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.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

May 5, 2007

Sorry to have been out of touch with all of you for so long but a lot has happened and I just haven't had the time or the energy to string words together.

I think that at last communication Fredi was about to have the filter placed in her artery to prevent other clots from lodging in her vital organs. This was done on Monday, April 23. It was a long wait for the doctor to complete the procedure but it was done. On the same day, she became disoriented, her oxygen saturation went down and her respiration rate climbed. Her body was filling with fluid from all the IV's. Fluid that they said she needed. Her output however, just wasn't keeping up. They started her on diuretics and intubated her again. She stayed intubated for a week. They removed the tube on Monday, April 30. She was awake and alert for a time but her lungs were filling with fluid again as her swallowing mechanism had been compromised. She became unable to manage her own secretions. She was intubated again. She will stay this way for a prolonged period until she can gain the strength to swallow appropriately or else she will drown in her own secretions. So that she isn't living with a tube down her throat, which will not help her with the swallowing they have given her a tracheotomy. We will not be able to hear her voice for a while as she gains the strength or manage her secretions. You cannot speak with a trachea tube in. She also has had a GI tube installed for feeding. Getting good nutrition will be key for her regaining her strength. You can eat with a trachea tube, but not initially. They have also repaired her hiatal hernia. Her stomach as been protruding through a hole in her diaphragm for years. I don't even know how long. Like 10 or 15 years, maybe longer. Anyway it had become unmanageable and the condition was impacting her continued aspiration and breathing function as it was pressing on the lungs. Please know that her prognosis is still good (believe or not). She is scared, very scared and unable to speak so it is hard to know what is going on inside her head. She doesn't even have the strength to point to letters but I am going to bring her some scrabble pieces so she can spell for us. She has photos of August to look at and I keep telling her that fight and Fredi start with the same letter. My aunt prays with her and I just hold her hand, talk to her and knit. Seeing her is a trip. She is pretty much unrecognizable and I am pretty sure that she is PISSED off at me for giving permission for all these procedures but the alternative was not something I could live with.

I'm sure that you are all wondering how things got so bad. Believe me, I think about nothing but. What I have told you is all I know with the exception of a few details that we have decided to keep private. What the surgeon told me was that all of these medical conditions would have caught up with her over time but in her weakened state they got her all at once. A lot of the complications were due to her decreased lung function brought on by the embolism and subsequent pneumonia. I still don't think she is ready for visitors and I will ask her as the days go by when she is ready.

Just keep praying and keep her in your thoughts. I have been impressed with most of her doctors and the critical care nursing staff as St. Vinnie's are amazing.

When I did speak to her last she said that she wants to come back and misses everyone. She is so sad. I'm hoping she will be able to begin bedside PT in a few days.

Some of you have sent me notes that you want me to read her. I have done so and will keep doing so. Keep those notes coming.

One more thing.

Fredi doesn't have Diabetes, Cancer or Heart Disease. Those are some things we need to remember as she fights this thing.


Tracy Balzano

Love to you all.


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