Physical Therapist Amanda Curtis has joined Speech Language Pathologist Erica James in looking to improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease—the second most prevalent neurological disease nationwide, behind Alzheimer’s.
Erica was certified in 2006 to work with Parkinson’s patients on their speech.
And this June, Amanda became certified to work with Parkinson’s patients on improving their motor skills.
Helping someone fight the ravages of Parkinson’s disease is personal for Amanda. She’s been working with her father, Randy, on exercises to combat the stiffness often associated with the disease for the past eight years.
But now, she will share what she learned from LSVT BIG with patients at the PT/OT department at Waldo County General Hospital. LSVT BIG is a program for improving motor skills for individuals with Parkinson’s disease and some other neurological conditions. The method was developed following more than 20 years of research funded by the National Institutes of Health.
LSVT BIG, which Amanda also recently started with her father, involves 16 individual sessions, four consecutive days a week for four weeks. Participants are also asked to do daily homework and to continue with the exercises after the sessions end.
LSVT BIG involves a set of exercises that help the patient move “big.” They involve stretching, twisting, and big steps, which help the patient with speed of movement, balance, and ultimately his or her quality of life.
Amanda has two slogans for her patients in the LSVT BIG program: “Use it and improve it” and “Think Big.”
“It’s a mindset we’re trying to change…The world tends to get small for people with Parkinson’s and we’re trying to open it up again,” she explains. “We want them to take big steps through a doorway.”
While Randy Curtis is just starting the LSVT BIG program, he has been following an exercise regime put together by his daughter when he was diagnosed eight years ago. He said doctors at the Lahey Clinic are convinced that exercise is what has kept him moving without the telltale signs of Parkinson’s Disease—a slow gait, rigidity of the upper body and decreased balance.
Randy also takes medication which has stopped the tremors. He swims and bikes almost daily to combat the stiffness he wakes to each morning.
Amanda learned during her certification training that the best results come with patients who are highly motivated and take the program soon after being diagnosed, although she is quick to add that there are gains to be made whenever a person with Parkinson’s takes the program.
For more than six years, Erica has been working with patients through LSVT LOUD to improve their speech. Parkinson’s can result in reduced volume, understandability and facial expressions and often the person talks in a monotone.
Much like LSVT BIG, LSVT LOUD is an intensive 4-week therapy, which is scientifically designed for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Like its exercise counterpart, it also depends on patients doing homework and keeping up the exercises after finishing the training.
LSVT LOUD is a bit easier for patients who live a distance from Belfast since the program can be done in person once a week and over the computer with a webcam. Charlie Bradford of Southwest Harbor, who took the training, says at first he was a bit intimidated by the computer sessions but quickly forgot he was even on it. “I could hear Erica well,” says Charlie. “It was very pleasant. I was comfortable and more relaxed at home and I could talk louder without bothering anyone. After one session, I forgot it was telemedicine. I was just talking to Erica.”
“I can’t wait to start working with more patients with Parkinson’s disease,” says Amanda. “I’m very excited about it. I think there is a big need in our community. These are life-long exercises that people can do every day in order to keep moving and I know it works.”
Amanda and Erica are also hoping to get a Parkinson’s disease support group going.
If you have Parkinson’s disease or have had a stroke or have multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, or Downs syndrome, talk to your doctor about whether LSVT BIG and LOUD might help you.
Dr. Sidney Block, formerly of Belfast and now living in Northport, is a rheumatologist who has practiced since 1975 in Bangor. He will be practicing at the hospital three days a week beginning in January. Until then, he will continue to practice at his current office at 275 Union St. in Bangor.
A 1967 graduate of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, he is board certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a Master of the American College of Rheumatology, where he has held many national offices and served on many committees. In 2000, Dr. Block was the winner of the Paulding Phelps Award from the American College of Rheumatology, which is awarded to a clinical rheumatologist for outstanding service to patients, community and the practice of medicine.
Dr. Michael Gowesky, board certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology, comes to Waldo County General Hospital from Eastern Maine Medical Center and Pen Bay Medical Center. A 1986 graduate of Hebert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, he has more than 25 years of experience in anesthesiology and critical care.
Dr. Gowesky served in the Air Force from 1990 to 1995, including a four-year stint as the Anesthesiology Consultant to the European Command Surgeon in Germany. He also served as the chairperson of anesthesiology departments in Biloxi, Mississippi, and Slidell, Louisiana, which meant supervising anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists and RNs, along with supporting five graduate medical programs.
Susan Butterworth, MSN, FNP, started working in pulmonology with Dr. Andrew Dixon in mid-June. She graduated from theFamily Nurse Practitioner program at Regis College in Weston, Mass. in 1999. After that, she worked at several practices in Massachusetts, including the New England Allergy, Asthma & Primary Care in North Andover, while also serving as adjunct professor at Regis College. In May 2011, she became a primary care provider at Rockport Family Medicine in Rockport, providing urgent and chronic health care to patients of all ages.
In August, Lise Desjardins, FNP-C is scheduled to start practicing with Dr. Karen Miller in the Ear, Nose and Throat office. She graduated from the Nurse Practitioner program at the University of Maine in Orono in 1995. Since then, she has served in many diverse practices and environments. She has experience in family practice, emergent and urgent care, occupational health, pediatric and teen services, reproductive and women’s health, and geriatrics. She has worked in “back country medicine and solo rural practices to inner city indigent care and large urban health maintenance organizations.”
Most recently, she has been employed at Maine General Health in Augusta as an occupational health provider. For 11 years before that she was a primary care provider at the North Haven Medical Center.nbsp;
Waldo County General Hospital Aid members ended their fiscal year in May with an annual meeting and luncheon at Penobscot Shores. A highlight of the celebration was the awarding of pins for volunteer hours by Teri Young-Hise, Director of Nursing. Total hours of service given to the hospital for the past year are 7,405 hours by 50 volunteers. Twenty-three members were recognized at a new level of volunteer hours ranging from 50 hours to 8,000 hours.
Wilma Moses of Belfast was singled out as the highest achiever with 8,071 hours in total over her 24 years of volunteering. Many years ago she was asked to help out in the hospital pharmacy by a staff member. She went on to become a licensed pharmacist technician at age 78 and works there one day a week. Wilma also volunteers on events, is a past president of the Aid and is the garden walk chair.
Special commendation was given to Ed Kelley and Marion Pride who have reached 4,000 hours of service each. Ed volunteers in the mail room and has filled many roles in the Aid. Marion is a past president who joined the Aid over 30 years ago. They each received a pin from WCGH and the U.S. Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award. The lifetime achievement award is presented by the Points of Light Foundation and includes a certificate, enamel pin with an eagle and lettering “The President’s Call to Service Award” and a letter from President Barack Obama. The letter echoes a thought that the hospital extends to all of its volunteers, “Thank you for your devotion to service and for doing all you can to shape a better tomorrow for our great Nation…by addressing the most pressing needs in your community.”
Lois Aitken, gift shop treasurer, presented Mark Biscone, Executive Director, with two checks for the hospital’s annual campaign—$4,500 from the gift shop and $6,000 from the Aid’s general treasury. The Aid holds many fundraising activities throughout the year including a yard sale, silver tea, auction and gift raffles to benefit the hospital.
The Hospital Aid was established in 1901 and has 107 members.
Killyan Richards of Northport has been awarded the Dana and Diane Whitten Scholarship for 2013. A graduate of Belfast Area High School, Killyan will attend Husson University in the fall to study nursing. Her ultimate goal is to work in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The Dana and Diane Whitten Scholarship is a cash prize awarded annually to a graduating senior from Belfast Area High School who has demonstrated a strong commitment to caring for and improving the lives of children.
The second annual R.I.D.E. (Reliable Information about Diabetes Education) for diabetes will be held Saturday, Sept. 14.
There are actually three bike rides: Family Fun Ride of one mile; a ride of 7.25 miles; and an 18.25 mile ride. Proceeds will benefit scholarships for Diabetes Education.
Registration will take place from 8:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. at the Education Center at Waldo County General Hospital. The 18.25 mile ride will take off at 9:30 a.m.; the 7.25 mile ride at 9:45 a.m.; and the Family Run Ride at 10 a.m.
The fee for any of the rides is $15 per person or $20 per family. There will be free T-shirts for riders (families receive the first 3 T-shirts for free, the remainder are $5 each).
To register, go to active.com. For more information, call Sarah O’Blenes at 338-2500 ext. 4607 or email: email@example.com.
Waldo County General Hospital has awarded $18,000 in scholarships to 19 residents of Waldo County who are pursuing further education in a healthcare-related field. Awards are made to graduating high school seniors, college undergraduates, and employees pursuing careers in healthcare-related fields.
Selected to receive scholarships and the area of study he or she plans to pursue are Jennifer Cook, nursing, Paige Emerson, nursing, Rhonda Fowlie, nursing, Ashland Hall, speech & language, Sherri Littlefield, nursing, Alexis Morse, pre-med, Brenda Prisco, nursing, Jordan Ray, nursing, Maggie Raymond, nursing, Killyan Richards, nursing, Katelyn Ross, nursing, Kaitlyn Schweikert, healthcare administration, Janelle Scott, nursing, Julia Spieldenner, nursing, Theresa Spieldenner, nursing, Sierra Warner, nursing, Chantelle Whitcomb, pharmacy, Starlyn Whitcomb, nursing, and Candace Work, nursing.
Motorcycle riders, mark your calendar! On Sunday, Sept. 22, Waldo County General Hospital will be sponsoring the second annual Waldo County Ride for Oncology. This will be a fun event plus an opportunity to raise money to help those fighting cancer.
The day will start with registration at the Waldo County Shrine Club. The ride will take off at 10:30 a.m. and will return to the Shrine Club around 12:30 p.m. From 12:30 to 2 p.m., there will be a live band and food available.
The registration fee for the ride on Sept. 22 is $25, which includes lunch, a goodie bag and the live music. Additional lunches can be purchased for $10.
However, if you pre-register prior to Sept. 22, the cost is only $20. To pre-register, go to
For more information, call Gary Collins at 322-8675.
On June 29, Waldo County General Hospital cut the ribbon for Waldo County Dental Care (located on the first floor of 125 Northport Ave. the new building across the street from the hospital).
This facility will provide dental care to qualified individuals in need. And we believe the need is great.
The Registered Dental Hygienist at Waldo County Dental Care will do dental cleanings, x-rays, screenings, fluoride treatments, sealants, temporary fillings, oral health instruction, and a referral for further care by a dentist, if needed.
To qualify, an individual must:
• not have seen a dentist in the past 12 months;
• live in Waldo County;
• meet federal income guide lines (for family of four that is $41,213); and
• be at least age 18.
Depending on the family’s income level, there is a sliding co-pay of between $10 and $20.
The hospital was well represented at the recent annual meeting of the Belfast Rotary Club.
Andrea Walker, Community Services Manager, was awarded the club’s Paul Harris Fellow for her “Service Above Self” to the club. Making the presentation was Mark Biscone, Executive Director of the hospital and chairman of the Paul Harris Fellow Committee.
Lee Woodward, chairman of the hospital’s Board of Directors, was named Rotarian of the year.
And Lois Dutch of the Education Office was presented with a Paul Harris Fellow by her husband, Greg Dutch, who was the outgoing president of the club.
Waldo County General Hospital’s Journey to Health program again this summer has been sponsoring sea kayaking for beginners. Here is your opportunity to see Belfast from the bay! Among the remaining trips are two 75-minute trips on Aug. 27. There will be trips at 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. The cost is $20 per paddler. There are some scholarships available. On Aug. 13, the trip will be to Bayside from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The cost of the 2.5-hour trip is $30 per paddler and again there are some scholarships available. Pre-registration is required.
For more information or to register, call Sumer Higgins at 338-9359 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, preferred day and time and the number in your party. Children are welcome. You can ask about scholarship availability when you register.