Archive for tag: halloween

Happy Halloween

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 mind).

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 Illinois.

Interesting Patient

This week in clinic, I helped with a patient with a very interesting presentation. The patient came in complaining of low back pain that radiated down her leg all the way to her feet. Any transitional movements increased the pain. The pain was described as sharp and stabbing with numbness and tingling in her feet. Bending forward or activities like coughing or sneezing would also increase the symptoms. 

All of these symptoms are a classic presentation of patient with intervertebral disc problems. Therefore, our treatment began with a McKenzie low back evaluation, which showed that extension would help the patient. So, we started the patient with repeated, supine back press-ups, which went well the first time. During the second set of the exercises, the pain became very severe again and could not be completed. From this point forward, we decided that pure distraction (without flexion or extension) of the lumbar spine and cold packs would be the best option while the patient was so acute.

By the end of the treatment, we were able to get the pain down significantly, but transitional movements still aggravated the symptoms. So, we had the patient come in the next day so we could continue treatment. The patient stated that the pain had decreased significantly, and that there were no longer numbness and tingling in the feet. That day we continued with the lumbar distraction and cold packs, since the patient was still very acute. By the end of the second treatment, we had the patient's pain down significantly with no more radiation into the legs.

Spooky Party

Saturday evening, Rob and I threw our Halloween Noir party. All the guests were supposed to wear black and enjoy spooky music, food, and drinks. Several of my fellow ninth trimester interns were able to join in the fun including: Candace Gesicki, RJ Burr, Jerrica Sweetnich, Ryan Meehan, and Bryan Robinett (all shown in the photo).


End of Week High

The week ended on a very high note. Exam scores were finally posted for the September boards. I passed Part II, III, and Physiotherapy Board Exams!! It's a very great feeling to have that behind me. Now I only have Part IV to take in November, and then I am finished with exams.

Journal Club, Halloween Preparation, and the Chicago Marathon

Journal Club

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

Chicago Marathon

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!

Health Insurance, Clinic, and Cookies

October 1, 2013, was the start of open enrollment for affordable care act at 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 completed. 

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.