Submitted by Hugh Qualls
Mt. Grant General Hospital Administrator


Chocolate, vanilla or twist? Those were the delicious choices for Lefa L. Seran Skilled Nursing Facility residents during our recent trip to the Eastern Sierra. On the last Friday of June, we headed west toward the state line, across the Mono Basin, gearing down to make the steep climb up Tioga Pass. Unlike our 2018 trip, the road through Yosemite National Park was still closed due to near-record snowpack, so we reversed course at the park entrance. Ellery and Tioga Lakes were clear of ice though adjacent campgrounds remained gated due to snow. We found an open spot to park overlooking Ellery; residents on board marveled for several minutes at the vast beauty of this alpine paradise—which was a good way to relax before the trip down Tioga Pass. As many know, the road up hugs the mountain; the road down teeters inches from a sheer edge thousands of feet above the valley floor. It was the first time down the pass for one staff member on board, whose fear of heights ramped up considerably by sitting in front passenger seat with a terrifying view of the bottom far below. Our intrepid residents found it all breathtaking and the perfect way to work up an appetite for lunch in Lee Vining.

Next to the Upside Down House at the little town park overlooking Mono Lake, residents and staff enjoyed a leisurely lunch. As wispy clouds danced along mountain ridges, a few gulls and starlings quietly joined our party— much to the delight of several residents. Breadcrumbs were soon tossed and more birds appeared. Caws and chirps were met with smiles. After our feathered friends left, it was time for ice cream (the Mono Cone, of course). Silence settled upon us as soft-serve cones were savored to the last. All agreed it was a perfect afternoon but return home we must—though not before a quick detour into Lundy Canyon, where small boats bobbed about and lake water poured over spillway near the dam. A feast of memories for all to cherish long after—the best reason for such an adventure.

A letter landed on my desk not long ago from a patient recently discharged after an extended stay. While Mt. Grant strives to provide the best medical care possible, given our frontier location and limited resources, it can be a struggle at times to meet everyone’s needs, so I opened the envelope hesitantly. What a joy it was to read compliments about hospital staff and services. Nursing of course was singled out for accolades but also earning praise were housekeeping and dietary. The fact that a former Marine took the time to write this letter only added to its significance and worth. We welcome all comments, good or bad; mail, call or email and let me know what your local hospital can do better to serve you. Speaking of email, my address is hqualls@mgghnv.org (all hospital addresses recently changed as we shortened our domain).

Charlie Mann has been our community paramedic (CP) for a year already; joining him soon to provide care to homebound chronically ill patients will be Terceira Schunke—better known as T. She is also a highly qualified Advanced EMT with CP endorsement; given the needs in our extended communities, they will be sharing the workload to ensure all eligible patients receive the services they deserve.

Look for more information in coming months about plans to upgrade our CT scanner; current scanner is several years old. Newer models are more accurate, faster, safer, and (critical to us) more reliable.

Finally, my apologies to the good folks at Hawthorne Lions Club; I mistakenly referred to another devoted service club last month regarding support for MGGH. The hospital is fortunate to have friends at both.