Chapter 24: Dog Days
That day, no one had a good day. The little girl was still not out of danger, and the crime scene investigation had still not concluded. Basically the investigation was at a stalemate, making everyone on the crime team depressed. Seemed only a new clue would be able to get them excited again. In addition, Shanghai had entered the hottest part of summer, the cicadas in the trees in the prime of their short lives, their chirps rising and falling excitedly one after another. The mugginess caused by the low pressure, plus the incessant noise of the insects, made everyone like a cardboard box full of gunpowder, ready to explode at any time. The newly man on the criminal investigation team, Zhang Chi, had to restrain his nonchalant demeanor and temporary shelve his hotblooded boasting self-confident attitude, and when he walked down the hallway he didn’t do it with his usual swagger lest it lead to some unnecessary conflict.
Everyone knew there were no more clues at the moment. Every sort of criminal investigation technique put to use on this case in this old residential area had come up short. But the detectives weren’t about to give up. Even if they were being tortured they’d still persist in conducting their meaningless interviews in the dark. The younger officers had a bit of free time and used it to pick up their neglected fitness regimens, so that soon the once usually deserted gym was full of people.
Gu Shi was the only woman among the exercisers, looking good in her fitness attire. Her shapely figure, usually covered up by her uniform, now looked especially appealing. She paid no attention to the male officers’ looks. There was only one man in her eyes.
That man was none other than Gu Zhichang. Rather than say she was there to train, it would be better to say she was there to supervise her dad.
Gu Zhichang had high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol, yet he was also a fitness fanatic. He hadn’t slept well the day before due to thinking about the case, so he was up at the first chirp of the birds the next morning, not even five o’clock. Therefore, of course his blood pressure wasn’t low. At noon he, who refused to give in to his age, and decked in his workout clothes, was clustered around by his younger colleagues on the team as they talked and laughed on their way to the gym. If it had not been for his daughter’s reproachful arched eyebrowed stare he probably would run for an hour before stuffing down a few steamed buns and gulping a sports drink, making his blood sugar soar higher. Until he went out at night again to sate his hunger with fatty foods, steadily increasing his cholesterol. By the time Gu Shi found him listless or drowsy, not looking well, his blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol would have already reached a critical point.
So Gu Shi chose to have selective “amnesia”, and burning with anxiety, went to seek the advice of Chen Ting, who was proficient in Chinese medicine. Chen Ting had never seen this “model of a poised daughter” Gu Shi so out of sorts. After his initial shock, he told her all he could. “Don’t worry, there’s a cause for everything. For the high blood sugar, Gu Zhichang’s already reached the criterion for diabetes. But from a Chinese medicine point of view, diabetes can be divided into dry heat due to yin deficiency, thus requiring raising yin to clear the heat, dual vacuity of qi and yin requiring boosting of qi and nourishment of yin, and deficiency of both yin and yang, requiring warming the yang and fostering the yin.”
Gu Shi was standing in his office, not willing to sit. She smiled wryly. “Please, if you talk like that it’ll make me even dizzier. Can you give a more constructive explanation?”
Zhang Chi made a STOP motion with his hand. “Miss Gu, settle down first. Everything will be okay in due time. Chen Ting’s manner of speaking is systematic and orderly. You can’t throw off his rhythm. Don’t rush.”
“Why are you always here. You threw off my rhythm.” Gu Shi had been focused, listening, and was startled by his intrusion. She openly glared at him.
He just shrugged and took his drawing board and sat down on the sofa and didn’t look at them anymore. Zhang Chi quietly sketched the two restless people in front of him, while thinking, shows what you know. I’m gonna be all over your world. Like it or hate it, habit is the most formidable force.
He noticed a long, thin scar on Gu Shi’s inner arm, probably from a long time ago, that had already become lighter in color than the surrounding skin. No doubt she scarred easily, otherwise such a shallow wound would never had resulted in a permanent scar. He really wanted to know its backstory and hold that wounded little girl. Because the attractive, shapely ice queen before him always gave people a distant, aloof feeling.
Chen Ting looked at Zhang Chi with puzzlement and gratitude after that show of support, then he started back up where he left off. “I was just talking about treatment, but I can’t really help much with that now. After all, I’m not a doctor. I can’t take Mr. Gu’s pulse to determine his body type. But Chinese medicine says diabetes is closely linked with diet. Dietary control directly influences whether or not the patient’s condition takes a turn for the better or a turn for the worse. In other words, diet therapy is crucial. Do you know who first proposed diet therapy?”
Zhang Chi had already drifted away from the conversation, and Gu Shi was standing with her arms crossed listenly attentively as if she had no other choice, so he could only continue his monologue. “The King of Medicine, Sun Simiao, once put forth, ‘one must avoid three things: one, excessive drinking, two, excessive sex, and three, too many salty and starchy foods’. In other words, he was the first in the world to pioneer dietary treatment. Diabetes is three parts treatment, seven parts nourishment.”
“So tell me, what should be done?” Gu Shi looked up and took a deep breath, finally asking her question. She didn’t get it. Chen Ting, who was normally quiet and reserved, somehow could wax eloquent on the subject of Chinese medicine, resembling a university lecturer at the podium, going on and on forever without getting to the point.
Zhang Chi knew him. When Chen Ting got going it was hard for him to put on the brakes. “First, let me explain a few principles. A diabetic ought to eat foods high in fiber because high-fiber foods can reduce one’s blood sugar after a meal, as well as reduce one’s cholesterol. At the same time, one ought not to eat too many foods high in carbohydrates, as that can raise one’s blood sugar. Also, diabetics must remember not to drink alcohol. Their liver is not as able to detoxify, so drinking will just make it hard on one’s liver and lead to further injury. In addition, one must eat foods with selenium, and foods that can replenish one’s vitamin B and C. The former is because it acts like insulin in regulating one’s sugar metabolism. The latter can mitigate the load put on the patient’s pancreas…”
“Can I trouble you to make a list for me,” Gu Shi interjected, not able to take any more. “The foods he can eat, the foods he can’t eat. Otherwise I’ll forget as soon as I turn around.”
“Later I will give you a list of good foods and foods to avoid.” Zhang Chi looked up from his drawing board and glanced sidelong at him, his face serious, without a trace of distraction.
This guy is really something. Just like that he thinks he can go after this girl? Much less such a difficult catch like Gu Shi. She was about to burst into flames from impatience, and here he was still leisurely counting off his theories on his fingers.
Gu Shi looked at the clock. “It’s almost lunch time. Old Gu will be getting ready to eat his steamed buns and drink his sports drink. I think I got it. Those two things are big no-nos. No wonder his blood sugar is so high. We’re running out of time. Tell me quickly what effect exercise has?”
“Exercise can mitigate the disease. There’s no specific stipulations for what exercises one does, just have to make sure not to overdo it. Jogging, running, and playing ball are all fine. What you have to pay attention to is time management. If you want to lower your blood sugar then you have to wait an hour after eating to begin warming up and exercising. That’s the best time.”
“Okay, thanks. Don’t forget to give me the list, if it’s not too much trouble.” As soon as she was finished, Gu Shi ran out, turning back to Zhang Chi, who was reclined lazily on the sofa. “What are you doddling there for? Hurry up and get the boss something to eat. He’s certainly already gone to the gym.”
Chen Ting called out after her, “Careful about low blood sugar. He’ll need some bread with him when he works out.”
Zhang Chi strolled out, clapping Chen Ting on the shoulder as he passed. “Big brother, droning on like a monk like that is no good. Gives me a headache. Even a fish on the hook would be scared off.”
He didn’t wait for Chen Ting to realize what he meant, but swaggered off, pulled his lunch card out of his breast pocket and showed it to the guard and headed downstairs toward the cafeteria.