PLATTSBURGH - CVPH Medical Center recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first patient admitted to the Champlain Valley Hospital. Much has changed in the hospital's history over the course of a century, and Fay Ashline can attest to that.
Ashline, director of the radiology school at the hospital, has been an employee there for 50 years.
"It's gone by very quickly," she said. "You don't even realize how fast time goes when you're busy. I've always been busy and I've always liked what I do. The time just flies. It doesn't seem like 50 years."
When Ashline first came to the hospital in 1960, it was actually Physicians Hospital, with Champlain Valley Hospital located at what is now part of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh campus.
However, in 1967, the two hospitals merged, first on paper, then physically in 1972.
"During that time I spent two three-month periods over at Champlain Valley, just getting to know the people," recalled Ashline. "It was just a learning curve to get two departments together."
From then on, more and more changes could be seen throughout the hospital.
"All of the mahogany wood, all of that disappeared," she said. "Everything was painted and changed."
"I think the biggest change came with the cancer center," Ashline added. "The open heart program is huge. For Plattsburgh that was a huge project and it certainly is paying off."
In terms of the radiology department, where Ashline has been the director for nearly 40 years - and only the second one in its history - she's seen many changes as well.
"We have just grown from one room to a huge department," she said. "Adding CT and MRI and mammography. It just never stopped. It started to grow and it just continued."
Other memories Ashline carries with her are from back when she actually lived in the hospital in the nurses residence.
"We had a house mother on the first floor and the doors were locked at 8 and 9 o'clock at night," she recalled. "There was a lot of fun at the nurses residence."
Some of the "fun" Ashline referred to included sneaking out and getting a drink at Meron's down the road and sunbathing on the rooftop of the hospital.
"The pilots would go over from the airbase and they would call the central phone at the dorm at the nurses residence and ask who was out sunbathing," Ashline laughed. "They would ask if anyone was interested in going out that night."
"It was a different time," she added.
With 50 years under her belt, Ashline admits she's deeply considered retirement and will decide after the first of the year what she plans to do.
"If you like what you do, you're comfortable working where you are, you're family is here, you have no need to go anywhere else," she said.