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.
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
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?"
In 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
Until next week, stay warm and talk to you soon!
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)!
Hi, everybody! The "First Tri Mixer" is the first social event
of each trimester where currently enrolled students of the
professional programs officially welcome the new students who are
in their first trimester, so the name "Tri-Mixer."
I had a great time and had the opportunity to meet four of our
new students outside the classrooms and busy schedules we each
endure. Talking with each other about our journey that led to
medical school, our choice of discipline, and the changes and
sacrifices each made to pursue a medical degree helped me to
reflect on my personal reasons for entering naturopathic medical
school - both on a personal and professional level.
Now the funny part: I guess I'm past my clubbin' years as I
arrived at the club around 9:30 p.m., texted a few classmates, and
they informed me they would arrive around 11:00 p.m.! At that
point, I realized my mistake of asking my colleagues in their
mid-20s "when" they would get to the club. My responses ranged from
"Come on over to the apartment, we won't leave for a while," to
"Wow! You're early. Save me a seat in the reserved section," to
"It's past your bedtime Grandpa, why are you still up?" :) Fun
Once my classmates started trickling into the club, I was
overjoyed to share laughs, hugs and smiles with students from just
about every trimester, including the new students and our Trimester
10 interns just a few weeks away from graduation (I'm going to miss
them!). After I sang/rapped "It Takes Two" by Rob Base and DJ EZ
Rock (thus revealing my "era" and also while trying to dance,
ahem), a couple of my classmates tried to get me onto the dance
floor but I'm not much of a public dancer. Ironically, as outgoing
as I am in everyday life, I'm a bit of a wallflower when it comes
to dancing. Maybe I need a few lessons and I can get over my
self-effacing approach to dancing. (Hoh! Yeh!...It takes two to
make a thing go right…it takes two to make it outta sight!)
Naturopathic Student Gathering Update
The Tri Mixer wasn't the only thing going on this week. You
remember before that I mentioned some news about the Naturopathic
Student Gathering coming up in November? Well, the Opening/Closing
Ceremonies Team has gotten a lot of work accomplished! We have the
structure for the stage built, props for the stage, lobby to the
auditorium, a display for the bookstore window, our choreography
for something special (to be revealed later).
I have included a pic of the structure for the stage. Disregard
the messy workshop; despite appearances a method exists to the
madness in the background! This structure was built without nails
or manmade connectors. It is free standing and pretty solid! We
used wood gathered from streams, ponds and fallen limbs after
storms in order to do our best to use what Nature provided us for
our conference. This is just the framework as we intend to use
Willow, Pine and Ivy boughs as accents for the
I'll keep you updated on the "goings-on" of the Gathering Teams
as we each prepare to host our student solleagues from the six
other schools in North America. I had a blast last year and made
many new friends! I, and many other students at NUHS, look
forward to seeing our colleagues once again this year!
That being said, and I've said this before, I am fully grateful
for my classmates here at NUHS. I never imagined that I would be at
a club on a Friday night having a blast! Thanks to all of you for
getting me out of my "Friday night rut" of movie, pizza and bed by
10:00 p.m. Maybe next time, I'll hit the dance floor, who knows?
Until next week, in the meantime, while I'm loading my iPod with
new club tunes, don't be afraid to dance a bit and sing out
Well, last week's midterms are done and I survived, if you call
living on about 5 hours sleep per night and coffee throughout the
day as "survival"! :) That was just about the toughest week of
exams I can remember! Not so much because of multiple exams in one
day or that any one subject was the 'killer' class. These exams
just seemed to march relentlessly in order (think White Stripes'
Seven Nation Army music video). Sample thoughts for the
week…Monday, exam…whew! Wait, I have another on Tuesday, better
study; time for coffee. Tuesday, exam again…whew! Crud! Another one
tomorrow! What?!?! I forgot about writing that summary for the
Practice Management Project; that's due when? Oh! Great! How about
another cup o' Joe? Until Friday…what? Who are you? Oh! You're my
Endocrinology professor…and we have an exam right now? Awesome!
:)…and the slow knock at the door just keeps tapping, tapping,
tapping…close with the Twilight Zone theme.
While my description of the exams last week is a bit dramatic,
suffice to say that after days on end of little sleep, little
exercise and lots of study, a naturopathic medical student's
'Determinants of Health' are a little out of whack! I suppose
I should give a bit of info on the determinants of health.
Naturopathic medicine considers the determinants of health the
'basis' for a healthy human being. Our medicine focuses on
returning people to that 'basis' for health by first regaining
balance amongst the Determinants of Health. These determinants
The determinants can also be anything a person is 'born with'
vs. 'environmental' exposures throughout life. The focus can be as
broad or narrow as the naturopathic practitioner deems necessary
for each unique case and each unique human being. Other key
determinants are genetic, mental/emotional state, education level,
work environment, history of illness, access to health care, etc.
The list can go on and on. While learning to become a naturopathic
doctor, we keep the determinants basic and simple. With each of
these basic six categories, a person can be led toward or away from
a 'Basis for Health' and a healthy person is our ultimate goal!
When we are in practice, we will listen to each patient, take a
thorough case study and find the unique combination of determinants
to help that person become as healthy as possible.
While medical school has never claimed to be the best thing for
a student's 'basis for health', we take measures sometimes in
attempt to balance our determinants and keep our basis somewhat
stable, even during midterms and finals. My effort to balance' is
to print study notes and walk at a nature preserve near NUHS called
Hidden Lake Preserve. Taking my 'study walks' helps to maintain a
bit of exercise, Vitamin R and fresh air while prepping for exams.
I've even done this in freezing temps during the winter!
The preserve has two small lakes, one wooded and the other on
open prairie with a small network of paths winding around the
lakes. While walking and studying, I have found and returned baby
snapping turtles who had lost their way from the water, with
blessings to be the 'scourge of the pond for decades to come.'
Chipmunks have also stepped up on a stump right beside me as I sat
and studied. I don't know how these animals keep finding me; I just
enjoy their company quietly (entirely out of character if you know
me) and we each go on our way. That is, unless a baby snapper about
the size of a silver dollar traipses away from their aquatic home,
then I'll usher them back to the water. I have included a pic this
week from the footbridge during my walk last Wednesday. This is
such a beautiful place, I don't mind sharing as long as you don't
tell too many folks!
This week I'm thankful that the 'slow tap, tap, tapping' at the
door signaling another midterm is only heralding the arrival of two
exams this coming week--an imaging (X-ray) midterm as well as a
'Head to Toe' unsupervised complete physical on a live patient in
less than one hour. The physical is filmed and graded based on
'proper sequence' of exams as well as proper procedure, patient
instruction and explanation of findings. Come to think of it, I
think that tapping is getting…just a little…bit…LOUDER!
See you next week…if I make it! :)
• Combined Classes
• Observing in Clinic
• Botanical Medicine
• Minor Surgery
• Intern Skills
To read older blog posts, scroll to the bottom and click the "Older Posts" button.