Archive for tag: chicago

Fight for Air Climb

Hi, everyone!

This past weekend was hectic, fun-filled and fulfilling all at the same time! Many naturopathic and chiropractic interns from NUHS served as volunteers both Saturday and Sunday at the American Lung Association's Fight for Air Climb in downtown Chicago.

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The Fight for Air Climb is set up so that participants can climb the stairs of prominent local buildings throughout the country, getting great exercise, reaching a fitness milestone or competing, all while raising money to prevent lung disease. Participants climbed one, two, three or all four of the Presidential Towers, a residential high-rise complex in Chicago. Each building has 45 floors (585 steps) for a grand total of 180 floors and 2,340 steps that could be scaled by participants.

In the words of the organization itself, the climbers climb for...

  • Those who suffer from lung cancer
  • Those who struggle to breathe because of air pollution
  • Those who suffer from asthma
  • Those who cannot breathe on their own

Saturday's activities involved setting up the event by staging all the water, bananas and energy snacks for the participants throughout the four towers. Then we had to move the tables, signage and decorations to the appropriate common areas where the participants would be traversing between buildings during the climb. Finally, the most poignant activity was placing the 'In Memoriam' signs throughout the stairwells of all four buildings. Participants could name a family member, friend or loved one for whom they were climbing and have the opportunity to let that person know that they were missed and still loved.

Sunday included working at the watering station on Floor 19 of Tower 2 (of four towers). We saw firefighters climbing with full gear (including air tank), friends leading blind loved ones, full families, corporate teams, a team of tooth fairies (none of which were shorter than 6'2") and a gaggle of Leprechauns who must have been training for the St. Patrick's Day rush! Sunday was a true pleasure to cheer on the participants who, through their physical and fund raising efforts, would be able to help so many!

So, while this weekend started out as the last great opportunity to finish the required community outreach hours (being entirely honest), the emotional and spiritual return on taking the time to be with the dedicated climbers, volunteers and building staff at the towers downtown was an experience I won't soon forget!

My Final Trimester

Hi, everyone! Welcome back for my final trimester! 

I hope each of you had a wonderful holiday season and you were able to be with the ones you love! This has been quite the four and a half year journey at NUHS. It began with my prerequisite classes in Fall 2009, through the basic science curriculum of the naturopathic program, the clinical course portion of my education, and now culminates with the Internship for the past year.

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A sunrise view of downtown Chicago from the window of the Salvation Army Clinic (beautiful!)

My winter break consisted of time at the main clinic at the NUHS Whole Health Center in Lombard as well as time at the Salvation Army clinic in downtown Chicago, along with my part-time job. Great for getting patient visits, patient hours and income, yet not much break time.

I also had to finish my final Grand Rounds presentation as a naturopathic intern at NUHS over the break as I was the first to present this trimester (sometimes having a name starting with 'A' has its drawbacks). :) My topic was about a suitable treatment for Lyme disease when prescription antibiotics have failed to eradicate the disease. It is titled "Can Dipsacus sylvestris (Teasel Root) administration with concurrent biofilm reduction diminish the presence of chronic Borrelia burgdorferi?"

2014-01-16_timIn this presentation, I examined Lyme disease distribution globally, its associated stages and symptoms, treatment with antibiotics, and antibiotic efficacy based upon in vivo studies. Next, I compared researched methods of biofilm reduction along with a look at Teasel's effectiveness versus Borrelia burgdorferi (the bacteria that causes Lyme). Finally, I outlined a treatment plan for a chronic Lyme patient along with body systems support. This protocol is quite promising for reducing the presence of Lyme, yet the topic was very hard to keep focused, as Lyme is such a complicated and fascinating disease to understand, formulate a plan of attack, and treat.

Well, enough about Lyme and the clinics. I promised to talk about naturopathic philosophy this trimester and I will follow through on that promise. Beginning next week, I will talk of the basic tenets that we follow in our philosophy at NUHS, a solid foundation that sets NUHS apart from the other ND schools. I may just look back a bit at my time here throughout the trimester as well.

Until next week, stay warm and talk to you soon!

A Trip to Chicago

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 year.

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).

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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 way.

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 back up!

Phlebotomy, Baseball, and a Birthday

Hi Everyone!

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)! 

Phlebotomy Lab

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!

Club Day

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 for Saturday!

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. 

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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.

Gratefulness

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 trimester.

Be well!