Schizophrenia comes ‘Out of the Shadow’

Filed under: Health Care |

Pikes Peak Mental Health, the Colorado Springs Psychiatric Society and Janssen Pharmaceutica are presenting “Out of the Shadow,” a documentary that chronicles the life of the filmmaker’s mother, who suffered from schizophrenia.

Susan Smiley presents “a story of madness and dignity, shame and love … helping to dispel the stigmas and misconceptions surrounding this … illness,” according to a news release.

Sharon Begley, the health reporter for The Wall Street Journal, said the film “movingly captures a side of schizophrenia that few of us ever see … plain frustrations experienced by a woman who has schizophrenia and by those who love her.”

Everyone is invited to view the film at no charge at 6 p.m. Oct. 26 at First United Methodist Church, 420 N. Nevada Ave. A panel discussion and question and answer period will take place after the screening.

For reservations, call Pikes Peak Mental Health at 884-3500 or e-mail

Kaiser pledges another round for earthquake relief

A few months after pledging money to help Hurricane Katrina victims, Kaiser Permanente is providing assistance to those affected by the earthquake that struck Pakistan, India and Afghanistan on Oct. 8.

Kaiser has pledged $1 million to four relief agencies: $250,000 to Doctors Without Borders, $250,000 to Relief International’s Pakistan Earthquake Fund, $250,000 to the American Red Cross International Response Fund and $250,000 to Operation USA South Asia Earthquake Fund.

“We are responding to the growing number of deaths and the increasing challenges that survivors in south Asia are facing,” said Raymond J. Baxter, senior vice president of Kaiser Permanente’s National Community Benefit program.

“Our social mission is focused on serving our communities. These are the communities of many of our employees and physicians. As a total health organization, we are committed to supporting health around the globe.”

“We especially supported Doctors Without Borders and Relief International because these organizations extend the health care delivery work we do at Kaiser Permanente,” said George Halvorson, chairman and chief executive officer of Kaiser Foundation Health Plans and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Inc.

“These donations represent a broad spectrum of support for medical care services, food assistance, shelter, and rebuilding efforts, and reflect Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to the community.”

Peak Vista volunteer recognized for service

Patricia Bush, a long-time volunteer with Peak Vista Community Health Centers’ First Visitor program, will be honored in Denver on Oct. 27 at the Colorado Bright Beginnings 10th anniversary celebration.

First Visitor is an affiliate of Colorado Bright Beginnings, which began as a result of efforts by Brad Butler, the former chairman of Proctor & Gamble, and former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer.

“Helping to make Colorado the best place to raise a child!” is the tagline for the organization, and Bush has been doing just that for nine years — mentoring more than 80 families with newborn babies.

She also is a “cuddler” in the Memorial Hospital Neonatal Care Unit, a childcare provider and a foster mother.

Peak Vista’s First Visitor program promotes the healthy growth and development of children during the first three years of life.

The program is open to El Paso and Teller counties residents at no charge, and has served more than 6,000 families in its 10-year history.

For more information, call 228-6639.

Decompression offers alternative for back pain

Back pain accounted for $1 of every $10 spent on health care last year. It is second only to the common cold as one of the most expensive non life-threatening medical conditions.

Eighty percent of people experience lower back pain by age 40.

Historically, back pain has been managed by drugs and invasive surgery. There are, however, alternatives and one is available in Colorado Springs.

The Lordex Spine Institute, which chiropractor Jeff McFarlane opened two years ago, incorporates decompression therapy – the Lordex Decompression Unit – with strength restoration therapy. The non-invasive therapy replaces the need for surgery in about nine of 10 cases, McFarlane said. “The success rate for our patients is over 85 percent,” he said.

Carol Gutscher traveled from La Junta to the Lordex institute three times a week for six weeks, after other treatments and drugs did nothing to relieve her pain. Determined to avoid surgery, she searched the Internet and discovered the Lordex treatment through a television ad.

She injured her back as a child and, at age 58, she had difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.

“On a scale of one to 10, with one being the least, my pain was an eight,” she said. “Today, if I even have pain it’s a two.”

Gutscher has follow up visits twice a month for six months, and she bought an exercise machine to increase her strength during post treatment.

The good news: her insurance covered the treatment plan.

“It’s a lot cheaper than surgery,” she said.