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Taking the burden off family and loved ones

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  • Taking the burden off family and loved ones

    By Dr. Arne Vainio
    News From Indian Country

    I was afraid of Alvina. She first came to see me when I was in my 3rd year of residency in Seattle. She had moved to Seattle from her home reservation and was living with her daughter. Chronic alcoholism had taken its toll on her. She had tried to commit suicide years ago and had shot herself under the chin. The bullet missed most of her brain, but went up through her skull and lodged just behind her right eye. The bullet destroyed most of her face on the right side, her jaw didn’t close properly and her right eye was blind, dull gray, and looked off to the side. She wouldn’t make eye contact with me with her good eye, so her dead right eye would fix on me with a baleful stare. She was in her 60s, but looked much older. She was unable to fully use her left arm and leg due to her brain injury.

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