By Sarah Bello
Years at CMH: 40
Tammy Fastabend started working at Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH) in 1973, as a senior in high school. At that time, CMH was called Columbia Hospital and was in the St. Mary’s Hospital building, which now houses Clatsop Care Center. There were no computers, and the emergency room was one room. She was the first nighttime admitting clerk, and it was in that job that she met the x-ray technologists who influenced her to find a career in the field.
In 1978, Tammy graduated from Portland Community College and came home to Astoria and CMH to work. For many years, she kept up with the various imaging modalities — x-ray, CT, nuclear medicine, mammography, ultrasound and others. However, for the past 25 years, Tammy has focused on mammography and ultrasound. She has enjoyed seeing the progression of technology and being able to detect early cancers and other things using radiology.
“I enjoy working with the patients,” Tammy says.
She says the “old-timers” who have been in the department for many years are like family. Although they are spread across CMH’s buildings now, the friendships remain.
“I’ve developed great, lifetime friends — wonderful people to work with,” she says. “In the old days, we had a lot of fun in the department. A lot of teasing going on then.”
Tammy says her spare moments are few, but she likes to sew and visit her children and grandchildren. She and her husband are building a cabin in the area, “off the grid,” where she hopes they’ll retire, relax and watch the elk.
But, she says, “I’ll be missing the patients.”
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