If Dr. Cox of Scrubs fame had a lost sister in China, it would be Dr. Yu Ying, who uses the handle “ER Superwoman Yu Ying” (@急诊科女超人于莺) on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter. Dr. Yu is a real life ER doctor at Peking Union Medical College Hospital (北京协和医院), founded in 1921 by the Rockefeller Foundation, one of the most prestigious hospitals in China.
Dr. Yu now has more than 640,000 adoring followers. They routinely ask for her advice on everything from medical problems (how do I care for a premature baby who’s underweight?) to the inter-personal (how do I control my anger toward a colleague?) to work-life balance (busy Dr. Yu has a young daughter). As @玉莹小主尚小美 tweeted today, “I just passed by [Yu Ying’s] hospital. I really wanted to go in and see what @ER Superwoman Yu Ying is like at work.”
In fact, one need not step foot in Dr. Yu’s triage unit to get a picture of her work and her life. Weibo is a wonderful window into the life of another, provided they are willing to open it. Dr. Yu’s vivid and vivacious posts have been the key to her fans’ sense of camaraderie. Let’s have a look at the self-proclaimed “superwoman” Yu Ying.
On drinking (water): “I don’t like to drink water and don’t have time to drink water when I get busy at work, and I often get cracked lips. My friend suggested an app called ‘Drink Water Reminder’ and installed it on my cell phone. [The app] sends alert for eight glasses a day on the hour with sound of splashing water. … I still don’t drink water but the sound of the alert really makes me want go to bathroom.”
On, well, drinking: “Sister Superwoman only likes three things in the world – alcohol, men and beautiful women. That’s it!”
“There was once a sufferer of alcoholic pancreatitis. It kept recurring, and every time he came to me from Hebei for diagnosis and a cure. Every time I entreated him to absolutely not drink alcohol, but every time he drank. He said it was for business, and nothing could be done. Each time I saw him it was more serious, and finally I gave him an ultimatum, saying that if you drink again after you go back, you’re finished! He laughed and said, ‘Don’t I have you?’ Three weeks later, he came again with acute pancreatitis, and within 24 hours he was dead. It’s really dangerous to discuss business over drinks!”
On self-control: ”Once I told a patient getting a blood pressure check to wait a moment. … He told me, ‘*#$% your mother!’ I said, ‘She’s in Shanghai, have you been?’ … he stared at me, and then his relative came to pull him away. I’ll say this to students: you’ll encounter every type of person, [learn to] hold your temper!”
On weight gain: “I was chatting with a friend one afternoon, and the wind was blowing fiercely and I was out on a main road wearing only a thin sweater. Suddenly I realized…it was because my layer of fat is too thick. So, starting right now, I resolve to lose weight! … Fat, I’m coming for you!”
On men: “After [my shift], I finally got to relax my nervous heart. In my office, I started thinking about … finding a caretaker, and I let out a loud sigh. All-powerful Weibo, where can I find a proper ‘aiyi’ (阿姨, a maid or caretaker)? … on the off-chance there is a handsome male caretaker willing to do housework, care for children, get drunk with me and carry me home afterwards, [can he come forward soon]?” [Ed: Dr. Yu is happily married.]
On why she enjoys horror movies: “Watched Mission Impossible 4. At the key moments, I had a tight grip, cold fingers and sweaty palms. The friend who went to see the movie with me said, ‘You are a woman who can watch horror movies at night, why would you be afraid of action films?’ I gave him the eye and said, ‘What do you know? With this kind of [action] film, when I look at a wound I think about how many stitches are needed, and when they fall from above I think about whether they need CPR. Very tiring! In horror movies they just die, and I don’t need to save them at all.”
Happy International Women’s Day, Dr. Yu!