The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

Topics: Hmong people, Medicine, Health care Pages: 7 (2519 words) Published: October 5, 2012
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
1st chapter reflections:
This chapter which introduced me to Lia’s family was interesting. I was shocked to read that in her mother’s country of Laos, Lia would have been born by her mother squatting on the floor! They also used special created remedies to solve health issues without relying on hospitals or clinics. It was also interesting to read how important the Hmong people believed in sprits and how their life decisions where decided around the sprit actions. For example, they believed that male sprit’s held up their house roof, if the male’s placenta was buried near the central pillar of the house. Lia was even blessed by the elders because her parents believed that it was a way of protecting her from ever getting sick. If anything, reading this chapter quickly gave me a quick preview of the clash that Lia’s cultural beliefs will have with the American doctors when she gets sick in the future chapters. However, I’m hoping that this book will pick up a little faster and have less history moving forward (being honest lol)

2nd chapter reflections:

This chapter started in a class at college; it continued to explain how a Hmong student spent extra time on his speech to talk about how people make fish soup in his culture. Once I finished the first page in this chapter, I understood that the young man was trying to explain to his class that we as humans should be more careful about how we select our foods because we are all connected in different ways. However, I didn’t pick up whether his class was interested after he was done with his speech. This chapter preceded to dig deeper into the Hmong history by detailing their live in north China; N. China was were the Hmong people was subjected to wars, because they did not like to be told what to do or how to behave as a people. However, the Chinese did not like the Hmong people and called them degrading names because they wanted to overrule them. In response to this, the Hmong had to migrate many time and the Chinese finally applied enough pressure to overtake them. Even with the takeover, the Hmong people refused to show any respect to the Chinese emperor. Besides all of this history, I have yet to see how this will tie into Lia’s future health issue.

3rd chapter reflections:
This chapter starts to now focus on Lia and detail her first epileptic seizure that started when she was three months old. It was interesting to read that Lia’s parents blamed her seizure on their older daughter slamming the apartment’s front door. They believed that the front door slamming caused Lia’s soul to become frightened and lost from Lia’s body which triggered the seizure. I soon realized the book’s title “The spirit catches you and you fall down” is associated with the word epilepsy. It was also interesting to read that Lia’s parents saw her illness as a high distinction and a sign that Lia will grow up to heave a healing sprit within her. It was sad to read that Lia had over twenty seizures before her parents became scared enough to take her to an emergency room at MCMC. At first this hospital had a hard time communicating with Lia’s parents because they only had a few interpreters and the doctors quickly concluded that Lia’s illness was because her parents were giving her veterinary medicine. The doctor’s conclusion was heighted when the baby came to the hospital twice coughing badly and showing signs of pneumonia during which the doctors prescribed antibiotics. Lia was seen the third time by chance with a visiting doctor named Dan Murphy and during this visit he wrote a report that stated he did not feel that her parents were not that frightened. Dr. Murphy and his wife quickly became interested in the Hmong people and worked on reviewing Lia previous documented visits. This chapter showed how cultures seen Lia’s illness differently; the American doctors wanted to give medication to cure or control the issue,...
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