I’ve been lax in writing; it’s true. But sometimes stories need to wait to be written.
I had been given information on this family by someone outside the family, but I did not reach the mom until this weekend. I wanted to wait until I had more information. It turned out the neighbor was pretty well informed.
I had spoken to this mom before because her 5 children had been in urgent need of warm clothing. Already had her basic information. She has children ranging in age from 12 to 3 years. It was the baby, the 3 year old girl about whom I had heard some disturbing news.
According to the neighbor, the mom had come to visit with the baby. Mom had, at some point in the visit, noted that her daughter’s face didn’t seem right. The neighbor noted it didn’t move like the other side and sort of drooped. She encouraged her to take the baby to the clinic. But mom just figured the little girl was tired. Children can be funny like that when they need a nap, she said.
The next day the neighbor got a call from the mom. Mom asked the neighbor to come to the hospital to be with her. When the neighbor asked why she was at the hospital, mom told her the little one, just 3 years old, had suffered a stroke.
Of course the neighbor joined her to support her.
When I spoke to mom, I learned that the 3 year old had indeed suffered a stroke. The cause was still unknown but they did tell her that the child has some sort of heart problem – she was unsure of what it was. The child is also having seizures now (mom said 3 different kinds) and that they could not tell if the seizures were the cause or the result of the stroke. She is now on a number of medications which make her rather lethargic.
The little girl has an MRI scheduled in a nearby city on Tuesday. I have experienced an MRI. I think it will be a bit intimidating for a 3 year old.
Mom told me that she was told the heart condition is hereditary. She does have a heart problem herself, although she does not remember being told that a seizure or stroke could result from it. There was no genetic counseling prior to conceiving any of her children. Mom is on Social Security disability due to her condition.
Due to her disability and the children, mom receives food stamps in the amount of $535 per month. With that she must feed 6 people as well as purchase the necessary personal care products. Growing children, especially a boy nearing the teen years, eat like there is no tomorrow. She talked about trying to budget her food stamps and stretch them from month to month. I think I have found a food sponsor for this mom so she will be about to stretch the food stamps a little more easily.
Back to thinking about the 3 year old girl. This little girl is now hemiplegic – that is she is paralyzed on her left side. That is an indication that the damage occurred in the right side of her brain. So, what does the right side of the brain control or manage?
RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
“big picture” oriented
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can “get it” (i.e. meaning)
knows object function
This little girl will have a more difficult life as a result of this stroke and the seizure disorder she continues to have. She will need physical therapy to help her regain as much function of her left side as she can. She will likely need speech and occupational therapy. She may need psychological counseling to cope with frustrations and brain damage.
It is a good thing that stroke treatment has come so far. But wait – that’s stroke treatment for adults, not children!
Wait a bit more! This girl lives on Pine Ridge Reservation. There is basic health care available. But she will have to travel an hour or more for specialists. The health care nearby is, well, not the best to say it in a politically correct way. Or perhaps I should just let the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs say it plainly:
A 2010 report by Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., found that the Aberdeen Area of the Indian Health Service(IHS) is in a “chronic state of crisis.” “Serious management problems and a lack of oversight of this region have adversely affected the access and quality of health care provided to Native Americans in the Aberdeen Area, which serves 18 tribes in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa,” according to the report.
Or perhaps I should let the Indians say it themselves, as they do in this Facebook group,
I just spent 6 hours at IHS just for them to give me Tylenol.
Here are a couple of comments:
*OMG!!! One of my relatives went to IHS for what they believed was a broken ankle and it was (diagonosed later, at a non IHS facility) but at IHS after specifically being told it was the right ankle, IHS put a cast on the left ankle/foot. Hilarious and maddening at the same time. We supposed to appreciate this sub standard healthcare……..
*Back in 2000 I went to IHS for side pains. They could not figure out what was wrong with me. So I ended up in the hospital for 3 months on oxycontin to morphine drips. After getting addicted to pain meds they finally transferred me to County. Was diagnosed with gallstones, and I was out in 2 days. Afterwards I had to go to Pain Mangement to get weaned off all the pain meds.
*Santa Fe IHS, pulled my wisdom teeth w/ no novicane (in a small trailer behind the hospital). I signed a release printed on the back of an old flyer, but I did get some tylenol, after a 3 hour wait. Then walked home. Ha
*I had to go to IHS a few years ago for a broken hand and it only took 2 hours for my x-ray. I thought I would be out in record time. 3 hours later they suggested I go to the nearest hospital to get a cast. By that time I would have been satisfied with duct tape around my hand, but I did walk out the door with my Tylenol.
*Hey now…not all IHS’s are bad… I mean I can drive to Rosebud or Sioux San in Rapid before I’m seen at Pine Ridge.. lol.. I waited for 8 hours at PR and finally I took the hour drive 2 Sioux San and I was in and out of there in 45 mins!… OF course I got tylenol but this time I also got some antibiotics… yay! We’re movin up in the world.
These are true stories, not fiction. They are not my stories but those of the people who use Indian Health Services.
So what kind of future do you think there is for a 3 year old little girl who is a stroke victim and lives on the reservation?
I think it will be a hard life for her and her family, personally.
LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
words and language
present and past
math and science
knows object name