Archive for tag: lombard

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.

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!

Lombard Historical Society

Hi Everyone!

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 look!

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 course!

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 go."

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 strategy.


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 to view sites, schedules and activities that are educational, fun and most of all free (for the most part)!

My First Tri Mixer

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 times! 

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 conference. 

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 loud!

Midterms II - The Creepy Knock on the Door that Won't Stop

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 are:

  • Breath (or air)
  • Water (or hydration)
  • Exercise (movement and flexibility)
  • Sleep (no brainer here)
  • Nutrition and Digestion (our diet, ability to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste)
  • Rest, Relaxation, Rejuvenation (or Vitamin R, credit to Dr. Louise Edwards)

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! :)