Hello to everyone! I hope you enjoyed your summer and are ready
for what appears to be a great fall season!
I was able to relax a bit, recharge, hike some trails back home,
and be the first person at the top of Mt. Mitchell (highest point
east of the Mississippi at 6,683 feet) for sunrise one morning
during a hike. The view was incredibly beautiful and being able to
sit, think about the past few years of school, the challenges,
rewards and decisions to come while watching the sun rise over the
southern Appalachians was one of the more peaceful moments of the
past few years of my life.
At the same time during the break, I caught up on some personal
reading that I had put off for over two years as well as some
reorganizing, consolidating and reducing for the inevitable move in
about 8 months.
Now, for the homestretch in clinic!
Here is how the Naturopathic Clinic is currently structured:
Previously, 8th Trimester interns could only see other students,
not the general public. This left many students with seeing a new
intern every four months as ONLY 8th trimester students could see
other students. So, when an Intern moved to 9th trimester, they
would transition the student patient to a rising 8th trimester
Now, students and the general public have the opportunity to see
interns beginning in 8th trimester, and, if the condition warrants,
remain with that intern for up to a full year. This helps to build
rapport and trust with the patient as well as helps the Intern with
seeing a resolution to more ailments than was previously
Finally, the most appealing aspect to this new structure, in my
opinion, is that now our naturopathic medicine students are
spending half of their education in a clinical setting! Again, in
my opinion, nothing trumps experience and "hands on" training when
learning a new skill!
Time to get back to the books! Talk to you next week!
This morning, I sit at my spot by Lake Janse and watch my
classmates walk into their last few exams as I do a small
walkthrough of my last final for the trimester, Minor Surgery.
I think of all the preparation, stress, notes, charts, diagrams,
decision trees, memorizing, practicals, dissecting, adjusting
lab...ahhh! Adjusting?!?! I'm going to be a ND, why in the
world do I need to know how to adjust somebody?!?! This was
something I heard, and even said, early in my education here at
NUHS, a historically chiropractic school.
Well, as things turned out, adjusting was highly important for
me to remember in my first trimester as an intern. Three of my
patients required manual adjustments along with physiotherapeutic
treatments (ultrasound, etc.) and soft tissue (i.e. muscle, tendon,
etc.) manipulation. As a result, I was forced both to remember and
to go back to dig through old notes on modalities I thought I would
rarely, if ever, use in my practice.
The extensive therapy that these patients each needed to return
them to a basis for health included physical medicine, part of the
naturopathic therapeutic order, as well as some supplements and
analgesics specific to their needs.
My patients, through their needs, visits and therapies, helped
me to complete my physical medicine and manipulation requirements
for graduation in my first trimester in clinic! These are
modalities that are typically completed much later in the
naturopathic internship. My physical medicine patients this
trimester have taught me a number of invaluable lessons.
My experience with the physical medicine aspect of our training
here has given me a bit to think about over this coming break and
in the coming months. I am now considering, considering mind you,
pursuing a chiropractic degree upon completing my naturopathic
training here at NUHS. I feel that having both degrees will give me
a more complete tool kit to offer patients as a Natural Medicine
Primary Care Provider. Of course, time and financial resources are
considerations in that "consideration."
Finally, I feel it's important to mention that this past week
was President Joseph Stiefel's first graduation ceremony at NUHS. I
enjoy sharing a "Good Morning" and short conversation with Dr.
Stiefel as we pass on his walk from his home to his office each
morning. In the photo, each of us is getting a "dry run" on the
graduation portrait--his for about 200 graduate photos at the
ceremony and mine for roughly 8 months from now. I enjoyed seeing
him speak to our graduates and their families and am proud to have
Dr. Stiefel as our new President. (Small trivia fact: Dr. Stiefel's
wife, Dr. Holly Furlong, was the very first blogger for NUHS.)
So, with only two trimesters to go (or possibly more if I return
for the chiropractic doctorate), I am looking back at what I have
learned, what I need to brush up on and explore new skills for my
future practice. This is what I will think about when traipsing
over the mountain trails back home over the next two weeks. Until
then, may the rest of your summer be relaxing, fulfilling, and help
you make the decisions you need to guide your future in the proper
direction for you.
This week (after nearly four years in Lombard), I found a great,
low (no) cost relaxation and entertainment option for taking a
break from studying, school and classes. I found the Lombard
Historical Society by accident this past weekend while driving back
from the grocery store.
I saw two riders on horses galloping along a side street in
American Civil War garb! Now, I thought to myself, "Self, I know we
are in the 21st century and folks just don't ride
horses through a Chicago suburb and I'm pretty sure these guys
aren't ghosts on some long lost patrol." After driving a bit more,
I saw a sign that announced a Civil War Reenactment encampment for
the weekend. Woo Hoo! I'm a history nut, so I decided to take a
Once I parked and walked up to the encampment, I could see that
these folks were serious about their history! No modern
conveniences were present (except for porta potties--hygiene over
historical accuracy when it comes to communicable disease), and all
clothing was accurate for the Civil War era. Everyone was sleeping
in canvas tents and cooking over open campfires. That's just about
as 'organic' as one can get, speaking as a ND student, of
The encampment included a Civil War surgeon with all of his
tools who gave short presentations from time to time to let
visitors know how the wounded were cared for during the Civil War.
He seemed to be fond of his bone saw and opium tincture...hmmmm. An
embalmer was also present that gave a short talk on how soldiers'
remains were preserved so they could be sent home if they fell in
battle. The camp included a gunsmith, seamstress, blacksmith, and
other necessary skilled trades of the time to keep an army "on the
Well, as I was walking through camp, folks started getting up
from their chairs, gathering their gear and moving to a small field
nearby. This was where the battle reenactment would take place.
NOTE: No battles were fought in Lombard, or in Illinois during the
Civil War. The Union troops were staged on one side of a pond and
the Confederate troops were in defensive positions on the other
side along with the "high ground," a good thing in military
The battle commenced with infantry charges, cannons firing huge
rings of smoke, and cavalry darting about the battlefield. Both
sides mounting charges, retreats and attempting to capture the
other's flag, to no avail. The battle ended in a stalemate with
former "enemies" shaking hands and having a good laugh.
The Lombard Historical Society, by presenting a "living history"
encampment, has helped today's generations get a glimpse of life in
19th century Illinois. With their sponsorship of
the Civil War Encampment, Sheldon Peck Homestead (first settlement
in Lombard), Lombard Victorian Cottage, and Lilacia Park, the
Historical Society has kept alive the skillset, mindset and
tenacity of the people who lived here during that time.
The Lombard Historical Society's mission is to "collect,
preserve, interpret, and promote the history of Lombard and to
advocate for our community's heritage." They have performed a
wonderful job and continue to expand their offerings, check their
website at LombardHistory.org to view sites,
schedules and activities that are educational, fun and most of all
free (for the most part)!
This week I'm just rambling, thinking about the trip back home
to western North Carolina in about three weeks or so. As a child, I
would sit on the edge of a huge field listening to the breeze blow
through the poplars, oaks, beech, and evergreen trees on the old
Jarvis farm--a gentle whisper undulating across the hollow
announcing its arrival with a rustle of leaves high above.
I sit now thinking of the little springhouse where our neighbor,
Odie would store her canned goods, smoked meats and fresh milk.
This was a cool respite from the summer heat, a bit below ground,
with water flowing constantly from an artesian well through the
trough and storage bins made into the concrete floor. There it
drained with a tiny constant splash out of the other side into the
small stream that defined our neighborhood of houses on a little
In the heat of the day, when tired from chasing frogs,
salamanders or crayfish (crawdads), my buddy Kevin and I would duck
into the spring house, cool off with a sip of water from the tin
cup hanging on the wall, enjoy the shade and strategize our next
"foray into the wild." We would marvel at the variety of color on
the salamanders (I later found out that southern Appalachia is
known for its many species of salamander), be cautious when
catching and releasing the crayfish, and never were successful at
anything more than spotting the frogs. They were simply too
quick and amphibious for us land-based mammals!
One summer day, we found what we thought was some sort of
monster. Kevin and I had never seen one of these before and we were
directly on the heels of a Big Foot hunt (this was during the Big
Foot craze when we were kids), so we were already on edge, having
convinced ourselves that we had a Sasquatch on the mountain behind
our homes. Since the Sasquatch was already in residence, why
couldn't another heinous creature be lurking about in our
Well, Kevin and I were walking along the creek and all of a
sudden, from a small pool, we heard this "splash, splash" from the
water and little clicking (barking?) sounds from the water. We look
over the edge and lo and behold, we spy a legitimate, dare I say
"bonafied" water monster!!!! This thing had to be two feet long,
with legs and a huge tail! It had huge feathery things flapping
behind its head! It was either a baby Loch Ness Monster in its
spawning grounds (obviously) or a humongous tadpole, which would
eventually grow into a giant frog and starting eating everything in
sight! After reeling in our excitement, we watched for a bit, not
sure if it would attack or if it was happy with its aquatic kingdom
and was only warning us to stay away.
We decided to hop into the water and see what would happen (we
weren't very smart back then). By the time we had taken off our
shoes and positioned ourselves on both ends of the small pond that
was only about 12 feet long, the mud puppy decided it had had
enough and, with a bolt, disappeared under the overhang of the
stream bank, never to be seen again! This was in the "pre-cell
phone camera" era, ahem, so unless we had an instant camera or
lugged around my older sister's camera (tried that, she didn't
appreciate a dirt covered camera), we had NO WAY of proving that
this creature existed!
We couldn't wait to get home and tell Dad all about this new
creature...dare we say...monster!?!...that inhabited our little
stream! Should we tell the neighbors? Should we have the Forest
Service come out to collect and study this heinous
Well, once we described it to Dad and the noise it made, he
said, "Oh! That's a just a Mud Puppy! It won't hurt you and you
boys had better leave it alone." Well, leave it to Dad to hose up a
good monster hunt with the facts and lack of danger! This creature
turned out to be a Necturus Maculosus or Common Mudpuppy, based upon the habitat range
in western North Carolina. Now, these guys are called Mud Puppies
because they make a barking sound, hence folks giving them that
name. They are considered a very large salamander, looking like a
giant tadpole. They eat small minnows, crayfish, tadpoles, etc.,
and are a good indicator of a healthy ecosystem.
So, while enjoying the 'present' is the way to be, a trip back
to childhood adventures is not so bad every once in a while also!
Time to get back to studying, polish up presentations, prep for
exams, and finish the trimester strong for both patients (present
and future) and grades alike!
This week, I'll give a bit of information on the upgrades
happening here on the Illinois campus of NUHS. We have a new
anatomy lab under construction that will be ready this fall! I have
included before and after photos (thanks to Tom Rohner, director of
One of the unique features of the Basic Sciences program at
NUHS, in my opinion, is that each student spends an entire calendar
year with the cadavers in the anatomy lab. In these courses,
students learn the human body first-hand with cadavers from humans
who have passed on, yet desire their remains be used for learning
and helping others going forward.
Each cadaver in the anatomy lab has a team of not more than six
students who are responsible for the dissection, care and
preparation of their cadaver for any lab practicals, learning
exercises, etc. Each student is expected to learn proper dissection
techniques, work as a team member, and help their fellow classmates
with maintenance and cleanup.
Old anatomy lab prior to demolition
Our old lab was the original lab from early 1960s along with
period appropriate equipment and a small "theatre-like" area for
lecture. The tables, I believe, could have been display pieces in
the Smithsonian under the history of surgery and dissection
categories. The entire room had a distinct "mad scientist
steam-punk lab" feel to it with the old tile work, antiquated
diagrams, ancient specimen jars and tight areas. I enjoyed the old
lab though as the sense of history and number of excellent docs who
had learned in these facilities crossed my mind many
Lecture area of the old anatomy lab
On a side note, I remember one late summer/early fall evening
studying for a lab practical during a thunderstorm. Lightning
flashed, the thunder rolled, rattling the windows, and the power
went out! There was only a dim glow from the streetlights with the
silhouettes of the uncovered cadavers we were studying as
companions. Mind you, we were in the far corner of the darkest
section of the lab. One breath, two breaths, three breaths--then
the emergency lights kicked on! We all started laughing and
couldn't stop! Needless to say, study ended around that time. We
cleaned up, made sure all was secure, and trudged home through the
rain to our cottages in our small Transylvanian village (or so it
seemed on that night). :)
Well, those times are no more! Here's a bit about our new
Construction underway on the new anatomy lab
The new anatomy lab will be much more open, airy and
technologically advanced. I feel this is key as teaching
methods evolve from chalkboards to SMART boards, allowing students
to download saved lectures, diagrams and talks for review
I still wouldn't change my experience with the old lab. I made a
lot of friends, learned immense amounts of information that I never
thought I would retain from Dr. Kahn, Dr. Beck, Dr. Darby and Dr.
Joseph. I am forever grateful to the human beings who shared their
remains so that my colleagues and I could take knowledge forward
and help others to heal in the future.
• Combined Classes
• Observing in Clinic
• Botanical Medicine
• Minor Surgery
• Intern Skills
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