A Tibetan doctor’s special family reunion on COVID-19 frontline

Publish Time: 2022-04-11 Author: From: Xinhua

Photo taken on March 1, 2022 shows Tibetan doctor Dorshi working at a nucleic acid testing site in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province. (Xinhua)

When Dorshi got a phone call from his parents about their arrival, the 27-year-old Tibetan doctor was busy working in a hotel designated for COVID-19 quarantine in Harbin, northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province.

It was March 2, the eve of this year’s Tibetan New Year. The family had decided to celebrate it in Harbin together after Dorshi had missed the occasion for two consecutive years.

Hailing from the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze in southwest China’s Sichuan Province,  he has worked in the Harbin Derge Tibetan Hospital since 2019, dedicated to Tibetan medicine, which is listed as an intangible cultural heritage of China.

However, COVID-19 cases resurged in late February in Harbin when Dorshi’s parents were about to arrive. Dorshi volunteered to assist in the local anti-epidemic efforts, meaning that he could not physically stay with them even when in the same city.

Dorshi’s parents recognized him through the window outside the hotel, although he was clad in a hazmat suit and his face covered by a mask and a shield.

They smiled and waved to their son with lunchboxes in their hands. The boxes contained his favorite food prepared by his mom.

Dorshi waved back. Due to epidemic prevention measures, he could not go outside the hotel. He wanted to say something or write something on the window with his finger, but eventually, he did nothing. The parents and the son just looked at each other quietly.

"I felt so sorry," recalled Dorshi. "I haven’t seen my parents for nearly three years, but we didn’t even talk during that brief ’reunion.’"

The lunchboxes were brought inside by a hotel staffer and handed to Dorshi. After opening them, he was blown away by the familiar smell of home. He couldn’t help taking photos of the dishes, including the Tibetan-flavor yogurt, mutton sausages, and Tibetan rice cakes. It marked the most special New Year’s dinner he’d ever had.

"I appreciate my parents so much for their support of my work," he said.

After graduating from a Tibetan medical school in Sichuan, he decided to leave for Harbin. "There are numerous Tibetan hospitals in Sichuan. Why do you choose somewhere so far away from home?" Dorshi’s mom used to complain about it.

But the young man wanted to see a bigger world and use his specialty to heal more people.

After his parents returned to Sichuan, Dorshi was still working in the hotel, getting up every day at 4 a.m. and collecting nucleic acid samples door-to-door. Four hours of sleep a day was normal for him and his colleagues.

Doctors also had to take care of other issues, such as the mental health condition of people in quarantine. "Some of them suffered from hypertension and anxiety and needed our comfort," said Dorshi.

Hard work pays off. He was deeply touched once by a handmade ’certificate of merit’ after collecting a child’s swab sample. "Thanks for your work, brother. This is a gift I reward you," said the child while handing him a piece of colorfully painted paper.

"This kind of encouragement is my lasting motivation," said Dorshi.

He added that he’s been in love with Tibetan medicine since he was little. "Safeguarding people’s health with Tibetan medicine is a way of self-fulfillment for me."  

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