Tag Archives: illinois

A FORMIDABLE FOE: LEWY BODY DEMENTIA

Born at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago on July 21, 1951, Robin Williams was the son of Robert Fitzgerald Williams, a senior executive in Ford Motor Company’s Lincoln-Mercury Division. His mother, Laurie McLaurin, was a former model from Jackson, Mississippi. During a television interview on Inside the Actors Studio in 2001, Williams credited his mother as an important early influence on his humor. He said he tried to make her laugh to gain attention.

Williams attended public elementary school at Gorton Elementary School in Lake Forest and middle school at Deer Path Junior High School. When he was twelve, his father was transferred to Detroit. When he was sixteen, his father took early retirement and the family moved to California.

He began performing stand-up comedy in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the 1970’s. He also starred in numerous films including Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) and the box office hit Mrs. Doubtfire (1993).

On August 11, 2014, the world learned that Williams had committed suicide by hanging himself in his California home. He was sixty-three years old. The autopsy report showed no alcohol or illegal drugs were involved. Prescription drugs in his system were at “therapeutic” levels. The final autopsy report noted that Williams had been suffering “a recent increase in paranoia.” An examination of his brain tissue suggested Williams suffered from “diffuse Lewy body dementia.”

According to a Mayo Clinic article “Lewy body dementia” at https://www.mayoclinic.org., “Lewy body dementia, also known as dementia with Lewy bodies, is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease dementia. Protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, develop in nerve cells in the brain regions involved in thinking, memory and movement (motor control).

“Lewy body dementia causes a progressive decline in mental abilities. People with Lewy body dementia may experience visual hallucinations, and change in alertness and attention. Other effects include Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms such as rigid muscles, slow movement and tremors.”

If you have a family member who suffers from Lewy body dementia and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM CNAs

Fifty years ago, subdivisions were sprouting in the cornfields and bean fields in Illinois. The 1960’s and 1970’s were a time of rapid growth in the housing stock at the edges of major metropolitan areas such as Aurora, Rockford, and Bloomington-Normal.

Ranch houses, tri-levels, and two-story homes were popular styles. Most had attached garages, and the backyards were often enclosed with chain link fences. The homeowners planted shade trees on the boulevard and in the backyard. They spent time and money mowing, watering, and fertilizing the grass. They took pride in ownership of a beautiful new home.

Margaret, her husband, and their four children lived in one of these new houses. She was a stay-at-home mom, and her children were allowed to be free range children. That meant they roller skated on the sidewalks, shot basketballs into hoops mounted on rooftops above the garages, and played baseball on the diamond at the elementary school. The boys on the street made a go-cart out of wood and an old lawnmower chassis and gave rides to the younger boys.

AND THERE WERE THE DIRT HILLS. Since this was a new subdivision, the last row of houses backed up to a large piece of vacant land. The builder had dug a retention pond, installed concrete sewer pipes, and piled up a huge mound of dirt next to the retention pond. Many a young boy rode his dirt bike down from the top of the mound of dirt. In fact, some became so skilled that they could ride at full speed down the dirt hill and land on a raft in the lake.

The children grew up, got married, and moved away. Margaret and her husband continued to live in the house. When Margaret was in her late seventies, her health began to fail. She could no longer climb the steps into the house so her husband built a ramp in the garage.

As Margaret’s illness progressed, she needed 24/7 care from CNAs who came to her home. This was a tremendous help to Margaret and to her husband. It allowed her to continue to stay in her own home for a period of time. Later, she was admitted to a hospital and died there at age eighty-one.

If you have a family member who needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses and (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

To hear the Beatles, the English rock band, sing “With A Little Help From My Friends” from their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, go to With A Little Help From My Friends—You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C58ttB2-Qg.

—By Karen Centowski

KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY

Looking down the long hall from her office to the conference room, Elaine must have thought about the number of steps required to get there. Fifty? A hundred? Five hundred? A thousand? Even using the cane only helped a little. At least there were no stairs to climb.

And then there were the problems at home. How much longer would she be able to take her dog, Patrick, for a walk past the school playground where the children were playing hopscotch? Who would pull the weeds out of the flower garden in the front yard? How much longer could she make the beds or wash the dishes? So much of life depends on the ability to stand and walk.

Elaine’s primary care doctor referred her to an orthopedic surgeon. He recommended knee replacement surgery. He explained that nearly one million Americans undergo hip or knee replacement surgeries each year. He said the majority of these procedures were performed on patients over the age of 65. According to https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/guide/knee, “Osteoarthritis is the main reason why people go for knee replacement surgery. The age-related condition is very common and occurs when cartilage—the cushion between the knee and bone joints—breaks down.” Elaine fit into those demographics.

The doctor explained that patients having knee replacements are normally discharged from the hospital three days after surgery. Elaine would need to be able to use a walker before she could be discharged. Then someone would need to be with her at home 24/7 during her recovery.

The doctor told Elaine that the initial short-term recovery stage lasts four to six weeks for most patients. Nurses would need to be with her to tend to her medical needs. Therapists would come to her home to provide physical therapy. The final phase, long-term recovery, could take as long as six months.

Patients need the encouragement of family and friends throughout the whole process of knee replacement surgery. It would be easy to feel alone and to get discouraged. If someone you know is having knee replacement surgery, send a card. Call your friend or family member. Make a gift basket and deliver it. Do something to let them know you care.

If you have a friend or family member who is having knee replacement surgery and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (RNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to our Web site, www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski

Private Duty Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Positions Available

American Home Health has positions available for RNs and LPNs. Cases close to home in Kane, Kendall, Grundy, DeKalb, Lee, Will, DuPage, McHenry, Lake and Cook Counties. Flexible schedule, competitive pay and benefits for full-time and part-time employees.

We welcome new grads!

Apply today at www.ahhc-1.com

CHICAGO UNION STATION RENOVATION

Chicago Union Station
Chicago Union Station

Picture yourself walking into the Great Hall at Union Station in Chicago. With its huge columns, arches, and skylights, the Great Hall is a spectacular interior space. Rays of light cascade from the skylight into this waiting area for passengers.

Built in 1925, Union Station was originally designed by Daniel Burnham, an American architect. Over the past ninety years, leaks had developed in the skylight, and plaster had degraded in the Great Hall. Construction is now underway to alleviate those problems. The $22 million project will refurbish the 219-foot long skylight and repair plaster throughout the Great Hall.

An article at https://archpaper.com, “Chicago Union Station Renovation Will Brighten the Great Hall,” describes the process:

“To address the skylight’s water problems, each of the 2,052 pieces of glass will be replaced and a new third layer of glass will be added above the entire opening. The new high-efficiency, fully transparent glass panes will replace the current wire-embedded glass, and the end result is expected to allow about 50 percent more light into the space. Once the significant water damage on the walls is repaired, the entire Great Hall will be repainted in its original color.”

This phase of Union Station’s renovation is being funded by Amtrak, which owns the building. The renovation is expected to be completed in late 2018.

More controversial is a proposal by Chicago-based architects Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) to construct a seven-story addition atop the current Union Station. The proposed glass rectangle would contain a hotel, apartments, an office complex, and retail. Reaction has been less than enthusiastic. One article appearing June 26, 2018 at https://archpaper.com compares this proposal to the disaster at Soldier Field. In “Will a proposed addition turn Chicago’s Union Station into the new Soldier Field?” Elizabeth Blasius writes, “In 2004, Chicago watched historic Soldier Field become a toilet bowl. In 2019, Union Station will become a self-inked address stamper.” Blasius feels that “the addition reads as out of scale and context for the existing building.”

Since Union Station was listed as a Chicago Landmark in 2002, the plans for the proposed seven-story addition would have to be reviewed by The Commission on Chicago Landmarks before a permit is issued. Using Chicago’s Landmark Ordinance as its guide, the commission would consider the appropriateness of the proposed addition on this Chicago Landmark. Blasius believes that “the plan as presented should be considered by the CCL as an adverse effect on a designated local landmark.”

—By Karen Centowski


To see a rendering of the proposed addition and to read the entire article, go to https://archpaper.com/2018/06/will-proposed-addition-turn-chicagos-union-station-into-new-soldier-field

LOOKING BACK IN TIME

Two hundred years ago, on December 3, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state in the Union. When we think of Illinois today, we think of Chicago with 2,707,120 people, skyscrapers, trains, four lane highways, and world-class hospitals. We think of Chicago as the economic engine of the state. Things were quite different two hundred years ago.

The area originally known as the Illinois Territory was blessed with navigable rivers, fertile prairie land, dense timber, and a climate suited for agriculture. Hidden beneath the surface were seams of coal and layers of limestone. The area also had a rich history of Indian occupation, as evidenced by the following:

  • Thousands of years before Illinois became a state, Paleo-Indians, a nomadic people, and their descendants, archaic Indians, lived in Illinois. According to “Illinois History” at http://www.illinoiscourts.gov, the culture of these Indians dated before 5000 B.C. Their descendants were the Woodland Indians.
  • By 900 A.D., Middle Mississippi Indians had built huge earthen mounds in Illinois, such as Cahokia Mounds near St. Louis. They also had developed complex urban areas. The largest city, Cahokia, was estimated to have had a population of between 10,000 to 40,000 at its peak.
  • The descendants of the Middle Mississippi Indians were the Illiniwek tribes. You probably recognize some of the names of the twelve Illiniwek tribes such as the Winnebago, the Fox, the Kikapoo, the Macoutins, the Miamis, and the Illinois.

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 charted this region and organized counties. Early villages in Illinois were primarily in the southern part of the state along the Mississippi, Kaskaskia, Wabash, Big Muddy, and Ohio rivers. A map courtesy of the Illinois State Museum shows numerous early villages including Alton, Vandalia, Salem, Lawrenceville, Vienna, and Edwardsville.

In 1818, prior to achieving statehood, Illinois adopted its first constitution and selected Kaskaskia as its first state capitol. However, according to “Illinois History,” an Illinois Courts article at http://www.illinoiscourts.gov, the granting of statehood was controversial. First, the population was less than the 60,000 which was required. Second, in order to include the Chicago port area in the new state, Congress had to draw the Illinois border fifty-one miles to the north of the original Northwest Territory boundary.

Two years later, the state capitol was moved eighty miles east to Vandalia. During the next twenty years, three different buildings in Vandalia served as the state capitol. The last one, which still stands today, was built in 1836.

The population of Illinois was growing northward, and it seemed prudent to locate the capitol in the middle of the state. Abraham Lincoln, a legislator from Sangamon County, helped convince colleagues to move the capitol from Vandalia to Springfield. The new building was begun in 1837.

—By Karen Centowski

GOVERNOR’S MANSION RESTORED

Did you know that the Illinois Governor’s Mansion in Springfield is the third-oldest governor’s mansion still in use in the United States? Designed by Chicago architect John M. Van Osdel, the sixteen room Italianate mansion was completed in 1855.

After decades of neglect and lack of upkeep, the Illinois Governor’s Mansion at 410 E. Jackson Street in Springfield had suffered significant interior and exterior deterioration. Roof repairs were a priority to prevent further water damage to the interior.

In May of 2015, the non-profit Illinois Executive Mansion Association launched a campaign to raise $15 million from private donors to restore the 162-year-old mansion. Two years later, the association had reached its goal. The yearlong renovation began.

During the renovation, Governor Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana, lived in the Director’s House on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. When asked about living on the fairgrounds, “I have to say, I’ll be happy not to be listening to the speedway anymore,” Diana joked. “I’ll be listening to the trains instead.”

When the renovation is complete, the mansion will be ADA-accessible and have a fully functioning kitchen in the private residence. It will also have a revamped visitor’s experience to showcase the history of Illinois. According to The State Journal-Register posting May 21, 2018, “The mansion will include exhibits highlighting 1893’s World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois life during the Civil War, the children who have lived in the mansion, and an “Art of Illinois” project showcasing 80 pieces of fine and decorative art throughout the building.”

According to The State Journal-Register, the goal is to complete restoration in time for the August 2018 bicentennial of Illinois statehood. “This is one of the most historic, beautiful governor’s mansions anywhere in the United States, and we’re very proud to have it restored to its historic beauty,” Governor Rauner said.

What’s ahead for the mansion? Diana Rauner, who had co-chaired the non-profit Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association, said, “Ensuring that the building is well-taken care of is really important. One of the things that we’re so proud of is that this building will now be part of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and the Department of Natural Resources. It will be well-curated and well-cared for.”

—By Karen Centowski


To see photos taken during the restoration, go to Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/illinoismansion/