Do Ji’s mum is critically ill but at first refuses to be treated by Heo Jun until he BEGS her to let him help her. We also find out more about the role of a court nurse and the reality is pretty grim …
Heo Jun tries to treat Do Ji’s mother but she freaks out when she recognises him and irrationally blames him for her son’s demotion. But no other doctor will treat her and she is in a critical condition. The problem is that she shouldn’t get upset and the sight of Heo Jun drives her into a rage. (It seems that it’s her anger and bitterness that have made her ill in the first place) In the end Heo Jun asks the nurse Hong Choon to come and treat his patient and he will make prescriptions but without seeing her directly. This works at first, but eventually the patient discovers what’s going on and that Heo Jun is still helping her and she goes crazy again. She starts to haemorrhage and they are back to square one! (She is being very unreasonable and ungrateful because if he doesn’t help her she will die. )
Heo Jun needs persuading to help Do Ji’s mum. Then he has to beg her to let him help her
Eventually Heo Jun has to beg her to let him treat her. (Oh for goodness SAKE!) She refuses at first but eventually backs down. Da Hee makes her some oyster rice porridge – knowing that she likes this.
Do Ji’s mum gets better and visits Da Hee’s house with money and gifts as payment for her trouble. Da Hee refuses to accept anything. (I think we are being shown here that Do Ji’s mother is not used to kindness or altruism. She did mention earlier that she had a hard life early on and had to struggle for everything.)
Do Ji’s mum brings money to repay Hoe Jun’s family for helping her
Now we learn about ANOTHER job of the court nurses – go to marriage services and check that the families are following the law regarding gift-giving. Ye Jin goes to a marriage for the first time and watches as her roommate – Chae Sun – chastises the family for spending too much. The mother bribes Chae Sun with a trinket so that she will not report this.
Chae Sun accepts a bribe at the marriage ceremony
And now for ANOTHER but MUCH WORSE job of the nurses – the king is feeling the pressure as he hears that ambassadors are coming to visit from Ming. They have to make sure the visit goes smoothly and the head nurse is told to choose nurses for ‘bed service’. Of course Ye Jin is picked for the job. Heo Jun sees Ye Jin being led away and realises what’s going on…
Ye Jin is chosen for ‘bed service’ ‘for the Ming ambassadors. But she doesn’t know it.
I think there are couple of interesting points in this episode about life in Joseon. The first one is about marriage: Neo-Confucianism encouraged modesty and frugalness but (high class) families were under pressure to show off their wealth and status when joined in marriage so they had to go over the top with gifts. To try to stop this habit, strict rules were put in place limiting how much could be spent on marriage gifts – this depended on the status of the families involved. But the rules were often violated as habits were hard to break and nobody wanted to lose face.
The second point is about the life of nurses. OMG now they even have to provide ‘bed service’ to the Ming ambassadors? Is there no end to their ‘work’?