Fred's Hyperbaric Oxygen Fund

Hi my name is Francine and I'm Joann's sister. I've been with Fred and Joann since he had the stroke. I’m hoping with this fundraiser Fred is able to get the treatment & care still needed for a full recovery. Thank you very much for any help you're able to give.

We’ve been home for about four or five weeks now. It’s been a huge adjustment. Where as in all of the hospitals and facilities we had 24-hour care. I’m now the 24-hour caregiver and have a full time job also. Thank G-d I work from home.

The stroke happened at home just before midnight and I was right there with Fred in his office when it happened. I called my sister Francine and she called 911. She and her family had just moved around the corner from us and it was her first night in her new home. Fred was taken by ambulance to the helicopter and flown to San Joaquin Community Hospital in Bakersfield. He was in intensive care there for one week. The care was so bad we almost lost him. He had a hemorrhagic stroke, which is bleeding, in the brain. The ventricles in his brain became blocked and his brain became swollen. They had to do emergency surgery to put a drain in his brain to save his life. He had another surgery to put filters in his legs to keep blood clots from moving up to the brain.

I work for a neurologist who specializes in Stroke and is on staff at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He worked tirelessly to get Fred transferred to Cedars. Fred’s insurance IPA tried to block the transfer in every way they could. In the end I had to pay for a critical care ambulance to transfer him and save his life.

Fred was unable to move, turn himself in bed, speak, eat, read, tell time or just about anything. There were tubes coming out of him everywhere even his brain. It was very frightening and devastating.  Thank G-d for my family who never left me alone. My sisters even slept in his hospital room with me when they could. We don’t know what we would have done without them.

He was in the Neuro-ICU unit at Cedars for another week. Then after another week at Cedars he was transferred to California Rehabilitation Institute which is a wonderful acute rehab facility owned by Cedars and UCLA. I’m not sure he was really ready for the acute rehab but I really pushed for the best care possible and I made a lot of miracles happen. In order to go to the ARU he had to have a feeding tube put in his stomach. He has lost about 50 pounds. He always said you should have a little extra weight incase you go to the hospital. LOL so Fred!

He received Physical, Occupational, Speech and Recreational therapy almost every day for about 4 hours a day. He has learned how to talk again, tell time, read and work his computer. There are still many things he needs help with. I worked very hard to get him eating again. He still has the feeding tube but I don’t feed him this way we use it to give him water five times a day.

After the ARU Fred wasn’t ready to come home so he was transferred to a skilled nursing facility. He received less intense physical and occupational therapy, which gave him time to heal. Since I wasn’t allowed to sleep over in this facility I stayed with a few different friends who I’d like to thank for their hospitality. Yocheved Lezak, Bonnie Brodsky, Jim Cooper and Laurie Keough.

I spent the first six weeks sleeping in his room in recliners, chairs and cots. In the middle of all of this Fred asked me to marry him. I was thrilled and he wasn’t sure I’d say yes. Marty Offenberger, who married us in 1988 was coming to visit and married us again for the second time. This time Fred was lying in bed.

I was able to change Fred’s insurance group when we transferred to Cedars so we were able to get the best care possible. He was with Bakersfield Family Medical Group and I was able to sign him up with Cedars-Sinai Medical Associates. We have been extremely fortunate with his new primary care physician, Dr. Glen Michael Wool in Beverly Hills. He has Fred on a Ketogenic diet, which we feel is really contributing to his recovery. We have home health care with Gifted Arms Home Healthcare Services, which provides physical therapy twice a week. And the therapist, Andy is amazing. Marcia, the nurse is great too. My sister, Francine has been working with Fred on physical therapy 4 to 5 days a week also. Francine is not only working on the physical therapy she is at our house every day for hours and hours. I am eternally grateful and thankful for my sister who has given us so much. 

Fred has improved so much and we expect a full or close to full recovery. He is able to walk around the house with a hemi walker.  But I stay right by his side to make sure he doesn’t fall. He is now staying out of the hospital bed most of the day, which is a huge improvement. We have gone on a few outings, which have been wonderful for Fred’s morale. The stroke effected Fred’s left side and his arm and hand are not working yet. He was able to pick up his walker and slightly move it with his left hand today, which was a huge milestone. He really wants to get back to his basement wood working shop and a friend of ours; Jonathan is going to learn woodturning from Fred. That will be wonderful. Of course he wants to play bass again but that will be a way down the road. But we do expect he will be back to his music and bluegrass festivals. He won’t be pulling the 5th wheel trailer anymore. Much further down the road we’ll look at getting a truck camper and hopefully he’ll be able to handle that.

We want to get Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy for Fred. This is very expensive but we want him to have every chance possible for a full recovery.  We would be grateful for any help with this expense.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Francine Pecoraro 
Frazier Park, CA
Joann Pecoraro 
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