Chapter 13 & 14

The next two chapters follow the usual pattern of present and historical past. In Chapter 13 we learn about Lia’s severe health status when she returns to MCMC for an examination. While at MCMC there is a noticeable change in how doctors like Peggy and Neil interact with the Lia and the Lee’s. Their attitude change is representative of her current condition which does not seem optimistic. While at MCM the doctors allow the Lees to perform a Hmong, traditional treatments for Lia’s illness and the decision is made to take Lia off all medical machines so she could be taken home. This decision, made to let Lia be comfortable, ends up cause Nao Kao to attempt to flee the hospital with Lia as he interprets the doctors estimate that Lia has a few weeks to live as a threat. Chapter 14 talks about the process and life of the Hmong people when they get to America, and the discrimination and internal struggle they faced. When immigrating to the United States, the Hmong people are scattered in different areas making it hard for them to band together and live among one another. The Hmong people were also faced with discrimination like being thought of as primitive people because they were not interested in adapting the American way of life. Living in the United States also proved to be a struggle as the Hmong people pride themselves in being independent and self-sufficient people but were not educated and equipped with the skills to work, make money, and support their families. The movement to the United States also begins to put a strain on the tight-knit family culture of the Hmong people as the older generation struggles to navigate American life and wishes they could go back to Laos and the younger generation has never known any other life.

As the story begins to wind down, I found it interesting that it took Lia being on her deathbed for doctors to allow the Lees to incorporate their Hmong practices into her treatment. I think that it communicates a lot about the American doctors understanding and belief in the Hmong culture. At the point when Lia was sick enough to stop the Western machines and treatments that the doctors prescribed was when they allowed for the Hmong treatments to be practiced.

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