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John Moody, publications editor
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Letter from the Editor, November 2010
By John Moody

Dear readers,

Every year about this time we take a moment - for us that means an entire magazine - to tip our caps to the medical profession. It is an unusual blessing for a community the size of Springfield to be such a hub for the practice of medicine. Folks in need come from faraway places or from just down the road to seek out the healing angels among us. And, it is not a stagnant industry; it is growing, evolving all the time, and we are the beneficiaries.

Being the capital city of a highly political, large and industrial state like Illinois brings longstanding challenges, but it's mostly worth the effort. Most would probably agree the pros outweigh the negatives. But, to be known for something other than politics, something as good and noble as healing and comforting the sick, well, the pride in that label is a hard one to argue with. It makes us proud of Springfield.

Healing is about many things, and in this annual SO Magazine Medical Issue, we see the physical side of treating disease, to be sure, but we also learn about the spiritual side.    The cover story from contributor Julie Kaiser tells the story of an educational program at Simmons Cancer Institute called Side by Side, Place of Wellness. Side by Side teaches patients about yoga, exercise, nutrition and visualization, among other disease-fighting aspects. The program, which makes use of art, music and journaling, is tailored for patients, caregivers and family members, who all are affected in some way by cancer.

Keeping with the spiritual, have a look at contributor Steven Spearie's piece about the vital work of hospital chaplains. Chaplains at St. John's and Memorial Medical Center are on the job 24 hours a day, every day. They are often needed at the most crucial moments in the life of a family - sometimes at the end of a loved one's life. They must be sensitive to the varying spiritual needs and beliefs of a diverse population at times when hard questions are asked by people under great pressure.

The subject of medical recruiting is addressed by freelance writer Theresa Schieffer, and the story shows that a number of doctors and doctors-in-training have recognized the attraction of coming to Springfield for a lifetime. They have come here either to work or to get themselves educated at SIU School of Medicine, a local treasure all its own, and many have stayed on to make a life here. We are better for having them as our friends and neighbors.

Guest columnist Linda Castor writes about determination in the form of a nurse and athlete. She brings us the triumphant story of a woman who won't give up on herself. Read about Kimee Armour, a registered nurse who has little sympathy for anyone who won't get up and get moving. Armour has lost more than 150 pounds, and she is determined to keep up her quest for wellness.

Mark Hodel is a nurse anesthetist in his day job, which takes dedication and years of education. When away from the hospital, he is a talented and sought-after furniture maker. He is a true craftsman, and his custom pieces are works of art. Check out his story by freelance writer DiAnne Crown.

This issue does offer some of the usual SO Magazine fare, including travel and dining. We travel to Alaska with local adventurer Walt Zyznieuski for a family trip to the Last Frontier, as it is known. Eagles, salmon, bears and dramatic vistas dominate in grand fashion.

Nancy Pistorius takes us along to Texas, oddly the second-biggest place on our travel itinerary in this issue. We go to the edges of Houston and Dallas and live very well in some of America's finest and most elegant suburban resorts.

We visit Coyn and Susan Richardson's lake house. It is first-class, tasteful with nothing spared ... and, it's on the market, if you're game. See what $1.8 million will get you in Springfield.

Freelance photographer Tim Murphy tries out a new camera in his travels around town. His photo essay is a different and quite interesting look at your hometown.

We hope that you sit long and read much with this issue of SO dedicated to the doctors, nurses and techs who help us stay on a healthy track. Thank you for lending us a bit of your valuable time.

John Moody
Publications Editor


Story published Friday, November 5, 2010 ( Volume 5, Number 6 )

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