Chapters 17 & 18

Chapter 17 dives deeper into Lia’s life after leaving the hospital. I was kind of relieved to hear that Lia was going to the Shelby Center during the day time so that her family could get a chance to live their life instead of taking care of her 24 hours a day 7 days of week. I was happy to see that her siblings were able to pursue their education and careers. Having been someone who has been a caretaker in my life, I think it is so important to be able to find time for yourself and not lose your own identity. My mother suffers with disability that has led me to take care of her at times. It has been relieving for me to be able to still have my own career and life outside of being a caretaker. This is why I felt such a sense of relief when hearing that she is going to a facility for a portion of the day. While I understand why the Lee’s do not want to institutionalize her, I am happy that they were willing to do this.

I thought Neil’s response to meeting Lia was incredibly insightful. I appreciate that he used Lia’s case as an example of the cultural barrier and that her case taught him something. I was glad to see that he saw beyond her seizures and saw a deeper problem in her case. Furthermore, I thought it was an interesting point that the nurses and doctors used Lia’s chart to try to understand her and her family. They used her medical records and notes to get insight into her world. While they may have thought this was the right thing to do, I do not think they realized that they were missing out on talking to the Lee family and trying to understand their perspective. Whether this is a problem of cultural barrier or just simply the medical profession, I thought it was an interesting thing to point out.

Lastly in Chapter 17, I like how the author pointed out ways to hopefully try to close this cultural gap. It can be as simple as reaching out to another Hmong in the community who can help to negotiate and communicate. I think this advice is something so simple and easy to adopt yet can make a huge difference.

This advice leads into chapter 18 that discusses advice to close the cultural gap. One term in particular that was brought up was “conjoint treatment”. While I think changes like this are not easy to make, I think it is a very comprising solution that would mean a lot to people coming from a different culture. This conjoint treatment would use western medicine while also taking into account the cultures tradition healing ceremonies. As long as these traditional ceremonies do not interfere with the medicine, there is not reason to not accept the culture’s tradition in hopes of them gaining respect for the other party. By compromising and using a bit of each parties treatment, there is a mutual respect among the group which will be very beneficial in the long run. Change is hard to come by but I think is very important to try to do.


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