Inside Gillette Blog

Fall the Time for Lyme Arthritis Awareness

Posted On: 09/30/2010

School in full swing means family camping trips, weekends at the cabin, and other summertime activities may have ended.  But it’s now, and in the months ahead, that parents should be aware of warning signs for Lyme arthritis, one of the major symptoms of Lyme disease.   

Lyme disease is caused by a notorious summer pest—a deer tick—that transmits infection through its bite.  Because deer ticks are tiny (about the size of a sesame seed!) they can be easy to miss. In fact, lots of people who contract Lyme disease don’t even remember being bitten until they start to show symptoms.

Luckily, most ticks do not carry Lyme disease.  But it’s still important for parents to be aware of some common symptoms of Lyme arthritis: one, or several, swollen large joints (especially the knee) and a fever. Here’s Gillette rheumatologist Richard Vehe, M.D., with more on symptoms and treatment.


For more information, here’s an article on Lyme arthritis by Gillette pediatric rheumatologist Evren Akin, M.D.

Help Celebrate Our Newly-Opened Clinic Up North

Posted On: 09/28/2010

As you may remember, early this summer we opened the Brainerd Lakes Clinic — a new clinic in Baxter, Minn., that will serve as a permanent hub for assistive-technology services for area patients and families. With the clinic open and serving patients for several months, it’s time to celebrate!  We’re hosting an open house for the new clinic (located at 15860 Audubon Way in Baxter) today, from 3 – 7 p.m. If you’re in the area, you’re welcome to stop by to tour the new space, meet clinic staff, and see demonstrations of services we offer at the clinic. 

As Gillette’s third permanent clinic site in greater Minnesota (others are in Duluth and Willmar), the Brainerd Lakes Clinic will help us serve patients in the middle and northern parts of the state more easily, and more efficiently.  Why more efficiently?  Because, with a permanent site in Brainerd, Gillette’s Mobile Outreach Clinic — a program that brings Gillette services to nearly 20 communities throughout the state — will have a launching point much closer to northern Minnesota communities.  We’ll put those savings towards even better services for greater Minnesota families: for example, our visits to Grand Rapids and Bemidji will nearly double.  

Click here to read more about the Brainerd Lakes Clinic!

Tonic Sol-Fa Concert for Gillette

Posted On: 09/23/2010

Looking for something fun to do tonight? If so, you’re in luck. Nationally-renowed vocal group Tonic Sol-Fa will perform at the Benedicta Arts Center in St. Joseph, Minn. beginning at 7:00 p.m.  Miss Minnesota, Kathryn Knuttila, and a capella group Johnnie Blend will also perform.  Tickets are still available for just $20, with all proceeds benefiting Gillette through Children’s Miracle Network.  Call 320-363-5777 for tickets. Or, just purchase them at the door! 

Back to School…Back to Sleep? Tips from Gillette’s Sleep Expert

Posted On: 09/21/2010

For many kids, summer vacation meant staying up later than usual, sleeping in, and doing it all over again the next day. That often leads to a difficult transition in the first few weeks of the school year, when kids must adjust — often, very quickly — to a new, and earlier, schedule. But school start-times aren’t the only culprit. Anxiety and emotional adjustments can ruin a good night’s sleep just as easily. This is especially true for younger kids who are brand-new to school, or who are just embarking on their first full-days of school after half-day kindergarten.  

Gillette sleep specialist Dr. John Garcia suggests ‘debriefing’ with your child after every school day — asking them, for example, about their favorite and least-favorite part. Talking through questions and worries with mom or dad can pave the way for a restful night of sleep.  Here’s a short video with more tips from Dr. Garcia.

Dr. Garcia is a board-certified sleep specialist. He works with patients who have disabilities and associated sleep disorders.

Take the ‘Boring’ Out of Brown Bag Lunches

Posted On: 09/19/2010

Can you believe it’s already week three of the new school year?  If your kids are already complaining about eating the same old peanut butter and jelly sandwich day after day — or, if you’re simply looking for some healthy alternatives to school lunches — look no further.  Here’s some healthy (and tasty!) ideas for your child’s mid-day meal, courtesy of Gillette dieticians Karri Larson and Stephanie Campbell.

“A healthy, nutritious lunch helps kids stay focused in school, gives them energy for physical activity, and can lead to a lifetime of smart food choices,” adds Campbell.  Who knows?  These ideas may become your lunch favorites, too!

Home-made Lunchable: Slice desired cheese, along with your child’s choice of meat and whole grain crackers.  Add fresh fruit or raw carrots to have a balanced lunch.

Pita Sandwich: Stuff with hummus, meat or cheese and vegetables for an alternative to a sandwich.

Trail Mix: Include various nuts and fortified cereal, raisins, dried cranberries, and granola for a balance of protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

Sandwiches: Tuna, turkey, chicken, and egg salad are healthy alternatives to your run-of-the-mill sandwich.  Add lettuce, tomato or other veggies your child likes.

Pasta Salad: Use whole grain pasta, and remember to add low fat cheese and vegetables such as celery, peppers, chickpeas, and cucumbers.

Hard Boiled Eggs: A great way to get in protein without the nitrates that are often found in lunch meats.

Fruit and Yogurt: Add fruit, fortified cereals or granola to increase your child’s fiber intake.

Veggie Wraps: Spread low fat dressing on the inside of a wheat tortilla and cut carrots sticks, peppers, and cucumbers into spears for the filling.  Add a slice of cheese into the wrap as a source of protein.

While candies and chips are a fun treat, our dieticians encourage you to teach your kids about moderation and “sometimes” foods.  And, of course, avoiding sugary beverages in favor of milk or water is not only healthier, but will promote concentration in afternoon lessons.

Do you have a question for our dieticians?  Leave a comment here, and we’ll address it in our monthly “ask the dietician” post.

Calling All Walkers!  Minnesota’s First Hydrocephalus Walk is Sept. 26

Posted On: 09/15/2010

Here at Gillette we treat kids with disabilities, many of them complex.  One of those conditions is hydrocephalus — a word that means, literally, water on the brain.  When too much fluid builds up in the brain, it can cause serious symptoms like headaches and nausea, difficulties with balance and coordination, even personality changes.

The good news? Hydrocephalus can be managed by something called a shunt — a device that helps drain excess fluid away from the brain. Our neurosurgeons perform about 300 shunt operations each year for the more than 1,500 kids who come to Gillette for treatment of hydrocephalus.

The bad news? There’s currently no cure for hydrocephalus. 

That’s why, on Sunday, Sept. 26, one of our very own patient families is planning the state’s first Hydrocephalus Walk.  Six-year-old Jack Borchardt has been coming to Gillette ever since his mom, Tara (and the walk’s organizer!) noticed he was missing milestones.  Jack’s friends could run, jump, ride bikes and trikes — but Jack couldn’t.  He couldn’t even climb the stairs without holding onto the railing. His diagnosis: hydrocephalus.

After receiving a shunt at Gillette, Jack is thriving. He’s improving his balance and enjoying life - including fishing with Dad!

If you’d like to join Jack and Tara to help find a cure for hydrocephalus, sign up for the Minneapolis Hydrocephalus Walk!  You’ll enjoy a day of family fun, including food, games, face-painting and music. The Minneapolis walk is one of more than 20 throughout the country, all raising funds for the Hydrocephalus Association, a national group dedicated to finding a cure, and growing awareness, for the condition.

To learn more about hydrocephalus, click here.

Coffee Shop Opens in St. Paul—and New Building Halfway Complete!

Posted On: 09/08/2010

Construction on our new patient-care building in St. Paul continues to progress at a rapid pace.  We’re happy to report that, at this point, the building is more than halfway complete!   With the building and skyway now fully-enclosed in glass, crews have begun painting, installing cabinets and other fixtures, and are almost finished installing the building’s elevators.

As you can see, crews have also been busy adding brick to the outside of our building — and at this point, they’re 90 percent finished.  So what’s next?  Lots of work on the inside of the building (or as we like to think, its “internal organs”) to ready it for patients and families this coming winter.  

This week also marked the opening of Gingko’s Coffee Shop and Deli on our St. Paul campus.  The coffee shop, located next to the newly-opened Dairy Queen Family Room, will serve food and beverages from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  There’s plenty of seating for patients and families—and nearby, the Health Resources & Education area, where families can find books, magazines, DVDs and online materials about medical conditions.

Click here for a sneak peek at the Ginkgo menu!

Next time you’re in St. Paul, look to your left to see the new Gingko Coffee Shop and Deli.

Families have plenty of seating in the DQ Family Room.


Here’s a view of our new building from University Avenue.

A close-up of the skyway. It will be open before you know it!

First Day of School for Kids at Gillette

Posted On: 09/06/2010

For most Minnesota kids, today is a day for excitement, seeing old friends (and meeting new ones), and maybe a few nerves. That’s right — happy first day of school!

You may think kids staying here at the hospital are missing out on this fun day.  But think again. A partnership between Gillette and St. Paul Public Schools means that children and teens who are recovering from a major surgery or traumatic injury can continue their lessons right here at Gillette. Our two classrooms are outfitted with the latest technology — including Webcams, laptops, a touch-screen computer, and a state-of-the-art SmartBoard — and are roomy enough to allow for wheelchairs, standers, and other equipment our patients need.

Patients here longer than two weeks attend school for an hour each day. Our teachers, Jennifer Monson-Gimpl and Lisa Peterson, tell us it’s often their favorite part of their day!  Jennifer and Lisa work one-on-one with patients to create lesson plans specially-designed for their unique needs. They can even set up video conferences with kids’ home schools, allowing them to interact with their very own classmates!

The September issue of Minnesota Medicine, which just hit stands today, included Gillette in an article on school for hospitalized kids. Check it out here!

Domonic, pictured here with teacher Lisa Peterson, learns about dinosaurs on the Smart Board.