Skip Nav

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down essay

Essay: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

❶If the patient does not speak English, a translator must be found. If the doctors at MCMC had taken the time to find a translator and sit down with the Lees to ask these questions, Lia might not be in a vegetative state.

WRAC Online




As much as they revere the love shown by the parents to their daughter, they are compelled to petition the court to separate Lia from them. It is ironical that Foua comforts the physicians when their own child becomes sick with leukemia. In her book, Fadiman explores the cohesion that exists between the cases of flourishing cross-cultural associations as legitimate friendliness.

Furthermore, the author expresses her warm feelings for the Merced Hmong population as she is able to outline particulars concerning this community. The lee family expresses their love for Jeanine, the social worker. This enabled them to converse effectively and efficiently with her. Dan, the young inhabitant who has compassion for the local Hmong society, lives in harmony with the Lee family. He also avails eminent medical care for the sick Lia Fadiman Despite the pressures that existed during that period; the processes associated with the hospital and the intense tension related to the emergency room atmosphere, Dan was still there for Lia.

This is a typical Hmong individual as they oftenly assume best intentions regardless of the baffles connected to each others actions or statements. On the other hand, physicians Neil and Peggy, who are treating Lia, make comments that are inconsiderate and disapproving about the Hmong in general and the family of Lee in particular yet, they meet frequently.

In this case, the author highlights that affection and friendliness may result to a cyclical impact. Sociability leads to a more successful cooperation and contact, which enhances the friendliness feelings. This in turn increases the value of the communication leading to strong connections between individuals. As much as affection determines the relationship between individuals, it is evidently not sufficient.

This is substantiated by the manner in which Martin, the poetic nurse, interacts with the Hmongs. Regardless of his profound respect for Hmong customs and the hard work shown by the Lee family, he still relates inelegantly with them. Another instance where Fadiman expresses legitimate affection among the cross-cultural associations is when a cultural broker is enlisted.

This cultural agent is not only a broker but also an individual who is engaged in the negotiations of cultural diversities and is able to present perspectives Fadiman The working and association between the Lee family and the hospital was made easy by the involvement of Jeanine.

This is shown during the time which the family was making prior plans to return Lia home from the hospital. The narrator finds a barrier in trying to access the Lee family and other Hmong individuals until she employs the assistance of May Ying.

The background of May Ying formed the basis in which her services were sought by the author. She was at ease in both Anglo-American culture and among her kinsmen, the Hmong ppopulation. The book highlights that thriving cross-cultural endeavors was achieved over a long period of time, and willingness and patience contributed to this achievement. The author had encountered fruitless efforts until she enlisted the assistance of May Ying. However, this did not spell an instant victory for her as she used to spend long periods of time listening, sitting and chatting.

The lee family could not welcome and accept Jeanine immediately as they had their own doubts. This was due to the fact that Jeanine was an agent of the very State that intended to keep Lia.

Nonetheless, the family gave Jeanine a chance to demonstrate her intentions and she did not fail. The efficiency needed in the hospital atmosphere actually resulted to a greater inefficiency. The period taken to sit in the company of an able translator and harsh issues, which required to be handled in a calm way, could have averted enormous suffering, pain and confusion in the long run.

Consequently, this would have saved the mind of Lia. Neil and Peggy failed to root for this approach of interaction and instead, ended up utilizing coercive procedures. The repercussion of this was the broadening of the rift between the Hmong population and the Merced County Fadiman The author is astonished at the innovative methods by which the not so conversant Hmong seniors cheat on the printed part of their tests. In addition, she states that the Hmong blatantly lie about their physical status, marital status or ages as a way of obtaining particular benefits.

The orientation of the Hmong was directed towards the faction and not the nation. The human nature in them makes them to lie and cheat hence, are no different from the rest of the human beings. The author in this context intends to express dishonesty as a survival response since this is not tolerated by the Hmong as a community. By evaluating and reflecting on the issues presented in this book, a tremendously productive experience is obtained. Fadiman does not propose that the treatment of the epilepsy should not have taken place.

Instead, she intends to engage the reader into thinking about the improvements that need to be implemented in the healthcare sector to cater for individuals with a different dialect. Having Quag Dab Peg gives the person the power to perceive things others cannot see, and is a prerequisite for the journey into the realm of the unseen. Quag Dab Peg is considered an honor and blessing in Hmong culture. It allows the person the opportunity of becoming a txiv neeb, or spirit healer.

It also confers an enormous amount of social status in the community because the txiv neeb is seen as a person of high moral character since the spirit chose them.

In Hmong culture, saving face is of high importance. The Hmong believed in shamanistic animism, which asserts that malevolent spirits are constantly seeking human souls, especially those of vulnerable or unloved children. Their hope was that if the spirits decided to keep hold of Lia, that long-term she would become a tvix neeb, and if she did not become a tvix neeb, then their hope was that the sickness would be short-term.

Because there are no interpreters, communication is always an issue, they bring lots of family members with them as well as animals, and they make loud noises.

They diagnosed Lia with early bronchiopneumonia because she exhibited those symptoms. The doctors had no way of knowing that the bronchial congestion was caused by aspiration of saliva or vomit during her seizure without trying to communicate with the Lees. The doctors put a pen and paper in front of the Lees and had them scribble on it.

The doctors assumed the Lees would be able to buy and administer the medications that the paper described in detail. In reality the Lees had no idea what they just signed and walked out. This same situation happened a few more times until one time the Lees brought Lia in when she was still seizing and Dr.

Dan Murphy was on shift. Murphy had some knowledge of the Hmong and could certainly diagnose her with epilepsy. Lees parents and the American doctors both knew what disease she had but to different cultures it meant different things. As stated above, in Hmong culture it was a privilege and was caused by Lia losing her soul. In American culture, we believe epilepsy is caused by a sporadic malfunction of the brain due to a head injury, tumor, infection, etc.

We view it as a disease and that it needs to be taken care of by giving the person anticonvulsant drugs since there is no cure. This is just what Dr. Lia was discharged with specific instructions on what medications to take, how much of each, and what time of day they were to be taken. The Lees believed a txiv neeb could help Lia, so they had one come over and sacrificed a cow for her.

It did not help and the American doctors continued to see Lia not getting better when her parents kept bringing her to MCMC. The American doctors thought that because Lia had no levels of medication in her blood her parents were guilty of child abuse.

If they would have seen how much the Lees loved and cared for Lia at home they would have known this was not the case. Instead, they got the government involved and took Lia from the Lees and sent her to a foster home.

The Lees welcomed Lia home after a year apart and lots of work with a social worker, Jeanine, whom was very interested in the Hmong and helped with administering the seizure medications.

After ten minutes had passed, Foua and Nao Kao got in touch with their nephew who could speak enough English to get an ambulance. By calling for an ambulance Lia was given more attention upon arrival in the emergency room, but it delayed her treatment. Lia continued to seize for two hours and was barely breathing.

A twenty-minute bout of status elipticus is considered life threatening. Foua and Nao Kao thought that Lia was being transferred because the doctor at MCMC was going on vacation, but in fact it was because Fresno had a pediatric unit.

At Fresno Lia was diagnosed with septic shock, the result of a bacterial invasion of the circulatory system that triggers the failure of one organ after another starting with the lungs and then moving to the brain. She also developed a condition in which her blood cannot clot. She had no brain activity left.

The doctors decided to discontinue the anticonvulsants because she was dead to them. The doctors explained that her seizure medicines lowered her immune system responses, which allowed a bacterium to take over and stop brain activity. Foua and Nao Kao were somewhat right; the doctors were giving too much medicine and not enough neeb.

It is most likely though that if the Lees were still in Laos, Lia would have died before she was out of her infancy, from a prolonged bout of untreated status epilepticus. Foua and Nao Kao finally got permission to bring their daughter home as they had been insisting the whole time. Lia went home on Dec. They fed her teas from powdered roots and herbs, made several pig sacrifices, and bathed and dressed her multiple times a day.

Because of the quality care Lia was receiving, she was stable and her medical check-ups decreased. Lia did not die but did not recover.


Main Topics

Privacy Policy

"The spirit catches you and you fall down" is the literal translation of the Hmong name for epilepsy, qaug dab peg. The spirit referred to in the name is a soul-stealing dab; thus, the Hmong believe that epilepsy has a spiritual origin and should be treated accordingly.

Privacy FAQs

The first chapter of Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down sets the stage for the frustrating cross-cultural conflicts that took place in Merced, in Central California. Language barriers and belief system differences prevented Lia from receiving optimal care, even though both her family and the doctors did their absolute best to help her epilepsy.

About Our Ads

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Final Paper: “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” By: Anne Fadiman Meghan Maloney 26 April To understand the struggles that the Hmong people face living in America it is important to understand where they come from and what they have gone through. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Custom The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Essay Writing Service || The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Essay samples, help Culture defines the lifestyle of human beings in various ways.

Cookie Info

Spirit Catches You Essay The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is a book by Anne Fadiman about a Hmong family (the Lee’s) that moved to the United States. It deals with their child Lia, her American doctors, and the collisions of those two cultures. Essay about The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman - The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman > > Anne Fadiman wrote an eye-opening book titled, The > Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Fadiman is > the editor of The American Scholar and has been > published numerous times.