Interview with Nellyda Anslow
TYG: So, why did you study to become a Nurse Practioner [NP] instead of a Physician Assistant [PA]?
Nellyda: Well, I was a nurse for eight years. The natural progression for nurses is to go to a Nurse Practitioner school. I enjoyed being a nurse, and I wanted to be able to provide a little more service to the small community I was living in.
TYG-Editorial Assistant: What kind of nursing did you do?
Nellyda: I’ve done a number of things. I’ve worked in trauma at OHSU for a few years, and then I worked in private practice for a group of orthopedic surgeons as a recovery room nurse for a few years in Portland, and then I moved to Newport and worked at Samaritan in the ambulatory surgery unit—PACU (post-anaesthesia care unit).
TYG: So what’s the difference between a PA and a NP? I know there are different pre-requisites...
Nellyda: So, you have to be an RN [Registered Nurse] before you become an NP, and you’re usually required to have several years of nursing experience that you can document before you’re accepted into Nurse Practitioner school. As far as what happens after we’re trained: I think there are a lot of similarities, but one of the many differences is that Nurse Practitioners, in many states, are able to practice independently—without the supervision that’s required for PA’s.
TYG: So, in terms of starting a family practice, Nurse Practitioners are way better off, because you can start a solo practice, with you being the only person with medical training.
Nellyda: That’s true, I could. However, I must say that I really enjoy the collegiality of working in a group practice, and I do acknowledge that my physician colleagues have a lot more training and experience than I do, and I really thrive in an environment where I have people I can consult with.
TYG: Also, it’s probably suicide to start a solo practice with just yourself. Even with some medical and billing staff, you just can’t see enough patients to see it supported. If you have three or four doctors, maybe.
Nellyda: Yes. I think it would be challenging, but for me, I think the biggest impediment would be that I would feel lonely and unsupported, which isn’t an environment that I thrive in. So I’m excited to work in Newport at Central Coast Internal Medicine, because there are three physicians there, and they all have a lot of experience and great reputations. I’m really excited to work with them, and learn from them, and be part of their team.
TYG: How does being an NP rather than a PA affect how others treat you, such as medical patients and doctors?
Nellyda: That’s a really great question! I find that a lot of people don’t know what a Nurse Practitioner is, and the word “nurse” automatically makes people think that you’re starting IV’s and changing bedpans. I think that a lot of times people understand more what the role of a PA is. So until people either learn more, or I explain the similarities between the PA and NP role—I think that’s the main difference, having the word “physician” in the title for a PA seems to lend it more credibility than having the word “nurse” in the title for a Nurse Practitioner.
TYG-EA: That’s an interesting perspective! From my own experience, I’ve often had to explain that as a Physican Assistant, my work is similar to that of a Nurse Practitioner, and the patients sometimes seem to know the Nurse Practitioner role better than the PA role.
Nellyda: [laughter] That’s interesting! See, two sides of a coin... I think that being called “mid-level providers” is one way to refer to ourselves. I think that after a number of years in practice, a lot of what we do is very, very similar. I can only say that from my limited experience; I’m new to the profession. But I feel like in the end, we’re all working together to take care of patients. Whatever it takes to do that, we find a way to do it.
TYG: In TV shows, there has been a lot of recent stuff about that; various things about health care. For example, there’s a bunch of stuff in... Are you familiar with Star Trek?
Nellyda: I am only remotely familiar with it. I don’t have television.
TYG: Oh, we get it from Amazon. We don’t have TV.
Nellyda: I don’t have a television. Nor do I have the internet. Nor Facebook. I barely have a phone. [laughter]
TYG: How the heck do you stay connected?
TYG-EA: How do you live?
Nellyda: [laughter] I write letters. Meet people face to face, and make telephone calls. It’s wonderful! I’ve chosen to limit the social input into my life, and the media input into my life: I find it makes me a happier person.
TYG: It’s just that I’m trying to figure out how you do your work without a computer.
Nellyda: Oh, I have a computer. I just take it to the library or internet cafés when I need to. I just like to limit my access to the internet or any kind of destructive media. And it’s cheaper! And it also limits people’s access to me, which is very helpful! [laughter]
TYG: So what was training like, in medical school?
Nellyda: Well, I went to UCSF, which is a medical school and nursing school in San Francisco. I was fortunate in that I got to do a lot of my training with physicians in internal medicine, but it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I often wondered if I was actually going to be able to get through it. It took all of my time, all of my energy, and all of my money. And I’m really grateful to be out on the other side of training.
TYG: When did you move to Yachats?
Nellyda: I moved to Yachats in March, but I had lived in Lincoln County previously. I’d lived here from 2009 to 2012, which is when I worked at Samaritan as a nurse. Then I left Lincoln County to go to graduate school at UCSF, and then I came back! I spent a few months walking on the Pacific Crest Trail prior to coming here. It was a wonderful experience.
TYG: How come you did an out-of-state rather than an in-state? I bet it would have been cheaper.
Nellyda: True—that’s a great question! I actually wanted to be an adult gerontology nurse practitioner, and there are very few of those programs, and the only ones on the West coast were at UCSF and UCLA. I chose San Francisco over Los Angeles, because it seemed like a better place to live in.
TYG: So what did you do after you got here, after the training?
Nellyda: I took a month off right after school and went to Hawaii, and then I took three months and walked 800 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail by myself, and then I went to Coos Bay, where I had intended to practice, and found the environment to be a poor fit for me, and then I moved here. I missed my friends, and my family, and Samaritan; so I decided to regroup and start over here.
TYG-EA: You want to talk about the Pacific Crest Trail?
TYG: Yes, what is that? I haven’t heard of it.
Nellyda: Well, the Pacific Crest Trail is a 2500 mile trail that connects Mexico to Canada, all through national forest land, national parks, and wilderness areas. It’s an undirected trail walked by about 500 people a year. It takes six months to do. You basically walk about a hundred miles at a stretch, and then you have to get off and re-supply yourself with food.
TYG: “At a stretch.” What does that mean?
Nellyda: Well, you can only carry about six to ten days of food in your backpack, because otherwise it’s too heavy. So every six to ten days, which is approximately 100 to 120 miles, you have to get off the trail, hitchhike into a small town somewhere, get more food, and get back on the trail. But you carry everything you need to survive on your back. So your shelter, your warmth, your clothing, things that you need to purify your water...
TYG: And you wash in a stream?
Nellyda: Yep, streams and lakes. You wear the same clothes every single day for three to six months. You have one sleeping bag. You have one tent. You sleep on the ground. You suffer in every way possible and you walk twenty miles a day. [laughter]
TYG-EA: And you chose to do this why?
Nellyda: It was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. [...] It’s mentally very, very, very challenging. Nobody in this culture is used to spending that much time alone; and by alone, I mean truly alone. You have no cell phone. You have no way to connect with human beings. The only thing you may see for days at a time—besides trees, and lots of them—is elk, bear, deer. You can’t get on your phone at the end of the night and connect with people. So that challenge of true, true self-reliance and aloneness, I just found to be one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done.
TYG-EA: Why did you choose do to that? Did your reasons line up with your actual experience?
Nellyda: Yes, they did, actually. I needed some time to “quiet the noise” in my head, after grad school, and I needed some time for further self-reflection, and to focus in on what I wanted to do in the next phase of my life. In my own experience, the only way for me to do that is to really get as far away from as many distractions as possible and spend a lot of time alone. There really are that many places in this world anymore where you can do that. The wilderness is one of those places, and I’m so glad we have it. The opportunity to string together wilderness experience after wilderness experience with no interruptions...
TYG: Well, there were some interruptions.
Nellyda: Yes, there were some interruptions, you’re right. And it’s interesting, because when you spend six to ten days alone, that one day that you go into town to get food and see people is really exciting. It’s really exciting to see a person after you haven’t seen anybody for a week. [laughter] So that’s why I did it, and I would do it again.
TYG-EA: Was it ever frightening?
TYG: I bet bears were frightening.
Nellyda: I actually didn’t see any bears. Not a one. The scariest times were when I couldn’t find water. There were a lot of stretches in Northern California last year where I would have to go 12 to 16 miles without water, and it was really hot. Again, that self-reliance part: knowing that you have to keep moving. Oftentimes I would have to walk into the night, in the dark.
Nellyda: Camelbaks are too heavy for the amount of water that they carry. What everybody really used on the trail were really cheap bottles of Gatorade. I’d just carry two bottles—one in my hand, and one strapped to my backpack. [...] You’re always walking that fine line between having enough water, and being able to move fast enough to get to the next stream. The logistical challenge is one of the reasons I love doing it so much.
TYG-EA: So, are you still doing restaurant work?
Nellyda: Yes! When I moved to Yachats, I started working at Ona, and I was really lucky to be able to have the opportunity to find a job here in the community while I waited for all the paperwork to get done for my new job as a Nurse Practitioner, and my last day at Ona is actually July 31st! I’ll be starting my practice September 15th, in Newport.
TYG: Wait, what are you doing between then?
Nellyda: I am going backpacking, surprise, surprise! [laughter] I’m spending a month doing some backpacking in the Sierra National Forest down in California.
TYG: Well, thank you so much!
Interview with Stephen Lippincott
TYG: Why did you get into building/carpentry?
Steve: When I was a little kid, that’s what I did for fun. I was always building things. My dad and I built a couple houses on our property when I was under fourteen.
TYG: Wow! Was he a carpenter by trade?
Steve: No, he managed an animal shelter, actually. But we were always building things—he was really into birds, and building lofts. From a young age, I just found that I loved building.
TYG: I love it too. I can never seem to scrounge up enough wood. I’ve got all the tools, but I never have the wood.
Steve: When I was your age, wood was my problem too. And nails, as well! I’d be straightening out nails constantly.
TYG-Graphic Design: So, you do construction—but then you seem to take these huge trips! So, what’s the deal with those two things?
Steve: Well, I guess my passion in life is exploring. Construction—any work, really—would be a conduit to exploring a new place. I do enjoy work, but I’d much rather travel and play all the time! [laughter] Unfortunately, I’m not independently wealthy. So construction is really a means to being able to travel.
TYG-GD: So which has been your favorite exploration?
Steve: That’s really hard to say! Nichole—my wife—and I have done some amazing trips together. Cycling down the coast of Italy with her was real fun.
Steve: No, bicycling.
TYG: Really? There are some amazing motorcycle companies in Italy. Usually, you don’t think of Italy as biking country.
Steve: No! It’s very popular there. But they also love their Vespas. They’re always riding around saying “Ciao!” [laughter]
TYG-GD: What do you do about language in a foreign country like Italy?
Steve: Smile a lot, and try to do my best at learning the language... A lot of times, I can use English, too.
TYG: Probably one of the first things you learn is “I don’t speak the language.”
Steve: I think “Hello” and “Thank you” are the first important words to know.
TYG: But then again, telling them that you don’t know something is much better than letting them figure that out for themselves.
TYG-GD: So, do you guys always do a little prep before you go on a trip, to figure out the language?
Steve: Yes, typically. But when we went to Italy, we hadn’t planned to go to Italy.
TYG: How does that work?
Steve: Well, we ended up getting a free ticket to Europe, in the middle of winter. We were in Amsterdam, and it was freezing, and we were watching Euro-News, and Italy was always warm! So we thought, well, let’s cycle down the coast of Italy.
TYG: And I presume, even in winter, everyone in Amsterdam was riding their bikes.
Steve: That’s true, yes!
TYG: I bet you didn’t see any cars!
Steve: Yes, there are cars! It’s probably easier to find a place to park your car than to lock up your bike! [laughter]
TYG: What did you do before you moved to Yachats?
Steve: Well, before I moved to Yachats, I was building a Meyers Manx [a kit dune buggy] to drive through Central and South America. But the canyon where I was living in California burned up along with my Meyers Manx, so I moved to Yachats. [laughter]
TYG-GD: How did you even ever hear of Yachats?
Steve: My first time up here I was a teenager and had hitch-hiked up the Coast. I surfed in the river mouth, and I slept underneath the bridge, and I had a burger at the Landmark, and I just fell in love with the town! I came up the Coast about four other times after that, and decided to move here.
TYG-EA: So how did you meet your wife, Nichole?
Steve: We met in Yachats—it’s not challenging to meet people in Yachats.
TYG-GD: It’s not challenging?
Steve: No, I mean... I was like “Whoah! There’s a pretty girl!” And the fact that we both decided to move to Yachats, we had that in common right off the bat! [laughter] And on our first date, she saved my life.
TYG: You mean, literally, or...
Steve: Literally, yes.
TYG: What happened on the first date?
Steve: We built a zip line across the Yachats River. The first go-ahead didn’t really work out very well. I had a pulley attached to the cables, and I had a rope attached to that, luckily. And so I was hanging there, in the middle of the river, swinging the rope around. Nichole caught it, barely, on the bank, and she pulled me to safety.
Steve: And it wasn’t an easy thing for her to do, because she had to climb up a steep bank that was all muddy and wet, It wasn’t that deep, and that’s one of the reasons she saved my life, because I was about 20 feet in the air. If I’d fallen into the water, I probably would have broken my legs...
TYG-GD: So, is this a normal first date these days, building a zip-line across a river? [laughter]
Steve: I’m not sure if that’s a normal thing—that’s the last first date I’ve been on! [more laughter]
TYG-GD: So I guess you guys are pretty adventurous then.
Steve: Oh yes. She’s a great adventurer.
TYG: So what’s your next big trip planned?
Steve: Well, my next big trip is that we’re going to start another business. It’s re-supplying the Pacific Crest Trail for hikers.
TYG: Ohhhh! That applies to our interview earlier today with Nellyda, because she’s hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. And I’ve heard you have too! What was that like for you?
Steve: Wonderful! It was a wonderful experience. You get in incredible shape, in incredible rhythm...
TYG: When did you hike it, by the way?
Steve: In 2010, from June until late September. Time slows down—not too slow, not too fast. We didn’t do the whole thing—about a thousand miles.
TYG-GD: So, what do you mean by “re-supplying”?
Steve: Well, basically every hundred miles or so there’s a new section. Sometimes you come into town, and there are plenty of things to re-supply yourself with. But more often than not, you’re at least twenty miles from a town. So you have to hitch-hike into a town, and then hopefully there’s food that you like there. I found most of the time that there wasn’t food that I liked, and it’s more expensive... Sometimes people mail themselves food. The logistics are kind of challenging if you want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. So basically we’d be taking care of that for people—we’d be meeting our hikers at designated locations. They’d carry a GPS locator so you’d know where they are. It’s a very selective market, though. Ideally we’d be dealing with through hikers, but maybe just sections, too. So that’s our possible next adventure! We don’t have anything else planned—we’re just enjoying living in Yachats and working hard right now. Come winter-time, I’m sure we’ll have something up our sleeves again!
TYG-GD: Do you get bored here in the winter?
Steve: I don’t get bored, but you only have so many summers in a lifetime! And when there’s a southern hemisphere out there, just kind of screaming “Summer!”, why not go there? [laughter]
TYG: Thank you so much, Steve!
Interview with Gerald Stanley
TYG: What was life like in San Francisco?
Gerald: Well! I grew up as a native there, and I left there when I was 25, although I’ve come back often. I lived in a very, very quiet part of the city.
TYG: That’s hard to imagine!
Gerald: I know, but there are very quiet parts, in fact. During my years of growing up, it was almost all Irish. However, my father had grown up in the hotels of downtown Seattle, and he knew a lot about the more lively part of the city. He didn’t tell us much about it, but my brother, when he was about 18, moved to North Beach—he wanted to be a poet, and was actually in the Beat poetry movement. Then I found out more about that part of the city.
TYG-GD: What was his name?
Gerald: George Stanley. He’s written about thirteen books. He gave a reading here, and won the Poetry Society of America in 2006. He’s still writing a lot. So anyway—after, I’ve gone back to San Francisco a lot. I love San Francisco.
TYG: Where did you live in San Francisco?
Gerald: Well, I lived in what’s called the Avenues. And the most important thing people know about the Avenues is the Golden Gate Park, which is a big park. I lived in the part of the city which is also in the summer foggy and much cooler, kind of like Yachats. In fact, that’s why I moved here—it went back to the climate I grew up with. Except, with global warming or whatever you want to call it, this is like the Valley.
TYG: [...] How did you get into the bus-line memorizing business?
Gerald: Well first of all, we never had a car. When I was 12, 13 years old, we won a car in a church raffle. And no one knew how to drive it. [laughter] But I don’t know what it is—I know I’m fascinated with transit: many of the street-car lines, the bus lines. I grew up when there were street-cars!
TYG: There are still some street-cars—true street cars, the ones that actually run on tracks.
Gerald: Tracks and trolleys, exactly. Not cable cars, and not trolley buses. [...]
TYG: What did you do before you moved to Yachats?
Gerald: Well, I did a lot of things. I worked in the Seattle area for 38 years. I’ve had four jobs. My final job was as a mental health counselor.
TYG: That’s pretty stable!
Gerald: Well, they all kind of connect. I was a mental health counselor, [and] I worked with the homeless population in downtown Seattle. Seattle is the first city in the United States to put money into buying a hotel, and turning it into a treatment center for mentally ill homeless people, and I was part of the planning for that.
TYG: Wow, that must have been really prestigious!
Gerald: Well, I was on some of the planning committees, and then I came back to work at it. Prior to that I was the pastor of a church for 12 years, two different churches—three in one, and nine in the other. Prior to that, I was the chaplain of a hospital, and prior to that, I taught philosophy at a college. So, four careers!
TYG: Wow, that’s cool!
TYG-Graphic Design: What’s the difference between a chaplain and a pastor?
Gerald: Well, a “chaplain” is normally used in hospital work—it’s the word that hospitals tend to use. It’s the same thing. In fact, they call it the pastoral care system, but in almost every hospital I’ve worked in, the person doing the care is the chaplain.
TYG-GD: Isn’t “chaplain” also used in the military? I wonder what the difference is.
Gerald: Well, I bet if we looked it up... it’s “capilan” in Spanish, but I think it’s a French word. Let’s look it up!
TYG-GD: Well, you could either go for the cape, or for the head [as origins of the word].
Gerald: I think it’s head, but we’ll see. “Chapelin, custodian, of St. Mark’s cloak! See: chapel... Chapel, cape, capa. The sanctuary where the capa of St. Mark’s was preserved.” Isn’t that amazing? You have a big word in English, and it comes from a single event! What a surprise!
TYG: So when did you move to Yachats—I guess, 2004?
Gerald: Yes, 2004. I passed through Yachats about 12 years before, on a Greyhound bus going from San Francisco to Portland...
TYG: I didn’t know there was a Greyhound bus going through here.
Gerald: Yes, until about 2007 or 2008. Maybe a little earlier than that. But anyway, I had already decided to retire on the coast somewhere, and on a summer afternoon, coming down the hill from the south, seeing this town—I knew nothing about its energy, about its people—I just thought it was just the most beautiful town I’d ever seen. Ten years later, approximately, I retired and came here.
TYG-GD: So what do you think about the energy and the people now?
Gerald: Oh, it’s incredible! I knew nothing about it, but then I found out about all the interests, and all the conversations, and all the programs, and all the festivals... it’s incredible!
TYG-Editorial Assistant: If you care to discuss it... how did you get into the priesthood?
Gerald: Well, raised Roman Catholic, went to a Catholic school. When we graduated from eighth grade, there were 50 boys, and nine of us went into the seminary. It was just in the tradition, in the family. And then through the years, I got more and more interested in what this was all about, and that’s where I ended up!
TYG: Well, thank you so much for your time!
Gerald: Oh, I enjoyed it very much!