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"Medicine Woman" - Frontier Doctor Georgia Fix



"Medicine Woman" - Frontier Doctor Georgia Fix
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.63

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    battering, befall, complexion, convulse, cowhide, faction, haughty, hook-nosed, hovel, minefield, needlecraft, oblivion, respectability, shied, sweat-soaked, thud-it
     content words:    Eli Beebe, Georgia Fix, Native American, Although Fix


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"Medicine Woman" - Frontier Doctor Georgia Fix
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     Eli Beebe drifted uneasily in a hazy landscape. Everything was grey and vague... except the pounding. It seemed to come from behind him. Thud, thud, thudóit drummed on and on. He kept trying to move away from it, but it dragged him back. Every so often it seized him. His body would convulse as if the throbbing had opened him up and jumped inside. He struggled to escape, but he could only drift helplessly.
 
2     A strange, dark woman loomed before him. She was tall and black. Her long hair fell on his face as she leaned over him. A witch-come to steal life from his body and leave him here in this empty place? As she touched him, the hammering grew. It tore at him like jagged rock. His silent scream was sucked up in the relentless, battering force of it.
 
3     Then the witch looked into his eyes. In her dark face, he saw velvet pools of sad kindness so deep he knew they were endless. He wanted to go there, but she looked away, gazing at something over his head. Her hand hovered near his face and her fingers held a circle of silver light. She touched it to a place somewhere behind him. The pounding rose up and enveloped him in dull, black oblivion.

 
4     The next day, when the 33-year-old farmer awoke, he didn't remember the accident that tore out a piece of his skull. But for the rest of his seventy-some years, he would never forget the woman with the kind eyes, the one who'd saved his life by implanting a flattened silver dollar into his head and sewing his scalp over it.
 
5     It was the last decade of the 19th century in frontier Nebraska. The surgery marked the first time a silver plate had been used in brain surgery. The surgeon was frontier physician Georgia Fix. Doctors were hard to come by in the newly settled places. Pioneer families counted themselves lucky when anyone with medical training or experience moved into the area. Women doctors like Fix were an oddity anywhere.

Paragraphs 6 to 15:
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