Helping Others Take Control
of Their Health

In her job as a sonographer, Carol
Nguyen sees two types of patients...

read more

Making Time for Me – One
Mom's Story

Like most moms, Andrea Streight
knows a thing about multi-tasking...

read more

Helping Others Take Control of Their Health

In her job as a sonographer (also known as an ultrasound technician), Carol Nguyen sees two types of patients: Those who want to take control of their health and identify a problem before it becomes an emergency, and those who wait until it's too late.

Carol splits her time between the ultrasound department at Mercy General Hospital and the screening program at Dignity Health Heart & Vascular Institute (MHVI). At the hospital, she sees patients who are in the midst of a medical crisis - ruptured aneurysms, strokes and other life-threatening conditions. "At the hospital, most patients I see are experiencing an emergency," Carol explains. "They need a diagnosis and treatment urgently and they are scared. When I see patients through the heart health screening programs, I am working with people who want to prevent that kind of emergency from happening to them. They are advocating for their own health and that's fantastic."

Carol says she describes the heart and vascular health screenings offered through Mercy Heart & Vascular Institute as some of the best deals available in healthcare. The services are private; scheduled at your convenience; take less than an hour; don't involve radiation; and are reviewed by a nurse and a radiologist. Depending on what specific screenings you request, the cost is typically around a hundred dollars - less than what many people pay for an Emergency Room co-pay. "I tell people that the information you can get from the screenings is priceless - it can provide peace of mind or it can let you know if you need to watch something. It's quick and easy and very affordable."

Carol says many of the people she meets through the screening program have been touched by the recent loss of a friend or relative. "Someone they know has maybe suffered a heart attack or a stroke and suddenly they realize that they could be at risk too. Our screenings can help them know if there may be a problem."

During the ultrasound portion of the screenings, Carol is typically looking to make sure the carotid artery and the abdominal aorta are healthy and do not have blockages. She also looks for signs of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). In addition, screening patients can have blood work studied, have their blood pressure and Body Mass Index measured, and undergo an EKG, among other things.

With two young children at home, Carol feels like her job is a good fit for her. The schedule works for her - and the satisfaction she gets from helping people take control of their health is one of the joys of her job. "I enjoy the interaction with patients and helping them understand their health. Every patient is unique and every day is different. I love the challenge of it!"

To learn more about MHVI's heart and vascular health screenings, visit their website or call 916.733.6245 to schedule an appointment. No referral is needed.

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Making Time for Me – One Mom's Story

Like most moms, Andrea Streight knows a thing about multi-tasking... Whether it is carpooling her kids to their various sport practices, teaching music to two grades at the kids' school, coordinating the medical appointments that often clutter their calendar or simply trying to get dinner on the table - she regularly has a daily to-do list that would fill most people's week. "Like most moms, my days are scheduled from sun up to sun down with activities for the kids or for our family," Andrea says. "My mental to-do list often kicks in during the middle of the night, and sometimes it just makes me feel better to get up and get started while the house is asleep. This often makes for a very long day!"

Despite spending several years working internationally for a consulting firm, nothing prepared Andrea for the demands of being a full-time mother, wife and Chief Executive of the Household. Her days are filled with appointments for every member of the family (including a new rescue puppy!), volunteering at school and for sports teams and Daisy troops, and making sure homework is done, piano is practiced and the remnants of the day's whirlwind are cleaned up before bedtime. Complicating matters for the Streight family in recent years is their son's diagnosis of epilepsy which has brought with it some related complications. Coordinating the myriad of specialists, medications and appointments has felt like a full-time job in itself at times. Andrea has handled the stress and uncertainty of caring for a child with a frightening diagnosis with grace and a smile, but the stress can be overwhelming. "I'm not sure if I am more stressed by the many appointments we have to go to or the fact that my child has a need that, as a mom, I can't 'fix.' It is a worry that impacts our every day."

And so it is no surprise that every few months it will hit her - the need to take a little time for herself. "By the end of the day, I'm often mentally and physically exhausted. To clear my head from stress and take a break from the never-ending to dos, I often find the need to schedule something just for me, whether it is getting to the gym or meeting friends for dinner."

Whether it is a dinner out or a cookie exchange at the holidays or just an evening of wine and chatting on the couch, Andrea is known among her girlfriends as the one who will rally the troops for a little girl time. "My friends are my village, and it is really important to me to spend some quality time with them to re-energize myself."

For the past several years one way Andrea has found that time is at Dignity Health's Care Begins With Me, an event that gives women a chance to relax, laugh, and even learn a little - all in the company of friends. "I have truly enjoyed attending this amazing event the past few years. I always come away feeling inspired. And I'm not going to lie, I love the goodie bags too! Year after year, a night out with amazing ladies is just what the doctor orders."

Regardless of what your destination is, Andrea encourages all women to seek out that time with girlfriends. "I treasure having friends who I can laugh with over the craziness of our family and cry with when things are not going well. As they say, our friends are the family we chose for ourselves."

Invite your girlfriends, your mom, your aunt - and share the gift of this amazing evening. Care Begins With Me happens Tuesday, October 8, 2013 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. Tickets are $20 in advance. Care Begins With Me members will receive a $5 discount. And remember, register before August 15 and you will receive preferred seating.

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