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Your Guide to Traveling with Diabetes

Posted by | Posted in Diabetes, Expert Tips, Weight Loss and Wellness | Posted on 31-03-2015

Traveling-With-DiabetesIt’s Spring Break season! Whether you are heading for warmer climates or road-tripping somewhere nearby, it can be difficult to maintain your healthy routine while on vacation. For people with diabetes, this may seem even more challenging.

“It’s all about consistency and preparation,” says Lori Iocca, RN, CDE, a nurse navigator at the Memorial Weight Loss and Wellness Center. “A person with diabetes may need to do a little more work ahead of time, but there’s no reason he or she can’t have a fun vacation and stay healthy.”

We chose a few travel situations that can throw off anyone’s diet, exercise or rest routines, and created a few tips for people with diabetes who are traveling. Read the rest of this entry »

Hospice Wishes Create Lasting Memories

Posted by | Posted in Events, Foundation, Home Services, Memorial Medical Center, Sharing Wishes Fund | Posted on 25-03-2015

Hospice-PatientAn Elvis fan wishing to visit Graceland.

A 63-year-old man wishing for a laptop to complete his family tree.

A mother and grandmother wishing to have a pizza party for more than 30 relatives.

An avid car lover wishing to ride around Lake Springfield in a Cadillac.

Thanks to Memorial’s Sharing Wishes Fund, administered through the Memorial Medical Center Foundation, all these wishes came true for hospice patients looking to fulfill life-long dreams. Since its inception in 2012, the fund has granted more than 125 wishes for hospice patients and their families across central Illinois. Read the rest of this entry »

For Some, Healthcare is Going to the Dogs

Posted by | Posted in Events, Physician Services | Posted on 24-03-2015

Wilson-Pet-TherapySometimes a good friend can also be good medicine – which is certainly the case for dogs and other animals who are used for animal-assisted therapy. Pet therapy (as it is more widely known) helps children, elderly people and anyone who needs the calm, accepting presence of an animal to deal with health-related issues and situations.

How pet therapy works

Animals can provide several types of therapeutic services.  From helping people cope with physical or mental illness, to being a companion or comfort to people, interaction with animals can improve the health and well-being of human beings.

Patients receive care in a variety of environments, some of which – like the hospital – can be more intimidating than others.

“Pet therapy can provide a distraction from the hospital environment. This can contribute to higher pain tolerance and better compliance with treatment,” said Fareed Tabatabai, MD, a psychiatrist with Memorial Physician Services – Vine Street. Read the rest of this entry »

Easing Your Child’s Fears about Going to the Hospital

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Medical Center, Parents, Pediatrics | Posted on 19-03-2015

Carter-JacobusWhen Carter Jacobus learned he had to go to the hospital for the first time, it was a scary prospect for the 8-year-old.

But the experience turned out not to be so frightening, thanks to several hospital staff members who made him feel at ease. It was such a great experience, Carter, a third-grader from Petersburg, wrote the following thank-you letter: Read the rest of this entry »

Husband & Wife Beat the Odds to Make it Back to Their Kids

Posted by | Posted in Emergency, Emergency Department, Memorial Medical Center, Trauma | Posted on 17-03-2015

Redmon-FamilyIt’s been said what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Gillespie’s Randy Redmon and his wife Amanda are a true testament to that age-old quote.

Three years ago their house burned to the ground. The lint trap in their dryer sparked and when the heat reached the cleaning chemicals stored in the laundry room, the house exploded. Thankfully the couple and their four kids weren’t home, but the family lost everything.

After regrouping, 37-year-old Randy and 32-year-old Amanda bought a small animal farm not far from their previous home. They went on with their lives – he drove a truck for a waste-management service and she worked at a local bank. The kids, from 11-year-old Ambrosia to 17-year-old Logan with Jordan and Chase in between, stayed busy with school and horseback riding—one of the family’s favorite pastimes.

Then came Aug. 23, 2014—and once again their lives turned upside down. Read the rest of this entry »

Thinking Green This Month? Kale Earns Its Spot as an MMC Super Food

Posted by | Posted in Nutrition, Weight Loss and Wellness | Posted on 13-03-2015

Kale-SaladMove over French fries! “Go Green” has a whole new meaning in the Memorial Medical Center cafeteria as a kale-based super salad has emerged as the most requested recipe from employees since Memorial implemented its Green Light, Choose Right menu. See the recipe below.

“I’ve received so many compliments on our kale salad,” said Christina Rollins, registered dietitian nutritionist and director of Memorial’s Food and Nutrition Services. “Customers seem to really enjoy the flavor and often choose it instead of, or in addition to, a fresh garden salad.”

Kale is an increasing popular green leafy vegetable similar to spinach. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, kale is rich in antioxidants, an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C, and is a good source of fiber.

MMC Super Food Salad

Yields 12 servings


6 cups kale, coarsely chopped

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

¼ cup red onion, diced

1½ cups carrots, shredded or diced

3 ounces edamame, shelled

¾ cup dried cranberries

1½ cup grape tomatoes, halved

¾ cup cranberry vinaigrette

Cranberry Vinaigrette Dressing

Yields 3 cups


1½ cup + 2 tbs Ocean Spray diet cranberry juice

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp basalmic vinegar

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper


Combine juice, vinegars and mustard in blender. Pulse to mix. With blender running, slowly stream in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook and cool edamame according to package directions. Rinse kale and remove leaves from ribs, chopping leaves into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, combine the kale and the vinaigrette and massage gently. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss to mix.

Nutritional info per 4-ounce serving: 100 calories; 4.5 grams fat; 8.75 grams sugar; 0 grams cholesterol; 2.5 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 51 milligrams sodium; 2.5 milligrams fiber.


Exercising Doesn’t Have to Bust Your Budget

Posted by | Posted in Exercise, Expert Tips, Weight Loss & Wellness Center Patient Stories | Posted on 11-03-2015

Exercise-At-HomeA regular exercise routine doesn’t require you to spend a lot of dollars on a gym membership or fancy home-exercise equipment.

And a good place to lose weight without spending a lot of cash is right in front of your TV set – as long as you get off the couch, says Linda Crews, a physical therapist with the Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center.

“There are literally over a hundred channels on your cable network, and you can get anything from yoga to Pilates to cardio at all intensity levels,” Crews says. “You can lose weight in a 10-foot square in front of your TV if you want to.”

Get Fit in Front of the TV

If you subscribe to Comcast, go to On Demand and select the Sports and Fitness tab to choose one of the fitness workouts from beginning to advanced routines. While many of these programs are no longer free, they’re still a less expensive alternative to a gym membership. Similar programs are available for Dish Network users, Crews says.

If your goal is to lose weight, you need to make sure that routine includes cardio. “Cardio is what jump starts the weight loss,” Crews says. “I recommend either doing a whole cardio workout or at the very least warm up with cardio.”

Not a cable subscriber? Crews says you can do an inexpensive strength-training workout, for example, by purchasing a couple of hand-held weights. For women, she suggests 3-pound weights; for men, 5 to 7 pounds.

“It doesn’t sound like much,” Crews says, “but if you do 25 or 30 reps, you’ll feel those muscles burn.”

The Key to Sticking to It

So how do you stick to a home workout routine? The key, Crews says, is to set realistic goals.

“The biggest mistake people make is they set their goals too big,” she says.

Some folks declare, especially at the start of the year, that they’ll get out of bed at 5:30 every morning and exercise for 45 minutes before they start their day.

“And that works really well – until Wednesday,” Crews says. “Then Wednesday rolls around, you hit the snooze alarm and it’s just not going to happen. I tell folks I’m working with to set your goals much lower.”

That may mean deciding to walk 10 minutes a day on a work break and gradually building up from there.

But if you work out at home, Crews says there’s another advantage.

“I love exercising in my pajamas.”


Burn Survivor’s Childhood Injury Leads Her to Help Others

Posted by | Posted in Burn Center | Posted on 10-03-2015

Thereasa Abrams, burn survivorThereasa Abrams, PhD, LCSW, understands what many of the burn patients in Memorial Medical Center’s Regional Burn Center are experiencing. When she was 6 years old, the research assistant professor with Southern Illinois University School of Medicine’s Institute of Plastic Surgery suffered burn injuries over 35 percent of her body.

Thereasa and her siblings were playing with matches in the backyard. Their plan was to melt some crayons in the barbecue grill. Thereasa, the youngest, was instructed to sneak into the house and secure a crayon without their mother noticing. Her 11-year-old brother built a small fire with twigs and leaves in the grill. She clutched a green crayon as her brother came out of the garage with a tin can of gasoline. That was the last thing she fully remembers.

The rest is a blur. The fireball that erupted and engulfed her. The faces of her horrified siblings. The charcoal gray skin on her right hand lifting like the layers of a burning newspaper. Most of all, she recalls the screaming, but doesn’t know if she was the one screaming or someone else.

Her mother and brother caught her and smothered the flames with a beach towel from the backyard clothesline. Her father, who owned a dry goods store, rushed home and drove her to a hospital more than 30 miles from their home in their small Michigan farming community.

Thereasa sustained first-, second- and third-degree burns over a third of her body, mostly her face, back and arms. A doctor told her parents that it was unlikely she would live through the night.

But she did survive. She remained in the hospital for the next three-and-a-half months, her parents taking turns holding vigils outside her room. They weren’t immediately allowed in because the young plastic surgeon caring for her had set up a sterile environment to decrease the risk of infection.

Over the next 12 years, Thereasa went through numerous reconstructive surgeries. She’s been told that the scars are barely visible, but they still feel all too obvious to her. It’s a reminder that the one scar that’s not visible – the emotional and psychological one – is perhaps the deepest.

Since that injury, she has dedicated her life to supporting other burn-injury survivors. She became increasingly involved with them – organizing and running support groups and speaking at conferences – and earned her doctorate in health education.

She currently leads a burn survivors’ support group, Survivors Helping Survivors, which meets on the third Thursday of each month in the Baylis Medical Building. The group is open to anyone who has been affected by burn injuries, including friends and families. For more information, call 217-545-8129.

The annual Color Blaze 5K will provide a portion of its proceeds to support Memorial Medical Center’s Regional Burn Center and its patient education and community outreach efforts. This year’s event will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 18, in Southwind Park in Springfield. To register, visit

10 Easy Ways to Begin a Healthy Eating Plan

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Medical Center, Nutrition, Weight Loss and Wellness | Posted on 03-03-2015

African-American-Man-with-SaladPerhaps your New Year’s resolution to eat healthy fell by the wayside at that Super Bowl party (and on Valentine’s Day, Fat Tuesday … why are there so many food-related happenings in winter?!). Or, perhaps you were waiting for just the right time to launch your new eating plan – and that time hasn’t quite happened yet.

No worries. Any day is a good day to launch healthier eating habits. Micca Donohoo, a registered dietitian with Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center, offers these 10 tips to get you started. These tips are so easy, you’ll have no problems sticking to them. Read the rest of this entry »