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Velma's Work
Valiantly Velma - Page 18

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 that information.

“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 that.

“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.

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