Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fauquier Health Staffer Makes One Change for Health

When Linda Davidson arrived here from England 24 years ago she only planned to stay a couple of years, but sometimes life gets in the way, and she remains here today. And that is the way her weight gain happened as well, a little at a time, hardly noticeable at first. Perhaps it was too much American fast food or maybe the stress of adjusting to a new culture; it’s hard to pinpoint any one reason. But when Linda heard about the Make One Change wellness program that Fauquier Health was offering to its employees, she decided it was time to lose those extra pounds.

When Linda first read about the program, she thought, “I can’t do this. It is way too much!” But LeAnn McCusker, director of the Fauquier Health Wellness Center (formerly the Fauquier Health LIFE Center), explained, “Make One Change just asks you to commit to changing one aspect of your lifestyle. For 12 weeks you can focus on just one change that will help you be a healthier person. We have lots of options, designed to work for you and your specific situation.”

Since then, Linda has lost 28 pounds through Make One Change and is on her way to losing the final 7 that will put her at her goal weight. She is looking and feeling great. She explains, “What I like about Make One Change is it isn’t extreme. There are no foods I have to eat and no foods I can’t eat. I exercise moderately and I stay under 1,600 calories, which is a healthy long-term amount. This is not a crash diet, it is a lifestyle change. I keep a food journal one week every month, which is enough to show me where I can improve and not so much as to have my life revolve around food journaling.”

Why does she stick with Make One Change instead of other programs? Linda says, “In addition to the sensible program, I like the upbeat e-mails with tips, recipes and encouraging messages, and the Wellness Center staff are always there to answer my questions.” As an additional motivation, those who finish the 12-week program are eligible for rewards. Linda says the rewards are a very nice extra.

Linda can sign up for a new session of Make One Change every 12 weeks. She has tried following a plan on her own, but found being in the program helped a lot. “I can maintain just fine off of the program, but I didn’t lose. It helps you stay on track and accountable.” So, until she reaches her goal, she will stick with it.

Linda had been on diets before, “None of my previous diets re-educated me or got me down to my ideal weight. The skills I learned through Make One Change will help me keep it off for a lifetime.”

Make One Change Offered to Community for First Time

In January, Fauquier Health is offering the Make One Change program to the community for the first time. You can choose one of five goals to focus on: while weight loss is one option, you can also choose to learn to eat healthier, get more exercise, learn to manage your stress, or even stop smoking. Whichever you choose, Make One Change is the sensible and affordable way to do it. When you join the program, you receive a full-access gym membership* plus many extras for any Make One Change goal you choose. There are pre- and post-assessments, free physician lectures, special demos and lots of giveaways. Those who complete the program will be eligible to win some really great prizes. To sign up or to learn more, call 540-316-2640.

* In January, new Wellness Center members who sign up for the Make One Change program receive a 30% discount; current members who sign up for the program in January will receive a free month when they complete the program.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Compassionate Care at Fauquier Hospital

Fauquier County is a unique and wonderful place. I was reminded of that again this morning as I pulled into the local landfill to drop off my trash -- as I have done about twice a week for the last 16 years.

Over that time, I have become used to the cheery smile and wave I always get when pulling through the checkstop and the small talk with the workers there as I drop off my bags. This morning, though, one of the nice gentlemen who is always stationed nearby gave me a hug. Just an "Oh gee, it's good to see you" hug. An overabundance of holiday spirit, perhaps? Could be. But his simple geture was genuine. It took me out of my busy day for a moment and made me smile.

One of the comments I hear most often when I talk to patients who have been at Fauquier Hospital is how very kind and considerate the staff was to them. They are amazed that a nurse gave them a hug or a doctor looked them in the eye and patted them on the shoulder. They tell me it's just the comforting gesture they needed at the time. And they insist that it made a big difference to them.

It's human nature to need that connection with another person, particularly when we are worried, under stress or feeling vulnerable. The wonderful clinicians at Fauquier Hospital understand this and take the time to provide kind, compassionate care. It's just one reason that Fauquier Hospital is a unique and wonderful place.

Arthritis lecture January 17

As part of an ongoing physician seminar series, Fauquier Hospital will host a seminar called “Healthy Living with Arthritis,” presented by rheumatologist Nandini Chhitwal, M.D. The discussion will be held on January 17, at 7 p.m. in the Sycamore Room at the hospital.

The lecture is free to the public, but registration is required. Please call 540-316-3588 to register.

Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the tissue around the joints to become inflamed, causing severe pain and swelling. The condition makes everyday tasks difficult. In the seminar, Dr. Chhitwal will discuss ways that patients and families can make living with arthritis easier.

Dr. Chhitwal earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical College of Virginia. After graduating, she completed her internal medicine internship and residency at Emory University in Atlanta, then stayed to complete an ACGME accredited fellowship in rheumatology. Some of Dr. Chhitwal’s specialties include: rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, lupus, scleroderma and fibromyalgia.

These lectures are part of a year-round series of physician lectures that Fauquier Health offers to the public, free of charge. Fauquier Health is committed to educating the public about issues that are important to their health. Other lecture topics include childbirth, breast cancer, chronic pain and healthy lifestyles.

For more information, log on to

Fauquier Health Calendar of Events for January

To register for classes or find more information, go to

Monday, January 3
Your Childbirth Experience
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 7 to 9 p.m.
Details: Four sessions; January 3, 10, 17, 24
Cost: $120
Register: 540-316-3588

Wednesday, January 5
New Mom’s Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Details: Free

Saturday, January 8
First Aid/Adult/Infant & Child CPR/AED
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $65
Register: 540-316-3588

MS Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 1 to 3 p.m.
Register: 800-344-4867

Wednesday, January 12
Blood Pressure Screening
Where: Fauquier Hospital’s main lobby
When: noon to 2 p.m.
Details: Free

Breastfeeding Made Simple
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 7 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $25
Register: 540-316-3588

Physician Lecture
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 7 p.m.
Details: Healthy Living with Arthritis, with Dr. Nandini Chhitwal, rheumatologist
Register: 540-316-3588

Thursday, January 13
Look Good…Feel Better
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Register: 540-878-2136

Diabetes Support Group
Where: Fauquier Health Wellness Center
When: 6 to 7 p.m.
Details: Diabetes and Stroke, a lecture by Dr. Kristin Williams, neurologist
Register: 540-316-2652

Friday, January 14
Your Childbirth Experience
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: Friday, 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Details: Weekend class
Cost: $120
Register: 540-316-3588

Tuesday, January 18
Cancer Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Chestnut Room
When: 7 to 8 p.m.
Register: 540-878-2136

Wednesday, January 19
New Mom’s Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Details: Free

Thursday, January 20
Baby Care Essentials
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $25

Medicare and Medicaid Benefits Counseling
Where: Fauquier Hospital Chestnut Room
When: 1 to 3 p.m.
Register: 540-316-3588

Saturday, January 22
Babysitter Training
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $40
Register: 540-316-3588

Monday, January 24
Massage for Couples
Where: Fauquier Health Wellness Center
When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $45
Register: 540-316-2640

Thursday, January 27
Community Lecture
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 7 p.m.
Details: Introduction to Reiki Healing, with Gerry Eitner, Reiki master.
Register: 540-316-3588

Wednesday, February 2
New Mom’s Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Details: Free

Wednesday, February 9
Weight Loss Lecture
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 7 p.m.
Details: Medical Interventions for Weight Loss, with Dr. Esther Bahk, Internist
Register: 540-316-3588

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lights for Life Honors Lois Sutphin

The holiday season was welcomed in style December 1 as the Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary held its annual Lights for Life celebration. All those who have donated to the hospital over the last year were invited to the event and the spruce trees on Hospital Hill were illuminated. Community members also donated to the hospital in honor of loved ones with the purchase of lights on the trees.

Top of the Tree honoree was Lois Sutphin, RN, an Infusion Center nurse at the hospital and volunteer extraordinaire. Mrs. Sutphin has been an enthusiastic volunteer for the public schools, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, as well as the Warrenton Sunrise Lions Club and many other smaller organizations. She is the current president of the Fauquier chapter of the American Cancer Society and has for years been one of the organizers of the Relay for Life and the ACS annual Daffodil Sale and Fashion Show. Mrs. Sutphin has been a nurse with the hospital since 1973 and was the 2002 recipient of the annual Ruth Krusie Excellence in Nursing Award.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fauquier Hospital will welcome the holiday season with its annual Lights for Life celebration on December 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. Folks bought lights for the trees on Hospital Hill in honor of their loved ones, and the proceeds go to the Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Sale at Fauquier Hospital November 29 and 30

The Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary will host a book sale on Monday, November 29 and Tuesday, November 30 in the hospital's Sycamore Room. The event will take place from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

Give a book to someone for the holidays. No batteries required!

Fauquier Health in Pictures

In an effort to amuse myself and keep from missing my (college-bound) children too much, a few months ago I made a commitment to improving my photography skills. After all, as PR specialist here at Fauquier Hospital, it's part of my job to provide great photos to go along with my stories.
I've taken hundreds of photographs since then, read a dozen books on composition and lighting, and listened to many hours of podcasts while driving. I even took a couple of classes at McClanahan's Camera here in Warrenton and one in Photoshop at Germanna Community College. It's all been tremendously fun and educational.

I understand what aperture is and have a rudimentary understanding of exposure. (It's more complicated than you'd think!) I know where the white balance and metering buttons are on the camera, but the intricacies are still pretty much a mystery.

Then just when I was feeling pretty full of myself, I got to spend a few hours with Alain Jaramillo, a professional photographer who came in to shoot some specialized photos at the hospital. I was humbled.

Of course, Alain had some great subjects to work with. The Villa at Suffield Meadows, Fauquier Health's new assisted living facility, is a showcase from top to bottom. You can't turn around without seeing a beautiful accent or design theme. And Alain took pictures at the Fauquier Health Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, where the rooms have just been renovated. They're beautiful, and Alain did a great job of bringing them to life.

And he got to shoot a cute baby too. That was an easy one!

Anyway, it's back to the drawing board for me. Maybe I can rustle up a cute baby ...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Calendar of Events for December

Wednesday, December 1
Lights for Life Holiday Celebration
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 6 to 8 p.m.
Details: The trees on Hospital Hill will be lit to welcome the holiday season. Residents purchased lights for the trees in honor of loved ones past and present. Lois Sutphin, a longtime Infusion Center nurse, will be the top of the tree honoree.

Saturday, December 4
First Aid/Infant & Child CPR
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $60
Register: 540-316-3588

Tuesday, December 7
Diabetes Support Group
Where: Fauquier Health LIFE Center
When: “Intro to insulin pumping,” 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; “Advanced insulin pumping,” 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Register: 540-316-2652

Saturday, December 11
First Aid/Adult/Infant & Child CPR/AED
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $65
Register: 540-316-3588

MS Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore room
When: 1 to 3 p.m.
Register: 800-344-4867

Tuesday, December 14
New Mom’s Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, December 21
Cancer Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Chestnut room
When: 7 to 8 p.m.
Register: 540-878-2136

Tuesday, December 28
American Red Cross Blood Drive
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary Holds Book Fair

The Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary has been a flurry of activity the past few months. In addition to running the Fauquier Hospital Thrift Shop on Warrenton's Main Street, the group sponsored a handbag sale recently and is gearing up for a Books Are Fun book fair on Monday, November 29 and Tuesday, November 30, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the hospital’s Sycamore Room B. Proceeds will be donated to the Fauquier Health Foundation.

With more than 250 titles, categories of books will include:
• Children's storybooks
• Cookbooks
• General interest books
• New York Times best sellers

Also on sale will be:
• Stationery and scrapbooking materials
• Music collections
• Gifts for all ages
• Early learning products
• Children's educational products

First run, top-quality products from the world's leading publishers will be sold at great prices.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kudos for Fauquier Hospital's Patient-Centered Care

The Freelance Star wrote a beautiful editorial about Fauquier Hospital's philosophy of care. At Fauquier Hospital, the Planetree model of patient-centered care is so much a part of our culture that sometimes we forget how special -- and how rare -- it is. This editorial is a good reminder.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Freelance Star Recognizes Fauquier Hospital's Exceptional Patient Satisfaction

Jim Hall, a reporter with Fredericksburg's Freelance Star, did a great job of explaining how Fauquier Hospital puts patients first. His article about Fauquier Hosptial's stellar patient satisfaction scores appeared on the front page of the newspaper yesterday.

Click here to read the whole story and its sidebars; don't forget to click on the "more photos" button for nice pictures of Dr. Alireza Tajick, a Fauquier Hosptial hospitalist.

I was with the Freelance Star photographer when he took these photos. He had to wait a while because Dr. Tajick was spending quality time with his patients and their families. Every time we thought we were ready to take a picture, Dr. Tajick excused himself to calm another concern or answer another patient's question. I talked to some of Dr. Tajick's patients that day; they really appreciated his solid medical experience and nurturing care.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Stroke, Dementia & Falls, Oh My

Join Fauquier Health for a discussion with Dr. Kristen Williams, neurologist, about stroke and how neurological disorders can affect you.

Stroke, Dementia and Falls, Oh My

Thursday, November 4

5:30 to 7 p.m.

The Villa at Suffield Meadows

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

November Calendar of Events for Fauquier Health

Tuesday, November 2
Flu Vaccine Clinic
Where: Fauquier Health Internal Medicine at Lake Manassas, in Gainesville
When: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
More information: 703-743-7300

Handbag Sale
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
When: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Details: Sponsored by the Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary as a fundraiser

Wednesday, November 3
Handbag Sale
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
When: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Details: Sponsored by the Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary as a fundraiser

Thursday, November 4
Joint Replacement
Where: Fauquier Health Sycamore rooms
When: 6 p.m.
Details: A physician from Blue Ridge Orthoepaedic & Spine Center will speak on joint replacement
Register: 540-316-3588

Tuesday, November 9
Flu Vaccine Clinic
Where: Fauquier Health Internal Medicine at Lake Manassas, in Gainesville
When: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
More information: 703-743-7300

Wednesday, November 10
Men’s Health Lecture
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
When: 7 p.m.
Details: “Solutions for Erectile Dysfunction,” with David Pfeffer, M.D.
Register: 540-316-3588

Thursday, November 11
Diabetes Support Group
Where: Fauquier Health LIFE Center
When: 6 to 7 p.m.
Details: “Protecting your Kidneys with Diabetes” presented by Dr. Nivedita Chander, Nephrologist
Register: 540-316-2652

Wednesday, November 17
Presentation on “Ethical Issues in Organ Donation”
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
When: noon to 1 p.m.
RSVP: 540-316-4730 (by Monday, November 15)

Friday, November 19
Fauquier Hospital Holiday Faire
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Vendors: Reserve table (by November 5) by calling 540-316-3852 or 540-316-5900

Monday, November 22
American Red Cross Blood Drive, Type O
Where: Fauquier Hospital, Sycamore rooms
When: 1 to 4 p.m.

New ENT Physician Joins Fauquier Health

Fauquier Health is delighted to announce the addition of a new ear, nose and throat physician to its staff. With more than two decades of experience as an otolaryngologist, Jairo Torres, M.D. has treated a broad spectrum of conditions for both pediatric and adult patients, including ear infections (chronic otitis media), sinus problems, thyroid disorders, head and neck masses and sleep apnea.
Prior to joining Fauquier Health, Dr. Torres was a private practice ENT physician specializing in pediatric services at Children’s Hospital Central California for two years. Prior to that, he was a private practice physician in Colombia for 16 years, where he served as a hospital medical director and an ENT clinic director.

Board certified in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, Dr. Torres says it’s an exciting time in his field. “The recent advances in sinus surgery are very promising. And there are new techniques that can help patients avoid surgery, as well.” He explains that in the case of blocked sinuses, there is a procedure using a balloon that is inflated at the sinus opening to dilate the ostium, or sinus opening into the nose. Instead of a two- to three-hour surgery, it is a 15-minute procedure under general anesthesia. “It’s quick, less invasive and does not remove any tissue. It can be very effective. A lot of parents, for instance, would rather avoid surgery for their child if possible, especially since most kids outgrow sinus problems.”

Dr. Torres has come to Warrenton from central California and loves his new home. While he and his family are enjoying the small town feel of the area and the rolling vistas, Dr. Torres said that’s not what convinced him to move east. “I was very impressed with Fauquier Hospital’s Planetree philosophy, where the emphasis is on treating the whole patient.” Dr. Torres is a firm believer in family involvement, as well. From his own experience, he knows that when he includes loved ones in the treatment process, patients experience much better outcomes.

After earning his Doctor of Medicine degree from University of the Valley Division of Health Sciences (Colombia) in 1983, Dr. Torres completed the University of the Valley Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Internship and Residency Program, and the Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio) Otolaryngology International Fellowship Program. At Case Western Reserve University, he also completed the General Surgery Residency Program in 2004, and the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Residency Program in 2008.

Jairo Torres, M.D.
Board certified in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery
400 C Hospital Drive
Warrenton, VA 20186
Dr. Torres is fluent is Spanish.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Breast Cancer Lecture October 27 at Fauquier Hospital

Dr. John Williams, breast surgeon and Dr. Maria Pace and Dr. Jennifer Wargo, radiologists, will hold a workshop on breast cancer and the latest treatments on Wednesday, October 27 in Fauquier Hospital's Sycamore Room. The session will start at 6:30 p.m. Register by calling 540-316-3588 or register online at .

Dr. Williams is a caring and compassionate physician who understands that breast cancer affects every patient -- and their families -- differently and that treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach. For more on Dr. Williams' philosophy, click on .

Some New Research on the Flu

Since we're talking about flu, here is some of the latest research, as reported by HealthDay.

Click here.

A Flu Q&A from CDC

What is seasonal flu?
Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory disease caused by an influenza virus.

What is flu season?
Flu season is the period of time when flu is circulating among the population. In the United States, flu season is from November through April, and sometimes lasts into May. The Virginia Department of
Health recommends receiving your vaccination from October through April.

How does flu spread?
The flu spreads mostly through coughing and sneezing. It can also be spread by touching something
with the virus on it then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

What are the symptoms of seasonal flu?
Seasonal flu is marked by upper respiratory symptoms such as coughing and sneezing, fatigue,
muscle aches, fever and headaches. Seasonal flu has also been known to cause vomiting or nausea
in children.

Is seasonal flu serious?
It can be. Approximately 200,000 Americans are hospitalized with seasonal flu every year and nearly
36,000 die of complications caused by seasonal flu.

How can you prevent seasonal flu?
The single best way to prevent catching and spreading seasonal flu is to get vaccinated. It’s also
important to practice good health hygiene, such as covering your mouth with your arm when you
cough or sneeze, washing your hands often, and staying home if you are not feeling well.

Who should get vaccinated?
Everyone can benefit from getting annual vaccinations for seasonal flu. It is most important for
individuals to get vaccinated if they are:
􀀹 Pregnant
􀀹 Ages 6 months to 5 years
􀀹 Over 65
􀀹 Living with certain chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, asthma and
􀀹 Living with a weakened immune system as a result of HIV or other serious diseases
􀀹 Living in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
􀀹 Living with a nerve or muscle disorder such as severe cerebral palsy or seizure disorder
􀀹 Living or working with any of the groups mentioned above

Is there anyone who shouldn’t get vaccinated for seasonal flu?
Children under six months old and people who are allergic to chicken eggs or have had an allergic reaction to past flu vaccines should not be vaccinated. Also, individuals who have been diagnosed with Guillaine-Barre Syndrome, a rare disease that affects the nerve cells, within six months of getting a flu vaccine should not get another.

When should I get vaccinated?
The optimal time is in October or November, before flu season starts. But flu season can peak
as late as May, so the Virginia Department of Health recommends vaccination as long as vaccine is available.

How is the vaccine administered?
There are two types of vaccines. One is administered via injection, usually in the arm. The other is given as a nasal spray.

How do I know which vaccine to get?
The nasal spray vaccine should only be given to healthy people ages 5 to 49. Pregnant women,
children receiving long term aspirin therapy, and those who have close contact with someone who
has a weakened immune system should get the injection.

How soon after I get vaccinated will I be protected?
Adults begin to produce antibodies to the strains of flu virus in the vaccine about two weeks after
receiving it.

Why do you have to get vaccinated for seasonal flu every year?
The virus itself changes from year to year, so even if you have immunity against a certain kind
of virus that was in circulation last year, you may not be protected against this year’s strains. Also,
the immunity you built up as a result of last year’s vaccine diminishes over time.

Myths and facts about the flu vaccine

Source: The Centers for Disease Control

Myth: You can get the flu from the flu vaccine.
Fact: You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. The flu shot contains only inactive viruses — those that have been killed. The nasal spray contains live viruses but they are too weak to cause the disease. Some people do have side effects such as body aches or a low fever after receiving the vaccine, but they do not have flu.

Myth: You can get flu from the nasal spray vaccine.
Fact: You cannot get flu from the nasal spray vaccine. The vaccine contains viruses that are too weak to cause illness. There have been some reports of flu-like symptoms appearing, mostly in children, after getting vaccinated, but these are not the same as the flu.

Myth: The flu vaccine doesn’t work.
Fact: In most years, the flu vaccine prevents flu for between 70 percent and 90 percent of vaccinated healthy people under the age of 65. Sometimes, people who get other illnesses that have flu-like symptoms think the flu vaccine has not worked, when in fact they do not have influenza.

Myth: If you get a flu vaccine you can’t get an influenza virus.
Fact: Flu vaccines are made to protect against the most likely strains of flu circulating in a given year. But there is no guarantee that those will be the only strains circulating, and it is possible to get a flu vaccine and still come down with another strain of flu for which you are not protected. The vaccine may also not be 100 percent effective against the strains of the flu it contains. That depends largely on the age and health of the person vaccinated.

Myth: The flu isn’t serious enough to warrant vaccination.
Fact: Most people who get seasonal flu do not have complications, but for some, complications can be severe. Approximately 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths a year are attributed to complications of seasonal flu.

Myth: If I don’t get vaccinated in the fall, I shouldn’t bother because it will be too late.
Fact: The best time to get vaccinated is in October or November — before flu season starts. But flu
season can peak as late as May, so the Virginia Department of Health vaccinates from October through April, or longer if necessary.

Myth: There is a limited supply of vaccine, so you should leave it for those who really need it.
Fact: Manufacturers project there will be between 110 and 115 million doses of flu vaccine available in the U.S. for the upcoming flu season — the most vaccine ever available in a single flu season. Public health and government officials believe there will be enough vaccine available for everyone who wants to be vaccinated.

Myth: Absolutely everybody should get the flu vaccine.
Fact: There is an extremely limited group of people who should not get either kind of flu vaccine.
Specifically, people with a history of allergy to eggs and those who have had a rare illness called
Guillaine-Barre Syndrome should not get the flu vaccine.

Myth: I’ve already had the flu, therefore I am immune.
Fact: Flu viruses change frequently. Immunities you have built up to one strain of flu virus are not
likely to protect you entirely from another strain.

Myth: I got vaccinated last year so I’m protected this year.
Fact: Because flu viruses adapt and change regularly, the vaccine is different from year to year.
Also, immunity wears off, so even if the viruses are similar from year to year, it’s important to renew the shot annually.

Myth: I’m healthy lower age/my child is healthy. Therefore we don’t need the flu shot.
Fact: Healthy people are less likely to catch any virus because their bodies are in a better position
to combat the flu. However, it is still possible for a healthy person to get the flu.

Myth: The flu vaccine can cause autism.
Fact: Most flu shots contain thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury and some people believe is related to developmental disorders. A 2004 Institute of Medicine report found no causal relationship between thimerosal and autism. If you are concerned, however, ask your doctor for assistance in finding a vaccine without thimerosal. The nasal spray vaccine does not
contain thimerosal.

Myth: The flu vaccine is not safe for young children or pregnant women.
Fact: The flu vaccine injection is safe and recommended for children over six months and for
pregnant women.

Myth: You don’t need to get vaccinated because there are drugs now that keep you from getting
the flu.
Fact: There are prescription drugs on the market that may prevent flu in some healthy adults if they
are taken every day there is flu present in the community. The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention recommends that these drugs be used to supplement flu vaccine, not in place of it, except in circumstances where an individual cannot be given the vaccine because of other health
conditions. Antiviral medication may also lessen the symptoms of flu or make you less contagious after you have contracted the flu.

Myth: If you get the nasal spray vaccine, you can get other people sick with the flu even though you are protected.
Fact: It is extremely rare but it is possible to become infected with vaccine virus after close
contact with a person who has received the nasalspray vaccine. However, the person who contracts
the virus is unlikely to have symptoms of flu because the vaccine contains viruses that are too weak.

Fauquier Health Recommends Getting the Flu Vaccine this Flu Season

The flu season is upon us. Physicians and healthcare workers are already lining up for their flu vaccines, so they can stay healthy and take care of others if necessary. There is plenty of vaccine available this season and it’s not too early for residents to get vaccinated.

This year’s flu vaccine is a little different, said Dr. Esther Bahk, M.D. of Fauquier Health Internal Medicine at Lake Manassas. “The 2010-2011 flu vaccine, called the Fluzone vaccine, will protect against three different flu viruses -- the H1N1 virus and the two flu viruses that scientists feel will be most active this flu season.”

She added, “Another version of the vaccine, known as Fluzone High Dose, was developed specifically for older patients. There is an antigen in flu vaccine that is responsible for prompting a strong immune response. Fluzone High Dose has four times the normal amount of this antigen.

“The higher-dose vaccine is intended for individuals 65 and older; safety trials have determined that it is as free from side effects as the regular vaccine. If older patients who have had the Fluzone High Dose do get the flu, their bodies will mount a better response. The flu won’t hit them as hard as it would otherwise. The Centers for Disease Control does not recommend one vaccine or the other, but does strongly recommend a flu shot for senior citizens.”

Some may wonder if they were vaccinated for H1N1 last year, why they need to get vaccinated again. Dr. Bahk explained, “The Fluzone vaccine provides protection against several different viruses, not just H1N1, and even if someone was vaccinated last year, that vaccine’s effectiveness will have diminished over time.”

Fauquier Health Internal Medicine at Lake Manassas in Gainesville will hold a flu clinic on Tuesdays, October 26 and November 2 and 9. Residents can come into the office between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and get vaccinated against flu. Those with questions about the clinic may call the office at 703-743-7300.

Dr. Bahk said, “I think it’s important to empower my patients to take more responsibility for their health. Don’t smoke, drink in moderation, eat a balanced and healthy diet, exercise regularly, and see your doctor for regular checkups. “And one more thing,” she says, “get vaccinated for flu this season.”

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lights for Life Holiday Celebration Honors Longtime Nurse

The Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary will sponsor the annual Lights for Life celebration at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1, in the hospital’s Sycamore Room.

Consider honoring a loved one by purchasing a light that will brighten a spruce tree on Hospital Hill during the holiday season.

Names of donors and those honored will be included in a program if the donation is received by November 10. Donations of $7 per light will go towards the Auxiliary’s pledge of a vein viewer for the hospital. Nurses using a vein finder are able to locate a patient’s veins more easily, making the administration of an IV less stressful for patients.

Lois Sutphin, RN, an Infusion Center nurse, will receive special recognition as this year’s Top of the Tree honoree. Mrs. Sutphin began working at Fauquier Hospital in 1973. She has been a strong supporter of the health system and is active in the American Cancer Society.

Patron donations are those between $100 and $499. Angel donations are at $500 or more; at this level of giving, each light will be $5. Donation forms may be found at the front desk of the hospital and at the Fauquier Health Foundation offices at 170 W. Shirley Avenue, Suite 101 in Warrenton. You may also download a form from Fauquier Health’s website at (Go to Ways to Give and look for the Lights for Life donation form).

Fauquier Health Holiday Faire Will Be November 19

Fauquier Health’s annual Holiday Faire will be held Friday, November 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Bistro on the Hill and in the second-floor conference area at Fauquier Hospital.

The Faire is a popular community event. It began in 2003 with a few crafters and has grown steadily since -- the 2009 Holiday Faire featured 68 vendors. Proceeds of the day will be donated to the hospital’s Patient Concierge Program and its Family Crisis Fund, which provides emergency assistance to employees.

Those selling crafts, baked goods, jewelry or other holiday items may call Brenda Bohon at
ext. 3852 or Nis Russell at ext. 5900 to reserve a table. Tables are $35 to $70 each, depending on size and location, and will be reserved on a first come first served basis.

Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary Hosts Handbag Sale November 2 and 3

For holiday shoppers who want to get a jump on the holiday season, the Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary will host a handbag sale on Tuesday, November 2 and Wednesday, November 3, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room.

A huge selection of handbags, briefcases and luggage will be available at discounted prices. Credit cards will be accepted.

Proceeds from the sale will into the Auxiliary’s general fund. The Auxiliary is helping the hospital purchase a vein viewer so that nurses can more easily locate hard-to find veins for IV procedures. The Auxiliary will also be supporting KidSafe, a Fauquier Hospital-sponsored event that focuses on children’s health and safety.

Filmmaker Comes Home to Shoot Film at Fauquier Hospital

The Fauquier Times-Democrat wrote a nice article about R.J. Haynes, a young filmmaker who wrote a movie about the experience of donating a kidney. (See previous post.)

Part of the film was shot at Fauquier Hospital. (The story says the whole fourth floor, but it was actually just one part of the fourth floor. The Family Birthing Center was undisturbed.)

Click here to read the story:

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Infusion Center Welcomes Patients

Fauquier Hospital's new Infusion Center opened this morning. The completely renovated space is comfortable, spacious and offers lots of natural light. Dr. Salman Ali, oncologist/hematologist, has his office adjacent to the center for a seamless patient experience. Here, Lois Sutphin, RN, talks with chemotherapy patient Mary Tharpe.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Donald Mason Wins Health Tip Contest

As promised, Fauquier Hospital has announced that Donald Mason is the winner of the "Unique Health Tip" contest, held at the September 25 Family Wellness Fair.

Mr. Mason's health tip was:
"Take vitamin E and aspirin. Stay active and love your spouse."

We're suckers for a romance.

Mr. Mason was awarded a fitness bag from the Fauquier Health LIFE Fitness Center, filled with a water bottle, fitness band and heart-healthy cookbook.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action at Fauquier Hospital

I am working late tonight, enabling a young filmmaker to shoot some scenes from a feature film at Fauquier Hospital. The movie is called "Kidney Beans." It's about a young man who donated a kidney to his cousin -- the story is based on the filmmaker's own experience.

R.J. Haynes, the screenwriter and director, has called on his deep roots in Fauquier to recruit actors and crew. R.J. graduated from Liberty High School a few years ago and from James Madison University last spring. From a young age, he was a regular on the stage at Fauquier Community Theatre and directed a summer show there too. Among the theater crowd in the county, R.J.'s is a familiar face.

R.J. and his crew will shoot here on the Fauquier Hospital campus for four evenings. They are thrilled to be able to shoot on location in a hospital. R.J. and his group have been professional and considerate, and we've managed to keep any hubbub well away from our patients.

The crew has borrowed some scrubs and hospital gowns for authenticity. We also have some IV setups in some of the scenes, but the actors declined to be hooked up. Must not be method actors.

More information about the film may be found at or by emailing

Monday, October 4, 2010

Unique Health Tips from Residents

One of the interactive activities at Fauquier Health's Family Wellness Fair September 25 was a booth where participants got to suggest a "unique health tip."

Twenty-six helpful residents offered suggestions. Many were ones we've all heard before:
  • Eat four small meals a day instead of three large ones.
  • Walk 30 minutes a day.
  • Do exercises.
  • Sleep more -- at night.
  • Fresh air; eat fruits and vegetables.
  • One person simply wrote "don't overeat."
One woman who followed the advice, "exercise and eat low-fat, whole foods" says she lost 160 pounds. That's success with a capital "S!"

Other contributors suggested specific supplements, among them multi-vitamins, aspirin, green tea, fish oil tablets, B vitamins, vitamin E, and a concoction of 1 teaspoon vinegar to 1/4 cup water every day. One person suggested that "one teaspoon turmeric powder dissolved in 8 ounces of water" acts as a natural antibiotic. Another said that "cucumber slices can be used to pacify food cravings," and that "chewing fennel seeds will clarify a heavy mucous taste in the mouth and stimulate digestion."

One man wrote that it's possible to cure toenail fungus by treating once a day: Soak the toe in apple cider vinegar so that the area is thoroughly wet, for a few minutes. Then dry the vinegar on the toe with a blow dryer. After a month, this man claims, the fungus will be gone.

Fauquier Health does not endorse these ideas, we're just reporting. But there's one idea we can really get behind. One gentleman wrote: "Stay active and love your spouse."

Winner of the Health Tips Contest will be announced soon.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Article Discusses Safety of Flu Vaccine for Kids with Allergies

With flu season upon us, here is an interesting article about flu vaccine and children with allergies.

Physicians Speak on Taming the Pain

As part of an ongoing physician seminar series, Fauquier Hospital will present two lectures in October; one on pain management on October 13, at 7 p.m., and another on techniques in spine surgery on October 20, at 7 p.m. All of the discussions will be held in the Sycamore rooms at the hospital.

The lecture on management of acute and chronic pain will be given by Daniel Heller, M.D, and the lecture on modern techniques in spine surgery will be given by orthopedist Charles Seal, M.D.

These lectures are part of a year-round series of physician lectures that Fauquier Health offers to the public free of charge. Fauquier Health is committed to educating the public about issues that are important to their health. Other lecture topics include childbirth, breast cancer, chronic pain, etc.

For more information about these lectures, call 540-316-3588 or log on to

Fauquier Health Thinks Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As part of Fauquier Health’s commitment to the fight against breast cancer, the health system is sponsoring a free physician’s lecture about breast cancer. The health system is also providing free screening mammograms for women who turn 40 this year.

Fauquier Health will host a workshop called “Breast Cancer Basics: Risk, Prevention, Screenings and Resources” on October 27, at 6:30 p.m. at Fauquier Hospital in the Sycamore rooms.

Speakers include surgeon John Williams, M.D., and radiologists Maria Pace, M.D., and Jennifer Wargo M.D., who will discuss all aspects of the disease and its treatment.

These lectures are part of a year-round series of physician lectures that Fauquier Health offers to the public free of charge. Fauquier Health is committed to educating the public about issues that are important to their health.

Fauquier Health is also offering free screening mammograms throughout the year to anyone who turns 40 in 2010. To schedule a free mammogram, contact call 540-316-5800.

For more information about the workshop, call 540-316-3588 or log on to

Diabetes Fair at Fauquier Health LIFE Center October 2

The Fauquier Health LIFE Center will host the third annual Diabetes Product Fair on Saturday, October 2, from 1 to 3 p.m. Come out and enjoy light refreshments, a free chair massage and health screenings.

See the latest and greatest in diabetes-related products -- like the newest insulin pumps and continuous monitors, meters, medicines, etc.

Also, take advantage of free samples of educational materials, food guides, glucose meters, glucose tabs/gels, diabetes bars and shakes. An “Ask the Educator” table will be set up to answer any and all questions about diabetes.

A representative for the American Diabetes Association will also be here representing Fauquier Hospital’s “Step Out for Diabetes Walk” team, with information on how to get involved.

The LIFE Center is located in Suite 200 at 419 Holiday Court in Warrenton. For more information, call 540-316-2652 or e-mail diabetes educator Aren Dodge at

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fauquier Health's Family Wellness Fair

More than 200 residents arrived at the Fauquier County Fairgrounds on Saturday (some before the opening time of 9 a.m.) to take advantage of free health screenings and education during Fauquier Health's Family Wellness Fair.

Free cholesterol checks were very popular, as were blood pressure checks and Zumba and other exericise demonstrations. Children learned the best way to wash their hands, how to deal with asthma symptoms and enjoyed the Moon Bounce.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Events at Fauquier Health for October

For a complete listing of classes and events, and to register, go

Saturday, October 2
Diabetes Product Fair
Where: Fauquier Health LIFE Center
When: 1 to 4 p.m.

Monday, October 4
Your Childbirth Experience
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: Four classes, October 4, 11, 18, 25; 7 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $120
Register: 540-316-3588

Tuesday, October 5
New Mom’s Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 11a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, October 8
Your Childbirth Experience
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: Weekend classes, October 8 and 9; 6 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $120
Register: 540-316-3588

Saturday, October 9
First Aid/Adult/Infant & Child CPR/AED
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $65
Register: 540-316-3588

Tuesday, October 12
Breastfeeding Made Simple
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 7 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $25
Register: 540-316-3588

Wednesday, October 13
Free Blood Pressure Screenings
Where: Fauquier Hospital main lobby
When: noon to 2 p.m.

Sunday, October 17
Big Brother/Big Sister
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Cost: $10
Details: For expectant brothers and sisters, ages 3-10

Tuesday, October 19
New Mom’s Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 11a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 21
Baby Care Essentials
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $25
Register: 540-316-3588

Medicare and Medicaid Counseling
Where: Fauquier Hospital Chestnut room
When: 1 to 3 p.m.

Saturday, October 23
Babysitter Training
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
When: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $40
Register: 540-316-3588

Friday, October 29
American Red Cross Blood Drive
Where: Fauquier Health Sycamore rooms
When: 1 to 5 p.m.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Stunning Debut for The Villa at Suffield Meadows

It was another fabulous, star-studded red carpet opening for Fauquier Health. After more than a year of hard hat construction and behind-the-scenes toil, The Villa at Suffield Meadows -- Fauquier Health’s simply fabulous assisted-living facility -- held its premiere September 13.

Sarah Pearson, administrator of the facility, took the red carpet by storm Monday, decked out in a big smile to greet the first residents. “We’re going to have a champagne celebration,” she beamed. “It will be fun-filled and fabulous. Around five o’clock,” she added, “since most of our seniors like to eat a little earlier…”

One of the first celebrities spotted on the red carpet was Julian Caballero and his sidekick Boz (pronounced “Boss”), canine star of the show. Mr. Caballero, a former CIA satellite expert, said he was delighted to be moving into The Villa. “It’s very nice here,” he said, as Boz capered around his new two-bedroom apartment.
Mr. Caballero’s family spent some time helping to decide which photographs to hang on the walls. Laid out to consider were prestigious awards and numerous photographs of Mr. Caballero shaking hands with past presidents. Mr. Caballero seemed unimpressed with his own awards, however. “I don’t need all of them up on the wall,” he shrugged. “It’s just what I did.”

Family friend Carol Kohler, who recommended The Villa to Mr. Caballero, said that The Villa staff has been great helping residents get settled. “Everyone has been so nice. We’ve called every day with questions, and they’ve been there to help with anything we needed.”

Why The Villa? Mr. Caballero looked down at the ball of fluffy white fur sniffing out his new surroundings. “If I hadn’t been able to bring Boz, I wouldn’t be here,” he said. He explained, “I have been living in a big house. Now I don’t have to bother about taking care of the house, doing the laundry or getting meals.”

Next on the red carpet parade was George Nevins, who turned 100 in July. “I can’t wait for the exercise room to be open,” he said eagerly. His daughter, Diane Keen, laughed and said, “Dad has always been very healthy. He’s always been a walker.” Mr. Nevins exercises in the morning and in the afternoon, and exercises his sunny smile all day long.
Mr. Nevins was a world traveler in his day, and continued globe trotting until about two years ago, when his wife of 68 years passed away. He believes, “If you want to see ancient history, go to Europe. If you want to see beautiful landscapes, they are here in the U.S.”

Now Mr. Nevin’s daughter and her husband plan to spend some time traveling. “I know he’ll be looked after here, and his granddaughter lives only a few minutes away. They are very close. This is such a beautiful place, and everyone has been so nice and so friendly.”

As with any major production, it’s the behind-the-scenes crew that deserves kudos for making sure everything runs smoothly and the stars are happy. In the case of The Villa, many dozens of supporting players made it all possible. From the construction crews and decorators, to the nurses and clinical staff, to the administrators and their support staff, it’s been a tremendous undertaking.

The results? Oscar-worthy.

Fauquier Hospital Awarded Designation as Patient-Centered Hospital

Fauquier Hospital has been formally designated by Planetree, Inc. as a “Planetree designated patient-centered hospital” for the second time in three years. This designation recognizes Fauquier Hospital’s achievement and innovation in fostering a culture within the hospital in which professional caregivers partner with patients and families, and where patient comfort, dignity, empowerment and well-being are prioritized with providing top-quality clinical care.

To become a designated Planetree patient-centered hospital, Fauquier Hospital was asked to demonstrate that specific patient-centered policies have been sustained over time. Designation status further requires the hospital to meet or exceed national performance benchmarks for quality and patient satisfaction.

Three years ago, Fauquier Hospital was among the first five hospitals nationwide to achieve the designation (which is awarded for a three-year term). This re-designation recognizes Fauquier Hospital’s sustained excellence in patient-centered care. Today, Fauquier remains the only designated patient-centered hospital in Virginia, and one of only eleven in all of North America.

Rodger Baker, president and CEO of Fauquier Hospital was delighted about the designation. “It was a long and enlightening journey to achieve Planetree designation in 2007. It required a complete culture change in every department. Our next challenge was to maintain that culture and continue to innovate and improve our patients’ experience. This Planetree designation offers affirmation that we are delivering on the challenge.”

The designation criteria are based largely on direct patient feedback, in which patients across the country shared what is most important to them during hospitalization. The criteria cover both quality of care and the ways in which that care is delivered, addressing patient-provider interactions, access to information, family involvement, the physical environment, food and nutrition, spirituality, arts and entertainment and integrative therapies. In addition, the criteria focus on how the hospital is supporting its staff, opportunities for staff to have a voice in the way care is delivered, and the ways that the hospital is reaching beyond its walls to care for its community.

Guided by these core components of a patient-centered culture, over the past eleven years Fauquier Hospital has implemented a substantial number of initiatives and practices designed to enhance both the patient and staff experience. When Fauquier Hospital was renovated in 2001, it was designed with Planetree principles in mind. The use of space, light and design taken directly from nature resulted in a beautiful facility that is more reminiscent of an elegant hotel than a traditional hospital. Artwork on the walls and soothing music in the hallways welcome visitors; smiling and friendly staff and volunteers offer support at every turn.

Other Planetree features and programs include:
• Single-patient rooms allow patients to heal in quiet privacy. Visitors can stay overnight on in-room beds. Open visiting hours allow loved ones to visit anytime the patient would like.
• An open-chart policy encourages patients to understand and take part in their own care. Patients are encouraged to enlist a care partner who can help and support the healing process.
• Alternative therapies are available for those who would like them – Reiki energy therapy and massage, for instance.
• A patient advocate/concierge visits each patient within 24 hours of admission to offer support and address any concerns.
• Trained pet therapy dogs visit patients who welcome a furry visitor.
• Special attention is paid to the nutritional needs of patients. They order delicious meals from a menu, and food is delivered according to the patients’ needs, not on a rigid schedule. Visitors may also order “room service” from our Bistro restaurant.
• Spiritual needs are addressed through a network of volunteer chaplains, who pray for patients who request this comfort and visit with patients who would like company.
• A VIPeds program (Very Important Pediatrics) addresses the needs of our youngest patients, providing comfort and fun distractions for children in the hospital.
• Planetree “retreats” held regularly for staff support patient-centered concepts. These ideas are taught during the staff orientation process and are continually reinforced. Employees who embody Planetree ideals are recognized and rewarded frequently for their efforts.
• Managers and supervisors enlist the input of staff on decisions that affect their work. Many in-hospital committees are staff-run.
• In its efforts to restore, promote and maintain the health of the community, Fauquier Health has contributed more than $11.8 million in education, charity care and free health screenings to the community.

“Planetree is very pleased to award Fauquier Hospital this designation,” said Susan Frampton, Ph.D., Planetree’s president. “This recognition differentiates Fauquier as a hospital firmly committed to ensuring that its patients, staff and visitors feel cared for, supported, listened to and empowered as partners in the healthcare experience.”

Planetree is a not-for-profit organization that has been at the forefront of the movement to transform healthcare from the perspective of the patient for more than 30 years. Today, the Planetree membership network is a global community of more than 250 acute care hospitals, continuing care facilities, outpatient clinics and consumer health libraries.

Family Birthing Center Welcomes 95 Babies in August

During the month of August, Fauquier Hospital's Family Birthing Center welcomed 95 newborns into our community. This is the second highest month on record.

The staff is eargerly awaiting October, wondering what -- or who -- will be the result of the snowstorm in February...

Fauquier Hospital Thrift Shop Thrives on Main Street

This guest entry is by Connie Lyons, a Fauquier Health volunteer and freelance writer. Photo is by Peggy Cybrowski, also a hospital volunteer.

“The day we change the window display is a major event in Warrenton,” said Pat Miller, window designer for the Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary-run Warrenton Thrift Shop. “We almost have car wrecks on the street,” she said, grinning widely.

Pat and store manager Brenda Connally have been decorating the shop’s windows for 18 years; volunteer Martha McNichol also lends a hand at times. Pat said, “We tend to have theme-related windows, holidays, back-to-school, Father’s Day, things like that. Brenda is wonderful about sorting items into the relevant categories, numbering and pricing them and assisting with placing items in the window.”

The window display is changed every two weeks, except during the Christmas season, when it is changed weekly. On most window days, Pat wears a special pair of baggy overalls with lots of pockets. “They’re 15 years old,” she said, looking worried. “I’m going to have to replace them, and they’re not easy to find. Since I’m doing a lot of bending in full view of the passers-by, I have to be, shall we say… ‘selective’ about what I wear.

“The Christmas windows are especially enjoyable to do,” said Pat. “We get a huge number of Christmas items – enough for windows with angel themes, snowman themes and animated themes (like animated seals and flashing lights). We have to look at what we use with a creative spirit. It’s really fun making a ‘silk purse out of a sow’s ear.’ ”

Items displayed in the window can be purchased, but not removed until the window is changed; buyers get a receipt and claim their goods when the window is changed. “This sometimes makes it frustrating for the buyers, and in the case of out-of-towners it can be problematic,” said Martha. “But we have to preserve the look of the windows.”
Pat started as a volunteer behind the cash register, helping part time with the window displays. A native of Alabama, she moved to Warrenton when her husband was transferred to the area. While raising three daughters, she worked in the reading labs at Bradley Elementary School and Taylor Middle School and at Poplar Street, a local clothing boutique. A passionate devotee of square dancing, she has traveled as far as Wisconsin and Ohio to attend festivals. “It’s huge fun, and you get to meet people from all over the world.”

Pat said, “I love working on the windows. It’s good to feel like I’m helping people and the hospital. We get lots of regular customers; some of them need to save and some just love thrift shops. You get to know people, and it makes you feel like you’re part of the community.”
Past chairwoman of the Thrift Shop, Martha McNichol also square danced for a number of years. She is a Master Gardener, and does the gardening for St. John’s Catholic Church. Thirty-five years ago she moved here from Montana when, like Miller, her husband was transferred to the area. She worked as an aide at P. B. Smith Elementary and in JoAnn’s Fabric Shop. She works at the Thrift Shop front desk, helps price fabric, assists Pat and is responsible for the plants outside the store.

“The store is a thriving concern, thanks largely to the hard work of our volunteers,” said manager Brenda Connally. “Every year we donate between $20,000 to $30,000 to the hospital.”
The store has close to 70 volunteers, including those who fill in when needed. Brenda is the only paid employee.

“I do this because I love it,” she said. “It keeps me active. The volunteers are great and the customers are fun. It is hard to get away and take a vacation, and sometimes I have to come in on Saturdays if no one else is available. I work out at the LIFE Center so I can keep going up and down the stairs.”
Brenda’s domain is an attic space, jam-packed with treasures in the process of being discovered by the store’s eager patrons. She sorts things out and prices them, with the aid of volunteers.
Once in a while, the store gets some really unique items. “For a long time, we had a doctor’s wife who wore her clothes for one season and then donated the whole wardrobe to us. And sometimes we get some good jewelry and silver donated by estates that are being closed out.”
Sandra Brown, a member of the hospital’s Auxiliary Board, serves as chairman of the Thrift Shop. She has been volunteering at the Thrift Shop for more than nine years, since retiring from SunTrust Bank. Before starting her career in banking in 1985, she was employed by the Fauquier County school system, as an accompanist for the music departments at Taylor Junior High and Warrenton Junior High. She also taught choral music at Warrenton Middle School for a short time.
“I love it,” Sandra said of her work at the Thrift Shop. “As Thrift Shop chairwoman, I work closely with the manager. I volunteer at least one day a week at the shop. I also fill in when we’re short-handed and serve as a back-up for Brenda when she needs to be away from the shop. One of my favorite duties is training our new volunteers.

“Serving our customers is always a pleasure. Over the years you get to know the regular customers and talk with them about their lives,” she said. “Occasionally, a customer will come into the shop needing immediate help. One time we had a lady come in who had to make a court appearance. She was dressed in shorts and a tank top. So we all got together and coordinated an outfit for her. She looked great! We get a lot of people from out of town who are impressed with the cleanliness and order of the shop.”

Sandra added, “We’d be extremely happy to get young people involved in volunteering here. Sometimes we get students who are required by their schools to do volunteer service. They like to help with clearing out. Our volunteers are of varying ages. For some, working here is what gets them up and going in the morning and provides them with a sense of purpose.
“All of us connected in various capacities with the Thrift Shop are proud of our shop, proud of the service we provide and most of all, proud of the money we have raised over the years. That money in turn has been passed along to the hospital – thereby helping our community as well.”

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Villa Welcomes Residents Monday

The Villa at Suffield Meadows, Fauquier Health's new assisted living facility north of Warrenton, will greet residents on Monday. Here are a couple of photos.

See the Fauquier Health Facebook page to see the whole album.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Physicians Lecture on Joint Replacement, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

As part of an ongoing physician seminar series, Fauquier Hospital will present two lectures in September; one on joint replacement on September 16 at 6 p.m., and another on Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on September 29 at 7 p.m. Both classes will be held in the Sycamore rooms at the hospital.

The lecture on joint replacement will be given by one of the Blue Ridge Orthopaedic group surgeons. This lecture will be particularly interesting to those considering a knee or hip replacement. The discussion will cover the entire process — from the initial physician’s consultation through postsurgical rehabilitation. Participants will also learn about nonsurgical alternatives and treatment options for arthritis.

The lecture about coping with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma will be given by oncologist Syed Salman Ali, M.D. Dr. Ali is new to Fauquier Hospital. His practice, Fauquier Health Hematology/Oncology, is located in the hospital and is the only one of its kind in Fauquier County.

These lectures are part of a year-round series of physician lectures that Fauquier Health offers to the public free of charge. Fauquier Health is committed to educating the public about issues that are important to their health. Other lecture topics include childbirth, breast cancer, chronic pain, etc.

For more information about these lectures, call 540-316-3588 or log on to

Friday, September 3, 2010

Heartfelt Goodbye to Doug Dunkle

Fauquier Health employees were shocked and saddened recently when Director of Facilities Doug Dunkle passed away suddenly. Doug was an employee of Fauquier Health for 16 years; those who worked most closely with Doug spoke of him with fondness and great respect.

Bruce Williams, a maintenance mechanic, has been with Fauquier Health since 1988. He stated emphatically, “Doug was just the best boss ever. He came across as rough sometimes, but
he was a very kind person, he had a very big heart.”

Bruce added, “His memory was incredible. He’d remember the name of a vendor we used eight years ago, and he’d be able to tell you where the folder was with the paperwork from that job.

“He could be in the middle of a crisis and if you went to him with even the smallest problem, he’d come down out of crisis mode, deal with it, then ramp back up to solve the crisis.”

Del Clarambeau, a 10-year veteran of Fauquier Health, said, “It took me a long time to know what to think about Doug. In the morning when you’d say hello, sometimes he’d just grunt at you. But Irealized that Doug’s mind was always working. He had a lot on his shoulders. But if you had a problem, he’d put down whatever he was doing and listen.”

Doug’s staff agreed that he had been the consummate team player, and very much a hands-on director. Bruce said, “Doug would talk to me about a job. I’d say that I needed a second person to get it done and he’d say, ‘I’ll help you.’ ”

Shino Kurian, maintenance mechanic, nodded in agreement. “Doug never stood back and told others what to do. He wanted to be involved. I remember one day a few weeks ago,
when he was leaving for the day. He had his coffee cup in hand and was headed out the door. A truck pulled up with two pallets. Doug put down his coffee cup and stayed another 30-45 minutes helping me, to make sure it all got done.”

Shino said, “In the last five years, I had to call him after work about three times. No matter what time it was -- it could be the middle of the night -- he’d be ready with the answer. He was always ready to back us up.”

Nis Russell, administrative assistant, remembered that whenever there was a new project on the table, Doug would spend a lot of time researching what other hospitals were doing. “He was very innovative. He liked us to be ahead of everyone else.”

The Snowstorm of 2010
Several of Doug’s co-workers broke into knowing smiles when talk turned to the big snowstorm in February. Jerry Hansel, director of Environmental Services, said, “Doug managed to wrangle the last front end loader in the area to use for removing snow. Doug was defi - nitely in his glory driving that around."

Bruce said, “He’d be out in the storm for hours, then come in for a two-hour nap and head back out.”
Nis laughed, remembering. “Doug was exhausted, but he loved it!”

The snowstorm will go down in legend and song, apparently. Del remembered with a chuckle, “Doug camped out here for days. At one point he was so tired, he brushed his teeth with Icy
Hot. He said he couldn’t spit enough.”

Doug was popular in his neighborhood, too. Del said, “He was always telling us what this or that neighbor wanted him to do for them. He acted like it was a pain in the neck, but he loved it. It was like that with his wife’s dog. He would complain about it, but he loved that dog.”

What else did Doug love? That was easy, said his friends: M&Ms, chocolate doughnuts and … most of all, his 9-year-old granddaughter. Shino said, “No matter how busy or stressed Doug was, all you had to do was mention her name, and his face would light up.”

Laura Nicely, supervisor of biomedical engineering, said, “I knew Doug for 14 years. I didn’t like him every minute, but I loved him. Here in Facilities we called him ‘Dad.’ When his wife called me to tell me of his death, she said she wanted to call me personally, because Doug cared so much about me.
I didn’t know that.”

Del said, “The last couple of years, I realized how much Doug cared about us. He referred to everything in the hospital as ‘his’ -- his boilers, his sterilizers... Greg Bengston told us after Doug
died that he always referred to us as ‘his guys.’ I never knew that.

“In the heat of a busy day, you don’t realize how close you are as a group. I never realized what a big presence Doug was. I realize it now.”

Fauquier Health Brushes up on Community Service

Fauquier Health staffers Marvin Sheldon, Mary Beth Waldeck, Tracy Turman, Jennie Lockhart, Barbara Crierie, Elizabeth Henrickson and Greg Bengston for participated in the United Way Day of Caring on August 20. Together the team painted the inside of a townhouse at Vint Hill Transitional Housing.

Feeling Sleepy? Wake Up to a Program on Sleep Apnea

On Thursday, September 9, a Fauquier Health respiratory therapist will present a lecture on
sleep apnea at Fauquier Health’s Diabetes Support Group.
When: 6 to 7 p.m.
Where: LIFE Fitness Center
More info: e-mail Aren Dodge at or call her
at ext. 2644.

August Blood Drive a Success

The American Red Cross Blood Drive held on August 27 was a huge success. August has
traditionally been a very diffi cult month for blood collection. Fauquier Health, along with the community, responded to the need.

Sixty pints of blood were collected, which surpassed our goal of 50 for the drive. This generosity will help 180 people.

Special thanks to the following Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary volunteers who handled registration and canteen duties: Gerald Giocondi, Sally McGovern, Bernice Pearson, Becky Pinkerton, Catherine Sutphin and Dorothy Sutphin.