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

September 25, 2007

Hello Everyone:

It is time for me to update you all on Fredi's progress.

First I want to thank all of you who have gone to visit her and sent her books, DVD's and plants. These things are comforts in the transience of her life.

Last week I travelled with her to a new pulmonologist. His name is Dr. Saunders and he practices out of NY Hospital. We travelled by ambulance which had its challenges but we got there which we wouldn't have without the ambulance. Challenges aside it is quite a way to travel. It was interesting because people treat Fredi as you would expect. She was looking out the rear window of the "bus", getting her bearings and she wanted to know which Central Park transverse we were traveling across. When I asked for her the driver said, "We're almost there." I politely said that wasn't what she wanted to know. She wanted to know where we were. You learn that if you are on a gurney and can't move your legs they thing your mind is gone. We were on our way back to the nursing home and she wanted to know why we were on Broadway. I think it was good for her to see some of the city. One of the EMS guys thought that the Metropolitan Museum of Art was "the Science Museum". Fredi wanted to know how long he had been in NY. "6 months", was his response. We excused him for his gaffe and let him know that the name of "the Science Museum" is the American Museum of Natural History, that no that museum was not it and that he needs to learn some basics of NY residency.

Anyway, I gave this doctor all of Fredi's history and he thinks that the trach should come out. There are some things that need to be accomplished first but we are now heading in that direction. She has had a lot of secretions since the tracheostomy was installed and no therapies have helped to reduce them. This doctor thinks that the irritation from the trach may be the cause of the secretions. These secretions are clear and loose and she has had no fever or green or yellow sputum. The culture also shows that the sputum is not infected. He also took her off of the bronchial dialators. They weren't helping at all, and so, why take them.

Tomorrow, she will see an ENT to evaluate her swallowing and airways to see if removing the tube is viable. There really isn't any reason that it shouldn't be. After that they will begin to deflate the internal cuff so that air can flow over her vocal cords if the trach is blocked. From there they will change her to something called a fenestrated trach. This type of trach doesn't have an internal collar and allows greater air flow in the sinuses. If she tolerates this well, the tracheostomy will be reversed. Please keep her in your prayers as we move forward.

Fredi is reading again quite avidly which she wasn't even doing when she was at Village Nursing Home. Unfortunately she can't hold a book which is a problem. As a result I bring her books and tear them into sections so she can handle them.

Physically she is getting stronger. It is hard for people to understand why she still can't walk but if one saw her condition when she was released from the hospital they would understand. She couldn't lift her whole arm off of the bed, only what is below the elbow and that only a little. Now she can. She can also lift her leg. These are actions that most of us take for granted. I never will again. She says that her fingers are numb and that makes it hard for her to hold a pen or write. I was speaking to Adrienne over the weekend. We both thought that it would be helpful if I got her a blackberry. That way she can communicate with you all. I'll let you know if and when that is accomplished. The nursing staff have been wonderful helping her get her strength back and I have had the pleasure of being there during a few of her bedside therapy sessions. The therapists there are really wonderful. I want to thank Myra once again for getting my mother into such a terrific facility.

Something else that happened when we were at the pulmonologist was that I described for the doctor what was involved in the surgery to repair her hiatal hernia. She had never heard the gory details. She looked at me with the most astonished expression and said, "They did THAT to me? Yuck." It was a moment.

If you don't have the address of the nursing home, here it is again.

Amsterdam House
1060 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10025

I can't think of anything else to say right now but I am sure I will think of something in 5 minutes.

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