Doctor accepts patient’s invitation to prom

BY RENEE FITE
Tahlequah Daily Press
06/29/2016 08:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Dr. James Lewis, a W.W. Hastings Hospital pediatrician, takes a photo with Paige Walls, one of his patients, at the Hulbert High School prom. Walls asked Lewis to take her to the prom after her father couldn’t get off work to take her. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The letter Hulbert High School senior Paige Wells wrote to Dr. James Lewis asking him to take her to the prom. She affectionately calls him Grandpa. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Dr. James Lewis, a W.W. Hastings Hospital pediatrician, helps Hulbert High School senior Paige Wells out of a van and into her prom. Lewis took Walls to the prom after she asked him. COURTESY
HULBERT, Okla. – A date to the prom with someone special is a dream shared by many girls and boys, and one that recently came true for Cherokee Nation citizen Paige Walls.

The Hulbert High School senior expected her dad to be her escort to prom, but when he couldn’t get off work, another stand-in was given a written invitation with “yes” and “no” boxes to check in reply.

Dr. James Lewis, a W.W. Hastings Hospital pediatrician, said he didn’t hesitate to say “Yes” to the young girl who calls him “Dr. Grandpa” while on a follow-up visit.

Lewis has been the 18-year-old’s pediatrician since birth, when she was diagnosed with CDKL5, a rare neurological seizure disorder. Children with CDKL5 all have developmental delay and Paige can’t communicate.

“I was blown away, very honored,” said Lewis. “I said ‘I’d love to.’ She’s part of the family. I even did a house call when she was so sick.”

Paige’s mom, Mona Walls, said Lewis was the “next best thing” because he’s been in her life so long.

“He loves her just like a granddaughter,” said Mona, who crafted the written invitation. “It’s probably a little old fashioned, but I wanted Paige to be able to ask him. She handed him the invitation.”

Lewis read it out loud to Paige.

“Mona deserves all the praise. She has taken her everywhere for help, from Houston to Memphis, and taken training in epilepsy. When Mona says ‘Jump,’ I say ‘How high?’ She’s very knowledgeable,” Lewis said.

He said the invitation reminded him of his high school prom at Tulsa Edison in 1964.

“She even offered to pick me up,” Lewis said, “but I live just up the street so I hopped into the little bug and met her there.”

For this special occasion, a purple corsage in the school colors was given to his date and Lewis received a boutonniere when they met that evening.

“It was a fun evening. I escorted her inside. We had our picture taken by an old car and lots of kids came up and said ‘Hi,’ and gave her hugs,” Lewis said. “We had a delicious meal of steak and chicken. An amateur magician was the entertainment.”

Mona was also in attendance, but scooted a little away from her daughter and date at dinner so they could have “their time.”

“I think she was excited. She was aware she was on a date with him,” Mona said. “While they were watching the magic show, she was holding his hand. When he let go she got a little irritated so he held her hand again. She was happy.”

Gratitude is what the Walls family felt.

“I was glad she was able to experience that. He made her feel very special,” Mona said. “We were honored he took her. He’s so selfless.”

“Dr. Grandpa” also was greeted by many of his patients with “Hi, Dr. Lewis.”

“In that 17- and 18-year-old crowd there were some Joe Cool types,” Lewis said, “and girls wearing prom dresses and gowns, and guys in cowboy hats, boots and string ties.”

He saw friends and a former neighbor, Marilyn DeWoody, superintendent of Hulbert Public Schools.
“I hadn’t seen her in ages,” he said. “She thanked me for taking Paige.”

The two also shared a wish for special needs people because once the students reach 18 years old and graduate, there’s nothing for them, such as services during the day.

“I wish the tribe would consider a respite center for the handicapped to go to during the day with recreational, physical and occupational therapy, a teacher, a great classroom, activities and other people too,” Lewis said. “There’s a bunch of vacant buildings in town for rent.”

Mona agreed, saying she doesn’t know what she’ll do with her daughter now that she’s graduated.

“She loves music and quality time with people and art. If someone would do it two hours a day a couple of days of week that would be great,” she said.

At prom, when the magician finished, it was after 8 p.m. and they took more pictures.

“A lot of people came up to her and took pictures with her,” Mona said.

The dance started next, which signaled it was time to call it a night.

It was Lewis’ first time to be a prom escort, although he’s attended many high school graduations.

“It was sort of cool. I had a great time,” he said.

– Reprinted with permission from the Tahlequah Daily Press
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᎦᏚᏏ ᎦᏚᎲ, ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎻ. – ᎩᎶ ᎤᏓᏤᎵᏛ ᎤᎾᎵᎪᏗ ᏗᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᏓᏟᏏᏍᎬ ᎠᎾᏍᎩᏥᏍᎪ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏧᏣ, ᏌᏊᏃ ᎤᏙᎯᏳ ᏄᎵᏍᏓᏁᎴᎢ ᏞᎩᎯᏊ Paige Wells ᏧᏙᎢᏏ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏣᏰᎵ ᎨᎳ.

ᎦᏚᏏ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏗᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᏙᏓ ᏫᏓᏳᏘᏂᏙᎳ ᎡᎵᏍᎨ ᏗᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᏗᎾᏓᏟᏏᏍᎬ, ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ ᎥᏝ ᏰᎵ ᎦᏳᏠᎯᏍᏗ ᏱᎨᏎ ᏧᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗᎢ, ᎩᎶ ᏅᏩᏓᎴ ᏩᎪᏪᎳᏁᎴ “ᎥᎥ” ᎾᎴᏱᎩ “ᎥᏝ” ᎤᏬᏪᎶᏗ ᏅᎩ ᏧᏅᏏᏱ ᎧᏁᏌᎢᏱ ᎦᏬᎯᎵᏴᏍᎬᎢ. ᎦᎾᎦᏘ James Lewis, W.W. Hastings ᏧᏂᏢᎩ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏧᎦᏎᏍᏗᏕᎩ, ᎥᏝ ᏳᏙᎯᏤ “ᎥᎥ” ᏣᎪᏎᎴ ᎠᏔᏄᏣ “ᎦᎾᎦᏔ ᎡᏚᏚ” ᎤᏬᏎᎯ ᏧᏂᏢᎩ ᏫᎤᏪᏓᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ.

ᎯᎾᎾ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᏔᏄᏥ ᎥᏍᎩ Lewis ᎦᎾᎦᏘ ᏭᏩᎧᎰ ᎦᏳᏕᏅᎯ, CDKL5 ᎦᏰᏥᏩᏛᎡᎸ, ᎰᏩ ᎠᏛᎪᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏧᏩᏚᏂ ᎢᏳᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᏧᎾᎸᏕᎯ ᎥᏳᎩ. ᏗᏂᏲᏟ CDKL5 ᎤᏁᎯ ᎤᏍᎦᏃᎵ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎥᏝ ᎣᏍᎩ ᎦᏳᎾᏓᏟᏃᎮᏗ ᏱᎩ.

“ᎤᎶᏒᏍᏛᏅ ᎠᎦᏍᏆᎾᎪᏒ, ᎠᏩᎵᎮᎵᏨᏃ” ᎤᏛᏁ Lewis. “ᎤᎶᏒᏍᏔᏅ ᏯᏆᏚᎵ ᎠᏆᏛᏅᎢ. ᎤᏠᎢᏊ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎢᏱᎩ. ᏧᏪᏅᏒᎯᏰᏃ ᏧᏥᏩᏛᎯᏙᎸ ᎤᎪᏛ ᏧᏓᏂᎸᎢ”.

Lewis ᎢᏛᏎ “ᏔᎵᏁ ᏫᏓᏤᏢ” ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎪᎯ ᎣᏦᎵᎩ ᏂᎨᏐ ᎤᏛᏁ Paige ᎤᏥ Mona Walls.

“ᎤᎵᏏᏊ ᎡᎵᏍᏗ ᎠᏥᎨᏳᎢ” ᎤᏛᏁ Mona, ᎥᏍᎩᏰᏃ ᎤᏬᏪᎳᏁ ᎠᎦᏛᏛᎲᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎡᎵᏍᏊ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᏗ ᏱᎩ, ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ ᎠᏆᏚᎵᏍᎬ Paige ᎤᏛᏗᎢ. ᏩᏥᏅᏁᎴᎢ ᎠᎦᏛᏛᎲᏍᎬᎢ”. Lewis ᎢᏃ ᎤᎪᎵᎡᎴᎢ.

Mona ᎮᏃ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏤᏗ. ᏂᎬᎯᏰᏃ ᎠᎦᏘᏂᏙᎳ Houston ᎠᎴᏂᏍᎩ Memphis ᎢᏴ ᏩᏍᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏭᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎢᏳᏛᏁᏗ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᎸᏕᎯᎯ. ᏔᎵᏔᏚᎦ ᏳᏛᏅ Mona ᎯᎳ ᎢᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏥᏲᏎᎰᎢ? ᎤᏙᎯᏩᏃ ᎠᎦᏔᎿᎢ”, ᎤᏛᏁ Lewis.

ᎯᎠᏃ ᏣᎦᏛᏛᏁ ᏫᎤᏅᏓᏗᏍᏓᏁ ᏥᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ Tulsa Edison ᏗᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᏓᏟᏏᏍᎬ ᏧᏂᏍᏆᎸᎡᎴᎢ 1964 ᏥᎨᏒᎢ.

“ᎤᏓᎯᏕᎸᏃ ᎠᎩᏘᏅᏍᏙᏗ”, ᎤᏛᏁ Lewis, “ᎠᏎᏃ ᎡᏍᎦᏂᏊ ᏓᏥᏁᎸ ᏗᎦᏚᎴᏂ ᏩᏭᏣᏅ ᎤᎿᎾ ᏫᏕᏥᏠᏒ”.

ᎯᎠᏃ ᎤᏤᏟᏛ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᎸᎡᎲ, ᎠᏓᎲᎳᎨ ᎠᏂᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᏧᏠᏱᎭ ᏧᎵᏑᏫᏛ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏑᏰᏛ ᏕᏥᏅᏁᎸ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ Lewis ᎢᏃᏍᏊ ᎠᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᎠᏥᏅᏁᎴᎢ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏒᎯᏰ ᏚᎾᏠᏏ.

“ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏒᎯᏰᎢ. ᎦᎵᏦᏕ ᏬᎩᏂᏴᏢ. ᎤᏪᏘ ᏗᎦᏚᎴᏂ ᎠᎲ ᎤᏟᏗᏢ ᏙᏍᏗᏙᎬ ᏙᎩᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅ ᎤᏂᎪᏗ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ “ᎪᎩᏂᏲᎵᎸ” ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏄᎩᏢᏅᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏁ Lewis. “ᎤᏖᏗ ᏏᏆ ᎭᏫᏯ ᎠᎴ ᏥᏔᎦ ᎣᎩᎬᎢ.

ᎩᎳ ᎠᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᎤᏕᎵᏛ ᎬᏗ ᎠᏛᏁᎸᏗ ᎤᏛᏁᎸᏅ ᎾᎯᏳ ᎤᏒᎢ”.

Mona ᎡᏙᎲᎢ, ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ ᎠᏴ ᏓᏳᏬᏢ ᎤᏪᏥ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ ᎠᎦᎵᏍᏉᎸᏓᏁᎲ “ᎤᎾᏝᏃᎮᏗ ᎤᎾᎵᎪᎯ”.

“ᎣᏍᏓ ᎤᏓᏅᏛ ᎨᎵᎠ. ᎤᏅᏛᏃ ᎠᎵᏘᏁᎲᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏁ Mona. ᎤᎾᎦᏙᏍᏛ ᎠᏛᏁᎵᏍᎬ, ᎠᎪᎠᏂᏴᏎᏃ ᏱᏓᏥᏲᏏ ᏍᏗᎩᏛ ᎥᏝ ᏱᎦᎸᏉᏗᎮᎢ ᎠᏎᏃ ᏯᎪᎠᏂᏴ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᏓᏅᏓᏗᏍᎨᎢ.”

ᎠᏂ Walls ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᎾᎵᎮᎵᎨᎢ.

“ᎠᏆᎵᎮᎵᏨ ᎥᏍᎩ ᏥᎾᎦᏛᏁᎸᎢ. ᎤᏓᏤᏟᏛ ᎠᎦᏓᏅᏓᏗᏍᏔᏅᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏁ Mona. “ᎣᏥᎸᏉᏓᏅ ᏣᏩᎦᏘᏃᏙᎸᎢ. ᎥᏝ ᎤᏓᎸᏉᏗ ᏱᎩ.”

“ᎤᏂᎪᏗᏃ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎦᎾᎦᏔ ᎡᏚᏚ ᏧᎦᏎᏍᏗᏕᎩ ᎬᏩᏲᎵᎸᎢ”

“ᎦᎵᏆᏚ ᏁᎳᏚᏃ ᎢᏧᎾᏕᏘᏴᏗ ᎠᏁᏙᎲ ᎤᎾᏓᏅᏘᏳ ᎨᏒᎢ”, ᎤᏛᏁ Lewis “ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣᏃ ᏧᏬᏚᎯ ᏚᎾᏏᏃᎲᎢ, ᎠᏂᏧᎠᏃ ᏚᎾᎵᏍᏇᏛᎬᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏍᏘ ᎢᏧᏍᏗ ᏚᎾᏯᏢᎢ.”

ᏧᎵᎢᏃ ᏚᎪᎲᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎾᎥ ᎢᏧᎾᏓᎵᏛ, Mariyln DeWoody, ᎦᏚᏏ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒᎢ.

“ᎪᎯᎩ ᎦᎦᏥᎪᎥ ᎨᏒᎩᏢ”. ᎤᏛᏁᎢ. “ᎠᏩᎵᎮᎵᏤᎸᏃ ᏥᏲᏘᏂᏙᎸ Paige.”

ᎢᏧᎳᏃ ᏲᏎᎢᎧ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎦᏰᎦᏛᏁᏗ ᏱᎨᏎ ᎥᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏓᏤᏟᏛ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏱᏚᏂᏍᏆᏛ ᎤᏁᎵᏎ, ᏂᏛᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎥᏝ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏱᏓᏅᏛᏁᎰ ᎢᎦ ᎨᏒᎢ.

“ᏲᏎᎢᎧ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎢᎸᏢ ᎬᏩᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᏱᎨᏎ ᏗᎬᏩᎾᏁᎶᏗ, ᏗᏂᏰᎸ ᏧᎾᏢᏃᎪᎯᏍᏙᏗ, ᏗᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ, ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎣᏌᏂ ᎧᏅᏑᎸ, ᎤᎾᏛᏁᎶᏗᏃ ᎠᏂᏐᎢᏃ ᎠᎾᏴᏫᏍᏊ,” ᎠᏗ Lewis. “ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᏧᏏᏫ ᏓᏓᏁᎳ ᏗᎵᏆ ᎦᏚᎲ ᎡᎵᏍᏗᎧ ᏌᏊ ᏯᎾᏙᎵ.”

Mona ᎤᏪᎯᏓᏁᎢ, ᏝᏰᏃ ᏯᏆᏅᏔ ᎤᎿᎾ ᏫᏥᏲᎪᏗ ᎾᏊ ᏥᏓᏍᏆᏛ ᎤᏛᏁᎢ.

“ᎤᎸᏉᏗᏰᏃ ᏗᎧᏃᎩᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏧᏟᏃᎮᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏟᎶᏍᏙᏗᎢ. ᎩᎶᏃ ᎥᏍᏊ ᏔᎵᏊ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏛ ᎤᏩᏥ ᎦᏳᏪᏅᏗ ᎢᎪᎯᏛ ᏏᎩ ᎨᏒ ᎦᏳᏩᏛᎯᏓᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ ᎤᏙᎯᏳ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏱᎩ,” ᎠᏗ Mona.

ᎤᏍᏆᏛᏃ ᎩᎳ ᎠᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᎤᏕᎵᏛ ᎬᏗ ᎠᏛᏁᎸᏗ ᏗᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᏓᏟᏏᏍᎬ, ᏧᏁᎳ ᎠᏟᎢᎵᏒ ᎤᎶᏐᏅ ᎨᏒᎩ ᎠᏏᏊᏃ ᏚᎾᏓᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎩ.

“ᎤᏂᎪᏗ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎬᏩᎷᏤᎸ ᏗᎨᎦᎵᎶᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᎬᏩᎵ,”ᎤᏛᏁ Mona.

ᎠᎾᎵᏍᎩᏍᎬ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎮᎢ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᎾᏅᏁᎲ ᎠᎵᏍᏆᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

ᎩᎳ ᎠᎬᏱ ᎩᎶ ᏭᏘᏂᏙᎴ Lewis ᏗᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᏓᏟᏏᏍᎬᎢ, ᏁᎳᎩ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎪᎦᏘ ᏧᏪᏙᎸ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏓᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

“ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏒᎩ. ᎣᏍᏗᏃ ᏫᎨᏓ,” ᎤᏛᏁᎢ.

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