Bertha Moses

Bertha Moses,
Transcript Section 14

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MARLA:  Did you ever know or use any traditional medicine or have to use any traditional medicine? 

BERTHA:  I didn't while I -- I did not when I was practicing after we already -- before that we used to use pitch when we cut, you know, from the wood. 
And there's stink weed, too, you can boil it and drink the juice to help your cold.  But I didn't use the traditional medicine when I was working with people. 

MARLA:  And what are some of the key health issues that affected this area and have they changed throughout the time? 

BERTHA:  At that time when I was working, the big change was alcohol. 
And later part of the time before I was transferred, they were just getting into drugs.  I hear about it.  I've never had anybody had overdose or nothing.  But I hear about it. 

MARLA:  So that's been -- that's been recent, then? 

BERTHA:  That's 19 -- late '70.  That's quite awhile ago now. 

MARLA:  Yeah. 

BERTHA:  Uh-hum (affirmative). 

MARLA:  Yeah. 

BERTHA:  Almost 30 years ago.  But alcohol was a really big change that I had while I am health -- while I was health aide. 

MARLA:  Because there was so many accidents or --

BERTHA:  There was suicide and stuff like that.  And that's one of the hardest things to do is when somebody with gunshot wound and you don't know if they are alive or not, we have to go there and check them out and pronounce they are dead or they have to be medevaced or something.  That's the hardest part. 

MARLA:  Yeah.  I can imagine.

BERTHA:  Uh-hum (affirmative). 

MARLA:  And that's when your faith probably really helps to -- helped to get you through it. 

BERTHA:  Uh-hum (affirmative).  

MARLA:  And what kind of support did you get from the community? 

BERTHA:  They -- my husband is the one that really helped me.  If somebody had -- is kind of intoxicated and I'm trying to suture them or put a splint on their leg or arm, and how they are trying to get out of there, and that's where my husband come handy. 

If it's nighttime and if he think it's alcohol related, then he goes with me.  If a baby is sick or an elderly person is sick, he didn't -- he don't have to go with me.  But when it's alcohol related, all those years, he didn't rest very good, too, because somebody's always knocking.  Babies always be sick in the nighttime.

MARLA:  Because that's when they know you're sleeping? 

BERTHA:  I don't know.  Because I don't know.  They get -- all day they get tired and in the nightime they are sick.  They get worse. 

I spent a lot of time, and I always used to nurse my babies.  And then when -- when they wake up at night, I'm not home and they are crying.  They don't like bottle and they are crying and my husband had to walk the floor all night once, sometimes. 

MARLA:  So your family was really helpful? 

BERTHA:  Oh, yes.  My -- my girls learned to appreciate early, too, there was two girls especially. 

One of my girls was a health aide for a while, too.  One of my daughters.
And I -- I wanted my oldest daughters to -- I wanted somebody in our family to become a doctor, but nobody wants to go.  They chose teacher and I think some of them don't like -- they see too much already, like leaving and stuff. 

MARLA:  Yeah.  And so one of your daughters became a health aide? 

BERTHA:  For a while. 

MARLA:  In Allakaket? 

BERTHA:  Yeah.  For a -- for a short time.  But then she had health problems where she had to quit. 

MARLA:  Yeah.  Who took care of you when you were sick? 

BERTHA:  I talked with the doctor.  I have to talk with the doctor and tell them what's wrong with me. 

MARLA:  So you took care of yourself? 

BERTHA:  Oh, yes. 

MARLA:  Oh.  I thought maybe one of your children or somebody else --

BERTHA:  At one time when I had -- I had a slight stroke, I think, and my one eye can't close, and my daughter had -- the one was health aide, she had to put patch -- she talked with the doctor and put patch over my eye and get me where I could go down to -- go to Tanana Hospital. 

Could we stop a while? 


MARLA:  Sure.