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Yes, You Love Chocolate, But Is It a Food Addiction?

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Weight Loss and Wellness | Posted on 29-12-2015

Food-AddictionUnfortunately, broccoli and carrots don’t top anyone’s list of potential food addictions, but Wendi Schutte, clinical manager for the Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center, says food addictions can be a real challenge for some people who suffer from obesity.

“We are starting to see more research about obesity and the effects certain foods have on the brain, similar to alcohol or heroin,” Schutte said during an interview on WTAX’s Ask The Expert program on the Ray Lytle Show. “The brain responds in the same way as it does to a substance. Often, it’s the unhealthier foods—the more Read the rest of this entry »

5 Ways You Can Be a Good Patient

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Physician Services | Posted on 22-12-2015

Male Patient And Doctor Have Consultation In Hospital RoomWe always want the best doctors that we can find. Well, that’s a two-way street. Doctors want good patients.

“We want you to understand that this is a relationship,” said Nicole Florence, MD, an internal medicine physician and pediatrician with Memorial Physician Services-Koke Mill, part of Memorial Health System, during a recent interview on WTAX’s Ask The Expert program on the Ray Lytle Show. “There are certain things we expect of you as our patients.”

Here are a few things that good patients do:

Take Your Medications
A surprising number of patients don’t understand why they’re on medications and why they need to take those meds at the designated times. It’s vital to take your medication as instructed. Many patients don’t ask questions.

If you have to take one or two medications, that can be easy to manage. Some patients with chronic conditions may take 10 or 12 medications and maintaining their schedule can be a challenge. Setting an alarm on your smartphone can help. Using a pill organizer in which you store a week’s worth of pills in separate compartments based on the days of the week you take them can also help.

Keep a Health Journal
You can record your numbers for blood pressure or blood sugar levels in a journal and take that with you to each doctor’s appointment. Many times, patients come in and the only numbers the doctor has are the measurements taken during their visits. That may be one or two blood pressures a year to decide how well your blood pressure medication is working, Dr. Florence said.

You can download free apps to your smartphone to help you record those numbers. “Having those numbers when you go to your doctor can be really helpful in managing your health issues better,” Dr. Florence said.

Don’t Withhold Information
Some people are embarrassed to share some details with their doctor. It may not seem significant to you, but it may be very significant to your doctor. “The better communication you have and the more trusting relationship you have with your physician will help you to receive the best level of care,” Dr. Florence said.

Know When to Call the Office
If you’re not sure if you should call your doctor or go to ExpressCare, Dr. Florence advises that if it’s during office hours, give your doctor a call. “We know your history. We know your other medicines. It’s that relationship that will give you a better level of care,” Dr. Florence said.

However, if it’s after hours or you’re not in a place where you can get into your doctor’s office, it’s appropriate to call ExpressCare rather than wait until your doctor can see you, she said.

Prepare for Your Visits
The first step to preparing for your visit is to arrive on time. “If your appointment’s at 1 o’clock, that’s not when I want you to show up. That’s when I want you to be in the room waiting for me,” Dr. Florence said. Arrive for your doctor’s visit about 15 minutes early so you can be checked in and your vital signs can be taken. It takes only two or three patients to arrive a little late to jam up the schedule for everyone else.

When you make an appointment, make sure you tell the doctor’s staff everything you want to discuss. This allows the doctor’s office to allot the correct amount of time for your visit. “It’s really important for us to give you the time you need,” Dr. Florence said.

Nicole Florence, MD, is an internal medicine physician and pediatrician with Memorial Physician Services-Koke Mill. She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, where she completed residencies in internal medicine and pediatrics. Dr. Florence is board certified in internal medicine, pediatrics and obesity medicine.

The Holidays: A Clash between Norman Rockwell and Everyday Life

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Mental Health | Posted on 14-12-2015

The holidays are supposed to be about relaxing and celebrating with friends and family. Instead, the reality often includes scurrying from one event to the next, extra spending on food and gifts and additional professional and personal obligations. Trish Fehr Logsdon, LCPC, recently discussed holiday stress—what it looks like and how to cope—on radio station WTAX. Logsdon is a counselor with Memorial Counseling Associates, part of Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois.

“People encounter stressors this time of year that include time management challenges with balancing the extra celebrations with peers, schools, churches and family; financial decisions regarding gifts and budget demands; expectations not matching reality; and those suffering from grief, depression or anxiety over missing people who are gone,” Logsdon said. “Also this time of year, we tend to have less sunlight and seasonal affective disorder can add to the blues.”

She shared these coping strategies, among other tips:

  • Avoid sugar highs and lows.
  • Feel emboldened to say, “No, thank you,” in order to protect a more reasonable schedule.
  • Unplug the technology. Be face-focused instead of screen-focused.
  • Incorporate exercise into your daily routine, if possible.
  • Stay well-rested.
  • Recognize and consider the positive things in your life.

“Volunteering to help others who are in need can help get your mind off your problems and onto the larger picture,” she added.

Listen to the entire three-minute interview on WTAX.

Trish Fehr Logsdon, LCPC

Trish Fehr Logsdon is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor specializing in the treatment of adolescents and adults with behavioral health needs. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Eastern Illinois University.

Working Towards Happiness—James’ Story of Recovery

Posted by | Posted in Mental Health, Testimonial | Posted on 10-12-2015

James-Success-StoryJames Macrander’s world seemed to be falling apart. His 12-year marriage ended. He lost his job. Then, when his Social Security benefits dried up, he became homeless.

“My cousin took me in when none of my other family members would,” James said.

Even though he spent countless hours a day cleaning and organizing, making sure everything was perfect, the truth was, his life was crumbling around him.

James was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and received services at West Lake Center, a program of Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois (MHCCI). After seeking services at West Lake Center, James looked for a job in Springfield with no luck. He decided to move to Jacksonville where he met Julia DeGroot, an employment specialist with MHCCI’s Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program. The IPS program provides individual counseling, teaches coping skills and gives people the confidence they need to find a job. Read the rest of this entry »

Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants Play Key Role in Primary Care

Posted by | Posted in Physician Services | Posted on 08-12-2015

Shot of a smiling doctor conversing with a senior patient

It can be frustrating to call your physician’s office only to hear it will be several weeks until you can see the doctor, especially during cold and flu season. This scenario is popping up more frequently in today’s primary care setting. The aging patient population, rise in chronic diseases, more newly-insured individuals seeking  primary care, all coupled with the shortage of physicians, leaves a gap in the healthcare market place.

The good news is you can often make same-day appointments with a board certified family nurse practitioner or physician assistant, depending on staffing at your primary care physician’s office. No, they’re not your physician, but you might be surprised what you don’t know about their role in your health. Read the rest of this entry »

Treatment at Stroke Center Leads to Relief from Aneurysm

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Medical Center, Neuroscience, Stroke Center, Testimonial | Posted on 07-12-2015


Sheila Huey talking to Dr. Elias

Sheila Huey suffered from blinding headaches, a swollen-right eye and double vision. Initially, the symptoms were thought to be associated with a bad sinus infection. The truth revealed a large aneurysm was growing in her brain.

It took two long months for Sheila, who also suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), to be diagnosed. Thankfully, a visit with an eye doctor set her on the right path.

“He came in the room and immediately said, ‘I don’t mean to scare you, but you need to see a neurologist. You have an aneurysm,’” said the 52-year-old, lifelong Arenzville resident. “I couldn’t believe it. It was the farthest thing from my mind.” Read the rest of this entry »

Fight the Flu. It’s the Right Thing to Do.

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Flu, Physician Services | Posted on 02-12-2015

Flu-vaccinationThe flu vaccine can be an emotionally charged topic. While medical experts say it’s the single best way to prevent the flu, others question its effectiveness and worry about potential side effects.

So what’s the bottom line?

Influenza kills thousands of people each season—140 children just last year—according to the Centers for Disease Control. It’s invisible, highly contagious and often is widespread during the winter months. Yes, the vaccine missed the mark last year after the predicted strains mutated. However, getting vaccinated is still the most effective way to keep your family safe, according to trusted medical experts. Read the rest of this entry »

Working Toward Independence – Tim’s Story of Success

Posted by | Posted in ALMH, Mental Health | Posted on 01-12-2015

Tim McDougall and Jennifer Schneider

Tim McDougall and Jennifer Schneider

Tim McDougall is inspiring others to gain independence with his can-do attitude and the support of Logan-Mason Rehabilitation Center (LMRC), a program of the Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois.

Tim has received services from LMRC for more than 26 years, and over time, has become independent by participating in programs such as developmental training, supported employment programs and home-based supports. Tim lived in an LMRC Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) home for 13 years. When he was ready to live independently, staff helped him find an apartment of his own and helped again later when he decided he wanted to rent a house. Tim has also been happily employed at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital for the last 17 years.

“I’ve known Tim since he was 11 years old. Over the years, Logan-Mason Rehabilitation Center case management services have helped his family with chores, budgeting, and other routine living activities,” said Jennifer Schneider, supervisor of Community Support Services. “He now lives in his own house with the help of a personal support worker.  He set up tutoring at Heartland Community College for reading and speech on his own. When Tim sets his mind to something, he sticks to it.”

Tim also volunteers and has become a leader in his community. He is a regular fixture at Lincoln Community High School sporting events where he provides water for the football team and runs the flag at basketball games.

Tim’s enthusiasm for being involved is felt throughout the community, which is why he was selected as Lincoln Citizen of the Year last December.

“We are so proud of Tim and the positive example he sets for others. He has worked hard to become as independent as possible,” said Peggy Ross-Jones, administrator at LMRC. “We are thankful for Lincoln-area residents and businesses that donate, employ and help our clients in so many ways every day.”

Want to help others like Tim become more independent? Find out how by visiting