Just Ask an Indian!


Indian Health Service – better known as IHS

English: Indian Health Service logo (made by m...My sister-in-law gets kicked in the head by a big bay gelding named BR! (I always said she needed kicked in the head but it did not work.) She is about 6′ tall and goes a good 270 – so she is not petite and is still standing. I wondered if the horse hurt his hoof!

We rush her to the Emergency Room (always take the white guy in the family to IHS because they speak “white” to the doctors). By this time she is semi-conscious and yet still on her feet! I grab the ancient doctor and jump to the front of the line. She is standing/swaying beside me and the doctor says lean down and let me feel the bump. By this time, she has a grapefruit growing on the back of her head – so the doctor says let me put this neck brace on to immobilize her head! He cranks down on the velcro tabs and bam she passes out cold into my arms!

Typical scene at a local emergency room
Typical scene at a local emergency room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The doctor – shocked – goes to find a wheel chair! What seems like 20 minutes later he comes back with one and I indicate that she is out cold ! He says wheel her back to Trauma (like I am an EMT or know where it is) so I go cruising back to the back of the ER! The doctor begins to panic when he says her breathing is shallow and her pulse weak! He takes off her shirt and puts on the little tabs to monitor her. (Yes, she still has the velcro neck brace on) All of sudden the ECG monitor flatlines! Yes, just like the movies and the old doctor wakes up! – he hit her with paddles and shocked her right back to consciousness! She looks up and wonders what she is doing in a wheelchair in the trauma room!

I take off the neck brace and instant relief! The doctor finally finds a nurse and we get her into a bed and in walks Mr. EMT! He assumes I am the husband and starts in on me! “Has she been drinking, has she been doing drugs, have I been drinking, what drugs do I do, why were we fighting?” I calmly asked the racist moron if he was asking these questions because she is Indian or because he assumes all Indians drink, do drugs, and fight? (She was the principal at the local Middle School.) I was waiting for him to ask if we just came from casino after we ate frybread in our Teepee!

The next day suffering from a massive headache the sister-in-law asked why her chest had burn marks? She did not remember a thing! I asked her how she liked IHS – she smiled! So, next time ya think about how great universal healthcare is – if the government can not get it right for Indians how is it gonna get it right for the whole country? Or just ask an Indian!

The IHS Hospital is in Ganado, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation!

6 thoughts on “Just Ask an Indian!

  1. I’ve been to Ganado…the Trading Post is fascinating. I can totally relate to the racist remarks. My spouse is a full blooded Mescalero Apache.(Gee spellcheck hated that one.). I have seen people stare at my “old Man” like he has a disease, especially in the grocery store. Up in Flagstaff, he was waiting for me at the entrance of a hotel while I inquired about a room. The lady asked rudely: “Do you know that guy?” I could feel her anger. I simply said : “Yes, he’s my husband, don’t worry he’s with me!” (Needles to say, I never rented a room at the hotel.) Flagstaff gets a lot of Natives from the Navajo Rez, and the panhandling and the drunkeness scares the white people. However, that is NOT an excuse for people to ask rude questions. Sorry your sister-in-law was treated with such disrespect. Reminds me of the VA hospitals. Our Health Care system, is bad everywhere.

    1. Yep, we lived just outa Flagstaff for many years – the prejudice against NDN’s is stronger here in Montana – than AZ is what the wife says! While we always get looks – once people talk to Claudia and find out how kind she is and literate – well they are always surprised.

      1. Oh boy do I get it. I lived in Southern California before I moved to Arizona. It was very different. In Los Angeles, you have to “Play nice” because it’s a melting pot of cultures. I try to ignore the mean people out here, but it does get under my skin. I have learned to forgive others and move on.

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