[Intersection Podcast] Episode 006 – Since John Got Sick

Hosted by Bobby Rettew

Allison Green - Since John Got SickFor anyone who has suffered a serious illness, whether personally or with a child; anyone facing the challenges of autoimmune disease; and any medical professionals who have worked to help them, Allison Greene has walked in these shoes.

I met Allison in 2013 while working on a story for the South Carolina Hospital Association advocating for the South Carolina’s Legislature to consider expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Her son’s story became a central focus of the story, one of heart, soul, trials and tribulations.

Allison has worked in healthcare communications for more than twenty-five years and currently works for a large healthcare system in the upstate of South Carolina. Allison’s story has so many intersections intertwined with one basic narrative, her son John almost died. Since that moment, she has spent over years fighting and navigating a system that has employed her; not only fighting for John’s life and care, but also fighting a healthcare delivery system entangled with bureaucratic and political dilemmas that a seasoned healthcare communicator can barely unwind.

Since John Got Sick: A Quest for Survival and Faith is the story of a young man’s heroic battle to survive both the initial onslaught and the ongoing assault of a traumatic autoimmune disease and its ensuing consequences (including dialysis, disability, transplant, depression, opioid dependence, and post-traumatic stress disorder). Simultaneously, it is the story of a mother’s love and strength against daunting odds, including donating a kidney.

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Bobby Rettew: Intersection is brought to you by Social Health Institute. Exploring new and innovative ways for hospitals and healthcare organizations to develop and enhance their social media and digital marketing strategies. Learn more at socialhealthinstitute.com.

Meredith Owen: Finding something you want to do and go do it, it doesn’t matter who’s done it before you.

Bobby Rettew: Welcome to Intersection. I’m Bobby Rettew.

Allison Green: My name is Allison Green. I have worked in healthcare for over 25 years. Not in a clinical role per se. Mostly in marketing, public relations, and for a period of seven years, I was also a patient advocate. I have a background in Christian social ministries and also a master’s degree in journalism. I am single mother. I have been divorced for 19 years. My son John is my second child, and he is single and lives in the same town that I do. My daughter is married with children and a career and husband, and she lives about five or six states away. That’s important my saying that because John and I really were alone a lot of the time in this now eight year journey.

Bobby Rettew: For anyone who has suffered a serious illness, whether or personally or with a child, anyone facing the challenges of an autoimmune disease and any medical professionals who have worked to help them, Allison Green has walked in these shoes. I met Allison in 2013 while working on a story for the South Carolina Hospital Association advocating for the South Carolina legislature to consider expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Her son’s story became the central focus of this video story. One of heart, soul, trials, and tribulations.

Bobby Rettew: Allison has worked in healthcare communications for more than 25 years and currently works for a large healthcare system in the upstate of South Carolina. Allison’s story has so many intersections intertwined with one basic narrative, her son John almost died. Since that moment, she has spent over five years fighting and navigating a system that has employed her. Not only fighting for John’s life and care, but also fighting a healthcare delivery system entangled with bureaucratic and political dilemmas that a seasoned healthcare communication can barely unwind. Answer this question, it all started when? Just complete the sentence and go.

Allison Green: It all started in 2010. The specific day, April 13th, 2010, when my young adult son at age 26 was admitted to the hospital. That is the day that changed our lives.

Bobby Rettew: Describe that day.

Allison Green: John had always been incredibly healthy. I mean nothing but ear infections or sports accidents. He was 26. He finished college. He was working. I’d taken a breath. For a few months, he had been sick, just flu-like, since the fall, like November of 2009. He had not had a physician since he left the pediatricians. He was going just to urgent cares. Just frequent symptoms, flu-like, then joint pain, then fatigue so extreme. He couldn’t get up in the morning. He’d go home at lunch from his job to collapse for a couple hours. I finally learned that he had been coughing up blood. Finally, he bogged every time … We had gotten him into a internal medicine doctor.

Allison Green: She had started doing tests for everything under the sun, including AIDS, and still just didn’t know what was happening. This had been going on seeing her for about six weeks. He had had three visits. He was hurting so bad he had his arm … Couldn’t twist it above his head and that was how he would even try to sleep because the shoulder pain was so extreme. They had him on strong painkillers. Nothing. We had no idea. Finally, he got to a point where he didn’t fight me when I said, “We have got to go to the emergency room.” I got him to the emergency room at 6 A.M. and it was there, and this was a small hospital.

Allison Green: I was working at the time at Baptist Easley. I took him there because I knew they would take us seriously in the way it wouldn’t take forever. It was a doctor there, a hospitalist there, who first diagnosed it as Wegener’s granulomatosis.

Bobby Rettew: What is that?

Allison Green: That is a very rare autoimmune disease that affects maybe 1 in 25,000 people. They have since changed the name. It goes by GPA, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, or something like that, GPA. The tissues start attacking the capillaries and they start hemorrhaging. What was literally happening was that he was bleeding out internally and we have no idea why. After months both at the Greenville Hospital and at Duke, with at Duke the best rheumatologist in the country, she has been doing Wegener’s research for the past now 25 plus years, they had no idea. Idiopathic, which as the doctors there said, “That makes us all look like idiots.” Out of nowhere, just out of nowhere.

Allison Green: From that April 13th day, he never left a hospital for four months. I work in healthcare. It’s a long stay if somebody stays 48 hours. He never left a hospital for four months. Seven weeks in Greenville. The rest of the time at Duke. When he left there, he went for one week to intensive rehab back in Greenville, so really more than four months of intensive hospitalization. Most of that time in ICUs. He was intubated three times finally with a trache and a feeding tube. He was in induced comma several times. That last time for three to four weeks.

Allison Green: He was not responding to any of the treatment that they knew to do, which the standard drug at the time was Cytoxan, which is a type of chemotherapy. They were given a massive doses of that, which is very hard on the body. Has toxic effects. They were giving him massive doses of steroids. Literally one gram a day for a time, and he was continuing to bleed out. Primarily the three times that he literally momentarily was just dying was because his lungs were bleeding out the trache. All they could do was just keep transfusing. I mean just transfusion after transfusion and plasmapheresis, and just hoping that he could hang on until somehow his body stopped attacking him, and he did.

Allison Green: There’s so many miracles in that part of it. For me, a lot of prayer. The best doctors in the world. I think mostly just John’s, my son’s, refusal to die. He had always been a really strong athlete. Always really stubborn. As he wrote about it later, he said, “I wasn’t ready to die. I hadn’t live my life. I didn’t know what my life was about. I still had things to do.”

Bobby Rettew: The first time you and I met was, I went back and found it, was 2013. Our mutual friend who I was working together on a project, Patty Smoke, reached out to you because she heard you had a story. Talk about the beginning of what began our relationship, our visit. What was the purpose of all that and talk about that a little bit.

Allison Green: At that time, our state was trying to pass or some of us were hoping that Medicaid expansion plan would be passed.

Bobby Rettew: Why is that important?

Allison Green: The Medicaid program is very limiting in terms of the amount of money that a person can have. For example, at that point in time, my son was getting social security disability. He got $858 a month. With that at the time, he got Medicare insurance, but that did not pay for his prescription medications or a lot of other co-pays. There was not a Medicare supplement in the State of South Carolina for anyone under age 65. There is just not one. If you happen to be permanently disabled, end-stage renal disease or blind and you’re under age 65 in the State of South Carolina, there is no way for you to get a supplemental Medicare plan.

Allison Green: Like you hear about plan from GE and whatever. That was not possible for John. We applied for Medicaid to try to help get the coverage. At that time, he was on about 30 medications to help get coverage for that. Certainly there was not any kind of income associated with it. He just needed it for the health insurance benefit. He was unable to work at that time. He was living with me. He was turned down for Medicaid because he made too much money.

Bobby Rettew: How did he make too much money because he wasn’t able to … Talk about that connection there.

Allison Green: His disability income was $858 a month.
Bobby Rettew: Because he was able to get disability-

Allison Green: Right.

Bobby Rettew: … it put him out of an income bracket in order to qualify for Medicaid.

Allison Green: I still am confused about some of that because that amount should have been enough, just that amount only. I think it was because his father and I, his father and stepmother lived in another state, that at times we were obviously helping to support him. We submitted any kind of money that we had given him each month or for what reason or whatever. Very minimal. For some reason, they determined that that put him over the limit. I was very willing and my son was too very willing to talk about this because maybe we weren’t the stereotype that some people think about with Medicaid. My son had worked since he was 15. I’ve worked since I was 15.

Allison Green: I’ll be 65 next month. Just the severity of his illness so overnight changed our situation that we needed help. When I realized that that was not going to be possible, I didn’t think that was possible, and that there were so many other people in a similar gap situation, which the Medicaid expansion plan would cover, it would allow for people to have some working income and still be able to qualify for a health insurance. From the other side from working in healthcare for over 25 years, the value to the healthcare industry of having someone covered to some degree, even though Medicaid is not a good payor, it’s certainly better than charity care or bad debt.

Allison Green: For all of those reasons, I was very much a proponent of the Medicaid expansion. Very disappoint when it did not pass.

Bobby Rettew: We came and visited you at your house, and you and John told the story. We ended up putting together a piece that would be used in the legislature to explain “here’s a perfect case study about the nuances of this legislation.” Your story was one that many people didn’t expect. You have a healthcare background, so people will … It’s just commonly assumed that we just understand if we work in healthcare how to navigate this stuff. Two, you represent a part of the population where you had income, he had gone to college, so why isn’t he working?

Bobby Rettew: You had this generalization that many people could in some way connect with that, “Oh my gosh. If that happens to them, that could happen to me.” Would you agree with that in some …

Allison Green: Totally. Totally.

Bobby Rettew: With that, when we did the story and we put it together, this was 2013. This started happening, what, 2009? 2010?

Allison Green: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby Rettew: What are the biggest things that happened to John over that three to four year period? Like he almost died.

Allison Green: He went from being perfectly healthy, working out regularly, having a steady relationship with a young lady, living completely independently, to over four months time nearly dying three times, having to learn how to swallow, how to feed himself, how to speak, how to sit, how to walk.

Allison Green: … to speak, how to sit, how to walk, how to function again. Then, within a months time after leaving the hospital, having to come and live with me, which he had not done in 10 years. By that time, he had already gotten on Medicare Disability because of the severity of his illness. Nobody expected him to live. I think that’s why he got on it so fast. To immediately going into complete renal failure, which was a secondary consequence of the disease. Then, he spent most of the next four months, so that’s now a total of eight months, in hospitals with having five vascular surgeries trying to get access for adequate dialysis. Numerous infections due to his condition and he was on dialysis for 21 months, which I had never had any experience with dialysis. I thought it was horrific, barbarious. It was just barbaric. It was just horrible. He was grateful because that was how he stayed alive.

Allison Green: That whole time, so now we’re up to about a two year point. He was trying to get approved to be a transplant recipient. At the end of about two years he had been approved. Duke said that transplant had never verified in a situation that was as, I can’t remember the word they used, but anyway, as bad as his had been. He had to go through a lot of testing. He had to wait a long time. He was approved for a cadaveric transplant, which means, obviously, that it comes from a person who is deceased. Then, at the same time, we started looking at living donor transplants, which are a lot safer in many ways. The wait list for him at the time for a cadaveric was estimated five years. He was having difficulty with getting adequate access for dialysis. We started looking at living donors and put out the plea for that.

Allison Green: The way that it ended up, very ironically, was that I was the donor.

Bobby Rettew: What was that like?

Allison Green: Well, I didn’t expect it at all because I was his caregiver and there was, I was the only one working and doing everything and so it didn’t cross my mind. Also, John and his father and my daughter all had the same blood type. They were A. I didn’t consider. It didn’t cross my mind. His father was very willing, but because he had a couple of pre-existing conditions he found out he was not eligible. Also, my daughter who happened to be pregnant with her first child at the time, could not be considered, either. I said well test me. Because I’m type O I’m a universal donor and I ended up being a very good match. I matched on four out of six alleles, which usually a parent will only match on three.

Allison Green: After two years, again in April, this time in April of 2012, John had, I was able to give him a kidney. The months leading up to that it was really, I didn’t think I could do it. I mean, I just did not, I was exhausted, I had no close support, I don’t have any close family and I had no siblings. My parents have been dead for years. I didn’t know how I could do it. I couldn’t continue to watch him, I really believe that if he had had to continue much longer dialysis he would have given up and he would have died. Just really in faith, I went ahead with the transplant and it just all worked out. I have two first cousins who came and stayed with me and John’s father and step-mother took the time to stay with him in Durham. I got some financial aid from the National Kidney Foundation. People at work donated their PTO so I didn’t ever lose income.

Allison Green: All that was very just miraculous and John thought that he would be fine after that and able to work again and that was over six years ago. That still really hasn’t quite happened. But, those were the two really intense years. I’m just so grateful for the living donor program. Just the small things, like the surgery could be scheduled. It was like you’re going to get a call in the middle of the night and you drive four hours and you don’t know if it’s going to work. We knew, I had been put through, I found that I was healthier than I ever thought possible or they wouldn’t have let me do it. The surgery was scheduled, we were both in operating rooms at the same time. They just had to take the kidney from one room to the next. There was no time elapsed. My kidney started functioning for him immediately. Frequently, they say, a person still has to stay on dialysis, so all of that has just been miraculous.

Allison Green: He’s not had any signs of rejection. The complications have been due to the immunosuppressants with increased risk of infection. A lot of other things that just really had to do more with life. I have said that John had the best physical, clinical care in the world. No questions. In terms of social, emotional, mental, financial the resources have just been almost non existent. Just almost non existent. Those things have taxed us both to the point of at different times extreme depression. You know, we still lack a lot in terms of treating the whole person.

Bobby Rettew: When we showed up on your doorstep you had gone through all this. I mean, and here we are, we are the first group of people that want and come to share your story for a public policy conversation. I remember talking with you and you actually had some debate whether you wanted to do this or not. Talk about your reservations. I remember, because at the time obviously you work for a healthcare system and that was a very political conversation in the state of South Carolina at that time. It still is, but you knew you had to tell the story. Why?

Allison Green: You know, that’s interesting because I don’t really remember having that many reservations, but probably it would have … I am a very private person. My son is an extremely private person, so I guess that would have probably been the biggest issue. I think, also, I think my son my have felt maybe he didn’t want to advertise that he needed to be on Medicaid. I guess I was past the point of caring what anybody thought.

Bobby Rettew: But that’s a big thing. Let’s talk about that. Here in South Carolina, there’s a big stigma associated to being on Medicaid. You know it as a healthcare communicator. You know what goes on hospitals. We know what physicians and people think when they hear the word Medicaid come through the doors. Talk about that a little bit.

Allison Green: There is a huge stigma on that, and my son, I think, has been willing to talk to some of his friends who would not have any money problems just to really say if it hadn’t been for Medicare, for example, I wouldn’t be alive. I think that over the years he’s gotten a lot more comfortable in talking about that, too. Yeah, there’s still, I hear it frequently. Anybody that’s on Medicaid is abusing the system, they just don’t want to work, particularly women. They just have another baby so that they can keep getting the Medicaid check. Which again, I mean, John would not have gotten any money from Medicaid.

Allison Green: There’s such a stereotype that, you know, if you’re on Medicaid you’re just no good.

Bobby Rettew: Now a quick break to give a quick shout out to the network that supports Intersection. Touchpoint Media. A collection of podcasts dedicated to discussions on all things healthcare. Including digital marketing and online patient engagement strategies, CIO and technology strategies, the challenges of the online physician, the power of the E patient, and most importantly, the power of story telling.

Bobby Rettew: To learn more, go to Touchpoint.health. That is Touchpoint.health. Let’s rejoin the show.

Bobby Rettew: Here you are a mom, a healthcare communicator, someone that has witnessed their child go through all these situations, and you also know the public policy conversation that’s happened at that current time. What type of impact do you think your story made?

Allison Green: I think it make zero impact. I mean, obviously. It was so incredibly frustrating and it still is.

Bobby Rettew: Why do you feel like that?

Allison Green: Very quickly after that video was produced, I mean it was like the whole issue suddenly was just taken off the table and I don’t even remember why, but our state was just, I think it had to do with our Governor at the time. Our state just, no, we’re not having anything to do with that.

Bobby Rettew: Here you are sitting with a situation, you have a son at that time, how old was [crosstalk 00:29:13]
Allison Green: In 2013 he would have been 29.

Bobby Rettew: You’re a single mom trying to figure this out. Where did you go next? What started happening next?

Allison Green: Well, somehow again, rather mysteriously, the day that my second granddaughter was born we were in Tennessee and I got a call from the state Medicaid office saying that John had been approved for Medicaid. To this day I can not tell you why. He did get on Medicaid and he has been on that periodically. It comes up for review and again at times, because he has tried to get at least part time work, he will not get it.

Allison Green: Other than that, you know, we’ve just really struggled. I have downsized until I can not downsize anymore. We just have really struggled.

Bobby Rettew: Then the book.

Allison Green: And so, then writing is a part of my background, and I have almost always kept journals which is a part of my process. A part of the way that I heal, or try to heal. Several years ago I started thinking this has got to be a book. I started writing and I kept encouraging John to write because I thought it would help him process. He also had post traumatic stress disorder from all that he had been through. He was not living with me. He had moved out to a rental house. Occasionally, at different points and time had a roommate. I felt like it would help him if he could write down some of his thoughts. He was not willing. I would take him journals and he would never use them.

Allison Green: I started working on my part, and he knew that I was. Finally, one day he sent me a file and he said, “I’ve been writing this. See what you think?” The most interesting thing to me, for all these years he’s had real problems sleeping. He just can not sleep. He wrote his part, which is probably about a third of the book. He wrote his entire part on his cell phone, at night in his bed when he could not sleep. I read it and I was like, I was just surprised. I never knew he could write. He was always outside with a ball in his hand. He was always smart, but never any interest.

Allison Green: I could tell that it was really good and that he had a really strong voice. I got in a writer’s group again and started working on putting his material in with mine and that was probably two years ago. Then again last Fall, I submitted it to three different publishers and it was accepted for publication. Our book came out this past month. It’s called Since John Got Sick; A Quest For Survival and Faith. It’s a real honest portrayal of everything that happened from each of our perspectives. It makes us both really vulnerable and some people have said it’s really raw. It talks about the healthcare system, and some not always good experiences with hospitals and doctors. It talks about the challenges that we faced, still face today financially.

Bobby Rettew: Let’s talk about that a little bit. One of the reasons why I thought this was interesting to me is here is someone that has a son that went through a traumatic situation, understands the healthcare arena, fought for Medicaid …

Bobby Rettew: [inaudible 00:34:01] fought for Medicaid, has put their…selves in a position of public policy that sometimes is not the most accepted in many of the healthcare spaces in the state that we live in, and now you’re writing a book about it … where hard print words are in front of us. Were you worried about talking in frame of … “I’ve got an employer that pays my bills to keep it going, and oh my gosh, can I write about hospitals?” Talk about that balance that you dealt with.

Allison Green: I’m still worried about that … and I stopped at two different points and decided I cannot go forward with this, this was after it had been accepted by a publisher, because of my fear. I just decided I’m too old for this. I’m not going to afraid of this anymore. So, the book came out. The launch party was almost just last Saturday.

Bobby Rettew: What’s that date?

Allison Green: May the 26th. The book is out. There was also a front page article in the [Greenville 00:35:24] News this past Monday, Memorial Day, with our pictures, and I’ve not gotten really any feedback about it yet. I finally decided … I think I just am not that important. I think I’m just not that important, and people really won’t read it and really won’t notice and really won’t care. And I think that’s probably true, and that makes me sad too.

Bobby Rettew: But why is this story so important to tell?

Allison Green: Because I think that … the fact that it could … A crisis like that could happen to anybody, and there would have been no way to prepare for that. I mean … the cost of healthcare is just astronomical, and there’re just so many nuances and factors in it that … I don’t know. Also, I know that I have the gift to write, and I was given a really good, hard story, and my son had the willingness not only to keep trying on a daily basis to live but to also be willing to share it. I think those are gifts we have and I think, I don’t know, part of my faith journey is by feeling called on to share what, you know, my experience, strength, and any kind of hope I can bring to the situation.

Bobby Rettew: Do you think that the storytelling process is also somewhat maybe therapeutic to the writer?

Allison Green: Totally. I mean, people have … I’ve tried to be as prepared as possible for feedback and some … “friend,” shall we say in quotes, said, “So why did you think she had to do this?” I mean, I was really … and I was prepared for that … when it’s like, yeah, some people are just gonna think that I just have to whine about my pitiful story … you know, our pitiful story … and I don’t think I whine. I don’t think that’s what it’s about, and I got it. It’s my story, and I have the right to tell it. So to that degree, I don’t really care what people think about it. I really, really hope that people would really read it. And I don’t think too many people read books anymore-

Bobby Rettew: I do.

Allison Green: You know, if they can’t get it in two paragraphs on Facebook they may not read it. But I think it just … it has some really important life questions that affect our society and humanity as a whole. And one other piece of … just like … public policy, in a way, that I’m also an advocate for to the degree that I can be … my son is very cognizant … probably more than I realize … that at some point in his life he will need another kidney, even though I know somebody who’s on the same kidney for 33 years … that is not the norm, so my son, at now age 34, knows that within his lifetime he will be back on dialysis or he will have another transplant or one or two or whatever … or if he’s lucky.

Allison Green: And the way that the Medicare program works for end stage Renal Disease … which is a huge gift, whoever passed it back when, you know, so very grateful … but for someone who is diagnosed with end stage Renal Disease, they qualify for Medicare regardless of age, and they can get that Medicare insurance as long as they are on dialysis, which is an expensive treatment, which the federal government pays for. As long as they are on dialysis … and then for 36 months after they receive a kidney. After that, most people go off it. Which again, leaves them … depending on where they live … without adequate health insurance coverage or particularly drug insurance coverage.

Allison Green: And so the number one reason that transplants … that people end up going back on dialysis … is because they cannot afford their medication. My son takes three immunosuppressant drugs right now, which are … they’re not as expensive as some cancer drugs, but they are not cheap. I mean, without insurance it would be very difficult to cover them. People stop taking their medication because they cannot afford it. They end up going back on dialysis. Therefore, they go back on Medicare and Medicare pays way more for dialysis than they would’ve if they had just kept them on consistently and help them buy their medications.

Allison Green: And so the National Kidney Foundation, it’s one of their platforms, that they lobby for … I guess consistently … to keep the Medicare benefit for end stage renal patients to make it a lifelong benefit. So that’s also something that I hope very much to have a say … you know, impact on.

Bobby Rettew: What would you say to other people out there that are timid to tell their story? That may not be in the direct situation that you’re in, but are fighting just like you have and/or will. Many people are scared to tell it because they’re scared of the repercussions of being open and honest and … that’s a hard thing to figure out.

Allison Green: It is.

Bobby Rettew: What are your thoughts on that path and that journey?

Allison Green: Well, I pray a lot. I know that’s the only reason I am still sitting here, and it takes time. It just takes time to process and figure out and determine what is the right way, the right thing to do. I was not worried about writing the book … well, I was, but I was willing to go forward for myself with writing the book. I was still very protective of how it would affect John, and I said to him over and over, “Are you sure you want to do this?” His name is in the title. His photo is on the cover of the book. “Are you sure you want to do this?” And he was fine all along with it. And again, very contrary to the private nature that he is.

Allison Green: And I think just a good example, though … I think we’ve both been through so much that we do want it to be of some benefit to anybody else if it can possibly can, and so we have a page for the book … so it’s johngotsick.com. And about a week ago, a lady posted on there and she had seen the article in the Anderson Independent … and she had Wegener’s and was struggling with it. She was diagnosed in 2017. And she really poured out her story there, and John responded to her. And since then, they’ve taken that offline … but, you know, he was … I think when you can help somebody else after what you’ve been through, I think … I don’t know if there’s anything any more rewarding than that.

Bobby Rettew: Has this changed your viewpoint of healthcare? I mean, you work under the umbrella of it. You probably [inaudible 00:44:00] a little bit of a balance here, but … it’s a tough place to be in.

Allison Green: It’s a tough place to be in. I had worked for seven years as a patient advocate right up until the time that John got sick. I had transferred back to marketing two months before that April 13th day. And I am so grateful for that level of clinical experience because I was used to being in the trenches, so to speak … and so I wasn’t scared of the hospital setting or intimidated by clinical professionals, and I know that that helped me to keep fighting to get him what he needed, and I was not going to accept any less. Now in my job, where … besides being the oldest person in my department, I’m really grateful for that previous in a clinical environment experience and also everything that I have gone through with John because it just helps me keep it real, to know why are we trying to get messages out about healthcare.

Allison Green: It’s so much more to me than just the venues or the tactics of communicating healthcare because I really, deeply know the why, and the value in it.

Bobby Rettew: You talked earlier about how you received world class care. And if you’ve received it, it’s a lot easier to market when you can look inside your organization and see that same care.

Allison Green: Exactly, and I will say that I do a lot of marketing for our cancer institute. And I cannot say enough wonderful things about it. And I see the difference in the illness, the diagnoses because what has happened with cancer over the past decades or whatever … there has been so much awareness, research, public support … that for somebody, a patient with cancer … there are so many resources available in so many ways. I mean, at our cancer institute there are all kind of holistic aspects, yoga, acupuncture, whatever support. So much support that is so beneficial to the healing process.

Allison Green: When someone has a rare autoimmune disease, it’s isolating. That’s why I appreciate that lady reaching out on Facebook. They’re just not in the same healing environment, so I can’t single-handedly make that different, but I can affirm that there’s some parts of healthcare … and from my experience I would say particularly the cancer area … where there’s just so much positve healing going on. And I think it has to do with awareness.

Bobby Rettew: Regardless of the technology, regardless of where we are … telling stories is still very basic.

Allison Green: Yeah.

Bobby Rettew: What is your formula for telling a good story?

Allison Green: For me, I have to be honest. It’s just tell the truth as experienced it. Don’t try to soft-peddle it as … somebody made the comment that neither John nor I soft-peddled anything about our experiences. And just try to make it real.

Bobby Rettew: Allison Greene, thank you.

Allison Green: Thank you.

Bobby Rettew: Thank you for joining us. We hope you enjoyed the conversation and exploration. Most importantly, the many intersections inside the world of storytelling. Intersection is powered by Touchpoint Media and Network. Podcast dedicated to discussion on all things healthcare. Go to touchpoint.health for many other podcasts exploring digital marketing and online patient engagement strategies. CIO, new technology strategies, the challenge of the online physician. A power of the e-patient, and most importantly, the power of storytelling. To learn more, go to touchpoint.health. That is, touchpoint.healh. Have a good day.

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