Sally Franz graciously agreed to answer some questions for me. This is the first half of my interview. (This interview took place in June 2010.)
1)† In the front of the book, it says that Scrambled Leggs is a fictionalized memoir.† How much of the book is fiction and how much is truth?† Why did you fictionalize parts of it?
Sally:† I fictionalized many parts so as to avoid any lawsuits.† I am not up enough on the laws to know what I could get away with.† Everything recorded as happening to me actually happened, I just may have tweaked it a bit.† I may have changed the name or sex of the individual or I may have changed their hair color.
2)† Do you know if any of those who cared for you while you were in the hospital or rehab center have read your book?† If they have read it, do you think they recognized themselves?
Sally:† I do not believe that anyone who took care of me has read the book.† I am concerned that they would recognize themselves.† There are several people who actually helped me a lot that are not in the book.
3)† Do you have any hard feelings towards those who made a mess out of caring for you† were attacked by Acute Transverse Myelitis?
Sally:† Corporately, I do. That is why I wrote the book.† Because they were so bizarre as characters and so unbelievable and made my life a living hell.† Fortunately for them I was on morphine and couldnít remember any names.† If I were not in a wheelchair and paralyzed, I would have made a scene, but I was in a wheelchair.
4)† You have a terrific sense of humor.† Even after having experienced so much pain, you have the wonderful ability to tell others about it and make them laugh.† Were there any times during your experience that your sense of humor went away, any times that it was hard to find?
Sally:† I donít think my sense of humor ever goes away, though my anger might at times eclipse it.† I always have had one liners on the tip of my tongue.† It was easier to make my point through being clever.† When you realize youíre not going to win an argument with people it is so much easier to outdo them with humor.
5)†† I found the book to be hilarious, but some people might say it comes across as very negative and angry.† What would you say to that?
Sally:† Yes, Iíve had people, particularly from the New Age school, say that the book is negative.† They obviously arenít from a family where sarcasm was used.† For me humor must serve justice.† Itís not just supposed to be cute, or pleasant, or well meaning. That changes nothing. Humor has to be making a point.† People that donít like sarcasm, often miss the point that the TRUTH shall set you free.† If you are not saying the truth, you are doing an injustice.†
The root of sarcasm is irony, wit and satire.† That means you tell the truth in a way that alters peopleís understanding of the present condition. This has been the history of humor from court jesters, to Vaudeville, to Saturday Night Live. If you donít tell the truth with some bite to it, you never clean out the festering sores of society. Who wants smiles without healing and hope?
6)† Who might be angry about this book coming out?† Why do you think they would be angry?
Sally:† Anyone who tries to defend the health care system flaws or the people in the health care system who are lax at their jobs. Oh, and people who easily get offended, like those involved with homeopathic and natural cures who arenít open to the fact that it is not for everyone.† What happened to me is not fixable.† People who donít have a sense of humor about that stuff may be angry.
7)† Acute Transverse Myelitis is a pretty devastating.† Do you think anyone can survive this type of serious illness?
Sally:† There are a lot of people who are surviving, people who are in wheelchairs.† As long as the attack happens low enough on your spine you have a good chance of some normalcy.† They are now training people to diagnose Acute Transverse Myelitis in 5 minutes.† That kind of training is incredible. But being ďother-abledĒ is still not cool. When I walk without a cane I wobble all over the place. Unfortunately, it is more acceptable by society for me to appear presumably drunk at 10:00 in the morning than it is to be disabled at any time of the day.
8)† God has given you a wonderful sense of humor.† What you experienced and are still experiencing because of this illness has to be painful physically, mentally and emotionally.† Were there times that you cried?† Do you still cry?† When?
Sally:† I cried once about a month after I got home; I cried once this year.† The times are few and far between when I cry about being sick.† Most of the time it is when I try to do things I use to be able to do, then I get frustrated and I cry.† I cry when I canít do as much as I wish I could do.
If you would like a copy of Scrambled Leggs for your own reading pleasure, I have provided link to Amazon below.