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Velma's Work
Valiantly Velma - Page 21

Sand Burrs - He was paralyzed with the pain.

Health care for the tribe still only consisted of the clinic in a building that was so old it could have probably been registered on the historical preservation list. There were only certain days it was open and everyone had to crowd into the small space of the waiting room. No such thing as scheduled appointment happened and a visit could last, literally, all day.

The tribe was beginning to set up clinics separately so patients could receive minor treatment, shots, or help with some other small malady. Other doctors came from medical schools and Velma at 94 can’t remember from where they came.

There was a festive mood around the Tribal Affairs building in the old gymnasium where the clinic was being held that day. Young mothers were there with their children and enjoying visiting with each other. The spaciousness of the room and easy access to outdoors give a more pleasant surrounding for health care. Even the youthful doctors seemed to be enjoying these obviously new conditions.

A table was ready with treats and drinks. The children sampled tidbits of one or another of the sweets or whatever was there. No nurses were in attendance, so the mother’s themselves, helped when needed. Wide and tall windows on the north side allowed them to easily watch the children who had chosen to play outside.

Suddenly a shriek, plaintive and shrill came from where the children were playing. It was so demanding everyone turned to look for the child’s mother. She must have taken a moment to go to the bathroom, when her child, who was little more than two years old, wandered into a bed of sand burrs. He was paralyzed with the pain on the bottom of his feet. One foot was suspended in the air and he wouldn’t take another step. A mother who had volunteered rushed to the child’s aid while a doctor ran out behind her. She picked the little one up and pulled the stickers from the child’s feet while he made not one peep in protest.

The mother was heard to say, “Surgery doctor?”

The doctor was grinning widely and probably feeling like quite the hero for saving the child from a most miserable circumstance.

Sometimes later, the counsel began to make plans for building a new Clinic which was wonderfully modern when completed and had more than one doctor. That was approximately forty years ago.

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