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COASTAL BEND MEDICAL MAGAZINE

DELIVERING THE PROMISE HACIENDA OAKS NURSING & REHABILITATION

CELEBRATING 8 YEARS OF PUBLISHING LOCAL SUCCESSES IN THE COASTAL BEND

ACT FAST! STROKE REHABILITATION AT CHRISTUS SPOHN

RETURN TO RELIEF

HUMPAL PHYSICAL THERAPY MAY.JUNE 2017

HOPE COMES HOME MAJESTY OUTDOORS1

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Texas I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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Tana Rivera Tana’s Beauty Studio Suite 36 361.232.7069 Master Stylist Makeup Artist Crack Hair Care Products Retailer

Angela Delgado Revive Suite 25 361.207.6065 Hair Guru Esthetician Ene Worker Energy Lifestyle Blogger

Kaetlyn Gonzalez Crown Of Beauty Suite 1 361.694.2747 Barber/Stylist Babe Hair Extensions P Living Proof Retailer

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Danielle Ramirez DJR Hair Studio Suite 14 361.444.7738 Owner/Stylist Educator for Keune Hair Cosmetics


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RESTAURANT, LOUNGE , BANQUET ROOM

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• Relaxing atmosphere • Live piano player and singer every Friday and Saturday • Signature cocktails from all across the world

6917 S. Staples St., Corpus Christi | 361-334-2172 | www.araseurofusion.com

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Cornerstone Home Health Cornerstone Home Health can provide a service or a combination of services in your HOME. Along with your physician and our qualified staff, we plan, coordinate, and provide care tailored to your needs.

Services we offered include: Skilled nursing, Physical therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Social Worker, and CNA

If you have any questions or want to make a referral, contact our office at 361-727-2131 or Toll free 1-855-328-2131

2600 Lakeview Dr. Suite 2C | Rockport, Tx 78382

AAdi Home Health & Hospice Services AAdi Home Health is a full service home health and hospice agency. We provide quality nursing services and outstanding support services. The staff at AAdi Home Health has the experience, dedication and compassion needed to provide care in a home environment without sacrificing quality or safety.

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ST CE R RT OK IFI E E D

Act FAST – Be Stroke Smart! Learn how to spot a stroke F.A.S.T. Rapid access to medical treatment can make the difference between a full recovery and permanent disability. Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital encourages you to learn the warning signs of stroke. F.A.S.T. is an easy way to identify the most common symptoms of a stroke:

F – Face drooping A – Arm weakness S – Speech difficulty T – Time to call 9-1-1

if you observe any of these symptoms

LEARN THE WARNING SIGNS THAT CAN SAVE A LIFE. BE STROKE SMART!

CCRH.ERNESTHEALTH.COM 6

Follow Us

5726 Esplanade Drive • Corpus Christi, TX 78414 • ph: 361.906.3700

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Health, Beauty & Confidence

NEW PATIENTS ALWAYS WELCOME!

James Duncan, DDS, PA Laser and Family Denistry

Teeth Whitening Veneers Dental Implants Laser Dentistry www.duncandentalstudio.com

Duncan Dental S

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(Across from Northshore Cinema 8 on Buddy Ganem)

361-643-3030

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Emergency Room Now Open

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#

It’s not just what you do, it’s who you do it for.

I’m here to help you plan for the future so you can continue all the good you do in your life.

Annie J. Castro, LUTCF, CLU® Agent, New York Life Insurance Company 4466 S. Staples Corpus Christi, Texas 78411 (361) 986-1321 ajcastro@ft.newyorklife.com www.anniejcastro.com Registered Representative offering investments through NYLIFE Securities LLC (Member FINRA/ SIPC), A Licensed Insurance Agency.

Life Insurance. Retirement. Investments. SMRU1614160(Exp.08/07/2016) © 2013 New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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Welcome to the SOUTH TEXAS BRAIN AND SPINE CENTER. Our surgeons provide neurosurgical care in many of the major hospitals in Corpus Christi, Texas. Our surgeons and staff provide individual and conservative treatment using the most effective and modern technologies available in the world.

SOUTH TEXAS BRAIN AND SPINE CENTER 1227 3rd Street, Corpus Christi, TX 78404

361.883.4323

www.southtexasbrainandspine.net I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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WE WILL PUT YOU BACK IN THE GAME OF LIFE

TREATMENTS AND PROGRAMS FOR: Musculoskeletal Injuries Pregnancy (Pre/Post Natal Care) Diabetes Fall Prevention Neuropathy Cardiovascular Therapy Osteoarthritis Vertigo (Dizziness) Osteoporosis Athletic Rehab (Sport Specific) Thoracic-Outlet Syndrome Orthotic Evaluation/Fabriation Pre-Op/Post-Operative Therapy

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ALL 6 LOCATIONS OFFER CAREFULLY DESIGNED AND SUPERVISED EXERCISE PROGRAMS IN STATE OF THE ART GYMS AND LARGE INDOOR HEATED POOLS:

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CORPUS CHRISTI

2

CALALLEN

3

ALICE

5026 Deepwood Cir. • 361.854.2278 4040 Five Points Rd. • 361.241.7399 1302 E. 5th St. • 361.664.9675

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PORTLAND 114 Lang Rd. • 361.643.8243

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ARANSAS PASS 2150 W. Wheeler Ave. • 361.758.5199

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ROCKPORT 1811 Broadway (a.k.a. Fulton Beach Rd.) 361.729.8777


CONTENTS MAY.JUNE 2017

PATIENT

16 A Whole New World 18 The Best Place 20 Education is Key 22 The Tipping Point

HEALTH & WELLNESS 38 Focus on Heart-Healthy

EXPRESSIONS OF INSPIRATION 40 Majestic Tides

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NONPROFIT 44 Volunteer Your Voice

COVER AND TABLE OF CONTENTS PHOTOS BY: MC STUDIO WORKZ

26 COVER STORY 32 PROFILE HUMPAL PHYSICAL THERAPY For the past 28 years, Scott Humpal and his team have helped Coastal Bend patients navigate the path to better function and relief.

HACIENDA OAKS NURSING & REHABILITATION Led by seasoned administrator and Beeville native, Frank Dominguez, the team at this rehab center are passionate about delivering their promise to help patients regain their independence.

36 PROFILE

STROKE REHABILITATION AT CHRISTUS SPOHN As the region’s only Advanced Stroke Center, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi - Shoreline stresses the importance of acting FAST, or learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke.

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MEET THE STAFF

COASTAL BEND MEDICAL MAGAZINE

ADRIAN GARZA

CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SALES adrian@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 361.548.1044

MAY.JUNE 2017 CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SALES Adrian Garza

CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS HOLLY DUVALL

CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS holly@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 479.935.0868

Holly Duvall

EDITOR Erin O’Brien

ART DIRECTOR Elisa Giordano

SALES & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Greg Duvall

SOCIAL MEDIA Morgan Bartel

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS ERIN O’BRIEN

EDITOR erin.editorial@gmail.com

ELISA GIORDANO ART DIRECTOR hello@elisagcreative.com 210.716.5320

Anne Booher Dr. James Duncan Jessica Dusek Dr. Michael Fuentes Kathryn Hyatt Alexis Mays Kathleen Naderer Cathy Pierce Dr. Nestor H. Praderio Erin Wilder

PHOTOGRAPHY Dark Lab Photography Fusion Photography MC Studio Workz

GREG DUVALL

SALES & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT greg@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 361.944.7336

www.inspirecoastalbendmag.com For advertising information, please call 361.548.1044 or email adrian@inspirecoastalbendmag.com. For editorial comments and suggestions, please call 479.935.0868 or email holly@inspirecoastalbendmag.com.

MORGAN BARTEL SOCIAL MEDIA morgan@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 620.417.5392

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PELICAN

MEDIA GROUP

Copyright 2017 © Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the expressed written permission of the publisher is prohibited.


happiness is why. Everyone has a reason to live a longer and healthier life. What is yours?

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A WHOLE NEW WORLD What’s “hip” in dental imaging technology today

W

e live in a world of images. Almost everything we do involves capturing an external representation of a person or things in art. Most of these images are then regularly shared on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and LinkedIn, or emailed to family and friends. Not too long ago, we could boast, “My phone has a camera in it!” Now I think our smart phones take better photos than our digital cameras. The health care industry is pretty “hip” when it comes to imaging, too. The first recorded X-ray was in 1895 by a German/ Dutch physicist by the name of Wilhelm C. Röntgen. This revealed a whole new world of viewing the human body without physically opening someone up. In today’s world, we hear terms like CAT scan, MRI, digital X-rays and high-definition (HD) images. A CAT scan is computed axial tomography, meaning images are mathematically reproduced from multiple tiny sections captured from radiation, delivering a three-dimensional (3-D) image. The chief

By: DR. JAMES DUNCAN

purpose of the 3-D CT scan is diagnosing, allowing physicians to locate problems in both the hard structures, like bone, and the soft tissues, such as organs and vessels. These 3-D images give pinpoint locations of problems and provide the ability to measure sizes of the structures in the body. Dentistry has taken this technology and scaled it to fit the needs of the profession. By utilizing 3-D CT technology, we can funnel the radiation down a cone to capture images, creating cone beam computed tomography (CBCT). This technology is now readily available in general dental practices. Utilizing CBCT drastically reduces the amount of radiation needed for CT scans and places the radiation in a more precise location on the patient. In addition to radiation reduction (up to 100 times less), the actual size of the radiation machine (X-ray machine) is smaller, allowing it to fit in just about any dental office. The 3-D dental CBCT is being used regularly in so many different fields of specialties, including oral-maxillofacial surgery, prosthodontics, periodontics and

For more information, visit Duncan Dental Studio online at www.duncandentalstudio.com.

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USING CBCT DRASTICALLY REDUCES THE AMOUNT OF RADIATION NEEDED FOR CT SCANS.

orthodontics, to help diagnose and treat patients. Aiding in diagnosing tumors and growths to dental caries (cavities), the CBCT can reveal exact locations of impacted teeth and destruction of jaw bone resulting from trauma or gum disease, pinpoint accurate locations of vital structures and nerve canals and reveal internal anatomy of a tooth for root canal therapy. Never before have we had so much information at our fingertips to help in determining the best course of treatment for our patients, and in many situations, allowing treatment to be minimally invasive. This makes it more tolerable for the healing process of the remarkable human body. The trinity of 3-D, length, width and height does not stop at the X-ray machine. No, it spills over into capturing HD impressions or molds of the teeth and jaw from inside the mouth. So many of us have experienced impressions/molds made of our teeth where a mouthful of “some gooey stuff” in a tray was placed in and over our teeth and filled up to the max, and we just to sit and wait for the material to harden. Stone, like plaster of Paris, is then poured into the impressions and allowed to set, and voilà – we have molds of our teeth. Digital technology now allows your dentist to capture an HD image of all your teeth in the mouth along with all the additional structures, such as the gums and tissues, and displays this in full 3-D color! What is the purpose for 3-D impressions of our dentition? These 3-D images can be sent to 3-D printers, and a solid mold of your teeth will be printed to actual size. Or the images can be sent to a 3-D milling machine where a crown (cap) for the tooth can be milled to fit over your tooth. Orthodontists may use these images to develop a series of appliances that can be worn to move and straighten your teeth like Invisalign. This technology is relatively new in dentistry and still a bit pricey, but as advances continue in this 9,000-year-old profession, we can expect the costs to drop and many more inventions and uses to follow.

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PATIENT


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361.883.5955

BOARD CERTIFIED IN FOOT SURGERY WITH THE AMERICAN BOARD OF PODIATRIC SURGERY FELLOW OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF FOOT AND ANKLE SURGEONS MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION AUTHOR OF “AN UNFORGETTABLE SALUTE,” AVAILABLE AT IUNIVERSE.COM AND BARNES NOBLE I N AND SPIRE C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M 17


PATIENT of rehabilitation a day from physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech pathologists.

THE BEST PLACE

 Nurses are continuously available.

By: DR. MICHAEL FUENTES

W

hen recovering from a disabling injury or disease, rehabilitative care is significant to a patient’s healing process, helping provide positive results in regaining or improving productivity and independence. Choosing a rehabilitation facility for yourself or a loved one may be one of the most important and difficult decisions you have to make. When you talk about rehabilitation facilities, you may hear the terms, “skilled nursing,” “nursing homes,” “assisted living centers” and “acute rehabilitation hospitals.” These all may seem like equal choices for rehabilitative care, but they’re not. Each of the aforementioned facilities has rehabilitation professionals on staff, but only one – the rehabilitation hospital – specializes in rehabilitation, offering 24-hour rehabilitative nursing care, along with daily physician management and intensive rehabilitation therapies. A national study shows that patients treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals have better long-term

results than those treated in skilled nursing facilities. The study, which was commissioned by the ARA Research Institute, shows that patients treated in rehabilitation hospitals live longer, have fewer hospital and ER visits and remain longer in their homes without additional outpatient services. These patients returned home from their initial stay two weeks earlier and remained home nearly two months longer. In addition, patients who were treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals experienced an 8 percent lower mortality rate and 5 percent fewer emergency room visits per year. In addition, last spring, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association released guidelines strongly recommending that stroke patients be treated at inpatient rehabilitation facilities rather than skilled nursing facilities. The guidelines highlight the effective and important aspects of an inpatient rehabilitation facility, including:  Patients typically participate in at least three hours

A GOOD STARTING PLACE IS TO DISCUSS YOUR OPTIONS WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN OR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.

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 Doctors typically visit daily. So, how do you select a rehabilitation hospital that’s right for you or a loved one? A good starting place is to discuss your options with your physician or health care provider. He or she is intimately involved with your health care and knows your specific needs. Your physician will know what type of rehabilitation will be required for your injury or illness. Ask for recommendations on rehabilitation hospitals, and then do some research:  Start with an online search. Compile information and form questions. Review general information about rehabilitative care, and gather information from the hospital’s website.  Take a tour of the hospital. Observe the attitude of the staff, the type of equipment and the cleanliness of the facility. By visiting, you can get a sense of the care provided, compassion for patient dignity and involvement of family members. You may want to ask about: • Health care specialists who will be involved in your care • Nurse-to-patient ratio • Longevity of the staff • Certifications and credentials of the staff • The size of the hospital • What services are provided • Hospital accreditations and recognitions • Patients’ results  Note the location of the hospital. While the location should be considered, getting the best care for you or a loved one is most important. If you have to leave your hometown for treatment, check the hospital’s policy for overnight

LEAF/BIGSTOCK.COM

How to choose the right rehabilitative care facility for you or a loved one


PATIENTS IN INPATIENT REHABILITATION HOSPITALS HAVE BETTER LONG-TERM RESULTS THAN THOSE IN SKILLED NURSING FACILITIES. visitors and onsite available food services. Also, you can check the hospital’s proximity to hotels, grocery stores and restaurants.  Determine if family members are involved in the patient’s care. When family members help patients transition back to their home and work lives once they leave the hospital, it’s important that everyone – patients, family members and the hospital health care team – work together consistently to help the patient achieve the most independence possible.

 Find out some “housekeeping” information, such as what language is spoken at the hospital, the types of insurance accepted, the hospital’s visitation hours and anything else that can make your and your family’s stay more comfortable. Don’t ever hesitate to research, observe and ask questions to be sure you are treated at a facility that offers exemplary rehabilitative services in an environment that’s comfortable for you and your family.

Board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, Dr. Michael Fuentes is the medical director of Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital. The hospital provides specialized rehabilitative care to patients recovering from disabilities caused by injuries, illnesses or chronic medical conditions. For more information, visit www.ccrh. ernesthealth.com, call 361-906-3700 or visit the hospital at 5726 Esplanade Drive in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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PATIENT

EDUCATION IS KEY

Living with Alzheimer’s: a guide for family caregivers By: DR. NESTOR H. PRADERIO

is tough, especially if you try to go it alone.

How can I boost my memory, mood and overall health?

What is Alzheimer’s disease? Alzheimer’s disease is the No. 1 type of dementia in the United States. It causes a decline in mental abilities and can interfere with activities of daily living (ADL).

• Change your diet by adding green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, broccoli and cabbage. • Eat fish once a week, especially fish with high anti-oxidants such as tuna, salmon and whiting. • Eat mixed nuts as a healthy snack. • Coconut oil has been shown to improve memory and brain function. • Vitamin B12 taken twice a week can benefit patients with memory problems. • Engage in activities that stimulate the brain such as puzzles, reading, coloring and brain games. • Exercise.

What are the stages of Alzheimer’s disease? Stage 1: initial stage • Inability to name common objects • Losing their place when reading • Loss of train of thought in mid-sentence • Minor memory loss • Difficulty learning new things • Trouble with planning • Slow in speech and understanding Stage 2: moderate stage

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE IS THE NO. 1 TYPE OF DEMENTIA IN THE UNITED STATES. 20

years. You have noticed “little things” that are concerning, but you do not want to alarm anyone. As time passes, there are other observations that compel you to seek medical advice for your loved one. It’s Alzheimer’s. What do we do now? Get educated about the disease. Read and learn as much as you can. Join a support group. The journey

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• Feeling withdrawn/disoriented • Problems recognizing family and friends • Changes in sleep and bladder control • High risk of wandering and getting lost • Forgetting details of one’s personal life (past and present) • Suspiciousness Stage 3: advanced stage • Requires 24/7 care • Changes in physical abilities • Difficulty swallowing • Increased risk of infection • Increased sleeping • Weight loss

Is there a cure for Alzheimer’s disease? Presently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Medications will not reverse the disease – but they can slow the progression. What can I expect in my role as a family caregiver? In balancing reality while living within the realm of a dementia patient’s world, normalcy is a luxury that often eludes caregivers. As the disease progresses, caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia requires 24/7 vigilance. According to investopedia. com, the care plan includes support for ADL and regular activities, including: • Personal hygiene (grooming, bathing and oral care)

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T

he diagnosis of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be the beginning of an unbelievably gut-wrenching ordeal. Or it may evolve as one of the most intensely invaluable relationships you will ever experience. You have probably considered the possibility of the diagnosis for several months or perhaps even


• Dressing • Eating • Toileting • Walking/transferring • Continence Constant redirection, distraction and reminiscing techniques in addressing the behavioral symptoms of your loved one can be exhausting, stressful and even detrimental to your own health and safety. Seek respite care on a routine basis so that you may re-energize. Continue to learn as much as you can about the disease. Participate in our community education programs such as the Healthy Aging Series Symposium and the Face to Face Family and Friends Caregiver Conference & Festival. The Face to Face Family and Friends Caregiver Conference and Festival is our flagship community education event. Agenda topics are outlined in response to general inquiries, feedback and annual conference evaluations from family caregivers. The key session of the caregiver conference is developed in “real time” with public input on the day of the event. The interactive exchange has become a platform for caregivers to express concerns, share personal stories, identify problems, offer solutions, recommend options and gain a sense of community. The Healthy Aging Series concept implements a mobile panel forum to represent and share the most current knowledge in helping individuals manage the process of aging. The focus of these sessions relate to nutrition, physical and spiritual wellness, social interaction, brain health, family caregivers, complementary health and others. I invite you to be our guest at the next Healthy Aging Series Symposium on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Room 106 at the Del Mar College Center for Economic Development, located at 3902 S. Staples St. (across from Ray High School). The itinerary includes registration, continental breakfast, two presentation sessions followed by a Q&A session for each and exhibitor visits. The topic of my presentation will be “Family Dynamics in Dementia Diagnosis.” Our invited guest speaker will be Adrian Garza, publisher of Inspire Coastal Bend Business and Medical Magazine. Garza will share his personal journey after his father’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

The symposium is free of charge and open to the public. Telephone registration is available by calling 361-238-7777. Online registration is available at www.texasfacetoface.com. For more information, follow us at www.facebook.com/texasfacetoface.

Serving Corpus Christi, Texas Est. 2006

Find the path to wellness by working with a dependable physical therapist at Therapy First. We’re conveniently located inside the Corpus Christi Athletic Club. Call us today for more information or to set up your first appointment.

Physical Therapy Aquatic Physical Therapy Sports Physical Therapy Occupational Therapy

Value. Quality Care. Convenience.

CALL NOW!

361-993-4778 2101 Airline Rd., Corpus Christi

Hours: M-Th. 8-7, Fri. 8-3, Lunch Break Noon-2

www.therapyfirstcc.com I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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THE TIPPING POINT Private-practice physical therapists urge consumers to #ChoosePT over opioids for long-term pain management. By: CATHY PIERCE

PRESCRIPTION OPIOID HEADLINES are staggering: 40 Americans die each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids; they cost the Unites States economy $7.8 billion a year; and 227 million opioid prescriptions were handed out in the United States in 2015. In response to the millions of Americans living with chronic pain and seeking relief, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) rolled out is #ChoosePT campaign with a clear message: Opioids only mask pain; physical therapists treat pain through movement and exercise. In concert with the APTA, members of the organization’s private practice section are stepping up efforts to educate the public about physical therapy as a safe, nondrug alternative to opioids for pain management. The United States has reached a tipping point in the opioid epidemic, with studies showing more than half of pain sufferers turning to pills and other unproven methods for relief. Opioids are often prescribed to treat back pain, neck pain and degenerative joint disease, but are not the only option for patients. Use of prescription opioids to mask pain is a risky, short-term solution that leads to powerful addiction and will never provide suf-

ferers with long-term relief. Recommended as a safe alternative to opioids for pain management by both the CDC and the Surgeon General, physical therapy can help patients work through their condition and get better. Opioids mask pain sensations. Physical therapy focuses on eliminating the need for opioids by developing a care plan that is individualized for each patient. At Therapy First, we offer many advanced treatments for pain relief. These include Graston instrument-assisted soft-tissue manipulation, integrative dry needling and contemporary cupping methods. Often, we start with aquatic therapy and advance our patients to other activities as they improve. Private practitioners have unique access to the right resources to help patients choose physical therapy to manage pain without the risks and side effects of opioids. These physical therapists rely on outcomes based evidence to treat pain and help patients increase strength and flexibility, and improve mobility. Their main focus is to fix the dysfunction permanently and give patients the tools to independently address dysfunction throughout their lifetime. At Therapy First, we start with a thorough examination and then develop a comprehensive treatment plan to minimize pain and maximize function. We educate our patients about correct posture and body mechanics and provide individualized care for each patient.

FORTY AMERICANS DIE EACH DAY FROM OVERDOSES INVOLVING PRESCRIPTION OPIOIDS.

Therapy First is a locally owned physical therapy and occupational therapy business located at the Corpus Christi Athletic Club. For more information, look us up at www.therapyfirstcc.com or call 361-993-4778.

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STYLE-PHOTOGRAPHS/BIGSTOCK.COM

PATIENT


“COMMITTED TO EXCELLENCE�

Family and Cosmetic Dentistry

Warm caring doctors and team members Comfortable, relaxing environment with beautiful decor and artwork. Dental implant crowns, veneers, porcelain crowns, white fillings, gum treatment, Zoom teeth whitening Modern,up-to-date, high-tech equipment

Mon-Thurs: 8am-5pm Fri: 8am-Noon Payment Plans, Most Insurance Accepted

Kenneth Gonzales, D.D.S., P.L.L.C. Delaine Farias, D.D.S., P.L.L.C 361-992-2421 7426 S. Staples St., Ste. 101 Corpus Christi, TX 78413 www.gonzalessmiles.com I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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On June 1st at the Texas State Aquarium, the Alzheimer’s Association will present the first Reason to Hope event designed to educate the community about the Alzheimer’s Association while raising funds to support Alzheimer’s research, programs and services.

Guest Speaker Bess Frost, Ph.D. from the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. Sponsored by:

COASTAL BEND BUSINESS

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AND MEDICAL MAGAZINE

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Table Host or Sponsorship inquiries please contact Martha Moseley at mamoseley@alz.org 361.445.9764 | 800.272.3900 | alz.org


CrossFit Classes 7 Days a Week

SS FIT O R C

Morning, Mid-Day and Evening Beginner  Advanced Competitor

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Adults  Teens Kids Welcome

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Memberships Start at $95/month for Adults $75/month for Students Private Coaching Available by Appointment Drop-Ins Welcome  Showers Lifting Cardio Area I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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COVER STORY

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YOUR

PAINFREE PLAN

Humpal Physical Therapy offers tailored solutions for patients to enjoy long-term relief and return to life. By: ANNE BOOHER Photos by: MC STUDIO WORKZ

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Pain and inability to perform normal activities of daily living can be frustrating. Thankfully, the path toward improving function and decreasing pain is one you don’t have to navigate alone. Humpal Physical Therapy has provided quality, customized care in the Coastal Bend for the past 28 years. Founder Scott Humpal shaped this practice into a vital institution, delivering relief and positive functional results to thousands. “We like Corpus Christi because it is a large city that operates like a small town,” Humpal says. “We equally love our Alice, Calallen, Portland, Aransas Pass and Rockport clinics, as each one is unique and services many small, surrounding communities. Advances in the medical community have made leaps and bounds since we’ve been here.” While the practice prides itself on being an orthopedic outpatient facility, the benefits of physical therapy can be felt through a range of medical conditions, from neurological issues to cancer recovery rehab, treatment for vertigo and rehab for pregnant mothers before and after delivery. Any condition that involves pain and limited function can benefit from the expertise of a physical therapist. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, physical therapy referrals were limited and often included the blanket use of hotpacks, ultrasound and massage. This course of treatment did not appeal to Humpal, who preferred to branch out from the norm and approach physical therapy care from a new perspective. “I was a big proponent of home programs and exercises,” Humpal says. “What I did right away was implement what I like to do, which is manual therapy – introduce

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“We’ve got a huge bag of tricks to help our patients achieve their goals.”

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Scott Humpal has shaped this practice into a vital institution. techniques that were new to the area.” While passive treatments are beneficial, as well, unless attention is given to whole-body functioning, and the dysfunction is not addressed through proper manual therapy and exercise, physical therapy intervention won’t be successful. Once a patient is assigned to a therapist, they will also work with a team of assistants who may help out with manual therapy, exercises, heat, cold, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, laser and numerous other treatments to help the body heal and affect change. “Every time you come in, you are building a personal relationship in your recovery,” Humpal says. “Each therapist gives our clients a thorough evaluation to find pain, discover what daily functional activities someone is unable to do and figure out a goal the patient would like to reach with this type of care. As long as the patient responds, you stick to that plan. If the patient doesn’t respond, we change it. We’ve got a huge bag of tricks to help our patients achieve their goals.” This results in a treatment plan that is exclusive to your particular needs and goals. “Our expertise is in the musculoskeletal system and how to properly evaluate that and look for deficits,” he continues. “Where does this person have a strength deficit? Where are they tight? What tissues are immobile? What motion is limited? And most of all, what limited function needs to be addressed? Since you have hundreds of muscles in your body, you have to have ways to narrow down what muscles and tissues need to be addressed with each particular patient because it’s unique for everyone.” Each of Humpal’s physical therapy centers offers pools, which are invaluable to those suffering from joint pain. “I saw that need in our area and decided to implement clinical therapy pools long ago,” he says. “Our first pool was

dug by hand in the Alice clinic in 1996. Water unweights the patient and takes a lot of pressure off their joints. The hydrostatic effects of the water in general promote positive change. When a patient completes a therapy session, they feel refreshed even though they’ve done strengthening and stretching exercises that would have left them sore and tired in a regular office setting.” Feeling exhausted following a physical therapy session is par for the course, but Humpal assures his patients that as long as they stick with the program, results and relief are in sight. “We give each patient a home program, which is very important in the rehabilitation process,” he says. “We develop each one specifically to fit that individual. We want them to communicate with us as to what goals they are trying to achieve and give their bodies a chance to respond to treatment. If, for example, a patient decides to go running, is not ready for this activity and doesn’t consult with us, their condition may flare up and slow their recovery. The most important thing they can do is stick to the program, and then we progress from there. There’s always a progression.” Communication between patient and therapist is vital to moving beyond pain and finding long-term solutions. Humpal’s team will develop the best course of action to solve the problem, but it is up to the patient to verbalize if something isn’t working correctly. “There are always other techniques we can try,” Humpal says. “After their first treatment, it’s intense. You’re testing them; you’re reproducing their pain. I always warn them, you might not feel better after the first treatment. It’s not an immediate fix. Rehab is a long process.” On occasion, a patient will come in thinking they have a specific problem that no treatment seems to help, only to find out that it’s another issue entirely. For example, sacroiliac pain can often be misinterpreted as lower-back

pain, and a patient can feel frustrated when traditional pain relief methods fail. When these types of situations come into Humpal’s office, he says it’s one of those times when it might be an easy fix. “Most of the patients we see with sacroiliac dysfunction have been suffering for years and treating the wrong issue,” he says. “They get MRIs, and nothing shows up. What they really need is someone who understands SI joints and how to get them back in alignment and keep them there. Even after one treatment, patients can feel immediate relief.” Beyond the aches and pains associated with lifestyle and genetics, there are a number of ways physical therapy can help heal even more extreme physical damage. “Cancer treatments involving removal of a lymph gland or a mastectomy can leave extensive scar tissue that limits movement,” Humpal says. “It takes scar tissue about eight weeks to fully form, and once it’s formed, it’s immobile. Up until that point, however, it can be manipulated, stretched and smoothed to maximize range of motion.” For those with scar tissue forming around their shoulder or chest, seeking physical therapy as soon as possible can mean the difference between limited and full mobility, and it can be a way to prevent a bad situation from becoming worse. Customized, progressive care is at the core of everything Humpal does. From the front office to the therapists, assistants and technicians, he prides himself on a quality staff that provides exceptional service from scheduling the first appointment to living pain-free. Physical therapy is only one of the medical services that is structured to your body and its abilities and limitations. When such services exist, there is no reason to continue living in discomfort when a solution is readily available. Humpal Physical Therapy can help you find that relief you’ve been missing.

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• DEPRESSION

• ADHD

• ADOLESCENT CONDUCT DISORDERS • ALCOHOLISM

• ANXIETY

• DRUG ABUSE

• EATING DISORDERS

• SCHOOL FAILURE

• STRESS

Raul R. Capitaine, MD, PA Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry 6000 S. Staples St., Suite 406 (361) 993-4835 Additional Offices in Alice - Beeville - Victoria 1-800-217-9238

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PROFILE

Bringing Home Back Home At Hacienda Oaks Nursing & Rehabilitation, Frank Dominguez and his team take great pride in helping patients regain their independence and go back to their homes in the community. By: JESSICA DUSEK Photos by: DARK LAB PHOTOGRAPHY

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In February of this year, Administrator Frank Dominguez joined Hacienda Oaks Nursing & Rehabilitation Beeville, Texas. Bringing years of expertise, providing service as a nurse for 20 years and as an administrator for 16 years thereafter, he is excited to rejoin the community.

His previous positions with Regency Integrated Health Services led him to work in Corpus Christi as an administrator and as president of clinical services with River City Hospice. Overseeing Hacienda Oaks, Dominguez returns to his hometown after 24 years. “It was a bit of a homecoming,” explains the Beeville native, enthusiastically. Leading a staff of 80 employees and contracted employees, Hacienda houses 55 patients in their facility on any given day. Overseeing Beeville patients, Dominguez manages patient care, nutrition and operations. “I hold departments accountable and oversee compliance,” he explains. “I ensure that we have all of our processes in place.” From dietary to housekeeping, he makes sure the staff works collaboratively together. “We have a daily care-management meeting,” he describes of the weekly schedule. “We review issues and processes in place. I work collaboratively with each department to make sure they are in place.” Also meeting with their interdisciplinary team working with residents, the staff ensures patients’ needs are met. Helping rehab candidates get back into their community, Hacienda offers advanced levels of IV therapy and advanced wound care options. Benefits for patient care Helpful for new and existing patients, Hacienda is the only contracted Humana provider in their county. The Humana Medicare program is a pre-authorized health care replacement program. “It will give au-

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thorization and can help with a recovery and treatment program,” Dominguez says. “We give them updates and communicate with them weekly. Our case manager will help us set up that equipment at home to continue care there. “Our Fast Track Rehabilitation Recovery Program will work with our patients to develop a comprehensive recovery and treatment plan that will help them achieve better health and maximum independence. We have a great rehabilitation program with our partnership with Reliant Rehabilitation that provides excellent physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. “We take great pride in seeing patients come through our doors with therapy needs and reach of level of independence that allows them to go back to their home in the community.” The process “We will start with case manager or physician,” Dominguez says. “If they need our services, it will be for short-term or long-term care.” Offering IV therapy, wound care, tube feeding and occupational speech therapy, the organization also works with hospice. “Say there is a caregiver in the community that needs short-term caregiver relief; we contract with a couple of hospice agencies that will offer assistance for up to five days,” explains Dominguez of the services involved. They also provide a certified wound care physician assistant who supports their staff. Surprisingly, patients’ ages vary. “We are starting to see younger and younger clients come through,” Dominguez says. “Although majority are 65 and older, let’s say they have a hip fracture, and they couldn’t bounce back as quickly. We give them the care to bounce back to that prior level of function in the community.” Based on patients’ needs, homecare can be an option that is helpful in some cases. “The staff will work collaboratively with the home health,” Dominguez explains. While the main facility is home to some, others experience short-term care ranging from 20 to 30 days. Long-term stays can be months or longer. Hacienda Oaks Nursing & Rehab has been in Beeville, Texas, for more than 40 years. Part of Preferred Care Management Group, they continue to operate their 110 facilities in 12 states. Dedicated to lead in his hometown community, Dominguez looks forward to serving patients he knew growing up. With Hacienda, his confidence in the organization translates from their patient care. “[Hacienda gives] us the autonomy for what we need and what this market requires: to provide what we feel we need and what programs we need. I’m excited to be in this community because it is my hometown. I know the residents, and want to ensure they get the service they need from us! I have a vested interest in ensuring that we deliver what we promise.” To learn more about Hacienda Oaks Nursing & Rehabilitation, visit www.nursingrehabbeeville.com. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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PROFILE WHEN A STROKE OCCURS, it happens fast. And usually, when you least expect it. For John Olson, it happened on Easter Sunday in 2016. “I was trying to get a drink for my grandson,” Olson recalls. “I couldn’t hold anything in my left hand; I was dropping everything.” At first, he and his wife, Ann, weren’t sure what was going on. Unfortunately, experts say, this is all too common. According to Dr. Morgan Campbell, a stroke neurologist at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi - Shoreline, the signs of stroke can be confusing. “Most people don’t know the symptoms of stroke, but recognizing them and acting fast can save your life or someone you know. It is vitally important that we educate ourselves on the signs and symptoms of stroke.” When Campbell says, “acting fast,” he means FAST. This acronym is used as a tool to recognize and respond to the typical signs of a stroke. He explains, “F: Face – Is there any facial drooping? A: Arms – Is there an inability to lift arms? S: Speech – is the person’s speech or impaired? And T is time. Call 911, or get to the nearest hospital if you experience any of those symptoms, because time is important.” John and Ann Olson’s daughter-in-law recognized the potential for stroke, and they rushed to the nearest emergency room. John was treated at a hospital in San Antonio, and his original prognosis was not good. “They pretty much told him he probably wouldn’t live,” Ann says. In the United States, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death, claiming more than 137,000 lives each year. It is also the leading cause of serious long-term disability in adults, and according to the National Stroke Association, approximately 795,000 strokes will take place this year. But thankfully, John got to a hospital in time to be treated for his stroke. His family and faith motivated him to fight the disease, and one week later, John was back home in Corpus Christi and beginning his rehabilitation at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi - Shoreline. CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi Shoreline is the region’s only Advanced Stroke Center, it has earned the Gold Plus Award

Rehabilitation after stroke at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi - Shoreline, and the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of stroke By: Alexis Mays Photos by: Fusion Photography

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHRISTUS SPOHN HEALTH SYSTEM

ROAD TO RECOVERY

WHEN HE FIRST GOT THERE, HE COULDN’T EVEN GET OUT OF THE BED ON HIS OWN.”


of dragging it. By the end of his month-long inpatient rehab, John was walking with a modified walker, and three months later, he was walking on his own again. “His recovery has been incredible,” says Julianne Herrera, M.S., CTRS, a recreational therapist at CHRISTUS Spohn’s inpatient rehabilitation department. “We are so proud of him.” From a fatal prognosis to inspiring recovery, John’s story has something for everyone. To those on the road to recovery, he encourages them to attend rehab and support groups. And to each and every person, he urges knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke. “Time is key,” Campbell agrees. “Knowing when to go to the emergency is lifesaving.”

LEARN TO ACT

FAST! FAST is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you can spot the signs, you’ll know you need to call 911 for help right away. FAST is:

FACE DROOPING from the American Heart/American Stroke Association and it is recognized as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission. John’s condition was scary for him and his wife. Ann recounts, “When he first got there, he couldn’t even get out of the bed on his own.” Doctors had said it could take at least a year before he was walking again. They weren’t sure what to expect from rehab, but the associates at CHRISTUS Spohn Shoreline immediately exceeded every expectation. “Melinda was my physical therapist, and Danielle was occupational therapist, and they are just awesome.” John says. “All the nurses were great. It was a good experience, considering the shape I was in. But thanks to the help of Melinda and Danielle, it went along a lot quicker than that. I saw progress every couple of days.” A milestone occurred when John was able to lift his leg instead

Does one side of the face droop, or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?

ARM WEAKNESS Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

If you think you are having a stroke, call 911 immediately.

SPEECH DIFFICULTY Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

TIME TO CALL 911 If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

About CHRISTUS Spohn Health System CHRISTUS Spohn Health System is the region’s largest charity care provider and not-for-profit health care system consisting of six hospital campuses: CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi (Shoreline, Memorial and South), CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Beeville and CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Kleberg (Kingsville). The health system is consistently ranked as a leading health system in the area, and it has received national recognition for several pioneering programs, including cardiac care, clinical excellence and oncology. For more than 100 years, CHRISTUS Spohn has been distinguished by its high-caliber staff and affiliated physicians, its comprehensive and innovative services and its long history of responding to the needs of the community it serves. For additional information, visit our website at www.christusspohn.org.

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HEALTH & WELLNESS

FOCUS ON HEARTHEALTHY How to eat on the go during summer vacation

I

t’s summertime, and no matter where you are and what your summer trips entail, remember there are great ways to make sure you and your kids eat hearthealthy on the go during this sunny season! Exercising and eating healthy on road trips are optimal summer ways to boost your health all year long! Eating less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars (as recommended by federal dietary guidelines) can help keep your heart, weight and long-term health in check. Choosing foods that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and fish gives you a daily serving of good health. If you’re eating away from home, one of the best resources is the American Heart Association’s Heart Check program, which helps you find better options when eating away from home with the Heart-Check mark certification for heart-healthy meals. On summer vacation, no matter where you stop on the road for a bite to eat, look for the Heart-Check mark on the menu – it’s similar to the one you may recognize from hearthealthy foods in the grocery store. Then you’ll know right away that the meal has been certified to meet the American Heart Association’s nutritional standards. Keep in mind: When you’re on summer vacation, if you find yourself driving through for fast food, avoid super-sizing your order to help cut down on fat, salt and sugar. The words, “fast food,” may conjure images of greasy burgers, salty fries and frosty shakes brimming with fat and sugar. The truth is that fast food doesn’t always mean “bad for you,” according to Linda Van Horn, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University. “You just have to be selective, both about the choice of restaurant and the choices you make when you get there,” Van Horn said. “Some, but not all, fast food restaurants have grilled chicken, salads, low-fat milk, fruit and even oatmeal choices for breakfast. Figure out which restaurants offer such options, and try to frequent those more often.”

FAST FOOD DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN “BAD FOR YOU.”

For road trips, focus on packing customized travel lunches for each traveler from your local grocery store. “It’s often cheaper and just as easy to run into a grocery store and buy more nutritious food, like a freshly made sandwich on whole-grain bread using fresh turkey or chicken and a piece of fruit,” Van Horn said. Remember, when it comes to choosing a quick meal, you can think inside or outside the fast-food box. Keeping your summer bright and your focus on clean eating will help you travel the road of life with a strong heart and healthy body!

Erin Wilder is the executive director of the American Heart Association – Corpus Christi. For more information, visit www.heart.org. You can also find daily resources for living healthy for good at https://healthyforgood.heart.org.

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EXPRESSIONS OF INSPIRATION

MAJESTIC TIDES

Majesty Outdoors brings hope to single-family homes.

“YOUTH AND DEVELOPING PROGRAMS – THAT’S OUR PASSION,” ex-

plains Terry Ray of Majesty Outdoors. Ray’s calling is to help – to, as he describes, “reach out to those who do not have a voice.” Their mission, according to him: “Building a generation of hope by shattering the cycle of fatherlessness, through a fearless foundation of love, hope and direction.” Connecting single-family kids with mentoring programs helps provide fulfilling, character-building and life-changing experiences. The organization has operated chapters in Dallas, Flour Bluff, Hays and Mercedes, Texas, aiming to reach 50 chapters nationwide within the next few years. “Growing up, I thought I had it rough,” Ray says. Yet, the statistics around fatherlessness in homes continue to rise, adding to an astounding 90 percent of runaways who stem from fatherless homes. In addi-

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WE MAKE SURE FATHERLESS CHILDREN UNDERSTAND THEY ARE NOT ALONE.”

tion, nearly 71 percent of high-school dropouts – and 85 percent of young people in the prison system – also come from homes without a consistent male figure in the household. (Ray’s source for this information is “The Fatherless Generation,” by John Sowers.) Through interactive programs, Ray has found success in raising the self-confidence in these kids. “It’s exposing the children to what they don’t realize they are capable of,” he explains. Joining the Majesty Outdoors cause, Ray and his wife took a leap of faith by leaving his ministry with the Salvation Army. “My son was diagnosed with two rare blood diseases,” Ray says. “I said, ‘O.K., God, whatever it is, we are going to stand in your pathway, and you make it happen.’” An accidental career move led Ray to join the Salvation Army in 1990. Assigned to a simple kids’ program in St. Louis, Mo., his career changed overnight. Approached by an officer to teach a Sunday school class one Saturday, “I expressed I was uncomfortable with it. The officer, not taking no for an answer, said, ‘I need you to do this. See you tomorrow!’” Yet, Ray’s love for the work grew. “Working with those inner-city kids made me realize what I wanted to do.” His personal love for music also became a way to communicate with the kids. Incorporating music, “I began with a drum-line and pulled in guitars and added voice and brass instruction later.” He recalls from his early days at the Salvation Army Temple Corps in St. Louis, “Music was something that changed my world. I realized it was a gift.” A gift – among many he brings to Majesty Outdoors. His wife, Sharon, also serves the nonprofit sector. Together, the Rays

PHOTOS COURTESY OF MAJESTY OUTDOORS

By: KATHLEEN NADERER


have contributed their time to program development and communities in Arlington, Va., Charlotte, N.C., Minneapolis, Minn., and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. “As we served in the Salvation Army, we were identified as builders in both programs and facilities.” While serving the Salvation, Ray helped lead efforts in Biloxi, Miss., recovering from Hurricane Katrina. The Ray & Joan Kroc Center is a 53,000-square-foot recreation center hosting 1,700 members with everything from a football stadium

IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A BETTER CITY, START WITH MAKING BETTER KIDS.”

to an indoor water park. “That’s kind of how all of these things developed,” he explains. “My passion became communicating the mission to strengthen families and impact generations to come. If you want to make a better city, start with making better kids – providing opportunities that open up the world to them!” Ray continues to explain the reality of fatherless families: “It is a global issue. Our mentors really understand that. That epidemic is very quiet in our country. When families split apart, it’s not only the parents that need support. The children are often lost in the shuffle. Single moms and, even more so, grandmas do incredible things to keep their families together.” Ray’s enthusiasm and compassion extends to military families. “If a father is deployed, we get the children in touch with a chapter and leaders,” Ray says. “That’s where Majesty Outdoors is changing the tide of fatherlessness. Their perception is that no one else is experiencing what they are experiencing – that they are alone. That is where the mentoring program is

most effective. We make sure they understand they are not alone. People care.” The mentoring program has weekly classes and monthly options for kids to meet with their mentoring group. “It allows students to get involved in arts and outdoor education, service projects or conservation and recreation activities,” he explains. Partnering with local organizations, like Youth Odyssey, provides kids with opportunities they might not ever have experienced. “Majesty Outdoors has attracted national attention by using the platform of their television show,” Ray explains of the program’s reach. The television program is featured on the Pursuit Channel, Direct TV, Dish Network and online venues. Featuring real-life mentors and kids hunting and fishing, “The stars of that hunting and fishing show are fatherless teens,” Ray says. “We get them out of their comfort zones. You don’t have a whole lot of technology when you are out on a boat or in the woods. So the kids have to put their ‘stuff’ away and communicate!” With expansion in 2017 and 2018, “this is an exciting time to be with Majesty Outdoors,” Ray says enthusiastically. Supported though grants and foundations, they remain strong due to individual donors and local fundraisers. Weaving in the support of other like-minded organizations, Ray pulls in his involvement at the Rotary Club and Clergy Alliance. Trailblazing international connections, Ray recently connected with an Australian group, In 2 Life. “They have been able to make an impact in reducing the number of teen suicides,” he explains. “We’ve also been approached by a group of men from China who have requested to be trained in our program to take to the school systems in rural areas.” Ray concludes, “As Majesty Outdoors prepares to launch an updated nationwide curriculum and program, it would seem God has much bigger plans for this man [Ray] and this organization!”

Upcoming events include:  Inaugural gala on May 13  Fishing tournament in July (open to public)

For more information, go to www.majestyoutdoors.org. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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RadiaGuardÂŽ Treatment System

The Complete RadiaGuard Treatment System provides the IDEAL, COMPLETE and TOTAL Support Group for radiation therapy patients. The Unique blend of superb ingredients like Marigold (Calendula), Aloe, Green Tea, Almond Oil and Jojoba provide healing, moisturizing, revitalizing and restoring benefits to skin damaged by radiation.The RadiaGuard product line contains no metals or any other ingredients that may interfere or alter the effect of the radiation treatments.

Doctors, Hospitals and Patients for more information contact your local sales representative Greg Duvall (361) 944-7336 www.radiaguard.com

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I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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NONPROFIT

VOLUNTEER YOUR VOICE

How a busy R.N., mother and wife gave a foster child the one thing she wanted most

N

ine-year-old Brittany confidently walked up to the stand, her eyes sharp and determined. Her pigtails swayed side-to-side with each step as she climbed the steps to the witness stand. Her aunt’s words echoed in her head: “All you have to do is tell the truth – nothing more, nothing less.” She faced the attorney as he cleared his throat. “Miss Brittany, can you please identify the person who murdered your brother?” Brittany walked the court through the events of that night: the screams she heard from the

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CHRISY’S GOAL WAS TO ENSURE THE CHILDREN WERE IN A SAFE PLACE THAT WOULD PROVIDE FOR THEM THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

sidewalk, the bruises that covered his body from last time, how he was thrown across rooms. She described his heaviness when he could no longer sit up, the “stuff” coming out of his mouth and the overwhelming panic when 911 couldn’t save him. The horrific memory etched in her mind plays again and again. She remembers it all. Court-appointed special advocate, Chrisy, had been waiting over a year for this day. She knew the outcome of this trial would impact the parental rights over Brittany and her younger brother, to whom she had been appointed two-and-a-half years earlier. During this time, Chri-

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CASA

By: KATHRYN HYATT


sy had followed the children through four different placements. Chrisy constantly tried to understand what the most important thing was to them. Feeling caught in the middle, the children found the constant changes confusing. While Brittany was devastated by the death of her brother, it was clear she still loved her parents and wanted to be with them. She often lied to ensure a good impression of different family members. As the one consistent presence in their lives, Chrisy was “constantly reminding her that it’s OK to love and miss her mom – that no feeling is wrong. She’s a little girl trying to figure out all this chaos she shouldn’t have had to go through.” Even at such a young age, Brittany started worrying she would grow up to be like her

ness of cultural beliefs, and to understand a poor decision can be due to lack of education, mental illness, medications, etc.” Chrisy admits her most useful tool in navigating this case was a simple one. “We had a family tree that I carried around and provided a copy to the judge.” With a large family, Chrisy spent most of her case time “trying to untangle accusations” between family members. “Everybody knew what happened. In other cases, they question if the abuse really happened. Not this one. You had a child who was alive, now they’re not. No one could deny that.” Amidst it all, Chrisy’s goal remained to ensure the children were in a “safe place that would provide for them the rest of their lives.” Chrisy knows the most valuable thing she

“ Never underestimate the strength of a child. I witnessed a young child survive witnessing the day-to-day abuse of her brother, experience neglect herself by her mother, face the man in court who murdered her brother and still have the courage to speak up. They have an innate will to survive and succeed in this world no matter who wants to bring them down.” – Chrisy mother. Chrisy assured her that she wasn’t predestined to grow up to be like someone just because they’re related. “You get to choose who you want to be.” Brittany’s youngest brother’s objective was simple: As long as he was with his sister, he was OK. Chrisy remembers “waiting it out with him” during angry outbursts, encouraging the boy she would not give up on him. Chrisy believes being an R.N. gives her practical experience on how to communicate with multiple differing parties – a much-needed skill in working her case. It taught her “how to speak with people at their level with aware-

advocated for was the children’s name change. Even after she advocated for Brittany to be permanently placed with her aunt, Brittany still longed to feel part of the family. “For her name to match her cousins’ meant she was one of them. When the judge granted our request, it was everything to this little girl.” Chrisy’s CASA casework supervisor had plenty to say about her advocacy. “She is a very busy wife and mother with an extremely demanding job – yet she manages to give the children and families on her CASA cases more of her time, attention and heart than I would have ever thought possible.”

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children is a network of 949 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. For more information about CASA, or if you are interested in becoming a CASA, please visit www.coastalbendcasa.org or call 361-884-2272.

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ELEVATE YOUR IMAGE

ELEVATE

Interstate All Battery Center Corpus Christi

YOUR BUSINESS

Medical supply batteries...We got it!

You don’t have to be a celebrity to shoot with the best.

4903 Ambassador Row, Corpus Christi Texas 361.854.5000 InterstateBatteriesCorpus.com Store Hours Mon-Fri 7:30am – 6pm Sat 8:30am – 2:30pm Sun Closed Facebook.com/interstatebatteriescorpus Instagram@interstatebatteries_cc

2033 S. Airline Rd., Ste. D-1 Corpus Christi, TX M-Sat 8am-6pm Sun 9am-Noon Find us on Facebook: Yolanda's Specialty Cakes

Commercial Photography for Businesses of Corpus Christi Corporate • Advertising Editorial

646.283.0100

www.michaelgiordanophoto.com [

]

michaelGIORDANO

photographer/director

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Inspire Coastal Bend Medical May/June 2017  
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