Sometimes I feel like I live, eat, breathe, and sleep medical
school and NUHS. Somehow, that doesn't leave balance for any
personal time, unless one makes it so. I'm a firm believer in
Vitamin R (rest, relaxation and rejuvenation...thanks Dr. Louise
Edwards) and decided after the engorged schedule of this trimester
and a slight lull just before finals, I would take a little time
out and have an inexpensive break on a Friday night.
So, this week I will write about a trip to Chicago's Loop, or
the section of downtown Chicago encircled by an elevated railway,
or the El.
Friday's classes ended and I was on the train with a good friend
riding to downtown Chicago! I decided it was time to visit the
Christkindlmarket (funny spelling, it's German) held annually on
the Honorable Richard J. Daley Plaza (who gets the reference
here?). The market is set up as a traditional German and Eastern
European winter market with music, food halls, ornaments, trinkets,
and even Santa Claus (the European Claus who will actually bring
you coal if you are naughty instead of just an idle threat). The
plaza is filled with people of all ages and you pretty much stand
"elbow to elbow" as you wait in line for the food, to check the
vendors, or scrounge in to hear the band a bit better. I'm not
normally a crowd kinda guy yet this has been one of my favorite
experiences here in Chicago and I go check out the market every
After a couple of hours of music, Glühwein (heated spiced wine)
and the crowds, we were ready for a break, so we took a stroll
around Chicago's Loop to take in a bit of the atmosphere. After
some leisurely walking, I ended up at Monk's Pub and the place
seemed to be full of the "after 5 Friday crowd", but a great vibe
overall! We grabbed a quick bite and a drink, and then took a walk
back to the train station for the ride back to Lombard (a quick 40
minutes or so).
The trip was a wonderful time and having a good friend to share
the experience with was icing on the cake (in moderation, of
course)! The trip was so good, in fact, that I forgot to take a pic
of me at the market or with the German accordion players (which I
fully intended to do). So, you get a quick pic of me while writing
my blog this week. Notice the disheveled hair and forced smile
indicative of a 3rd year ND student nearing the
end of 7th Trimester.
I hope you enjoyed my narrative this week. Not much to say about
school, just a little trip into the city to "catch my breath"
before finals weeks. I'm thankful (yet again) for good friends who
can keep me laughing on a train ride during rush hour and multiple
times getting lost in the Chicago Loop and their understanding when
I said, "If we run into the El, then we know to turn around and go
back to the center."
With that, I plan to take a nice break over the holidays, spend
some time with family, catch up on my personal reading list, maybe
do some hiking in the Pisgah National Forest back home, and catch
up with friends. When I return to school after the holiday break, I
will be entering Student Clinic as an Intern, advancing beyond
"Observer" status. This means that I will have real patients for
the first time! I'll be sure to share the experience along the
I hope each of you has a safe and fulfilled holiday season.
Personally from me, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Until next January, get plenty of Vitamin R and we will catch
What an event filled week! We started out the second week of the
trimester with a presentation in our Advanced Naturopathic Clinical
Theory class on a simulated patient case centering on a "Welder
with Respiratory Distress." After helping him take care of his
bronchitis and getting him back on track to a basis for health, we
took our first 'stab' at phlebotomy lab a couple of days later (bad
puns are my specialty)!
In phlebotomy lab, we took a few practice turns at drawing blood
from fictional patients to make sure that we had the proper
technique for a safe blood draw for both patient and future doctor.
Once the safety factors were mastered, the technique committed to
memory and all checklists covered, we took our first turns at
drawing blood from classmates! My partner seemed to have mastered
the technique from the first attempt. I barely felt a thing and the
entire process was over from start to finish in just a few seconds.
Great job, T! I was a little slow on the first try, but had a
successful draw on my second attempt. Practice makes perfect as
long as your phlebotomy lab partner is willing!
My birthday was this past Friday, and it was great! The Student
Council sponsored Club Lunch Day, typically the second week of
classes, where all clubs on campus set up a table, introduce their
club and speak to students who may be interested in each club's
focus. This is a great chance to meet all students from those just
beginning their degrees to student interns as well as faculty who
stop by to grab a bite to eat. Life in medical school is not all
work early in the trimester (a few weeks in and I'll be singing a
different tune), so Friday evening I had dinner with three great
friends and ended up sitting around and chatting about the plans
Cubs vs. Sox
Saturday was the cap on a great week! It was my first trip ever
to Wrigley Field to watch the cross-town rivalry between the
Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox! I'll be clear on this subject,
I don't have a stake in the rivalry, so the opinion on the best
team in Chicago is best left to the locals! :) I have played
baseball since I was a boy (and softball for years as an adult) and
always dreamed of visiting both Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley
Field in Chicago.
I waited for the right time, and this week was it! A very good
friend of mine suggested that we go to the game as a birthday gift
and we had a blast! Every time something happened in the first few
innings, half the crowd cheered, either for the Cubs or for the
Sox. I had never experienced such balance in a huge sports crowd
before. Before the night was over however, the Sox fans were the
happy bunch and the Cubs fans were resigned to endure another game
in a 'rebuilding' year, according to the guy sitting next to me at
the game. I was filled with the history of the building, the
loyalty of both groups of fans to their teams and their unending
support in the face of adversity.
Made me think a little bit about the trailblazing naturopathic
docs from about 30-40 years ago--their perseverance and the
responsibility we new docs carry into the future. We have many
happy patients who have seen the success of naturopathic modalities
who have cheered when they have become well. We have many
naturopathic doctors who are loyal to the principles of
naturopathic care and will stick with us new docs as we enter
practice and share the work of educating others about our medicine
and its benefits.
This week I am grateful for the enduring loyalty and respect of
Chicago's people. The City of Big Shoulders believes in her teams
and will stick by them through the worst of times, while accepting
some good-hearted ribbing from their rivals.
I am grateful that my classmates have that same trust, loyalty
and belief in each other's ability to learn, improve and perform,
not only when we must, yet also when others aren't looking or
gratitude may not be forthcoming. That trust in colleagues and
patients is one of the best measures of a good doctor, in my
opinion, and I believe our school is packed with great docs, from
our most senior professors down through the students in their first
• Combined Classes
• Observing in Clinic
• Botanical Medicine
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