The doctor is in – Port Gamble

"PORT GAMBLE - For a person who gets up before the chickens, Dr. Deltona Figliola knows the importance of a good night's rest. In fact, it's something she tries to incorporate in assisting children who suffer from nightmares. While some in the medical profession would be quick to jot out an illegible prescription, Dr. Figliola is more apt to tell her young patient, Take a horse and call me in the morning. This old-fashioned horse-sense doctoring, she said, is what sets the Medicine Mill in Port Gamble apart from other practices in the area. Dr. Figliola explained that when a child presses the hoof of one of the small, plush toys offered at her office a recorded story about horses chasing away nightmares is played. The soothing three-minute message is typically enough to put the youngster back to sleep for the remainder of the evening. Nightmares are part of childhood, she said. These horses work wonders for kids - I won't put kids on drugs for nightmares. "

“PORT GAMBLE – For a person who gets up before the chickens, Dr. Deltona Figliola knows the importance of a good night’s rest. In fact, it’s something she tries to incorporate in assisting children who suffer from nightmares. While some in the medical profession would be quick to jot out an illegible prescription, Dr. Figliola is more apt to tell her young patient, Take a horse and call me in the morning. This old-fashioned horse-sense doctoring, she said, is what sets the Medicine Mill in Port Gamble apart from other practices in the area. Dr. Figliola explained that when a child presses the hoof of one of the small, plush toys offered at her office a recorded story about horses chasing away nightmares is played. The soothing three-minute message is typically enough to put the youngster back to sleep for the remainder of the evening. Nightmares are part of childhood, she said. These horses work wonders for kids – I won’t put kids on drugs for nightmares. Figliola, who has been certified in family practice and pediatrics for the past six years, takes this down-home approach to all aspects of her practice and finds that the results speak for themselves. She used to work back in the hills in Virginia until the medical industry there went sour. Dr. Figliola got up in a round of layoffs but this only strengthened her resolve as a professional. I decided that I wanted to have my own practice and make my own rules, Figliola remarked. She’s doing just that. A 10-cent tour of the historic site, which once housed the Old Mill Office, reveals Dr. Figliola’s unique link to the past. Next to her personal office are horse stable-style patient rooms and a bathroom, complete with a working saloon door. Her mom made the cloth patient robes in a variety of sizes, colors and designs for men, women and children. We’re having fun, she said, examining a kid’s robe adorned with dinosaurs. Dr. Figliola specializes in children’s care, but she is no stranger to the needs of grown ups when it comes to medicine and health. Keeping working adults in mind, she decided to open her office bright and early each weekday at the chime of 6 a.m. I didn’t know how it was going to go, she admitted. I did it to meet the needs of the working class and, really, it’s going very well. To keep up with the pre-dawn business, Dr. Figliola hired a bunch of early risers including her husband, Joe, daughter, Grai, Sharon Frawley and Renee Brazeau. She’s personally been waking up at 4 a.m. for years, first as a child on the farm and then as a member of the United States Navy. Yes, there is a 4 a.m. and it’s amazing what it looks like, too, Figliola remarked with a laugh. If I get up at 8 a.m. I feel like I wasted half the day. It’s not as hard getting to work as it used to be either. Although she used to commute from Port Gamble across the water, Dr. Figliola is now just a stone’s throw from her business on Rainier Avenue. I walk to work, she said proudly, adding that although she has lived in various areas in her lifetime, she considered Port Gamble her home. The community has been without a provider for awhile and has welcomed the new doctor with open arms. In addition to general medicine, Figliola plans to offer weight loss clinics, support groups for people who suffer from fibromyaglia (large-muscle disorder) and some drug and alcohol counseling as well. While she has a doctorate, and is a family and nurse practitioner, Figliola pointed out that she is not a medical doctor. She is, however, extremely knowledgeable and qualified in the field of improving patients’ health. The rural setting of historic Port Gamble is a fine fit for Dr. Figliola, who seems rooted in the house call days of yesteryear. Explaining her need to help people of all ages as a private business in North Kitsap, she remarked with a chuckle, I won’t get rich at it, but I think I’ll do fine. “

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