the recipient’s body.
(iii) Human Leukocyte Antigens
Leung ZiRui and Leon looked at each other.
“Let him try.” Leon said.
Leung ZiRui hesitated and considered for a long time, then he said, “Lu Shang will kill me.”
“Don’t tell him then,” Li Sui said. Seeing that Leung ZiRui was not talking, he asked again, “Time is of the essence, we can’t afford to wait anymore. What do I need to prepare?”
“Brat, you’re just……” Leung ZiRui sighed, “You know how serious Lu Shang’s illness is. Even Leon might not be able to cure him. Your efforts could very well go to waste, even so, you’re going to try?”
“Doctor Leung,” Li Sui looked at him, his eyes were full of certainty, “You know, he’s all I have.”
Leung ZiRui stared at Li Sui for a long time, but eventually Leung ZiRui was defeated, “……Okay, I’ll write the application form.
It took only three days for the experiment to be approved, Li Sui had no idea how Leung ZiRui did that. Even so, Li Sui was still in a rush, when he received the notification, he ran straight to the hospital. After consulting each other, Leon and Leung ZiRui finally decided it was the best to commence the test in the morning.
“Sign your name here.”
Leung ZiRui handed the consent form to Li Sui, “Here’s the duplicate, sign and save one for yourself.”
Li Sui read through the documents roughly and signed his name, “Will the test be finished quickly?”
“The Digitalis made medicine we are testing today work very fast, it is quickly metabolized in the body. If things go smoothly, it should take around eight hours.”
Li Sui nodded, then looked up to asked, “What will happen when I got poisoned?”
“The symptoms of poisoning will mainly manifest in the heart, digestive system, nervous system, and vision. We will closely monitor your ECG and blood pressure, once the threshold is measured, we will end the test immediately.”
Li Sui handed back the two signed consent forms to Leung ZiRui.
“You don’t want to keep one?”
“No.” Li Sui shook his head.
Leung ZiRui knew that he was afraid of taking it back and risking Lu Shang finding out, so he put it back into his own drawer.
In order to ensure Li Sui’s safety, Leung ZiRui set the operating room as the test site, various medicine could be easily reached on the room. In case of poisoning, Li Sui could be given potassium supplements as soon as possible.
“If you feel discomfort, you must say it immediately, don’t hide it.” Leung ZiRui put electrodes on Li Sui’s body and reminded him again.
Li Sui lowered his head and glanced at his own chest. These things were often placed on Lu Shang before, he reached his hand out to touch them, an idea flashed across his mind.
Leon came in with the medicine and began to disinfect Li Sui’s skin. Leung ZiRui stopped him and asked one more time, “Are you really not telling Lu Shang?”
Li Sui shook his head and gave Leon a look, “Let’s begin.”
The calmest person in the whole operating room was probably Li Sui. Leung ZiRui had done countless large and small scale operations, he had seen life passing across his eyes. Naturally, this should not be anything out of the ordinary to him, but watching Leon inject the medicine into Li Sui’s vein caused his palm to sweat. He felt something similar to stealing someone else’s treasure.
If Lu Shang knew that he used Li Sui to test poisoning dosage, their friendship would likely be over.
The medicine worked very fast. Upon the introduction of the medicine, Li Sui’s heart rate spiked, he gradually felt dizzy with the world spinning in front of his eyes.
“How are you?” Leung ZiRui asked.
Li Sui’s head ached, and his consciousness was scattered. He opened his mouth but said nothing. In the chaotic state, he felt like he saw scores of people, familiar ones and unfamiliar ones, all mixed together, as if he was on a train passing through time itself, countless faces moved past him.
“How much now?”
Li Sui was in so much pain that he was sweating all over, his eyes lacked focus, even the blue veins on his head popped up. Li Sui’s hands were clenched tight into fists and his fingertips were white from the force, his body was also tense and stiff. This reaction was somewhat frightening to Leung ZiRui, he called out to Li Sui a few times in assurance, “Li Sui? Xiao Li?”
“Remember to record the numbers.” Leon noticed that Leung ZiRui was a little nervous and gave him a warning.
The machines near his ear kept making dripping sounds, and the rhythm was getting faster and faster. The sound was torturing Li Sui, he felt like his head was being torn apart. It felt as if someone was smashing his brain with a stone. Li Sui closed his eyes in the dizziness, but suddenly heard a familiar voice in his mind—— “Mom.”
The voice was just so familiar, he searched through his brain but still could not remember who it belonged to.
“… Who is it?”
Li Sui opened his eyes abruptly. Everything Li Sui was familiar with receded around him like tides. He turned around in a circle and found himself standing in a garden amongst grand wooden buildings. A tall and thin woman was looking at him coldly, her facial features were quite similar to his.
“Mom.” He heard himself calling her that.
I. Digitalis: A kind of heart stimulant, has been commonly used for treating heart failure, clinical trials had varying results on the type of medicine. Digitalis could be categorised as high speed types (e.g. Strophantin K, Cedilanid) and medium speed types (e.g. Digoxin).
II. Digoxin: A kind of medium speed heart stimulant. Effects show quickly after ingesting, the medicine are also removed quickly, very little remains in the body, and the duration of effects are short. Hence, it is regarded as a safer type of Digitalis. It is also the only type of Digitalis made medicine that has been tested in clinical trials and proven to be useful in treating heart failure.
T/N: Remember Li Sui’s book gallery in his tablet in Chapter 19, the book 《心臟養護與心臟病防治 》(Treatment and Care for Coronary Disease Patient) is in it, so apparently it’s a real Chinese book.