Chapters 15 & 16

In Chapter 15 we get a glimpse into Lia’s life after she leaves the hospital and is settled in at home years later. While the Lee’s thought she would be dead by now, she is not and they go about their daily life as if she is normal. It was crazy to hear about all of the various things they have to do to keep care of Lia. Instead of using the wheelchair that they were given, they choose to carry her on their back. Instead of using her feeding tube they mash up food and liquids and spoon feed it into her mouth which is very time consuming. Whatever they do, it seems to be working and they do not mind spending countless hours a day taking care of Lia.

I thought it was so interesting that the book noted that if this were an American family, they would’ve had her institutionalized months/years ago. I think there is a stigma about Americans in that we would not be able to handle this level of care by ourselves and therefore send these “type” of people to places where people can give around the clock care. I think it shows a lot about the Lees for them to take care of Lia by themselves. They do not want the help of others. When health professionals come by the house and give advise, the Lees never listen. The Lee family, especially Lia’s mom, has made it their life’s work to care for Lia. They do not see it as a job but rather as caring for a loved one. I think this is a miraculous thing that they do and shows a lot about what type of people they are.

Chapter 16, which I found very interesting, discussed why the Hmong ended up in Merced. There is such a large population of Hmong in Merced, but how did they end up here? This was a question I have always wondered throughout this book. Similarly there is a large Paraguayan population in my town and I have always been curious as to how they ended up there. What about my town made them want to settle there? Or maybe they did not want to but were placed there. I think it is very interesting to think about how different populations ended up concentrated in various parts of the country. I also found it fascinating that when they first started settling in Merced the economy dropped heavily. I wonder if this is a common trend with these type of towns/cities? This chapter answered a lot of burning questions I had.

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