I can see you rolling your eyes from here at that title. How on earth did I come up with that one? I would like to tell you that I was letting my imagination run rampant, but the sad truth is that this story was related to me by my Lakota friend’s daughter after an experience with Indian Health Services (IHS).
Now, mind you, I was not with this young woman as she took her now 2 yr old son to the clinic and then to the hospital. So I cannot vouch for the words of medical wisdom she said she received. However, I can say that she’s been quite accurate in what she has told me before. So I will relate to you what she said and let you be the judge.
I would remind you that they are living in the trailer I wrote about yesterday — the one that has Black Mold in it.
The little boy has been having a number of health issues. Most of them seemed like colds and ear infections. His mom would take him to the IHS health clinic to be seen each time. This went on for over 7 months. And each time she took him, they would give her antibiotics for him. No testing to determine if the cause was bacterial. So this little boy was on antibiotics for 7 months!
The boy started to have gastric problems as well. HELLO!! Antibiotics don’t discriminate between the bad bacteria you want killed off and the good bacteria that lives in your gut and aids digestion. That’s why doctors will often tell you to eat yogurt with active cultures (that’s bacteria cultures) if you have gastric upset after being on antibiotics. IHS did not do that. They sent the little boy for testing, which was of course negative.
Last week the little boy began to have trouble breathing. His grandmother suggested her daughter take him to the IHS hospital rather than her local IHS clinic. Good thing.
When she took her son to the hospital, he was hospitalized with a mild to moderate case of pneumonia. He spent a few days there.
While he was in the hospital, DSS began investigating his mother for neglecting a sick boy (what????) and his mom got some of the most interesting medical explanations I have ever heard.
According to the information I have been given, the medical staff told this boy’s mother that in addition to pneumonia, the child had allergies. He was “probably” allergic to the pets they had in the home — a dog and a cat. Possible. But here’s the good part. They told her that he probably became allergic because a pet hair got into his mouth and he either inhaled or swallowed it. That was what caused the allergy!
I’ve had allergies for most of my life. I am very familiar with the concept of allergic reactions and what causes them. In the case of pets, it has nothing to do with the pet hair; it is the dander or skin flakes that the pet sheds to which humans can have reactions. It has nothing to do with the hair.
They did not give this mom any antihistamine medication for the little boy’s allergies. They did not ask about anything else in the home environment. No referral to an allergist, either.
I have been impressed by the number of people on Pine Ridge Reservation who have and struggle with asthma. Many routinely use nebulizers. Their ages range from infants to elders.
I have a suspicion that all of this asthma is caused by living with Black Mold. We know that Black Mold can take a big toll on the human body. Since an estimated 60% of the homes on Pine Ridge have Black Mold in them, it makes perfect sense that it is the cause of so much asthma.
Pine Ridge Reservation is in need of thousands of new homes — not because of Black Mold but because of the number of families who need a home of their own. They would be homeless except that, in Lakota culture, relatives rarely turn away a family who has no place to live. If you add in the number of homes currently being used that have Black Mold, are of substandard construction or are simply falling apart, the number would probably double!
Health care and housing — 2 important issues that need to be addressed on the rez. I am afraid housing will actually turn out to be the easier of the problems to fix. . . as long as IHS continues to give out what could only be called medical misinformation.
IHS should realize the Black Mold problem is making their work even harder than it would normally be. IHS ought to be advocating for the folks it serves.
IHS should not be telling anyone that her son is sick because he swallowed a dog hair!