Adventist Health Glendale | Healthline Quarterly | Winter 2019

How to become a volunteer As a volunteer, you will perform a valu- able service to our hospital, while mak- ing new friends in a caring environment. To learn more about how you can con- tribute your time and skills, please contact volunteer services at 818-409-8057 . All positions require proficiency in Eng- lish; knowledge of a second language is a plus. Volunteers must meet health screen- ing requirements and commit to at least four hours of service each week for a period of six months, primarily on weekdays during daylight hours. An incredible discovery As years passed, Aren continued his therapy at the Play to Learn Center. In 2017, when he was seven, his parents made an incredible discovery. Using the iPad, Aren could compute arith- metic problems and understand and read English, Armenian and French. He could finally express himself, answering questions, making requests and sharing his thoughts. “Beneath Aren’s outer challenges and initial isolation from not being able to speak, his sweet, determined personality and analytical mind be- gan to shine through,” explains Traci Martinez, DPT, Play to Learn Center manager. “With his iPad, Aren inter- acts with the world. For his parents, hearing the phrase ‘love you’ brings tears of joy.” Now a third-grader in a Glendale public school, Aren is studying all the usual subjects and using an iPad as his “voice.” He’s made friends and plays just like other kids. “Aren faces challenges in his life, but his progress is a miracle in the making,” Traci adds. “I am immensely proud of our staff, whose skills and devotion to their work provide hope for the better future of our children and their families.” As for Aren, he wants to become, in his own words: “A math teacher for kids like me who can’t talk but can think, because they deserve it, all kids do. I want to teach them the value of numbers so that they can go to the store and order what they want, and no one can stop them.” ABOVE: Mardi Caruso and Yaser Badr, MD, get reacquainted following Mardi’s surgery. RIGHT: Mardi Caruso gives valuable support to the facilities and engineering team. ‘A miracle in the making’ —Continued from front cover Grateful volunteer Patient gives back to the hospital that saved her life When Mardi Caruso talks about why she volunteers at Adventist Health Glendale, her moti- vation is clear: “This hospital saved my life.” Mardi’s path to becoming a hospital volunteer began about 18 months ago. Working full-time for a major company as a designer and pattern-maker in men’s and women’s jeans, she was constantly traveling on a busy schedule. “I hardly realized it, but my walking was slowly being affected. Friends noticed my gait was changing,” she recalls. “My equilibrium felt a little off. At first I thought it was stress.” An avid hiker and outdoors person, she could tell her balance wasn’t improving. Then one morning Mardi awakened with what felt like the flu, but her symptoms worsened over the next few days. She lost her ability to walk altogether, and she could not eat or drink. Friends assisted her to get medical help. A dangerous change in the brain Seen by doctors at two Los Angeles-area hospitals outside of Glendale, Mardi was referred to Adventist Health Glendale, where neurosurgeon Yaser Badr, MD, performed emergency surgery to remove a “cavernous malformation,” a noncancerous lesion of dilated blood vessels in the portion of her brain that affects equilibrium. “There was a huge lesion in a location that causes balance problems; this was not a common situation,” Dr. Badr explains. “There was bleeding from the inside (of the lesion). It was significant because it was close to her brain stem and very important blood vessels to the back of her neck.” Mardi remembers the hours following the surgery mainly as a blur, but she’ll never for- get opening her eyes and thinking, “I’m not dizzy anymore. I’m better.” And she also won’t forget Dr. Badr coming to her room with the lab results that the lesion was benign and his words, “You’re cured. You’re 100 percent cured!” Reflecting on her experience at Adventist Health Glendale, Mardi speaks glowingly of “the incredible nurses and the amazing staff. They explained everything to me!” From patient to part of the team During many weeks of rehabilitation—relearning how to walk and eat—Mardi fully un- derstood the gravity of an unexpected chain of events in her life. She feels tremendous gratitude toward the entire hospital staff, and since last fall, she has been volunteering in the hospital’s facilities and engineering department. It’s a perfect fit for Mardi, a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in engineering. “I feel like part of the facilities team. It’s rewarding because I can see the importance in what I’m doing to help the hospital run,” Mardi says. “Volunteering here is one of the most meaningful experiences you can have. You are doing something worthwhile by helping re- store someone’s health.” TO L E A R N MO R E A B O U T A DV E N T I S T H E A LT H G L E N DA L E O R TO F I N D A DO C TO R , V I S I T A DV E N T I S T H E A LT H . O R G / G L E NDA L E 7 HOSPITAL NEWS