In clinic this week, I am on my Salvation Army rotation. All
ninth trimester interns do a two-week rotation through either the
morning or afternoon Salvation Army clinics, and there is an
opportunity for five permanent clinic spots for your ninth and
tenth trimester clinical internship. With my new job and crazy work
schedule, I had to switch around some of my shifts, and I am doing
both morning and afternoon.
The clinics are drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities.
National University offers physical exams, chiropractic care, and
supplementation to the residents there. As an intern rotating
through the clinic, I am in charge of "new man exams." These are
full physical exams that include a hernia exam before the residents
start work at Salvation Army. If there is extra time after the
exam, I am able to give them treatment for any conditions diagnosed
or wellness care.
This week in my acupuncture elective we covered the urinary
bladder and kidney meridians. The urinary bladder channel consists
of 67 points and begins at the corner of the eye, goes around the
top of the head, down the back and leg, and ends at the outer tip
of the little toe. The urinary bladder is a water-energy yang
organ. An imbalance in the urinary bladder meridian can cause such
psychological symptoms as habitual fear, lack of decision-making
capability and a diminished moral character. This meridian is also
great for chronic tension and pain, which may be relieved by
stimulating the flow of energy along the spinal branches of the
The paired organ to the urinary bladder is the kidney and is
considered a water-energy yin organ. The kidney meridian consists
of 27 points and starts at the bottom of the foot, goes up the
front of the leg, abdomen, and ends on the front of the chest
around the first rib. In Chinese medicine, the kidneys control
sexual and reproductive functions and provide the body's prime
source of sexual vitality, which they regard as a major indicator
of health and immunity. Weak kidney energy is therefore a prime
cause of anemia and immune deficiency. The negative
psycho-emotional attributes of this channel are fear, loneliness,
insecurity, and shock (which attacks the heart first then descends
into the kidneys to become fear). A really interesting point, KD 1,
which is on the bottom of the foot, is really good for intractable
pain often experienced by cancer patients.
It simply is the best time of the year! Between the costumes,
decorations, pumpkins, crisp fall air, trick-or-treaters, candy,
and the occasional scare--what is there not to love about
Halloween? Nothing, that's what I say. On Thursday, I went to the
17th Annual North Halsted Street Halloween Parade. I saw a lot of
repeat costumes of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke from the VMAs, Duck
Dynasty, and Walter White from Breaking Bad. But my favorite
costumes were Pepper from American Horror Story, the twins from The
Shining, and Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas. All
very well done.
At this point in the trimester, pretty much all the tenth
trimester interns are finished up with their patient care numbers
for graduation. Therefore, all the patient care has been turned
over to us ninth trimester interns, including any new patients that
come in. I was lucky enough to get a new patient this week that was
a National University of Health Sciences alumnus. As an alumnus of
the university, you are given free patient care at any of our
clinics, which I think is a pretty nice perk.
This week in my acupuncture elective we covered the spleen
meridian. This meridian runs from the armpit to the foot on both
sides of the body with 21 points a practitioner can use. Some
common aliments that can be treated using this meridian include:
enteritis, musculoskeletal pain, and disorders that increase
dampness. Another function of the spleen meridian is to cleanse and
'modify' the blood, and it also houses the body's Yi (wisdom
Any additional free time has been dedicated to studying for Part
IV Board Exams, which are the following weekend. I will be taking
Part IV in Davenport, Iowa, at Palmer College of Chiropractic. The
exam covers X-ray interpretation and diagnosis, chiropractic
technique, and case management. The diagnostic imaging section
covers cases that are commonly seen in practice and cases that
should raise red flags. The chiropractic technique section covers
cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic, and extremity manipulations.
The case management portion covers orthopedic tests, neurologic
exam, case history taking, and physical examination. Currently,
every state requires Part IV boards to practice except
It's hard to believe that the trimester is more than half over
already. Once you are in the last phase of this program, the time
really flies. All your professors keep telling you that you need to
be prepared for graduation early because even though you don't have
class work to do you are still very busy. Busy with boards, busy
with electives, busy with numbers, busy with things outside of
school, and busy with planning what you will be doing
The patient load at clinic has been steady to busy most days.
This is great for all of us interns because we are getting more
experience and a good variety of patients. Also, there are little
to no worries about finishing our numbers for graduation on time,
which is a big relief. Being in a group setting with multiple
interns and a clinician to bounce treatments off and get second
opinions is great. It also has shown to be beneficial in that
everyone has a particular treatment or therapy they are very
proficient at. So we are all able to teach and help each other out
when it comes to treatment plans and patient care. This makes for a
very pleasant working environment at the NUHS Chicago clinic.
Treatment Room at the NUHS Whole Health Center
The past few weeks in my acupuncture elective course we have
learned the lung, large intestine, and part of the bladder
meridians. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a meridian is the
belief about a path through which the life-energy "qi" flows.
Through needling these points, you are able to either tonify or
sedate the balance of qi in the meridian. The lung meridian
can be used for conditions such as cough, chest or shoulder pain,
asthma, shortness of breath, palpitations, fever, and many more.
The large intestine meridian is useful for symptoms such as
bloating, swelling, constipation, emotional stopping-up, headaches,
stuffy nose, or musculoskeletal pain. Finally, we learned a point
on the bladder channel called BL 13, which is useful for colds,
fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms.
The rest of my downtime has been dedicated to preparation for
Part IV board exams, which are the second weekend in November. With
Part I, II, III, and Physiotherapy now behind me, I am feeling much
more confidant going into Part IV. Part IV exams focus mainly on
skills learned throughout our chiropractic education including:
radiology, physical exam, patient intake, and chiropractic
manipulation. More details to come post-exams.
At the beginning of the clinic week, I presented my Journal Club
article. The point of the Journal Club is to have the interns bring
articles on treatment options for patients and discuss whether or
not we would use them with our patients.
My article was on the use of acupuncture for patients with
migraine headaches. The conclusion of the article was that
acupuncture does show a decrease in the number of days with a
migraine, and a decrease in the patient's quality of life. After I
finished with my presentation, we were all able to discuss our
opinions. We also talked about what other treatment options we
would use with a patient experiencing migraine headaches. My
current treatment plan for patients with migraines, which can be
changed per patient, includes acupuncture, chiropractic
manipulative therapy, post-isometric relaxation of the
sub-occipital muscles, and supplementation of magnesium,
riboflavin, and CoQ10.
Throughout the rest of the week, I finished my decorating for
Halloween, which is quite extensive. If you haven't noticed yet,
it's my very favorite time of the year. This included any final
touches, putting up the remainder of the decorations, more spider
webbing, and hanging my newest decoration. Every year the day after
Halloween, I check out the sales on decorations, and I buy one big
decoration to add to my collection. The decoration I added last
year was a five-foot tall hanging ghoul that I placed on my
balcony. It looks great out there, and I can't wait for people to
see it next weekend!
My newest Halloween decoration
On Sunday, Dr. Miller, several ninth and tenth trimester
interns, and I volunteered at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
It was the perfect fall day for the race with temperatures in the
mid-60s, which was ideal for the runners. Marathon Day in Chicago
is always a fun day because so many people come out to watch,
support, and cheer on the runners. Talking with some of the
experienced marathoners after the race, they said it's almost
impossible to get tired during the Chicago Marathon due to the
amazing crowds that come out to cheer them along.
Jeff Jones, Candace Gesicki, and me at the Chicago
Marathon on Sunday
We were in the Chicago Diabetes Project tent where we were
available for post-race care for the runners. The majority of the
runners were in a lot of pain and had very tight muscles, so we
helped by stretching and massaging as needed. I have volunteered at
the marathon before, but I haven't had as much one-on-one post-race
care. It was crazy to see how much pain some people were in, while
others looked like they could run the marathon again. I'm sure that
has a lot to do with training and experience with running. Overall,
it was a great experience, and as always it is so inspiring
watching people finish something as impressive as a marathon!
October 1, 2013, was the start of open enrollment for affordable
care act at healthcare.gov. So during my down time early in
the week, I made it a point to look at the site, and get acquainted
with it just in case any patients had questions. The site is very
easy to use with the initial process involving a few pages of
information to fill out to set up an account. You can also select
the state you are in to get information about that state's health
insurance marketplace or to be sent directly to that site to apply.
The site has been running a little slow due to large amounts of
people using it, but overall it's very simple to use.
The clinic time this week flew by. We had a very busy week at
the Chicago clinic with a high volume of patients and X-rays to be
taken. Having a large number of patients is great for me as a ninth
trimester intern because as soon as the tenth trimester students
finish with their numbers for graduation, those patients are turned
over to us. That process has already begun since several of the
tenth trimester students already have some of the numbers
Even though we do not have a large amount of our own patients,
we ninth trimester interns still have plenty to do to keep busy.
Each week we are assigned to a particular tenth trimester intern
whom we help with patient care and charting. Also, any of the X-ray
patients that come in are mainly our responsibility. Any other down
time we have is dedicated to file audits, OAPs that need to
written, and research to help with patient care.
On Sunday evening, Rob and I made Halloween cutout cookies, one
of my favorite Halloween traditions, for a party we are having in a
few weeks. Every year I forget how long the cookie making process
actually takes between making the dough, rolling out the dough,
cutting out the shapes, baking, frosting, decorating, and cleanup
afterward. But it is all worth it when they are finished because
they taste and look great! Plus, throughout the baking process, we
watch one of the best horror movies, "Halloween," and listen to my
favorite Halloween themed music. If you haven't noticed yet, I'm a
bit of a Halloween fanatic. Next week, I'll be sure to include some
pictures of my decorations.
• First Patients and Jurisprudence Class
• Ideas for the Future
• Part IV Board Exams
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