Clinic Abroad in India: Part 1

Blogger’s note: This is the first of three entries about my recent travels during a Palmer Clinic Abroad trip to India. It is an abridged version from my journal. I hope you enjoy it!

After an entire trimester of preparing, we finally left on June 16 for a 12-day trip to India. A total of 30 students from the Davenport, Florida, and West campuses are on the trip, with 4 faculty doctors, one of whom is my husband!  (Lucky me!)

We took a bus to the Chicago O’Hare airport, then flew to Delhi with a 2-hour stop in Frankfurt, Germany.  It was supposed to be a nonstop flight, but Air India is having a strike right now and their employees won’t do trips over a certain length. So we did a re-staffing, re-stocking, and cleaning stop. 

The only unfortunate thing was that we were not allowed off the plane, and it added several more hours of travel time. Our total time on the plane was somewhere between 17-18 hours. Thankfully, the plane had plenty of leg room, personal TVs at each seat with lots of movies to watch, and excellent food. We were served a dinner, breakfast, lunch, and then another dinner on the flight, and it consisted mostly of Indian food. It was nice to sleep and watch movies and eat, and the time went pretty quickly.

We arrived in New Delhi about 7 a.m. their time, which is 10-1/2 hours past Central Time.  Needless to say, it was a relief to get off the plane, gather our things, and take our first step onto Indian soil: hot Indian soil!  That day it had reached around 110 degrees, and the ground was still radiating heat, even though it was getting dark out.

It seemed to take almost an hour to get to the hotel because traffic was so crazy!  People drive on the left-hand side of the road here, like in England, but it is seriously a free-for-all. Lanes are just a suggestion.  Cars, rickshaws, bikes, motorcycles, people, dogs, all on the road and honking and going every which-way! We saw one motorcycle with a family of five or six on it—none with helmets, of course—and the youngest being no older than 2. There were lots of people walking around everywhere, and people sleeping everywhere.

Upon arrival to our hotel, we were greeted with fresh fruit juice and another dinner. We definitely were well-fed!  Our hotel is really nice—a 5-star, European-style, very modern and hip-looking place.  The food is fabulous, and the dessert bar is like a dream come true. My plate usually consists of about half food and half desserts, and then I eat several pieces of naan. Yum!

Our first day in India, we did some guided sightseeing and a city tour of Delhi.  There were lots of old historical buildings, some medieval-period ruins, and mosques. We got to walk around in one large mosque, which is a place of prayer for Muslims, and we had to wear booties on our feet and wear long-sleeved, floor-length dresses to cover our skin. The men wrapped a type of sheet around their legs.

There were many homeless people just sitting around and sleeping inside the mosque, and we saw many beggars. Then we saw the memorial where Mahatma Ghandi is interred. It was part of a big, beautiful park with lots of greenery—a nice respite from the busy city.  We also drove by “Old Delhi”, which is the older district of Delhi. It looked like an extremely run-down and over-crowded version of the New Orleans French Quarter.

Our second day in India, we took a 2-hour train ride to Agra, a city that is southeast of Delhi.  Our destination in Agra was the Taj Mahal, probably the most well-known landmark in India. The Taj Mahal was built by a previous ruler of India as a mausoleum for his beloved wife, who died giving birth to their 14th child.  It is even more magnificent and beautiful in person than in any photograph.  There are no visible buildings, wires, or other indications of modern development surrounding the Taj Mahal, so you feel as though you have gone to another world. We spent several hours walking around the grounds and inside the Taj Mahal.  There were many Indians here who asked for us to take pictures with them. It is a big honor for Indians to be in photographs with Americans. They believe it will bring them good luck, so we found ourselves posing with many of them. It made me feel like a celebrity!

After the Taj Mahal, we visited a marble craft shop where they make beautiful hand-crafted table-tops, chess sets, vases, wall hangings, and many other things by inlaying precious stones into marble.  We got to watch them work and also had the opportunity to buy pieces.  They were very expensive, but a few members of our group bought small tables, and my husband and I bought a small piece of marble with an image of the Taj Mahal inlayed with mother of pearl.  Next we went to a carpet-making shop for the same opportunity.  Our day ended with a dinner and magic show at an Indian restaurant, and then we made the 2-hour trip back to Delhi.

The day after our trip to the Taj Mahal, we flew to Hyderabad, a city in the central part of India.  That’s where we spent the rest of our trip and had our clinic.

Please stay tuned for my next blog for the continuation of my tale.

Alissa Grover
9th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Share your ‘why’ with the world!

As I mentioned in a previous blog, recently I went to the “Catch the Wave” seminar in San Francisco, hosted by Life West Chiropractic College. (This is their version of a homecoming event.) There are speakers that come in to discuss all sorts of different topics, lots of networking opportunities, and vendors and chiropractic organizations with booths.

One of the speakers I enjoyed—really, every speaker was amazing—was Bill Esteb. He is not a chiropractor, but he is a chiropractic advocate because he loves the profession. His message to us was to relay to the general public our “why,” not our “what.” Basically he said don’t explain what we do. Don’t pull out research to back up what we do, give an anatomy lesson that explains how the chiropractic adjustment works, or try to convince people that they need chiropractic care. Instead, Bill Esteb said, we need to tell our “why.” We need to tell people why we do what we do. And the amazing part is that everyone will have a unique why.

This is a good idea because people respond to emotional stories better than they do to being educated and lectured. Thinking back, do you remember most of your high school or college lectures? Most of us would probably say no. But if you had a teacher that told stories and made you connect emotionally to the information, then you probably will remember those moments. Just like you can remember your first date, wedding, your child’s birth, or the day you were so excited to get your acceptance letter into Palmer! But chances are you don’t remember what you had for dinner last night or even last week. Why? Because you don’t have an emotional connection to it.

I’d like to share my “why” with you! I was called to be a chiropractor in fall of 2009 when I went to a chiropractor as a wellness patient—at least that’s what I thought because I wasn’t having neck or back pain. But after a few adjustments, I was able to get off the stomach medication I had taken most of my life for the acid reflux I was diagnosed with at birth.

This may not seem like much to you, but it was to me. It gave me my life back! I was used to feeling nauseous every day, with severe stomach pains that really interfered with my life.

I now could go out on dates without having to leave early because I didn’t feel good. I could be active without feeling nauseous. I could spend time laughing and having fun rather than lying on the couch, feeling awful. Because of chiropractic, I got to experience life!

Since chiropractic gave me my life back, it’s now my mission to help people experience their full potential in life—especially children! There are so many sick people in the world who don’t realize there is another option other than drugs.

Have fun sharing your “why” with the world! 

Stacia Kampschnieder
7th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Thoughts on ‘brain vacation,’ homecoming, studying and more

Well, we are about a month into this next trimester, and I am coming to realize that my brain is still on vacation. I sure hope that it decides very soon that it is time to kick it into gear instead of being in La-La Land. Exams are creeping up, and my thoughts are, “Have I really learned enough information to cover a whole exam?”

Well, whether my brain is ready or not, these exams are coming! I need to make the most of my time through studying, reflecting, and associating new things to learn with older topics. Have I done that? Very little.

 How am I supposed to wake up my little brain? Anyone know some brain exercises to bring the brain back to reality— besides flunking an exam? I have learned through experience that flunking an exam definitely will work— I just cannot afford to do that right now!

On a good note, I am excited for my very first Palmer Homecoming. I have seen the schedule, and I wish I could attend every session! Sure, some, if not most, might go over my head due to my lack of foundational knowledge, which will come within the next few years, but it would be quite the experience!

I am excited at the potential of meeting some great alumni from this campus. Hearing their stories, gaining knowledge from their wisdom, and making connections and networks is what I plan to do. This is what chiropractic is about! This is what Palmer is about!

I am glad that I have made the decision to come here and to partake of this grand legacy. It is now my opportunity, and obligation, to add to the legacy and to become a great chiropractor by first becoming a great chiropractic student.

Now onto my “study soap box” to encourage myself—and anyone else who needs it—to study. Off to the books, away from Facebook and other distractions that come my way and steal a little time here and there.

Great is the chiropractor who becomes the doctor who his patients need. And my patients will need a primary-care physician, the “gate-keeper” for better health and wellness. Let us all aim for this: to assist in the betterment of society, one family at a time through one individual at a time!

Anton Keller
3rd trimester student, Davenport Campus

Thoughts on National Boards, wedding planning and more

When I left you last time, I was talking about organization and how important it is as a student.  Well, I have to say that being organized is going to be more important to me this trimester than the ones before.  This is mostly because this tri I start seeing student patients in the Campus Health Center (CHC), which is a very exciting new step.

However, student clinic is not the only thing on my plate this trimester.  I will be taking Part II of National Boards, which means weekends of board review and studying in all of my spare time.  On top of all this, wedding planning is in full swing as my wedding is less than 11 months away!

I often find my mind wandering to questions like, “Should I do satin ribbon or organza?” or “Is fuchsia the ‘right’ pink, or do I like magenta better?” Then after a few minutes of wedding thoughts, I have to come right back to thinking of my classes and studying for boards.  The only problem is that wedding planning usually sounds way more fun!

Although wedding planning is great, the thing I am most excited for this trimester is being able to start treating patients. I feel that I am ready for this next step in my education, and I can’t wait to start helping my fellow students. Working in the CHC will give me the opportunity to really refine my skills and prepare me for my future as a chiropractor.

Hopefully I can stay on track this trimester and limit my wedding distractions!

Stephanie Tronnes
7th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Palmerpalooza and Olympic fever

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks here at Palmer’s West Campus. Just this past weekend, we had an awesome prospective student event we call Palmerpalooza. The fun kicked off with a casino night, which was a fun chance for prospective students to mingle with faculty and current students. Participants played their free chips in all kinds of casino games in exchange for raffle tickets. Prizes for the tickets included some great stuff, including a Nook tablet, an iPod Nano and a Keurig coffee machine. I’m pretty terrible at gambling, so despite my high hopes, my measly six tickets didn’t win me anything! Despite my lack of winnings, a night of playing blackjack with the deans, roulette with your professors, and poker with prospective students is always a good time. Day two of Palmerpalooza gave the prospective students a glimpse into a day in the life of a West Campus student, with simulated classes, a campus tour and an alumni panel.

Since then, Olympic fever has been spreading through the school with Olympic themed events. Our Sports Council put on an Olympic Panel a few days ago, featuring our three student Olympians. That’s right, I said three! Lindsay Alcock (10th quarter) and Melissa Hoar (8th quarter) both compete in skeleton, for Canada and Australia respectively, and Syl Corbett (3rd quarter) competes in snowshoeing and mountain running. These three ladies shared their experienced getting to and competing in the Olympics, along with the huge role that their chiropractors played in their journey. It was really interesting to hear what they might have done differently in their training after having experienced some of the education here at chiropractic school.

The increasingly popular topic of concussion even came up, as our skeleton athletes in particular described what they called “sled head.” It is just such an amazing opportunity as a student at Palmer’s West Campus not only hear the experiences of these world class athletes, but also to sit alongside them in the classroom working toward a degree in this amazing profession.

Our Play Day this year followed this same trend, with an Olympic theme. Once every year, classes are cancelled and all of the students, faculty and staff get together for a day to, well, play! This year’s event was held at a local park, with students competing in a variety of events for gold, silver and bronze medals. (And by medals, I mean beads that could be traded for raffle tickets).

I am proud to say that I was personally part of the champion tug-of-war and relay events. My favorite part of the day was definitely the relay, the legs of which consisted of a potato sack race, wheelbarrow race, and backward and forward sprints. Our Associated Student Government (ASG) President, Jason Kim, and I made the perfect wheelbarrow team. Who knew? I was just happy to be the wheelbarrow. I’m not sure my arms could have survived being the wheelbarrow pusher!

Our ASG did a phenomenal job putting together such a fun event for us. It was a great time hanging out with awesome people in oh-so-perfect California weather. What more could you ask for?

Kayleigh Knudson
12th quarter student, West Campus

Prescription drugs: Not the answer

As I enter clinic in 7th trimester here at Palmer, I get excited because I know I will be able to save lives through the power of chiropractic. This really is the best profession ever! The amazing thing is that we do not treat symptoms or disease; we work with the function of the nervous system. Yes, symptoms or disease may disappear as a side effect of chiropractic care, but that is because you as a chiropractor removed the nerve interference and allowed the body to heal on its own.

I’m thinking of this today because I just returned from the Catch the Wave seminar in San Francisco. (I went to listen to some of my mentors speak and to support a classmate who competed in the “Talk the TIC” worldwide competition—and won!) At the seminar, one of the speakers had a unique reason that he got into chiropractic. This gentleman was an ex-pharmacist. When the medical model failed to help his health issues, he turned to chiropractic care and got his life back. So he started warning the patients coming to the pharmacy that the prescription drugs they were getting were dangerous and toxic, and that there was a healthier alternative: chiropractic care. He said that one day he just got so sick of poisoning people and being “part of the problem”— so he quit his job and enrolled in chiropractic school. How awesome is that?!

So many people still think chiropractic is about neck and back pain. That’s what Advil and Tylenol are for! We as chiropractors help the nervous system to function at 100% so the body can heal and function at its greatest potential.

Consider this: The average American takes 13 toxic prescription drugs each day. Clearly their bodies are not functioning at 100%. Just imagine how you could change someone’s life by helping their body to function the way it was designed to function without drugs.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. This really is the best profession in the world!

Stacia Kampschnieder
7th trimester student, Davenport Campus