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dimanche 8 juillet 2012


Miracle in the land of the Kickapoo

A Night visit to the Quiet Barrio of the Kickapoo Reservation

The night was unusually chilly for this time of the year and we entered the gated community of the new houses built by the tribe for its elder members and others deserving to live in this quiet area just a few hundred yards away from the centre of their reservation bordering on Mexico and Rio Grande.
Past the guard, we glided towards the well ordered houses and streets, kept incredibly clean and stopped in front of a house. Here and there you could see small symbolic gestures on trees denoting the season but nothing elaborate.
There were three cars parked in front of house, denoting there are visitors in the house.
I was very pleasantly surprised and grateful for the decision of the tribal council to build these houses for the elder members of the community. They would look like a well organized suburb of a richer developing nation and certainly a cut above the barrios of the town that surrounds the reservation.
The Matriarch of the family was seated in a sofa in the centre of the living room. As expected the TV was on, tuned to a Mexican soap opera. There was a younger couple with their children, obviously the newer generation of this family. Two daughters of the lady in question was also busying themselves with chores around the house.
A glass of sweetened iced tea arrived and I sipped slowly, feeling good about one of the traits among Indians, that of social responsibility. The idea that the welfare of the tribe is dependent upon the welfare of each and every individual and that only collectively they can get ahead, the notion of a social and cultural identity which each and every one shares in, and the willingness to help each other. This is so far removed from the incredibly individualistic central notion of the country they live in.

The Grandmother, born in 1939, showed me the medications, prescribed by Family Practitioners and also some specialists.
It is almost like a shopping list of any older patient in this country: a couple of medications for Diabetes, two for hypertension, one for cholesterol, thyroid medication and a couple of other heavily promoted drugs which are of dubious value.
Her BP was 130/80
For the sake of this missive, the outstanding aspect of the review of her records and examination was the sudden normalizing of her daily fasting Blood sugars..
20   nov        456
21    nov        235
22                  223
24     nov       262
this was more or less the pattern on the records kept in the house, fasting blood sugars in the middle to upper 200s. There is no record of other Blood sugars, as the lady in question is disabled with a stroke that affected her left arm many many years ago.
But now let us look at the recent values.
2011-12-05          105
2011-12-04          135
2011-12-03          136
2011-12-02          197
2011-12-06          88
2011-12-06          130

after the preliminary enquiries about her health and also her mobility and the services she is receiving for her general condition, to explain the sudden near normalizing of fasting blood sugar from a double its value, I asked her, has there been a dramatic change in something you are doing?
This would be interesting I thought, since she is not mobile, her activity pattern couldn't have changed, nor has been any change in the medications.
Yes, she said.
I am not revealing what she said to me, but let you guess what it could be by telling you about the next person I examined in the same living room who happens to be her daughter.
Patient No 2 is the daughter of Patient no 1
Once again a picture of what is happening in this society (the general society)
Diabetes type 2
And the usual slew of medications some of which would show the influence of the drug representatives on the prescriber, sine she was on the latest injectable medication for type 2 Diabetes, Liraglutide.
In addition she was on Long acting Insulin taken once a day, two oral agents.. that is a total of four medications, two oral and two injectable for the control of Diabetes, a combination medication for hypertension (Olmersatan/hydrochlorthiazide),also a drug heavily promoted by the drug companies. And of course the usual thyroid medication in the dosage of 100 microgram.
There has been no change in her medications, and the blood sugars were in the range of 400s for the month before.
But I noticed that for the past one week, her Blood sugars has been hovering around 130. She was very happy to receive this news, and she even knew the answers why the blood sugars had come down to the near normal levels in this lady with long standing Type 2 Diabetes.. Her BP was 130/85 and she looked a little pale, making me think of renal complications of disease.
The daughter is employed as a Cook in the Nutrition Section of the tribe. She does not participate in any form of organized exercises.
Dear friends and readers: I will be happy to hear your suggestions why something so minor a change in their lives made such grand differences in their blood sugars that confirms many of our beliefs that we live in a very toxic environment.
Or you can email me at for the right answer.