The Hallucinating Man - He’s
seeing things, shaking all over.
The phone rang so much Lee
sometimes joked, “She not here,” before someone answered it. Logging of
the calls was almost fun. It would have been interesting if Velma had kept
“Yes!” Velma now answered.
“We can take him to the clinic at Pawnee, around 40 miles away. That is
all that can be done.” This was before any rehabilitation centers for
alcoholism or drugs were established. If a person was desperately ill from
an alcoholic state to the point, no one could deal with it. The only
recourse was to take the person to the Indian health clinic at Pawnee,
Oklahoma where there was an Indian hospital that had been established to
serve both Ponca and Pawnee people. There was no such thing as C. H.R.
(Community Health Representative) who would in later years be paid for
taking patients to the clinic.
“Lee! We are going to have
to take someone to the clinic. He is having alcoholic tremors (delirium
tremens) withdrawal from alcohol.”
When they drove up to the
man’s house, his wife was waiting on the porch. “He’s bad. He’s seeing
things, shaking all over. He has been trying to quit drinking you know.
I’m scared,” and she started to cry.
“Is he violent?” Velma
asked. Lee was with her but he was getting old and she was worried about
“No, no! He’s just crying
and shaking but he’s not mean.” The woman was distraught. “I don’t know
what to do!”
“Only one thing to do and
that is get him to the hospital at Pawnee. I’m sure they will know what to
do. I already called them and they said to bring him.” Velma had a way of
soothing anyone who was in trouble. “They said at the hospital it was
serious and he needs treatment.”
The man was contrite and
seemed to be relieved to be getting some help so he went peacefully with
Velma and Lee. Most all Ponca people are related in one way or another,
either by marriage or blood. They had trust for each other.
Velma drove and Lee tried
to keep a suffering person contained in the back seat. The hallucinating
man was standing in a crouched position on the seat and would stomp the
floor board of the car yelling, “Snakes! Snakes!”
Needless to say, the
documenting of that part of Velma’s job was one of the reasons the staff
at O.I.O enjoyed reading her notes so much.