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Articles for Baby Boomers

 

Patient Advocate Ninja

 

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 punch(line).


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 sitting duck.

 


“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 and leave).


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 Marguerita-Morphine-Ville.”Yish!


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 cost.


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 medical information.


NEWS RELEASE


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 join us. www.ScrambledLeggs.Net.


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.

 

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