Samah Hasan Interviews Claudine Marshall

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Transcript of Full Interview

Samah Hasan:

All right. Hello everyone. My name is Samma Hassan. I am basically the marketing and business development director for our company here, wellness on Wheels, and I’m so happy to introduce our speaker today, Claudine, who is the director of nutrition for our company. Claudine, can you give us a little introduction about yourself?

Claudine Marshall:
Of course, with pleasure. Good morning. Well, I’m Claudine Marshall and, initially I was the owner and, main cook chef for two friendships. And I’ve been a friend, a personal friend of Gigi DeSoukii, who owns Wellness on Wheels. She used to ask me from time to time to cook specific recipes for specific diets, and I love to do that.

And being part of that team and with pandemic, she needed me to do that more systematically because all of our patients were house bound and couldn’t do anything about cooking and feeding themselves. So I, that’s how I became the food director, and I put together menus and. I was cooking and delivering those meals for the past two years, and our cooperation became so important for the company that I’m still there and I hope to stay there for a long time.

 Samah Hasan:
Yes, nutrition is such an important part of anyone’s health for sure, and we’re so, so happy to have you back. I heard that you had quite the journey much longer than expected, and I just have a few questions for you if that’s okay, about being on that side of the system.

Claudine Marshall:
Yes, exactly. And you see, we can see that we’re doing this interview direct because my phone is ringing and I just forgot to turn it off.

Yes. I had quite a journey and I’m still on the last leg of that journey and it’s getting much better now, obviously. But basically I had to have a spine surgery and I was planned to stay in the hospital for four days and I ended up, Staying almost four weeks, both at hospital and rehabilitation centers.

So that was very heavy and difficult, but, as I said, I’m on the other side of it now. I’m trying to recuperate as best as I can. Yeah,

 Samah Hasan:
You’re doing great. So I just wanted to ask you just about five questions. What was, do you think your biggest struggle while being a patient?

Claudine Marshall:
Well, the, the first one obviously was to get to terms with the idea that I had to stay, not for the initial condition, but for something that developed on top of it.

It was very unexpected and I had a very good understanding of the first situation from my background. I used to work long, long time ago in an orthopedic department, so I thought I was well prepared to understand. The spine surgery and it was the second one for me, but all of a sudden having the complication with my belly really quite obviously that was very scary and I was not prepared to deal with that, and I was not prepared to deal with the number of medicine.

I was faced, I would say, rather, doctors, I was faced with because it started to involve the gastroenterology and the surgery and all sorts of things that I was not prepared, and I felt very bombarded. And it took me a few days to get the hold of that. And obviously Gigi from Wellness on Wheel was, you know, instrumental because, At first she was there as a friend, you know, visiting friend, and then she had to take over as a caregiver and a manager from, from my own benefits.

So she helped really a lot to put my thought together. That was essential to me. Yeah, definitely.

 Samah Hasan:
And I know that you were talking about like, you know, feeling bombarded and everything and you know, there’s a lot to keep up with and especially in terms of communication. Which leads me to my next question.

What do you think really helped you just like stay in touch and communicate with, you know, your doctors and nurses? Like how were you able to just keep

Claudine Marshall:
up with everything? Well, again, my situation is a little different than the average person because I have a very good knowledge of medicine. So once Gigi gave me some strengths and courage, I was able to communicate myself and I, and I even managed to get angry at them and push them to open up because there is something that you have to think about here in this country especially.

You can hear my accent. I come from France. The doctors are trying to protect you as much as possible, and they don’t tell you everything, so you have to second guess. Again, my knowledge, I could tell my own self that you know, from the treatment that something was going wrong, and not everybody knows that, and I think they get very scared and they need someone to explain to them what’s happening.

The doctors sometimes are not willing to do that, so wellness really helped because Gigi could actually call them with a more official, you know, label than just being the patient or my friend or my child, and they would answer to her better. Then I was able to take over again, because I’m not the typical patient.

They realized that they could talk to me directly, and I was in charge of my own self. Mm-hmm. Then of course there was the transition between the hospital and the rehab. So now you have to deal with administration and Medicare and a lot of paperwork, which is extremely heavy, and that’s when wellness was absolutely a miracle because Gigi knew every rule she could.

Navigate that route that I didn’t understand at all, because that doesn’t work the same way in my country. And she was on top of things and she actually a couple of times took over from my, even my own care manager from the hospital because she knew more. So that’s what I have to say. The her experience, you know, was valuable beyond, and she also talk with my kids.

Okay. She knows them from our friendship, but. He was able to answer a lot of their questions, so there’s no doubt you need someone who knows the system because it’s a very, very complicated system, especially when you have more than one department involved in the hospital and when you are dealing with two hos hospitals.

So that’s when Gigi and Wellness on Wheels were the most important really. Yeah,

Samah Hasan:
definitely. And you know, I love the topic that you brought up on how she updated your family as well, because keeping them in the loop is another, just like, it’s another source of support for you. ’cause then they understand exactly what’s going on.

But then that leads us into like, you know, Obviously family is like a big support, but you also have to like while you’re in the hospital, sometimes we’re alone. And that leads me into this question, like, what do you think helped keep you in a positive mindset during your recovery? Or what are some things that you did that kept you in a positive mindset?

Claudine Marshall:
Okay. Not to put myself too much on a pedestal. I’m a very optimistic person, so I managed to talk myself into being positive. And again, the knowledge, I think what is the scariest for me is not knowing. So whether it was each time that a new word was, you know, Thrown at me was to literally Google it and go into medical dictionaries to understand exactly what was going on.

And also, but keeping in touch with my children. That was essential. And it was very hard because it happened that one family was very sick with a bad cold, so they couldn’t come and visit and bring germs in the hospital. And the other three, I have four children, they were away, two live in. San Francisco and, and Oregon.

And the third one we live here was in New York on vacation. So, but the technology, I think technology helped a great deal, like what we’re doing today. I was constantly, I had FaceTimes with my grandchildren and, you know, zoom with my, with their parents. And they also kept in touch together because, They had put together a system that my son would talk to the nurses every morning, and my daughter would talk to the doctor in the evening.

So they had fresh news and they were talking to their siblings. And of course they had a conference call with Gigi and they could ask her specific questions. And again, for our family, it was mainly administrative because they were, as they were all away, they were extremely worried that I would be sent home.

By myself without any support when I could not really walk or do anything because I had spine surgery. So there’s a lot of movements I cannot do to that day, and I live alone and there’s stairs, you know, so these, all these questions, and that was really the difficulty in my own case. Yeah. So again, that’s when Gigi was instrumental because she gave us answers and she, she paved the way she.

Organize the in-home care and because that’s what they do. You know, that’s the, the primary goal of that little company, which is so successful, is to help, you know, with all these things. So, but for me, yeah, that was totally essential. She was as essential as my children, quite frankly. Yes, I

Samah Hasan:
mean, I’m so glad that you had that kind of support and advocacy that actually, you know, helped you also reinforce a positive mindset, like, you know, having these things, just like that idea that you said of being in the know Right.

It kind of settles us a little bit more

Claudine Marshall:
than, you know. Absolutely. Absolutely. And I also have to say that the, the, the people at the hospital were great support. That’s great. The nurses, the assistant nurses, They’re so devoted. They were doing, they were going beyond the call of duty, you know, even to make me comfortable because I was, I didn’t leave my bed for 12 days, literally attached to an iv, and because they were worried that my colon was going to burst any minute, I was not even allowed to lift my legs.

And so I was stuck there with the IV and no food. And no drinks. So believe me, it was very scary. But I have to say that. Every person who walked into my room with a smile and asking how I was and helping me with, you know, sponge bathing, giving you a bed pan, which can be so, you know, you feel so ashamed, you feel so degraded, and the way they were doing it, always making it easy.

I have to say that’s also a lot big, big part of the support I received, so I was very, very fortunate. Yes. And

Samah Hasan:
Eileen, the fact that, you know, Gigi from wellness is there to help you and advocate, like you said, just kind of. Create a clear pathway. You have someone who knows both sides of the systems pretty well, so you know, she’s able to communicate with the doctors, and then she’s also able to communicate what the doctors exactly said with you as well.

So you have someone on your side, which I think that’s probably one of the most important learning experiences from your journey, right? Like absolutely. Just understanding that, you know, having someone there to help you advocate. Is just, you know, something that helps you have a peace of mind. It helps your journey go a lot smoother, right?

Claudine Marshall:
Oh, yeah, and it, and she’s still doing it right now because, you know, we organize, now I’ve been home five days and she organized the home care and the visits, and she’s making sure that they know where I’m at and they’re all coming. I had pity and OT and the blood test and the nurse, and so everything was already lined up.

Nobody had to worry about, you know, During that last minute exactly. They had organized that ahead of time and contacted my doctor’s office, so they had the homecare system, had already all the prescriptions and they knew when I was coming home. So that is giving you so much peace of mind. It’s just, it’s almost magic, you know, things are happening that if somebody comes in, I don’t even have to book an appointment because she’s done that for me.

So I know exactly it’s, it’s, I can only concentrate on doing my exercises and take naps. Yes,

Samah Hasan:
exactly as you should. You should be resting and just focusing on getting better and that allows you to do that. So, yeah Claudine, I mean, Gigi was telling me, and we heard throughout this interview how you have friends and family to help support you, which is just amazing.

However, there are a lot of people out there with similar situations, right? They don’t have anyone to advocate on their behalf. This can be really difficult because there’s so many factors of being in the hospital, like keeping a positive mindset, understanding what doctors are saying, keeping track of medications, your own progress, right?

So this is why it’s just so important to have someone have an advocate. In these situations because they don’t only help you while you’re in the hospital or in the clinic. They’re helping you before and after that process. And I’m going through these medical journeys. There’s always unforeseen bumps in the road as you could see with your situation.

But here at Wellness at Wheels, we help you make those bumps a little bit smoother to take. But with that being said, thank you. So much Claudine for your time. Thank you for everyone watching. You can reach us at our website, Instagram, Facebook, even LinkedIn, which will all be displayed at the end of this video.

We also provide a free consultation for anyone interested in learning about the care management and advocacy services. But with that being said, thank you again, Claudine, and we You’re very welcome. Thank you so much. Of course. And we hope everyone has a great day. Thank you.

Claudine Marshall:
Thank you. Goodbye.

Gigi Desouki

Gigi DeSouki

Founder & CEO

Bachelors of Science in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University and a Masters in Health Services Administration from George Washington University.

Gigi DeSouki has a strong background in Health Care Management, with over thirty five years of experience in various areas of domestic and international health care delivery systems. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University and a Masters in Health Services Administration from George Washington University.

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