In Chapter 15, Lia is now seven and living two years passed when the doctors said she would die. Anne visits the Lee’s home in which Lia remains in a persistent vegetative sate. Lia is unable to move or speak, but she did completely stabilize when she returned home from the hospital. When asked about Lia’s condition her parents mentioned that her soul was as good as any, and that “when we hold her, she knows it and is smiling”. The profound love that the Lee’s show for their daughter exemplifies that their attempts have always been what they thought was best for her. Living at home, Lia was fed, changed, and bathed everyday. In fact, she was the only child who had birthday parties. These acts sometimes slighted her siblings. I found it very interesting that Lia’s needs were profoundly put above those of her siblings. It just demonstrates a difference in cultural beliefs compared to America.
“Sometimes I thought: this is not so terrible. Lia lived at home.” Lia’s environment at home was not terrible, and she was well cared for. However, her persistent vegetative state made me think of case that I had to read for another class. I read a case about a 14 year old girl who was brain dead. After a certain amount of days, the hospital was required by law to remove any life-sustaining treatments. However, the family resisted and stole their daughter from the hospital. This case resulted in many lawsuits, however, where we should draw the line between family’s requests and quality of life for the patient. This case differs from that of Lia because Lia is surviving without breathing tubes, IVs, etc.
Martin Kilgore, was the most frequent visitor to the Hmong home as a nurse sent from the Health Department. Martin understood the Hmong culture much more than the average person, and even strongly disagree with Neil’s decision to place Lia with a foster family. However, the encounters between Kilgore and the Lee’s is complex as he often speaks in English and provides confusing directions.
Chapter 16 discusses the Hmong residence in Merced, CA. One of every six residents in Merced are Hmong, however, it has not always been this way. The main reason the Hmong ended up in Merced – Dang Moua. Dang Moua was a grocer, interpreter, pig farmer, businessman, and a respected leader in the Hmong community. He used to live in Richmond, VA where he couldn’t make ends me while earning $2.90 and hour. Following Dang Moua’s success in Merced, scores of Hmong people from around the country made the move to Merced. Merced has always had difficult economic times, but now the Hmong are blamed for all of Merced’s economic woes.
One thing that I thought was quite entertaining, was that the Hmong were known for cheating on driving tests. They would cheat by memorizing the dots on the exams. Nat Kao could not read a word of English but he passed the driving test. In fact, I believe this portrays extreme determination and brilliance, as they had to memorize over 900 dots.