Archive - May 2016

Expect Some Pain
Walkable Communitites
Morristown Community Gardens
National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day

Expect Some Pain

By: Leah Hollenberger

I recently listened to an interview on NPR about how doctors are wrestling with helping their patients who are in pain without contributing to the growing levels of opioid-addiction.

pain medicineIt was interesting because they spoke with a physician from Massachusetts who commented that he has changed how he prescribes pain medication. It’s now understood that even a short course of opioids (morphine or Dilaudid for example) for a few days can put some patients at risk for developing drug abuse. Now he tends to try NSAIDs first – ibuprofen or Toradol – and has found them to often be effective for his patients.

The interview finished with him saying “a little pain is going to be necessary,” which the radio host then rephrased as “pain is a part of healing.”

It made me think of Copley’s total joint replacement surgery program, during which it is clearly explained that day two and day three post surgery will be the toughest days. Where each patient signs a narcotic contract that clearly spells out when and how clinicians will prescribe along with when they will not. That, while clinicians will try as much as they can, there will be pain and the goal is to keep each patient’s pain managed in the 1-3 level on a scale of 1-10. So, yes, in this case, pain is part of the healing.

However, I think the radio host did a dis-service by continuing the misconception that everything can be healed, that everyone can be pain free. Certainly, that is true much of the time, but not all of the time. And the truth is, if we as a society are going to really reduce opioid-drug addiction, we are going to have to stop believing that a pill is going to be able to solve everything. We are going to have to expect some pain.

So where does that leave us? As a patient what is our responsibility in managing our pain?
Copley encourages you to:

  • Ask your doctor or nurse what to expect regarding pain and pain management
  • Discuss pain relief options with your doctors and nurses
  • Work with your doctor and nurse to develop a pain management plan
  • Ask for pain relief when pain first begins
  • Help your doctor and nurse assess your pain
  • Tell your doctor or nurse if your pain is not relieved, and
  • Tell your doctor or nurse about any worries you have about taking pain medication

Every clinician wants you to be pain-free, but they cannot guarantee it. Accepting that, expecting a little pain, may help you experience a better outcome in the long run.

Walkable Communitites

By: Valerie Valcour

Is your neighborhood or community walkable? What does walkable mean, anyway? Walkable or wheelchair roll-able means that anyone of any ability can get around by walking or using their wheelchair. Getting around can mean getting to a grocery store or the post office, or being able to exercise and have fun. Did you know that the average person who lives in a walkable community can weigh 6-10 pounds less? You can check your community’s Walk Score here.

walkable community

If your community is walkable and you feel safe walking or wheelchair rolling, here are a few helpful tips to get started on your journey:

  • Set a realistic goal for yourself.
  • Take a look around you and figure out what you can do every day to add more walking or wheelchair rolling to your routine.
  • Track your progress and celebrate your success!

Find more health tips by going to the Health Department’s mymoment web page. You can also check out Copley’s Wellness Resources here.

Some communities do not have sidewalks, or there may be safety concerns. There are ways you can get involved to make your community more walkable and wheelchair roll-able. You can reach out to your Town Clerk and ask about your town’s plan regarding walking, biking and recreation. You can start a conversation by asking your town to conduct a walking audit. Walkable communities are not just healthy, they are also attractive and fun. The Vermont Department of Health’s Active Living guide can give you some ideas to help make your community more walkable.

Live well! Promote walking and walkable communities for all ages and abilities. Learn how by visiting .

Valerie Valcour is a Public Health Nurse and specializes in chronic disease prevention and emergency preparedness at the community level for the Department of Health in Morrisville. Valerie has lived in Lamoille County most of her life. She graduated from People’s Academy in 1983 and worked as a nurse at Copley Hospital for several years. In addition to her work, she volunteers as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.


Morristown Community Gardens

By: Tricia Follert


It’s that time of year again that many of you who live in Northern Vermont dream about all winter: springtime. The trees are starting to blossom, the garlic is showing its scapes, the robins are singing, and it’s time to think about gardening.

Morristown community gardens are located at Oxbow Riverfront Park and there are lots of good organic plots available, large and small. Are you interested in having a plot of your own? We’d love to have you! Please contact Jake Rehm at

Don’t worry if you’re not able to crawl around the ground, planting gorgeous little seedlings and then weeding them all summer. We also have 13 raised bed boxes available! Contact Kylie Brown at or call 888-3252 and she’ll set you up with one of the raised beds.

There is no better way to spend the great summer months than enjoying your own little garden plot at the park and then heading home with your bounty. Gardening can help you stay active and can also feed your soul. So ride your bike or stroll down to the park and enjoy one of the many our wonderful assets, the community gardens.

Tricia Follert is the Community Development Coordinator for the Town of Morristown, where she coordinates and implements activities for the town. She currently sits on three local boards, River Arts, Lamoille County Planning Commission and the Morristown Alliance for Commerce and Culture, and works closely with many local nonprofits on community projects. She is also actively involved in the community gardens, the rail trail and the arts.

National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day

By: Nancy Wagner

Many of us are affected by diabetes or know someone who is. In fact, experts say that diabetes is now an epidemic. But there’s good news: Type 2 diabetes can be managed and even prevented with a more active lifestyle! To help raise awareness of this connection, the American Diabetes Association is sponsoring National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day on Wednesday, May 4, 2016.

National Get Fit Don't Sit Day

Sitting for too long is harmful to our health. Getting up at least every 90 minutes to stretch, walk around the office or do some simple exercises can go a long way in managing and preventing type 2 diabetes. I encourage you to visit the American Diabetes Association’s website for a list of moves you can do at your desk or try some of the following ideas:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Take the long way to the bathroom or the mail room
  • Park farther away from the building
  • If you go out to lunch, walk to the restaurant
  • Get up and stretch at your desk

Here at Copley Hospital we are challenging our employees to first fill up the parking lot that is farthest away from the hospital. We’ll have some healthy breakfast foods waiting for those that do! And they’ll be entered into a “Get Fit Basket” raffle. We’ll also tour the hospital throughout the day handing out raffle tickets to those we see taking a fitness break.

Happy National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day!

Nancy Wagner is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Diabetes Educator at Copley Hospital. She provides health and wellness to Copley employees through screenings, education and fun activities; educates patients regarding their nutrition and diabetes needs; and works with community members providing education to schools and businesses. Nancy enjoys helping others learn new things about nutrition, their health habits, and their chronic diseases.