Across China: "I’ll see you again!" A 600-km promise-keeping bike ride

NANJING, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) — For the past six months, Huang Genben has been training in Taichi, swimming and cycling for his long-awaited plan — traveling 600 km by bicycle to visit his old friends.

Huang, 74, a critically ill COVID-19 patient, recovered and was discharged from a hospital in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province in April this year.

At that time, he made a promise to doctors of a medical team sent to Wuhan from Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province, that he will take good care of himself and one day he will cycle to visit them.

Earlier this week, his dream came true.

“I’m so excited that I finally get to see the medics who treated me without their masks and protective suits on,” said Huang.

In the battle with COVID-19, a large number of medical personnel from across China have made selfless contributions and helped Wuhan get through its toughest time.

Dai Jinghong is a physician from the respiratory medicine department of Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital. During her stay in Wuhan, Dai, together with other colleagues, treated severe and critically ill patients.

In late February, Huang was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) of Wuhan’s Tongji Hospital. He happened to be treated in the ward under the responsibility of the medical team from Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital and Dai was his attending doctor.

“When Huang was transferred to the ICU, he was in serious condition and could not roll over, let alone sit up,” Dai said, adding that he suffered from a persistent fever, dyspnea, serious lung diseases, poor appetite and negative emotions.

“I was in a bad mood as I got ill and confined to bed. Previously, I have traveled to five provinces on a bike and suddenly I had difficulties turning over,” Huang said. “Luckily, the medical team made all-out efforts to take care of us, both physically and psychologically.”

“The nurses observed my conditions around the clock and recorded my clinical data. They also helped me wash my hair,” he said.

Thanks to the treatment as well as tending by the medics, Huang’s health conditions gradually improved.

At the end of March, when the medical team fulfilled their mission and left for Nanjing, he was able to sit up on his own and was transferred to another medical facility for further treatment. After half a month, he was discharged from the hospital after recovery.

“When we said goodbye to Huang, he said that he had cycled to southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region when he was 70 years old. As long as he could recover, he would definitely cycle to Nanjing to see us,” said Dai.

To keep his promise, Huang completed some rehabilitation training sessions. He has also kept up his workout routine.

Huang dusted his bicycle off and secured his bags to it before departing for Nanjing. Late last month he set out from Wuhan and arrived in Nanjing five days later.

When he met his old friends on Monday, Dai listened to Huang’s breathing and checked his physical condition.

“As a doctor, my biggest comfort comes from the recovery of my patients, which makes me feel my work meaningful,” Dai said.

Huang returned home safely on a high-speed train.

He wrote on his WeChat: A solo ride to Nanjing fulfills my promise. My old friends behind the masks are truly “white angels.” I’m quite contented to bathe in the gifts of nature and freedom.

“I wish everyone all the best for the future,” he said.

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