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News from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Hospital Foundation


Those that have fallen in love may not realize there are “feel good” chemicals the body produces. After a breakup or the death of a loved one, the brain stops generating these chemicals, and the body suffers from withdrawal of these feel-good hormones. When this happens, it can cause withdrawal, depression, or for some, can be painful.

For some, this condition is known as Broken Heart Syndrome (BHS), stress cardiomyopathy, or takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Takotsubo is a Japanese name for an octopus trapping pot with a wide bottom and narrow neck. The neck resembles the shape of a distressed left ventricle of the heart seen in BHS.

BHS, a rapid weakening of the heart, is temporary and reversible. Many people experiencing BHS think they are having a heart attack because symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain are similar in both conditions. However, BHS doesn’t involve blocked coronary arteries and does not cause permanent heart damage.

While symptoms generally mimic a heart attack, it is caused by sudden physical and emotional stress. Emotional stressors include grieving over the death of a loved one or intense fear caused by anything from public speaking, to being the victim of a crime. Anger can also trigger BHS in situations such as road rage, being involved in a physical altercation, or a tragic car accident.

Physical stressors vary and can include an exhausting physical event, severe pain, or chronic health issues such as an asthma attack, dyspnea (difficulty breathing), seizures, and strokes.

Approximately two percent of patients that present with a suspected heart attack are experiencing BHS. It is predominant in women (88%) in later middle-age, generally after menopause. One theory is that estrogen (a female hormone) protects the heart against harmful effects of hormone release in response to stress. As the level of estrogen declines, generally between ages 58 to 77, women may become more susceptible to high levels of stress.

When suffering from BHS, the steady rhythm of the heart muscle is disrupted. Sometimes the lower part of the ventricle enlarges temporarily. It can also lead to forceful contractions in other areas of the heart.

Can someone die of BHS? While complications are rare, they can include a rupture or blockage of blood flow of the left ventricle, heart failure, and cardiogenic shock. Although it is not impossible, about one percent of cases result in death.

Treatment varies depending on severity, although it is generally treated with medications. Your physician may prescribe ACE inhibitors to lower blood pressure, beta blockers to slow heart rate, or diuretics to decrease fluid buildup. Where stress is extreme, anti-anxiety medicines may be a path toward recovery.

For those whose heart muscle has been seriously impacted, cardiac rehabilitation may be recommended. Some people opt for self-care such as yoga, meditation, and other relaxation techniques. Only about five percent of people have more than one episode of BHS. Most cases will clear up in one to four weeks with full recovery within two months.

Nevada County’s COVID cases trending downward

Nevada County got some good news on Wednesday.

“A spot of good news is that we do seem to be trending downward,” said Ryan Gruver, Nevada County Director of Health and Human Services, on cases of COVID-19 in the county.

In a Q&A Wednesday, Gruver noted that the county recorded 231 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 last week.

“That’s still a lot of cases, but a lot better than where we were,” he said.

The previous week had seen over 300 new cases, and the three weeks before that had each seen over 350 new cases. According to the county’s Coronavirus Dashboard, 527 new cases were recorded the week of Aug. 9.

Gruver explained the rough timeline of a COVID-19 surge, stating that “a couple (of) weeks” typically pass between a surge in cases and a resulting surge in hospitalizations.

Nevada County saw this occur, said Gruver, with countywide hospitalizations rising to around 30 and having “improved somewhat since then.”

County hospitalizations peaked for this year at 32 on Aug. 25, according to state data, and had dropped to 20 as of Tuesday.

A similar amount of time typically passes between a given surge in hospitalizations and recorded deaths, according to Gruver. Of the 92 total COVID-19 deaths recorded in Nevada County since the beginning of the pandemic, 17 deaths have been recorded since Aug. 5.

Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Kellermann said Wednesday that over 113,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the county, stating that this has translated to over 60% of eligible residents being fully vaccinated and over 70% having received at least one dose.

“In the midst of all this, even though numbers are trending in a good direction, we still have a high level of virus in our community, so immunizations … and mask wearing and distancing, are primary public health measures for preventing the spread of this virus,” said Kellermann.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com

News from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Hospital Foundation

We’ve all seen it while driving — emergency vehicles rushing down the street, sirens screaming and red lights flashing as cars pull out of the way. Getting to an emergency quickly is essential, and often more challenging in a rural region. Whether our team is rushing a critical patient from an accident to the hospital, bringing in a seriously ill COVID-19 patient, or transferring someone to another location, Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital’s (SNMH) ambulances are an essential service.

Annually, nearly 10 million rural Americans receive Emergency Medical Services (EMS) care. There are 23,272 ambulance agencies in the U.S. with 73% of those reporting serving rural areas. A record number of ambulance services have closed across the country leaving 60 million people at risk of being stranded in a medical emergency.

SNMH is one of the few hospitals that owns their ambulances. Fully committed to serving the community, these ambulances serve a population of 75,000 residents in Grass Valley, Lake of the Pines, Alta Sierra, and smaller regions such as the towns of Washington, Rough and Ready and North San Juan.

In addition to serving our region’s emergency care calls, over the past two years, these ambulances recently assisted at the Jones, River and Bennett fires. In addition, they have deployed to assist with the Paradise fire, the Dixie fire and the Caldor fire, and the Oroville dam crisis.

The SNMH ambulance program is licensed through the CA Highway Patrol which is licensed by the Sierra Sacramento Valley Emergency Medical Services Authority. The State of California has a 250,000 cap on allowable mileage for ambulances, which is a reason there is turnover in the fleet.

The department has 56 employees with one-half being EMTs and one-half paramedics. There are three supervisors for every 24 hours. For each call there are two staff members, an EMT, and a paramedic. If there is a significant incident, a paramedic supervisor will come to the location.

There are eight ambulances in the fleet. Five run during the day and three at night. Penn Valley and Truckee ambulance services back-up SNMH’s program and our department reciprocates service for them. The rule of thumb is to have one-quarter of your fleet backed-up in case of emergency or disaster calls, routine maintenance, and other possible failures.

Fielding over 10,000 calls a year, nearly 6,500 patients are transported to the hospital accounting for 21% of the total emergency department patient volume. There is an 82% transport rate. Eighteen percent are cared for onsite or won’t go despite medical advice. Each ambulance makes approximately 1,200 calls a year and will transport approximately 825 of those patients either to our hospital or another facility.

Our ambulance program is a gateway to our community and an integral part of caring for those that need emergency care. This means staying current with the latest technologies, equipment, supplies and a vehicle that can manage difficult terrain. In an emergency situation, you want to know help is on the way.

Promoting Eye Health at a Young Age

Experts recommend children undergo a thorough eye exam performed by an optometrist before they start school to ensure their eyes are healthy and that they don’t need prescription glasses.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, just over half (51.9%) of children aged 3-5 years old have never had their vision tested by a doctor or other health professional. Eye experts say regularly seeing an eye doctor should be part of every child’s health care plan.

“Children’s eyes are constantly undergoing many changes during child development,” says Tiffany Chan, OD, optometrist at Chan Family Optometry in Grass Valley. “It is important to assess any visual problems or diseases that may disrupt a child from reaching their greatest visual potential during their critical years of development.”

Dr. Chan says that some vision problems can have a significant impact if left untreated.

“Poor eye health can cause a child to develop misaligned eyes and/or improper connections to the brain,” she explains. “This can lead to ‘lazy’ eyes. Through an eye exam, doctors are able to rule out any risk factors a child may have and to determine proper treatment to prevent poor visual development.”

Because of the importance of eye health in children, Dr. Chan and her team recently welcomed the area’s first optometrist who specializes in pediatric eye health – Dr. Tina Khieu.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Khieu join our practice,” Dr. Chan says. “Many of the eye doctors in our area are knowledgeable about caring for patients of all ages, including children, but Dr. Khieu has pursued specialty training in this age group. This is an exciting time for our community to bring on board a doctor with a passion for pediatrics, and advanced knowledge about visual development.”

While many parents may rely on the vision screening offered at their child’s physical or through school as being a good indicator of their eye health, the American Optometric Association says that a vision screening can actually give a false sense of security. Such screenings only assess one or two areas of vision and may not evaluate how well the child can focus his or her eyes or how well the eyes work together.

In addition, screenings do not typically test color vision, which is important for children when they are young and much of their learning involves color-coding.

An eye exam is performed by a Doctor of Optometry and covers all facets of eye health and can be done at any age.

“Children can be seen as early as infancy,” Dr. Khieu says. “The critical period for visual development where the eyes and brain are developing visual connections ends around the age of seven, thus, initial eye exams prior to this age are crucial.”

Dr. Khieu says it’s especially important that children have their eyes checked prior to starting school. The AOA agrees and recommends a thorough eye exam between the ages of three and five.

Thanks to technology and advanced diagnostic testing equipment, children do not need to know the alphabet or how to read in order to have his or her eyes examined.

Dr. Khieu explains that the first eye exam requires several baseline tests to ensure that the patient’s vision, eye teaming skills, prescription and ocular health are within what is expected for the child’s age.

“The child will undergo several engaging tests with the technicians and doctor,” she says. “During their first visit, parents should expect dilation of the child’s pupils to determine if glasses are required for the child and to fully assess the health of their eyes.”

If glasses are needed, Dr. Khieu says there are plenty of kid-friendly options available. Her best advice is to find something that your child likes.

“Having their input on what kind of frames they choose, such as the style and color, is something that may motivate the child to wear them,” Dr. Khieu says. “Also, focusing on positive factors, such as how it can help them improve in school and/or playing sports are great pointers to discuss with your child.”

Lenses for children are all made with shatter-resistant material, which provides added protection for their safety.

For small children, wrap-around glasses are available, which can help keep the actual frames from falling off.

Dr. Khieu says she has found that once a child notices the improvement in their vision, they are often more motivated and excited to wear them.

“Parents should keep in mind that a child’s eyes may change as they continue to grow and the prescription may change year after year,” she says. “It is certainly helpful to invest in a great pair of glasses but know the prescription will likely change as they continue

to develop.”

Signs of Eye and Vision Problems in Young Children

According to the American Public Health Association, about 10% of preschoolers have eye or vision problems. However, children this age generally will not voice complaints about their eyes. Parents should watch for signs that may indicate a vision problem, including

• An eye turn, whether it is inward or outward

• Excessive rubbing of eyes or squinting

• Holding items too close

• Difficulties seeing the front of the classroom

• Difficulties concentrating on schoolwork

• Headaches, especially around the forehead region

• Seeing double vision or needing to close an eye to see clearly

• Skipping words while reading or notices words “swim” while reading

• Avoiding up close schoolwork such as reading

• Failing a vision screening test at school

Dr. Tina Khieu

To learn more about what you can do to support your child’s eye health, contact Dr. Tina Khieu and Chan Family Optometry.

Chan Family Optometry

360 Sierra College Dr., Suite 100

Grass Valley, CA 95945


Corey Vanderwouw: Ergonomics for your car

Ergonomics is the art and strategy of fitting the environment around you to your body, rather than adjusting your body to fit the environment around you. Using ergonomic strategies can help you avoid body pain and limit injury to joints and tissues, and help keep your body mechanically healthy.

Desk ergonomics has been popular for decades. This is because working in a sitting position for many hours regularly has commonly led to neck, back and hip pain, as well as injuries that include disc herniations, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder, wrist and hand injuries. Thankfully most of us do not drive as much as the full-time desk worker sits at a desk. However, a poor sitting position, even for shorter durations, can be a literal pain. And for those of us who have underlying injuries, driving can be excruciating.

Let’s consider what a mechanically healthy sitting position is first, then apply it to a car seat. A mechanically healthy sitting position includes the position of the thighs, pelvis and spine. Since our body parts are connected, the position of each part affects its subsequent parts. The thighs should ideally point downward, with the knees positioned lower than the hips. This opens up the hip joints, relieving them from so much compression. When the thighs slant downward, the pelvis can be easily positioned into an upright position. In sitting with an upright, properly-positioned pelvis, the back has a sturdy base to stack on top of. The spine is ideally upright with one vertebral bone stacked neatly upon the next, with the head sitting right on top.

Try sitting on a regular chair with your feet planted on the floor with your knees lower than your hips. You can try this while sitting in a normal chair as long as the chair is supportive and not squishy. If you are average height or tall, a taller chair can be a better fit. As you go to sit down, stick your bottom out instead of tucking it under. This will help your sit bones aim toward the chair.

It is easiest to obtain this position if you first learn it while sitting toward the front of the chair, so scoot forward in your chair. Place your hands around the sides of your pelvis to assess its position. The pelvis should be upright and directly over your hip joints. Another way to think of this is having two-thirds of your body weight over your sit bones (located inward to the lowest part of your buttocks). One-third of your body weight should be on the pubic bones at the front. When you get your pelvis aligned upright, then it is much easier for your spine to stack upright, on top. Unless you have special circumstances, this is the least stressful sitting position for your hips, back and neck.

A common, poorly-aligned pelvis will be in a rocked-back position, with the body weight coming off the pubic bone, causing increased weight and pressure on the tailbone. When the pelvis is rocked back like this, the lower back is pulled into a slouched curve.

The rest of the back and neck will continue the curve resulting in a C- shape of the spine with the head positioned forward. In this slouched position, the spine is supporting the body weight in an uneven way, which increases stress on its structures and can therefore lead to pain and injury. You can test out this slouched position and feel how it differs from the upright position.

These principles are beneficial to apply to sitting in a car. There is an increased level of difficulty in achieving a great position due to many car seats that are built without ergonomics in mind. You may love your seat! If it feels great, then great job choosing!

For the rest of us, the contours built into seats or the lack of adjustment choices can make a car seat just plain uncomfortable.

Here are a few examples of poor ergonomics in car seats. The bucket seat is built with the greatest accentuation of hips low and knees high. Some seats are also created with the sides of the backrest coming forward (I call them the seat’s wings), which for some people push their shoulders forward, creating a forward hunch. There is also a feature in many cars where the headrest pokes forward, pushing the head forward compared to the spine, stressing the neck. Seemingly, it is created this way in case there is a car accident, in which case it may hold your head forward, potentially reducing the chance for whiplash. So, there may be benefits to the forward head rest, although there is also the daily stress of having your head pushed into a forward position.

If you feel that your car seat could use some improvements, check-out your seat adjustments. When helping others adjust their positioning, I start with the angle of the seat first. See if you can raise the back of your seat and/or lower the front of the seat to angle it downward. If your seat doesn’t adjust this way, try folding some towels to go just under your sit bones, but not your thighs, and see how this feels. If you like the hips-higher position and the seat doesn’t adjust this way on it’s own you can keep using the towels or purchase a two-to-four inch seat wedge for about twenty dollars.

Next, adjust the backrest to comfort. If low back support isn’t built into the backrest, added support can often make a difference in how your back feels. Use a folded towel to figure out where you like additional support and how much. If you like that additional support, you can create the shape you like and put a pillowcase over it and use the support that way. Back supports in different shapes and sizes are also available and many come with a strap to secure it to your seat. Check these out online and find the shape that you found most comfortable.

You can also check the adjustment of your steering wheel to find the right height for yourself. And, the forward/back adjustment is made to your comfort and safety. All adjustments should include that you feel safe while driving. If you drive a lot, also consider taking breaks to get out of the car and move and stretch. Taking movement breaks are very good for your body. They give your body a break, lubricate joints and increase blood flow.

If you would like to see additional resources on sitting and ergonomics, visit our website at fitforlifencpt.com.

Corey Vanderwouw, MPT has been a physical therapist for 21 years specializing in Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy, Posture and Ergonomics, and Neuromuscular Retraining. She co-owns Fit for Life Physical Therapy in Grass Valley with Ingo Zirpins, MSPT. Move better, live better!

Ergonomics is the art and strategy of fitting the environment around you to your body, rather than adjusting your body to fit the environment around you. Using ergonomic strategies can help you avoid body pain and limit injury to joints and tissues, and help keep your body mechanically healthy.
Photo from Adam Niescioruk on Unsplash
Corey Vanderwouw

Savannah Hanson: The tenderness and mercy of the divine feminine

Holy Cow friends, are you feeling these monumental energy shifts that are moving us at jet speed into ever-deeper connection with source for those that choose this path? I know I am. So much has shifted so quickly it is not easy to choose one thing to focus on. Yet we (the voice of my inner guidance) told me to focus on the continuing arising of the divine feminine.

Just to mention a few of the major themes being presented to this one: being in the new, pulling in both divine masculine and feminine and bringing them into balance, showing mercy and compassion to the human creature, choosing our days with joy as a foundation. Wish I could expand on each of these topics.

What has arisen in the last days is a greater awareness of distortions in the spiritual path that I suspect are being revealed to more of us. Most of my mentors have been men that have served me so beautifully. Yet they also kept me looping in what I call the spiritual Nazi. I would use spiritual truths to whip myself whenever I could not comply with what I know to be true. OUCH! I recently was on a trip, unexpectedly alone, to Southern California. The drive is not something I love, to say the least, and deep fear that with the level of exhaustion that had been arising, I simply might not be able to do it at all.

So when I discovered there were huge energy shifts slated for the day of my drive home, I was truly frightened. The big remaining victim story I have been zero pointing (seeing as neutral, allowing the difficult physical energy to pass through) is that as a sensitive empath, when big energy arises, the nervous system might and often does go a bit haywire. Over the last six weeks I often have been incredibly exhausted. So I tried to pressure and force myself, whip myself with spiritual platitudes into doing it. Yet the days before the drive felt so dead tired I had trouble leaving the room. Eyes felt like lead weights, body was sluggish. Fortunately my friend Ellen intervened and counseled compassion and mercy.

A few weeks ago I had admitted on Facebook how needy I have been feeling. I recently remembered being told my mother could not pick me up for a long time a year after I was born due to a health challenge. This has been coming up strongly in need of allowing this energy to pass through. Sometimes I held it with gentle tenderness, other times it was like “get over it!”

Ellen helped me see truly how unkind I could be toward myself. In a real way she was the antidote to my unwillingness to hold the lost one. We had not spoken in over a year nor been in much contact in over a decade. Yet she was guided to reach out to me at the perfect moment.

My willingness to hold my own neediness allowed the universe to present others who would also hold me. Prior to this, two close friendships dropped away in the face of this neediness. I had done the same to a friend last year.

I detail this to give a taste of how this new energy arises. It is so different from the male model presented to me of “just do it!” This has space and compassion for the traumatized, the wounded, the human. It is a combination of both the need to be super aware of the power of the mind to create or mis-create and the need to be compassionate to the sometimes fragile creature, the human who just needs so much love especially when trauma, terror, despair, hopelessness show up.

Instead of kicking the human to the curb by shouting spiritual laws, the opportunity is to tenderly love where we are right now, not needing to be the ideal self. The yes is always to the one now, not the future one who has their act together. The divine feminine both requests and may demand with fierceness that we have compassion for self and other, never making another wrong despite what they may be doing. If we could see the great suffering that is behind unskillful behavior, it would be easy to extend only love.

The speed at which these new energies are arriving is unprecedented and requires impeccable self care. They are asking us to find the joy in our lives, the connection first to self and then to extend that inner spaciousness, once accessed, to others. It asks us for the greatest compassion for self and others. As always, this is my experience. Take what fits and leave the rest.

For information on private sessions or classes or to schedule a free 20-minute consultation, contact Savannah Hanson, M.A., MFT #40422, Cellular Release Practitioner at 530-575-5052 or savannah@RaisedinLove.com

Dr. Jeff Kane: The effective patient quiz

Are you an informed and expressive patient or, conversely, do you leave everything up to the doc? Or are you somewhere in between? Take this quiz to see where you fall on the spectrum.

1. You intend to ask your doctor several important questions, but you get so nervous during appointments that you forget them. So you

a. Ask a friend to accompany you with a list.

b. Dispense with the questions. If you can’t remember them, they can’t be that important.

c. Ask the doctor for a tranquilizer to take before your next visit.

d. Complain to friends that the doc doesn’t have time for questions.

2. You’re angry because you arrived punctually for an appointment but had to wait for an hour. You say to the doc,

a. “How come I had to wait so long? Were you on the phone with your Swiss banker?”

b. “Oh, I don’t mind waiting. I’m sure you were doing something very important.”

c. “When you keep me waiting so long, I feel like you don’t respect my time.”

d. Nothing.

3. After a routine physical, your doctor pronounces you in good shape. Nevertheless, you feel inexplicably worried. You say,

a. “That’s good to hear, but I still don’t feel quite right.”

b. “Can you do more tests for other diseases?”

c. “I know something’s wrong. Maybe you’re not the one find it.”

d. “So you think I’m good for a few thousand more miles, eh, Doc?”

4. Your orthopedist recommends surgery, which you dread. You say,

a. “Well, I’ll just live with my pain.”

b. “I’ll leave it up to you, Doctor.”

c. “I’d like time to consider it. Surgery frightens me.”

d. “I don’t think my insurance would cover it.”

5. Your father is brought into a screened ER cubicle. You go to accompany him, but an attendant tells you hospital policy requires you to stay in the waiting room. You say,

a. “Oh, excuse me. Of course.”

b. (To your father) “Don’t worry, Dad. It’ll turn out fine. I’ll see you afterward.”

c. “Step aside or you’ll be sorry.”

d. “I understand, but I need to be with him.”

6. You doctor has told you for the twentieth time that your smoking is seriously degrading your lungs. You

a. Agree, and promise yet again to give it up.

b. Get angry, and tell the doc to stop nagging you.

c. Decide to either stop smoking or change doctors.

d. In the parking lot, feel guilty about your habit as you light up.

7. You decide to try “alternative” treatments for your cancer in addition to standard medicine. You

a. Are sure your doc won’t approve, so you don’t mention it.

b. Tell your doctor, who should be aware of all your treatments.

c. Fly off to the Romanian clinic you found online.

d. Deeply consider what you believe and what you don’t.

8. Your ancient aunt is comatose and maintained on life support. She told you once that if she was ever in this condition, she’d want the “plug pulled,” and named you as her agent in her advance directive. But her doctor insists that medical ethics require support until a natural death. You

a. Reach down and pull the plug.

b. Ask your aunt’s lawyer to fax you her advance directive.

c. Argue with the doctor.

d. Realize that the doctor probably knows best.

Scoring (answers on page 130)

All correct: you are an active patient, more likely to take better care of yourself and enjoy an honest relationship with practitioners.

6-7: hang out with a “10” and try again.

4-5: you’ll experience more medical encounter snags than you need.

2-3: you and doctors shouldn’t meet without lawyers present.

0-1: take two aspirins and call someone else in the morning.

Jeff Kane is a physician and writer in Nevada City

Supporting Each Other

More than 47,500 Americans die by suicide every year. There are a wealth of resources available in Nevada County for those experiencing mental health crisis. Experts say one important step we can all take to help address mental health problems is to have open, honest conversations about mental health and to encourage those in need to seek support.

According to the Centers for Disease Control more than 47,500 Americans die by suicide every year. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for people aged 34 to 54. And for every death by suicide, there are more than 25 suicide attempts.

Locally, experts say mental health continues to be an issue for many, although local support is now available in many forms, every day of the week.

“Many people, in every community, experience mental health challenges and thoughts of suicide,” says Phebe Bell, Nevada County Behavioral Health Director. “In fact, research tells us that at any given time up to one in every 20 people in the U.S. is experiencing thoughts of suicide. We see this in our work at Nevada County Behavioral Health in many ways, including through calls to our access team for assessments, contacts to our crisis lines and visits to the Crisis Stabilization Unit.”

The Crisis Stabilization Unit has become an important tool for those in the county hoping to better support people experiencing a mental health emergency.

“The CSU is a four-bed mental health urgent care,” Bell explains. “People who are experiencing thoughts of suicide or are otherwise in crisis can get the support they need from a team of trained mental health professionals at the CSU.”

To access the CSU, someone experiencing a crisis who needs immediate help can call 911 or can go to Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital to be evaluated. They will be assessed to see if they need an immediate hospitalization.

Bell says the CSU is a critical resource.

“Sometimes people in crisis simply need some support, some time with a therapist, maybe access to needed medications or an appointment with a mental health provider,” Bell explains. “Then, they can safely return to their home setting with more services in place. The CSU staff can provide this type of intervention.”

Often, the intervention and support of the CSU staff prevents an unnecessary hospitalization. Other times a hospital stay may be needed but the CSU can be a restful and healing place for the person while they wait for an appropriate bed to be found.

“Nevada County is very lucky to have this type of resource in a small community,” Bell says. “It is only possible because of the deep partnership between Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Nevada County Behavioral Health. Both of whom have invested financial and other resources to ensure our community has access to this type of care when they are experiencing a mental health crisis.”

Bell says the CSU is not the only innovative mental health program available in the community.

“Last year the county began a mobile crisis pilot program, which pairs a crisis counselor with a deputy at the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office,” she says. “The mobile crisis unit, when on duty, will respond to calls into dispatch that are crisis-oriented versus criminal justice-related.”

Bell says the events of the past 18 months have had a dramatic effect on mental health for many people.

“Many people are experiencing anxiety, stress, fear and grief as a result of the pandemic,” she says. “But a lot of people are also reaching out, whether that’s through their natural network of support with friends, family and loved ones or through professional supports like those offered by the county.”

Experts agree that having open conversations about emotional struggles helps to reduce the stigma, making it easier for those in crisis to seek the help they need.

“The good news is that every person reaching out for help is another person who made the hard decision to share their pain and worries with someone else and now is hopefully more connected to the resources and supports available in our community,” Bell says.

Mental Health Resources

The following resources are available in our community for those struggling with mental health issues.

■ Nevada County Crisis Line: 530-265-5811

A local line that provides 24/7 access to trained mental health counselors and serves as a gateway to referrals for additional services and support.

■ National Suicide Lifeline: 800-273-8255

Available 24/7 across the country. If people prefer text message, they can text “HOME” to 741741 to connect via text to mental health counselors for support and additional resources.

■ Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital

For in-person support we have a team of crisis workers available at SNMH 24 hours a day.

■ Additional local resources: letstalknevadacounty.org

Suicide Warning Signs

Knowing and recognizing the warning signs is key to prevent suicide. Seek help if you or someone you know is experiencing any of the signs below.

• Talking about wanting to die

• Looking for a way to kill oneself

• Talking about having no reason to live

• Giving away prized possessions

• Acting anxious or agitated

• Talking about being in unbearable pain

• Sleeping too little or too much

• Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

• Showing rage or seeking revenge

• Talking about being a burden to others

• Showing lack of interest in future plans

Source: CDC

John Seivert: Art – Healing and happiness through the heart


I have had the opportunity to share my stories, my patient’s stories, and draw from the evidence in the research that I read to generate my monthly column. Many ideas pop into my head at odd hours of the day and night and I scramble to find a piece of paper and jot down my idea or leave myself a voice message. I dictate a few keywords to get an article started and then research it further later. Last week Phil Carville’s column, Heart Happiness, talked about how happiness is good for the heart. He stated that as we grow older, we get in touch with our mortality. This awareness can lead to depression for some but can also lead to reflection and happiness for others. I’d like to take you into the world of how art and aging can lead you to healing and happiness. When our hearts are happy the grass is a bit greener, the sky a bit bluer and our bodies feel more complete.

There is plenty of evidence that supports the fact that seniors that are happy and healthy live longer than unhappy and sick people. I know that is obvious but for many, we just don’t do enough things that make us happy to create improved health benefits.

In 2017 I joined the Nevada County Camera Club (NCCC) thanks to a patient of mine who was an avid photographer encouraging me to do so for several months. Thank you, Larry. I had always loved outdoor nature photography and spent a great deal of time photographing the places I traveled during my postgraduate studies in Australia and during my professional career. My clinic has had beautiful landscape photography in every room for 20 years thanks to Jay Schuff and his work. Recently I have been blessed enough to add my own pieces of work to the clinic walls. When people in pain look at a beautiful piece of art, it moves them, spirits are lifted, and a sense of wellbeing embraces their bodies. Seeing these positive effects on people in pain created great motivation on my part to create even more images of beauty so that it creates happiness to the viewer. And if we are happy, we feel better.

Story Telling Through Pictures

For thousands of years humans have been telling stories through pictures. Petroglyphs are rock carvings (rock paintings are called pictographs) made by pecking directly on the rock surface using a stone chisel and a hammerstone. These works of art can be found all over the world. Petroglyphs are powerful cultural symbols that reflect the complex societies and religions of the local tribes. These drawings have continued to tell stories and create feelings and emotions. The tools used now to tell a story are a camera, paint brush and canvas, pen, and paper (OK, computer), or an audio recording. We have become more advanced in our ways of telling stories, but the message and its effects are similar.

Sky Rock and the High Sierra by Chris Schiller.
Photo by Chris Schiller

Camera Club Challenge

In a recent camera club monthly challenge, I worked with Kathy Triolo on capturing creative outside portrait photography. Kathy and I entered our images to a photography competition called Aging as Art by the Council on Aging – Southern California. Both of our images are displayed here and on this website.

The YouTube video of the presentation is called 2021 Aging as Art Reception. My story of Joy and Love is thirty-one minutes into the presentation.

An image can speak to you, however, an image with the photographer’s story behind it can say so much more. All these images create reflection, emotions, and maybe even happiness. For some, these images create a sense of motivation to stay healthy through movement, diet and to keep the brain sharp with a creative outlet like art. I have seen evidence of elite body builders that use images for motivation. Darren, a recent patient of mine stated that he has several images of Arnold Schwarzenegger on the walls of his garage posing for the judges when he was competing in body building competitions in the 1970s.

My image Joy and Love took place in June 2020 just two months into the pandemic. This man told me he and his wife were unable to have their kids and grandkids over for their 66th wedding anniversary due to the pandemic. I captured this shot at the end of an evening photo shoot as they both closed their eyes and said thanks. More of the story can be heard on the YouTube presentation listed above.

Rodney by Kathy Triolo.
Photo by Kathy Triolo
Joy and Love by John Seivert.
Photo by John Seivert

This image of Rodney was taken by local professional photographer Kathy Triolo in the gold mining town of Coloma. While capturing images of the old gold mining town she was able to capture Rodney, a man who would dress up in period clothing of the 1800s and model for the visitors. Kathy captured this amazing shot of Rodney leaning on his cane and gazing into the distance.

The next time you see an image that moves you, pause and take it in. Feel it. It may make you happy, sad, excited, depressed, reflective, or motivated. Use those feelings and emotions for what it’s giving you at the time. I allow myself time to grieve on a regular basis. I have a wonderful picture of my deceased parents nestled up to each other. The image brings me to tears every time I look at it. I then recall episodes with my mom and dad during my childhood, college days, or adult life. I take it all in and feel grateful for the photo.

John Seivert is a doctor of physical therapy and he has been practicing for 34 years. He opened Body Logic Physical Therapy in Grass Valley in 2001. He has been educating physical therapists since 1986. Contact him at bodylogic2011@ yahoo.com


Tahoe Forest Health welcomes new nurse practitioner

Tahoe Forest Health System is pleased to announce that Claire Ward, WHNP-BC, has joined their team at the Tahoe Forest Women’s Center.

Ms. Ward received her Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Public Health emphasis from the University of California, Berkeley. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and her Master of Science in Nursing, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, from Columbia University. Ms. Ward is Certified by the National Certification Corporation in Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner.

The office of Ms. Ward is located on the 2nd Floor of the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center at 10121 Pine Avenue, Truckee. New patients are accepted. For appointments, please call 530-587-1041.

Source: Tahoe Forest Health System

Claire A. Ward, WHNP-BC