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Perhaps My Most Important Tip Ever, In Memory Of My Mom

 

I’ve written and spoken millions of words to readers and my audiences over the past 26 years. Perhaps none as personal, or potentially important to some people as today’s.

This won’t be about sales, specifically, but it will involve using much of what we do in sales, and it applies to anyone, in sales or not.

My mother, Rita Sobczak, 84, passed away unexpectedly Monday. Her health took an amazingly rapid decline over the past eight weeks. She went from a person who acted, looked, and felt like someone in their low 60’s to almost unable to care for herself.  Up until two months ago she still volunteered regularly at a retirement community, and worked part-time in my office. For years she has inserted and mailed the monthly newsletter many of you have received.

As the only child of my only remaining parent, when her health took a sudden dip, I of course became involved in her health care dealings. Or, I should say, the lack and mismangement of.

I fortunately never had the necessity in the past to immerse myself in ongoing, fairly complex medical situations. When I did over the past few months, I was shocked, saddened, and angered by what was happening. I formerly looked at healthcare kind of like something else I knew little about and am slightly intimidated by: taking a car to a mechanic. I just assumed that you went in with a problem, and they fixed it. I was wrong.

As I became more involved, I saw a gross lack of communication between doctors, and also, almost unbelieveably, amongst staff in the same office and on the same hospital floor. I saw mistakes that could and should be prevented.

We experienced at times, cold, insensitive staff; I’ve seen better service from the teenager clerk at the convenience store.

Overall, I saw a system that, although is a business, is certainly not run like one. I guess perhaps you don’t need to when you can charge what you want, run people through like cattle, and not have accountability. Thinking about it, I can’t even really call it a "system," since that would require entities all working together.

And, arguably, we experienced negligence. In fact, a close friend and ex-CEO of a major health organization told me I might have grounds for potential legal action, as did an attorney that specializes in such things. However, I decided not to pursue that, since money is not what I’m after, any proceedings would be drawn out and exhausting, and it certainly would not bring my mother back.

Instead, I decided to use my unique forum to communicate with you, my over 56,000 subscribers, and hopefully hundreds of thousands of others. What I have to say might just prevent for you some of the things we went through. Some of you may already be aware of what I’m going to say, but for others, well, you might be as surprised as I was.

Here goes:

-First, I can’t stress this enough: TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR OWN HEALTHCARE. Or, do it for those you have responsibility for, especially the elderly. Do not believe that when you enter the "system" you will be placed on a conveyor belt with no worries on your part, reactively coming out all fixed on the other end. Oh, you’ll be on the conveyor belt alright–often a broken and inefficient one.

-Be sure to do your "pre-call planning" before every visit or call. Question everyone. Demand clear answers. As I’ve discussed with sales situations, do not accept "fuzzy phrases" such as "we’ll go from there," "we’ll take a look at that at some point," "there might be some other things we’ll probably need to look at," and other obtuse language. Do not be afraid to say, "What does that mean, exactly?" There are dumb questions in sales. There are NO dumb questions when a life is involved. Be a pain-in-the-ass. I was at times, because that’s what was required to get action.

-When multiple doctors, clinics, and testing facilities are involved, ask WHO is responsible for communicating the information to each other, WHEN it will be communicated, and WHAT will happen to it. This is one area that especially astounded me with the lack of communication between entities. Upon release from a hospital stay, one doctor ordered an outpatient procedure be done within a couple of days. Well, those instructions never left the paper it was written on until I uncovered it almost a week later. Overall, I was shocked that there was not a "point person" to take control and coordinate things. I mean, for gosh sakes, most businesses have account managers who are responsible for every detail of a particular customer. Why does healthcare not have this for patients? Or, should that be the primary-care physician’s job? Just wondering.

-Just like in sales, always demand to know the "next step." After a procedure, visit, test, or whatever, ask WHAT will happen next, and WHEN. If it seems like too long in the future, ask WHY. You must convey a sense of urgency since they always won’t. My mother could have attested to that–if she had the chance. I finally received a call back from a doctor’s office after I had called twice asking about the lab results from a procedure performed one WEEK earlier. The call came minutes after the paramedics pronounced her dead. And something was found in those results. A bit late.

-If you do not like the answers or treatment received, get another opinion. Find another doctor. You are the customer.

According to Janet Lynn Mitchell, author of "How to Manage Your Health Care, "Medical mistakes kill between 44,000 to 98,000 hospitalized Americans each year. Thousands more are injured causing permanent disabilities, many not even knowing their doctors are at fault." Scary stuff.

Finally, this is not meant to be an indictment of every health care professional and organization. After all, we are dealing with humans performing jobs. I have to think most of them got into their profession because they care about helping people. I’ve always said that nursing (along with teaching) is one of my most admired and respected professions in the world. And there were some wonderful, brilliant, caring, on-top-of-it people we ran into along the way, and my thanks go out to those individuals.

But what I now know, and will be an advocate for is that your healthcare, or that of someone close to you, is not something that anyone else will care about as much as you. To maximize your chance for success, treat it like you would any other area of life in regards to getting the result you want: do not rely on others to do it for you. Take responsibility, and take action.

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  1. 31 Comment(s)

  2. By Scott on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    Hello, Art. I can’t tell you how sorry I am that like of all of us at some point, are facing this hard life transition. I hope her memory comforts you and in time, any frowns might turn to smiles.

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Thank you Scott, and also to EVERYONE who has and will reply. In addition to the posts here, I have received hundreds via email, and they are still streaming in. I am overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness, and especially the stories from those of you who have experienced something similar. I do plan to personally respond to each one, but that may take some time. In fact, I am taking my computer with me today to the doctor’s office…yes, in the healthcare system again; my wife is having outpatient eye surgery today, so rest assured I will be asking some questions.

    Again, thanks to all of you. Most importantly, I know my email and blog post is making a difference, and will help others.

    Vyla Brown Reply:

    Art: You have my deepest sympathy. My mom was 89 when she passed away in a carehome 2 yrs ago. She was sitting on the pot buzzing for help when after a long time they never came to help her and she fell for the 3rd time, this time breaking her leg a second time. It killed her spirit and she never recovered. But damn, we were paying these people $5000 a month to take care of her! I would have, like you, liked to have pressed charges, but would not have brought her back. She went into a coma and laid lifeless for 17 days. It was horrible!!! So I feel for what you went through! Love your sales tips! VYLA BROWN, Ogallala, NE

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Thanks for sharing Vyla, sorry for what your mother went through.

    Marianne Wronka Reply:

    Dear Art, my heart goes out to you and may your beautiful mom’s memories always live in your heart. I’m grateful to still have both my parents, Dad 91 and Mom 81 and in quite good health. They live however in another state, I’m the only child (to them I’ll always be their “child”) and it pains me not to be with them more often, especially in these difficult economic times. I almost lost my mother due to a combination of meds. I’m not surprised at all the replies and no need to reply individually. I’m sure your wife’s surgery went well and thank you for your advice. Fondly, Marianne

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Thank you Marianne. Best wishes to your parents. My wife’s surgery did go well, thanks. The recovery was a pain for her, as the surgery for a “macular hole” requires keeping your face down for at least a week. Luckily, there are companies that specialize in selling equipment and aides to sit and lie down and minimize the discomfort and allow you to read and watch TV.

    Sonya Hall Reply:

    Art,
    My deepest sympathies for the loss of your wonderful mom. It sounds like she was a real go getter which is how you inherited the gift! :) Thank you for informing the masses about this horrible ’system’. I had my dose of this treatment when I gave birth to my daugther. The staff kept pressuring me to take medicine when I was insistant on having her natural. Thankfully, I was warned about this before hand and hired a doula to protect me and get them off my back. In the end, I got my way after a struggle! I will pass your article on to friends and family to get the word out. POWER TO THE PEOPLE, RIGHT ON!!!

    Sincerely,
    Sonya Hall

  3. By Michael Bizzarri on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    Art,
    After just losing my 83 yr old father (here in Omaha also) in January under similar circumstances, I want to offer my condolences and deepest sympathy for your tremendous loss. I hope you’ll find comfort in knowing you had a wonderful, vibrant, close and loving relationship with your Mom…as I had with my Dad, which will give you strength and motivation to carry on in their honor.

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Michael, thanks for the note. Sorry about your father as well.

  4. By Katie Morningstar on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    Art,
    I had just finished emailing a friend about my own mother’s death, 3 years ago, when I received your “sales tips” email, talking about your mother’s sudden passing. Realizing that I am just one of thousands that benefit from your sales emails, I still want to send you my personal condolences on what must have been a very sad and painful experience.

    The fact that you have been able to analyze what happened to your mother and turn it into something “positive” to share with others is amazing and says something about you.

    I believe Rita would be very proud of her son, and those of us that know you in this cyberspace we live in, are also thankful to you for your advise regarding a subject many of us prefer to avoid.

    Wishing you peace and many good memories of your mom to sustain you through this time,

    Katie Morningstar

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Katie, thank you for the touching comments. My mom always told me how proud she was, even amazed at some of the things I wrote and did. All children appreciate hearing that, regardless of how old they are.

  5. By Craig Coleman on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    Art-

    First of all, I’m sorry for your loss, especially as it came rather suddenly. On the bright side, it sounds like you spent a lot of time with your mom and she knew your feelings for her. Secondly, thank you for that powerful and cogent email. I have forwarded it to my whole team as well as my family. It’s a very important topic and your advice was dead on. Thanks again.

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Thanks Craig. Prior to the past couple of months, my mom would stop at my office quite often, even if we didn’t have work for her to do. Sometimes it was hard for her to understand that I was actually running a business and could not take lots of time to just chat. I am thankful for taking the time that I did.

  6. By Mary on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, Art. I am a Canadian and feel blessed for our medical system. But we are just a number here as well. There are caring health care professionals, then there are ones that should not be in that profession at all. God Bless and keep your tips coming. I have been putting them to good use!

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Mary, thanks for the note. I hope more of those that don’t care realize they should be elsewhere.

  7. By Sylvain Belisle on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    Hello Art,
    I’m very sorry for your loss, I myself lost my dad a couple of years ago. He died from a cancer and it took all of us by surprise because my dad was, like most men, very quiet and did not share his health status with our family. He ended up going to the hospital in August and passed away in October. So I can understand what you are going through right now. I also would like to thank you and wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your e-mails because they are always appropriate and very powerful and helpful to some members of my team with less experience. Thank you and take care of you and your Dad.

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Sylvain, thanks for sharing. Sorry about your dad as well. (Mine passed about 10 years ago)

  8. By Lori Richardson of Score More Sales on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    hi Art,
    This was a powerful tip, and thanks for sharing something that my siblings and I discovered a few years ago when our father first was hospitalized and subsequently became a resident of an assisted living facility.

    Your tip reminded me to thank one of my sisters, who, for the last three years has been our “point person” doing all the things you mentioned, which absolutely need to be done when one is hospitalized or involved in any group care situation.

    I think this is a national issue, and good for you to share your story.

    I’m sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing and potentially opening others’ eyes.

    Lori

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Lori, thanks for the note. Yes, it is important to have that point person, and that they know they are appreciated.

  9. By Meghan on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story - I’m sure it will have an impact on many (just as all your advice does:)

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    And thank YOU Meghan.

  10. By Caesar on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    Art,

    I am extremely sorry to hear about your loss. It is as though you are part of my sales team by now, I’ve been reading your Blog and getting your e-mails for at least over a year now. Please accept my deepest condolences. In true Sobczak form though, you spun it into a learning experience to help us sell. I think I can speak on behalf of Telesales Nation when I say thank you for all you have done for us. Please come back as soon as you can.

    Best Wishes,

    Neil

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Neil, or is it Caesar? Thank you for the nice note, happy to be part of the team.

    Caesar Reply:

    it’s Neil, but my friends call me Caesar. Feel free to use either. Again, my deepest condolences.

  11. By Suzi Suloff on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    Art,

    I am a new but very avid reader of your newsletters and advice. I am very sorry to learn of your mom’s passing. My husband died in 2001 (at 41) and I read this beautiful passage a few weeks later. Hope it brings you some comfort.

    The Little Ship

    I stood watching as the little ship sailed out to sea. The setting sun tinted her white sails with a golden light, and as she disappeared from sight a voice at my side whispered, “She is gone”.

    But the sea was a narrow one. On the farther shore a little band of friends had gathered to watch and wait in happy expectation. Suddenly they caught sight of the tiny sail and, at the very moment when my companion had whispered, “She is gone” a glad shout went up in joyous welcome, “Here she comes!”

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Suzi, thanks for sharing this. It’s great. Hope it gets passed around.

  12. By Denise Ashcraft on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    Art,

    I’m sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts & prayers. I know you will miss her, but in my heart I know she is now alive & weller.

    Denise

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Denise, thank you. Yes, I’m sure she is looking down at me, happy that she is still able to help others even after she is physically gone. By the way, she donated her body to science, and the medical students at Creighton University Med Center are the recipients of her goodwill.

  13. By Barbara Welch on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    Mr. Sobczak, I was moved by your story, I am not in sales, my son forwarded your email newletter to me due to the content. I am a nurse and have been in the healthcare field for over 30 years now, and have never been so upset with my industry as I am currently. I have often thought to leave this field because of my thoughts. You see, although I have not lost my parents yet, I know exactly what you have been through. My mother a vibrant, hardworking, honest and trusting person recently went through a horrible wrong by the healthcare industry. She is a 64yr young woman looking to work until she was aprox. 70ys old. She is now on disability with most of her hope of having a descent retirement squashed at the hands of a negligent practioner. It deeply saddens me when I hear someone else’s grief about our industry. As I am acutely aware that those in powerful positions that can do something about this don’t. Thank you for using your forum to get this word to thousands and maybe these thousands can forward this to millions. The words your speak are the truth and this message needs to be spread throughout our land. My thoughts and prayers are with you. BW

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Barbara, thanks for the note. Sorry about your mother. I wish her the best.

  14. By Jim on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    Art,
    My condolences to you. I fully agree with your comments as I was a caregiver to my own parents for over 7 years, assisting them from independent living to assisted living and on to skilled nursing care. You have to TAKE CHARGE. Then when you factor in the Insurance Claims aspect it almost becomes a full time job.
    Thank you for sharing to your many readers, we appreciate your thoughts.

    One has to just be empowered! Unfortunately.

    Kinest regards,

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Jim, thanks for the note. Yes, we all need to be proactive. Unfortunately, it is necessary.

  15. By Heather Poggi-Mannis on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    Dear Art,

    My heartfelt condolences. I am very close to my mom and I really can’t imagine not picking up the phone and talking with her. Here is a hug …

    My husband suffered a stroke at the age of 37 in 1995. The first hospital sent him home and told me to check back in the morning … when I did, the follow up Dr’s office told me to check him into a hospital which finally happened that afternoon. The second hospital took me seriously and were a wonderful team … then we took on the insurance company to pay for it all. The insurance company accused us of setting it all up with the doctors and hospital. My beautiful husband survived and thrives still. But it REALLY BROUGHT HOME the points that you bring out. The other half of the conversation has to do with the insurance companies and their responsiveness as well.

    Best wishes,
    Heather

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Heather, thank you for the hug. That is great that your husband is doing well. Best wishes to you and your mom. There have been several times out of habit I had begun to reach for the phone to call my mom. Not sure if that will wear off.

  16. By Christine on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    Art,
    I am sorry for your loss as I am an only child and lost my father suddenly 5 years ago due to health issues that went unnoticed. Being a healthcare professional I wonder daily if there was something that “I” missed in my fathers symptoms. I agree that you do have to be your own healthcare advocate but it is not fair to assume that all healthcare professionals are inept. I agree that if you are not a “people person” you should not be in a healthcare profession. There are a lot of wonderful doctors and healthcare professionals eager to help and console when needed. I am sorry that you experienced the other end of the healthcare spectrum.

    Regards,
    Christine

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Christine, thanks for the note, and sorry about your father. I in no way meant to imply, or believe that all healthcare professionals are inept. Ineptitude is not the problem, as I laid out in my posting.

  17. By Brenda Mobley Gibbs on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    Art - First, I am sorry for your loss. It’s tough losing a parent, even more so when it was the only surviving one. I lost my Dad in 1997 due to very similar circumstances. The care that he received from the nursing staff at the hospitalfor the most part, was unacceptable. Having had 10 different doctors, no one knew what the other was doing. I feel your pain and your frustration. I’ve been telling people for quite a while…”you have to be in charge of your health care”. Again, I am sorry for your loss.
    Brenda

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Brenda, thanks for your note. I can only imagine the lack of communication if 10 doctors, or 10 of anyone are involved in anything.

  18. By Clayton Shold on Feb 19, 2009 | Reply

    Art,
    My condolences to you and your family on the loss of your mother. It sounds like she was an active and caring person who I’m sure was extremely proud of her son. I applaud you for using your blog and newsletter to share your advice with others who might find them self in a similar situation. As someone else commented above, it makes me appreciate our Canadian health care system that much more when I read your experience.
    Clayton

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Clayton, thanks for the note. Yes, I’m happy that this has made a difference for so many people.

  19. By Susannah Black on Feb 20, 2009 | Reply

    Art I am so sorry. My heart breaks for you. Losing your Mother is a special kind of hurt. It’s never gone away for me but time has taken the edge off. I swear I know my mother is around me at times and I have been able to take great comfort there and I hope you will come to know the same comfort. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
    Love from NC,
    Susannah

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Susannah, thanks for the comforting words. Much appreciated.

  20. By Carolyne Jordan on Feb 20, 2009 | Reply

    Dear Art,

    I was shocked to hear about Rita. We had been together just a month or two ago. She was very proud of you and your children. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. When you lose your mother, it doesn’t seem real at first as your mother should always be there. Thank you for pointing out many of the holes in our health care system even in your grief. I wish strength and courage and healing for you and your family now and as time goes on. Carolyne Jordan

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Carolyne, thank you for the note. I know she cherished your friendship, and she will be happy that you are singing at the service on Monday.

  21. By FrankMcDermott on Feb 20, 2009 | Reply

    Thanks Art.
    You are a good man and a great son to share this time with us.
    Your mom would be proud.
    Keep the Faith my friend.
    F

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Frank, thanks for the note. I am sure she is.

  22. By Rod Schwartz on Feb 20, 2009 | Reply

    Art,

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences at the passing away of your mother. We may accept - even embrace - the inevitability and universality of death (it is, after all, part of God’s plan for us), separation from our loved ones is never easy. We’ll remember you in our prayers.

    Thank you for seizing the opportunity to share with your readers the benefit of the lessons you’ve learned recently.

    You’re absolutely right - each of us must take an active, pro-active role in dealing with our own health care matters.

    “M.D.” has never stood for “medical deity” - though the ivory tower in which too many of them seem to reside might give one reason to wonder about it.

    I’d love to see an effort made to make medical practitioners more accountable to their customers (patients) - starting with the public posting of their fee structures and policies in detail, to facilitate “comparison shopping.”

    Something else I’d like to see - a mechanism for customer (patient) feedback similar to what Amazon and countless others have implemented would also be desirable, enabling prospective customers (patients) to learn from the experiences of others. This is actually already happening in a sense - witness your blog, and these posts.

    As a Christian, knowing that my eternal destiny is secure because of the person and work of Jesus Christ for me (John 3:16, etc.), death isn’t a matter of concern to me. But making sure that I get good medical advice in a timely fashion…that concerns me.

    Thanks for your post. God Bless.

    -Rod Schwartz, Grace Broadcast Sales

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Rod, thanks for sharing the interesting ideas. Hopefully at some point they will be part of our “system.”

  23. By Linda on Feb 21, 2009 | Reply

    Art,
    I’m sorry for your loss. Having lost both parents to sudden illness within only months of each other I am only too familiar with the necessary “changing of the guard”; when the child must step in and take over for the ill and aging parent in order to give them the best chance of fighting the battle ahead of them. It is a difficult decision, a role reversal no one looks forward to; as no matter how well done it does remove some of their dignity. I am happy to see that you have decided not to sue, for I believe it is our sue-sue society that has our healthcare in the state it is in. I also thought about sueing, but like you agreed it would not bring my beloved parents back. Instead, I made sure that any monies received in their memory and personal effects they left behind were donated to the very best causes, in the thought that somehow their lives would continue to make a difference in the world as they did in my life and my heart. If sharing your experience and heartbreak will help just one child fight for their parent, you will have made sure that your beloved Rita will continue to make a difference as well. May happy memories of Rita be with you and keep her forever near.

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Linda, thanks. You’re right, a legal suit would not bring her back. From the hundreds of emails I received, I know an impact has already been made.

  24. By Jeff Kreisberg on Feb 21, 2009 | Reply

    Like yourself, Art, I have devoted years of my life providing information so people can Get Smart, Be Informed, and Take Control of their Heathcare. My blog can be read at http://www.takingcontrolofyourhealthcare,com

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Jeff, thanks for posting that. Hopefully people will visit and take action.

  25. By Barbara Hemphill on Feb 22, 2009 | Reply

    Art,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story, and doing something that will make your mom’s impact on others live on. My brother took my mom to lunch from her job as assistant to bank president for her 82nd birthday. On the way back to the car, she fell and fractured her neck. We, too, were introduced to the horrors of our health care system. Life will never be the same for any of us.

    Blessings,
    Barbara

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Barbara, thanks for the note. Sorry about your mom. By the way, awesome that she was still working at 82!

  26. By Patrick on Feb 24, 2009 | Reply

    Dear Art: My condolences to you. Your article brings several important lessons to light. Check out the 5 Million Lives Campaign at http://tinyurl.com/99t3e for more background on a healthcare industry initiative to remedy these problems. It is amazing that Americans are so unaware of the lack of quality of care created by these disconnected parties in the chain of care. The time for action is now and building awareness to gain momentum is a great first step.

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Patrick, thanks for the note, and sharing the initiative.

  27. By Cathy Cope on Feb 26, 2009 | Reply

    Art,

    I am very sorry that you lost your dear Mom, my heart goes out to you and the rest of your family. Thank you for writing this, it’s something that most people don’t think about until they’re in a health crisis with a family member. We went through a similar experience with my father-in-law in October, and my husband and I learned that we had to be relentless in advocating for him with every doctor, nurse and social worker who was involved. There were some health care workers who just went through the motions and others who seemed to really care and went the extra mile. Many people have too much faith in doctors and are reliant on whatever they decide to do. As in sales, educate yourself, take control, take action, and be prepared to get the ball and the team moving forward.

    Best,
    Cathy Cope

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Cathy, thank you. Well said.

  28. By Bea Dart on Feb 26, 2009 | Reply

    So sorry about your mom AND your anguish over the slipshod treatment she (and, of course, others) received.

    This is something I’ve had an unfortunately intimate and extensive knowledge of for many years. You may find it helpful to contact Gary Null who has published and broadcast a great deal of material on the politics of medicine, along with many suggestions as to how to protect yourself and loved ones from the
    iatrogenic deaths you mentioned. (I believe the figure is about 100,000 people per year killed in America due to doctor error.) Dr. (PhD, not MD) Null has an info-packed web site: http://www.garynull.com. I hope you find the contents comforting as well as
    enlightening.

    I’m sure your mom is still with you on many levels and loving you for spreading the word so others may not suffer the same sad fate
    that she did. You are very wise to channel your energies in a positive direction. It will help you to feel better and your mom
    to feel proud of her devoted son.

    Thanks for all your encouragement in the weekly tips. May your kindnesses return to you 1000-fold!

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Bea, thanks for the note and kind words, and info on Gary.

  29. By Tommye on Mar 2, 2009 | Reply

    Art,
    I am very sorry to hear about the passing of your Mom. Everything you said in your email on February 19th is true. My husband was hospitalized last year and everything you describe happened to us as well. Luckily, we escaped from the hospital and he is living today. We have changed our whole approach to medical care based on that experience. It is your life and you have to act like it! I also want to let you know that your emails help me tremendously in my work life. I hope you can take some time for yourself to let yourself just rest and remember. This sounds like it has been a very rough time on many levels and rest may be in short supply. Take care.

    Art Sobczak Reply:

    Tommye,

    Thanks for the note. Glad your husband is OK. Glad we’re able to help in your sales. Regarding personal time, I’m taking my son to St. Louis this weekend for the Missouri Valley Conference postseason college basket tournament. We go to many Creighton games together here in Omaha, and looking forward to a fun “guy’s weekend.”

  30. By Matthew Sargent on Mar 12, 2009 | Reply

    Art,

    Thanks for sharing such a difficult and sensitive part of your life with us. My mom passed away two years ago (next weekend) and as an only child I could relate to much of what you wrote. Keep up the good work and thank you for keeping it real and applicable.

  31. By JERRY HECHT on Mar 18, 2009 | Reply

    May God give you strenght in caring for your wonderful mother. Up in Heaven she is having great joy and happiness to know that she has a
    wonderful son . She instilled in you Art the most precioys gift . The respect,honor,caring that a child gives to his parent .This is due to having good parents . In the old testament it says honor thy father and mother , for you shall be worthy to live a long life .The way you cared for your mother and still do was not only when she was with us her on earth . You care about her after she has met the allmighty. She is so happy to have you Art as her son . Her expression from her picture tells a story . You are a gift of God to your parents and a blessing . Every kind act that you have performed on behalf of your parents is a special gift. May you be comforted by the allmighty and may you only have happiness and joy with your family continuously.

    You must know that you are a very special person with a special soul. May the allmoghty bless you with good health and lots of happiness .

    In order to know who that child is look unto his/her parents . A wonderful child stems from wonderful parents.

    I am very fortunate to know you Art.

  32. By Gary Anzalone on Mar 19, 2009 | Reply

    Art,
    It was great speaking to you today - you have been an inspiration to me for many years

    I had a similar experience years ago and started a company that gives individuals the tools to take care of their own healthcare.

    Right now the system is in place for doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and pharmaceuticals. They are bound by HIPAA requirements so that they do not abuse your personal records. What is missing is the control and access to the individual.

    I take responsibility for the health of my family; my wife, kids, mother and myself. If you can’t answer the following questions in an emergency – how effective can you be?

    Blood Type, Medications (past and current), Allergies or Allergic Reactions, Pre-existing Conditions (asthma, diabetes etc…). Suffice to say there is a long list of things to know for each person – even if they are healthy many questions must be answered.

    How we do this and an explanation of the different levels can be found on my website: http://www.MyMedExchange.com. The following statement sums it up,

    Your Medical Records – Your Control – Your Peace of Mind.

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