About this blog

After sharing e-mail after e-mail with my mother's friends and family I decided that it would be more efficient to put this information on a blog so that it would be centrally located. Here you will find information mostly on Fredi Balzano's health struggles. Feel free to contact me with specific questions.

See my other blog at daisybrainlives.blogspot.com for thoughts on knitting and cooking and other family highlights.

Thanks everyone.

Tracy B.

Monday, February 9, 2009

My last three e-mails re Fredi's broken hip

Because I neglected to put my last three notes on this blog I am posting them all at this time. God bless.


January 15, 2009

Well everyone, we have had a setback.

This morning I was sorting the laundry when... I heard a humongous crash from downstairs.

Fredi fell on her way to the bathroom and broke her hip.

We called 911 and she was taken to St. Vinnie's where the x-ray showed a fracture. We are still waiting for the results of the CT scan to show whether or not she will require both the ball and socket or just the ball.

My aunt was with her all afternoon and then the plane landed in the Hudson and my aunt was asked to leave. She was taken to the hospital at 9:30 this AM and as of 5:00 she still didn't have a room. I'll call the hospital soon to see if she has been placed.

This is a terrible turn of events but we will get through it.

I'll keep you all informed.

January 18, 2009


Fredi is recovering from her 4 hour hip replacement surgery. She didn't just break the top of the femur bone but also shattered the socket. You can trust her to "do it right". So they gave her the cobalt chrome implant and repaired her socked with cement. The surgeon really is like a sculptor. It's pretty cool. This happened on Friday night. They began the surgery around 7:00 PM and she was on the table until after 11:00. A physical therapist came to her room yesterday and assigned her some exercises to begin and today a therapist is supposed to come to her room and get her to start moving. Her spirits have greatly improved and she began eating again. She is still in pain but they gave her a morphine button. I got to see the before and after x-rays yesterday too. Not to overuse the word "cool" but they are.

February 9, 2009

I wanted to let you all know that Fredi has been moved to Village Nursing Home on 12th Street and Hudson Street to continue her rehab from her recent fall. It is expected that she will be there for about 3 weeks. She is improving but because of the nature of her break, the condition of her bones, the rapidity of de-conditioning because of her overall strength and some other healing complications the process has taken longer than we might have thought.

I'll let you know when she returns home.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Its Actually Thanksgiving

Well tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

We have come a long way. Fredi, Daniel, August and I are, for the moment, not killing each other living under one roof. We all kind of do our own things as we are lucky enough to have plenty of room. The best part is that Fredi is doing soooo much better and beginning to get her life back together. She is reclaiming professional and personal contacts and is pretty active really.

Physically she can go up and down the stairs pretty well. She can only go down backwards although she is practicing going down front ways as well. When she goes up the stairs she is increasingly quick about it. The one problem is that she can’t do any of that on her own if only because she can’t carry anything while she is on the stars or walking anywhere for that matter. Her balance is improving and she is transitioning from the walker to the quad cane but she isn’t strong enough to hold open containers or carry anything from the kitchen to anywhere. So how does she manage? She has an aid for 8 hours a day who helps her with personal grooming, meal preparation, coming and going and other things. In the evening Daniel, August and I help her doing what we can. She keeps mostly to herself but joins us for some meals in the evening.

Next week she will begin going to a therapy gym to receive her PT.

This Sunday The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine is reopening its full nave to the public and she is looking forward to attending mass.

Thank you all for your love, warmth and support over the last two years (almost). I really didn’t’ think we would see this day.

I will continue to post to this blog but really the best way to get news of Fredi is to ask her.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Fredi turns 68

On October 15 Fredi turned 68. As you can see she has come a long way.

We had just a small celebration with August, Sharon, Daniel and I. It was perfect.

Fredi turns 68

Friday, October 10, 2008

7 weeks later - 10-10-08

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to let you all know how Fredi is progressing at home.

She came home on August 25 so it has been 7 weeks.

She gets stronger all the time and we are all pretty much getting along. August really likes having her around but it is really interesting living in this house with it this full. Sure there is a lot of space but there has never been more than two people living here at a time. Now there are 4.

Fredi has come a long way in terms of her strength. On the day she arrived home she had to stop two times on the way up the stairs to rest. Now she goes all the way up without stopping and alternates with her feet. It is really incredible.

Last weekend I took her to Shelter Island. Thank you Sue. As you can imagine that was REALLY special for her. She thought she would never see it again. Of course she also thought she would never see her apartment again. Now she has seen both. While we were there she was able to practice walking over grass and gravel. That wasn’t easy for her. She also got in and out of the car. She hasn’t been in a real, low to the ground since she got sick. We even went to the Old Navy at the mall to look for a pair of pants.

Next week she has another birthday coming up. Maybe she will look forward to this one a little more.

As far as her becoming more independent, that will continue to be a struggle. Her bed (which is the one she had on Shelter Island) was very low and she couldn’t get out of it by herself. Thanks to her cousins, Lynne and Valerie we are got bed risers and a handrail that has made doing that much easier. Now she can take herself to the bathroom. As I said in an earlier post, Medicaid will pay for a $1000 hospital bed but not for a few small items that can make a regular bed more accessible for someone disabled. It is crazy..

Meanwhile, she is receiving OT and PT three times a week and is getting stronger. She can also get out of her wheel chair by herself and she has a chair that is higher than most (kind of a bar seat) that also makes it easier for her to be independent. It is hard to imagine but her knees do not bend to a full 90 degrees. This is why she can’t get out of low seats. Imagine what it would be like to get out of a chair with your feet in front of, rather than under, your knees. Try it. It is really hard.

I am also encouraging her to do more things for herself. Her aids make her meals and I am speaking to her therapists about her being able to engage in more life skills tasks like standing long enough to make a sandwich or coffee or get something out of the fridge.

Her aids are kind of funny. They help by doing her laundry, getting her cleaned up, helping her to the bathroom, going on appointments with her and fixing her meals. The challenge is that they aren’t very creative when it comes to what’s in the fridge and what is available in there. I am trying to keep foods that Fredi likes around but if it isn’t ham and cheese or a can of soup, these women don’t seem to know what to do. If the fridge is full of food that we all like they say there isn’t anything if there aren’t any traditional sandwich fixings. One of them said that there wasn’t any cheese because there wasn’t any sliced American cheese in there. I said to her, “what about the big chunk of cheddar?” Her response was that is wasn’t sliced. I reminded her that we have knives. Plus there were a bunch of other things in there; veggie burgers, tortillas, Manchego cheese, a HUGE jar of marinated artichokes, salad greens, eggs, pickles, yogurt, pasta, rice…. You get the picture. I told Fredi that she should go into the kitchen with them to scope out the fridge. I guess we’re just too gourmet.

Another thing. Fredi survived August's 6th birthday party the week after she arrived home. On August 30 we hosted about 17 6 year olds and their parents and we all survived. I think Fredi may have even had a good time. It is good sometimes to be surrounded by so much unfettered energy.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

What Fredi came home with

I forgot to let everyone know what we are laughing at this week.

The day before Fredi was supposed to arrive at home (Monday) I told her that I might not be able to pick up her boxes until Tuesday. Because of that it would be a good idea if she packed what she would need initially for overnight; a toothbrush, something to sleep in, a change of clothes....

She arrived home the next day with:
a bag of paper (information and documents she had collected since last July) She really needed that?!
3 half full bags of candy
a toothbrush

That's all.

She would make a terrible girl scout or Farm and Wilderness camper.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fredi Has Come Home

Well. It has finally happened.

Fredi has returned home to 11th Street.

No your eyes aren’t deceiving you.

After 19 months Fredi was delivered home Monday by ambulette accompanied by an aid.

No, we didn’t have a party although I was planning one. With all the preparation; getting what we needed, cleaning out a room for her, trying to spend a few days away, planning for August’s 6 birthday party, getting ready for school.... I have just been overwhelmed so… no party. At least not for her right now. We are expecting about 30 people on Saturday for August’s 6th birthday though. Heaven help me.

It was an emotional return for her. Only August and I were here and we made it up the stairs slowly. She rested on two landings sitting in her chair for a few minutes before continuing. When she saw the apartment she cried. So the question now is, what next. As glad as she is to be here the climax is over and now we need to think about the next steps.

She is still challenged by her body but her mind works and she is wants to feel useful again. There is work to consider and how to get it done from the apartment. She has already had a timely call from a referral for career counseling and we will see what else the future holds.

I also think that she is challenged by not being in a controlled environment. She was saying that she was bored at Amsterdam House and I told her that she would be bored at home too. We are learning how to make the most use of her aids who, so far, mostly do nothing.

On Friday I am going to get her out of the house again for a walk around the neighborhood and probably the dentist. Coming and going kind of need to be a scheduled event at this point so that is when we are going to try the down and up. Wish us luck.

For the immediate future she can be reached at 212-243-4675 or Verizon wireless 347-461-3556 and mail should be addressed to her at, 348 West 11th St, #4A, New York, New York, 10014. She can also be e-mailed at fjbalzano@emr-trends.com. We are expecting the cable guy today to install the router for the computer so she can have easy access to her e-mail and the Internet. Send her a note and she will be able to access it later barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Later that day...

The unforeseen circumstances occurred and while the router has been installed we are unable to connect it to her computer at this time. The only internet machine is upstairs and that makes it hard for her to use. Send notes anyway and I will print them out and give them to her.