Articles for Baby Boomers
Quick quiz…after you
get a truly great doctor and fantastic medical coverage, what one
thing do you still need to insure your safety in a hospital? Think
about it. Are you going in for a hip replacement, new elbow or knee?
Likely you’ll be knocked out and have a few hours in recovery. If it
is a big deal you may be staying a few nights in the hospital and
maybe up to a week in a rehabilitation facility.
Give up? You’re going
to need a Patient Advocate Ninja.
Think of Mr. ‘T’ in scrubs. Start lining up a full blown body guard
with nursing background and a touch of Sherlock Holmes. Maybe your
third grade teacher will do (mine could stop a clock). Bottom line,
you’re going to need someone to fight for your rights, guard your
stuff and check your meds while you are drifting off to La-la-land.
In retrospect when I got sick the last time I should have simply
hired the cast of the Chippendale dancers and checked into the
Biltmore. It would have been cheaper, better service with a much
improved disposition of staff.
I’m Sally Franz. I just wrote a humorous lampoon on the Health Care
System, Scrambled Leggs…A Snarky tale of Hospital Hooey (it’s a Best
Seller out on Amazon). It’s hilarious and snarky because, well,
that’s more fun to read than a law suit. But it still packs a
I also hold a degree in gerontology, I own a consulting company with
clients such as SONY, Intel, Yahoo! and Texaco-Chevron. I have
appeared on the Today Show 3 times, produced and hosted in over 150
television shows. I am also an award winning author who has traveled
all over the world. I have a brain, a university diploma and a
certificate in Myers-Briggs personality typing. I have ‘graduated’
from every new age, self-help, religious and motivational program
ever invented (yes, ‘sucker’ is written on my forehead). Tony, Jack,
Werner, Brian, Napoleon, and Norman; I love you guys. Why the
diatribe of shameless self acclaimed accolades?
To say that NONE of it prepared me for what lay ahead lurking in the
hallways of our great healing institutions after visiting hours. I
was, it seems, an educated, well-rounded, lightly basted renaissance
“Scrambled Leggs” is my saga of being paralyzed from the waist down
in 30 minutes by a rare auto-immune disease. The shock of losing use
of my legs was NOTHING compared to the shock of losing my dignity,
and darn near my life, by bumbling staff who apparently never took
Economics 101. You know, the part where the patient’s payment pays
your salary. Ergo: a) don’t treat the patient with distain and b)
don’t kill them off or they will stop paying your wages.
“Scrambled Leggs” is also a very important book because it draws
attention to the fact that not all hospitals are able to deal with
their patient load in a way that ensures safety. I know. I was given
drugs improperly bringing on shock. I was asked repeatedly to get up
and use the commode. (Read the chart Art, if I could walk I’d get up
Another time my bladder was not monitored, until it was at near
fatal levels of kidney failure. I was of course blamed for not
telling the staff I felt bloated. ‘My bad!” However in all fairness
to me, I am…what was that long word on my chart that apparently no
one can read … PARALYZED. FYI to the staff, strangely enough for
some folks (moi), paralyzed means cannot feel anything. “I know,
perhaps while I monitor my bladder, blood levels, fluid intake and
out take I could manage your Mutual Fund Portfolio. I am such a
slacker laying here with all this free time just wasted away in
Add to that being given the wrong pills. Oh, did I mention the
infection on my arms from too many IVs? The night doctor said ice
packs, the day doctor said heating pads. What to do? I used ice
packs based on the fact that the night doctor was nicer. and cuter.
(So sue me for sexual harassment; I was on death’s door. I care?)
Did I mention I was robbed (okay, it was only 4 Godiva candy bars
@$4 a pop, but it wasn’t like I could jump in a car and go get more,
was it?) And what goes better with morphine than chocolate?
I was misdiagnosed for the first two days. Fortunately I had a
friend from my church who was a doctor who came to my rescue. He
urged the hospital to get a neurologist. Once there the pleasant
neuro-chappie diagnosed my condition in 5 minutes, thus saving my
legs, so I can now walk. (LISTEN TO ME: Get these Patient Advocate
Ninja people lined up in advance folks, you may need them.)
But what to do if you are in a strange place when all this occurs?
Fortunately there is a movement afoot called the National Patient
Advocate Foundation and they have a companion organization the
Patient Advocate Foundation. These fine folks are for hire to help
patients. This from their mission statement:
National Patient Advocate Foundation (www.npaf.org)
is a national non-profit organization providing the patient voice in
improving access to, and reimbursement for, high-quality healthcare
through regulatory and legislative reform at the state and federal
levels. NPAF translates the experience of millions of patients who
have been helped by our companion, Patient Advocate Foundation (www.Patientadvocate.org),
which provides professional case management services to individuals
facing barriers to healthcare access for chronic and disabling
disease, medical debt crisis and employment-related issues at no
The NPAF and PAF are a great start, but let me tell you, you’re
going to want to line up someone who can come with you into your
room. A person who can watch your back when you’re flat out on your
back. This might be a good time to befriend a linebacker or a Harley
rider, just saying.
I am not insinuating that all nurses are Nurse Ratched and all
doctors are from TV’s “Nip Tuck”, but it only takes one bad apple to
ruin a really pleasant hospital stay (and life).
About the Author
Sally Franz is a humor writer, artist and avid Master Gardener. She
has two daughters and two grandchildren. She lives in NC. She is a
Transverse Myelitis survivor and an advocate for patients: believing
they have rights, deserve dignity and should have ready access to
On June 8th there will be an online BIG BONANZA BOOK BENEFIT. If you
buy her book on June 8th at
www.ScrambledLeggs.Net she will also give you over $200 worth of
FREE downloads including: Free e-books, 20 humor posters, a
cookbook, the workbook for “Scrambled Leggs”—“Scrambled Life…3
secrets to getting your life back” (great for caregiver groups).
ALSO: There will be an all day FREE Writers Seminar. You can
join in at <Scrambled Leggs> Facebook group and talk with other
authors. (Have a book inside you? Need to learn more about writing
or publishing? This is your place. We will be having a FB
celebration. There will be quizzes, contests and give-a-ways, so
Buy “Scrambled Leggs” on June 8th and two fine charities will
benefit: A full 10% of book proceeds goes to The Transverse Myelitis
Association for education and research. Another 10% goes to
Operation First Response helping our returning Wounded Warriors.