February 2019 – Carlos

On most weekdays at our Hunting Park site’s Fitness Room, you’ll likely find Esperanza Health Center patient Carlos doing one of his regular treadmill walks. His exercise routine has made a real difference in his health as part of the integrated care that he receives at Esperanza. “When you come here to Esperanza, you feel at home,” said Carlos. “I’m very happy because I’m improving a lot in my health!”

When Carlos first came to Esperanza as a new patient a few years ago, he was struggling with depression. He also had other significant health issues, including high blood pressure and diabetes. Carlos’s physician, Dr. Daniel Chen, worked with him to develop a regular exercise routine of walking at the Fitness Room, along with medications and regular follow-up care.

It was slow at first, but as Carlos followed through with his exercise routine he began to see a positive impact on his health: “I remember at my very first appointment with Dr. Chen, we talked about just starting slow with exercise. I remember thinking after the first time, ‘I don’t want to do it anymore!’ But then I went from 15 minutes, then 25 minutes—now, I’m doing 45 minutes at a time!” Carlos now walks three or four times a week. He’s seen significant improvement in his blood pressure, has lost weight, and it’s helped him with his depression.

Meeting with Esperanza‘s behavioral health consultants has also greatly benefitted Carlos. He’s been able to open up about his depression, and has received coordinated care from the behavioral health staff and Dr. Chen. “For many men, we can be afraid to talk about depression—that happened to me. The behavioral health consultants, they help a lot. Also, my diet, my exercise, my communication with my doctor—and, a lot of prayers!”

But, perhaps most important to Carlos has been the health care home that he’s found at Esperanza: “When I talk to people, I tell them that, you guys here in this place help people because here we feel like family—we can talk, we can express what we have in our heart, and we can pray together. It’s like you talk when you’re with your family!”