These next two chapters of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down were quite difficult to read. Chapter 11 carries us through the events of Lia’s final death inducing seizure. It was the “Big One” as Neil called it. Lia spent a remarkable amount of time in the Valley Children’s hospital in Fresno trying to get better treatment there than could be provided for her at MCMC. She was put through invasive procedures that aimed to fix certain issues occurring in Lia’s body as a result of her big seizure. It is quite impressive how the chapter draws the reader in to the point that you feel like you are actually in the hospital seeing what is happening to Lia. Personally, I felt for Nao Kao and Foua throughout this chapter. I mean, having to spend nine consecutive nights in a waiting room must have been extremely difficult, but they wanted to close to Lia. The doctors communication with Lia’s parents was nothing short of disappointing. If I was a parent of a child that just experienced this big, dangerous seizure I would want to know everything that is happening to my daughter. Yet, the doctors in Fresno don’t provide the Lees with constant updates of what is going on. Even when the doctor does talk to the Lees, he does not take time to make sure they understand what has just been explained to them.
The most heart-wrenching moment is when the EEG is performed on Lia and it discovers that Lia is brain dead. What was even more devastating was the lack of respect given to the Lees, instead of looking at the parents that just lost their daughter the doctors look at Lia’s foster parents who are “smart and white.”
Moving on from Chapter 11, the next chapter discusses the migration of the Hmong people from Laos to Thailand. During their journey, the Hmong had to leave behind everything they had known. Instead of being forced to assimilate and face persecution, the Lees and 150,000 other Hmong people chose the path of flight to preserve their heritage and future of their children. Many lives were lost in this journey, including many children and it was in no way an “exciting” adventure as May’s teacher thought.