Thursday, July 31, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words?

Please add your own text today. I have to go to work :(

Dad's Stayin' Alive Dance

Working out with Beth

With Mary, my mother-in-law

Dinner with Mary, Aunt Patsy, Donna, moi and mom

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Proud to say "He's MY Uncle!"

Yay! I went to see my uncle today and boy did I leave there with a smile. Everyone talked about how he still as his sense of humor. While I never doubted any of them, I was so so happy to see it for myself! He made me laugh on several occassions and I was only there for a short while! (Not to mention, he looks fantastic!) Sure, you may have some obstacles to overcome, but you have proved, once again, how strong you are!! Keep up the fantastic work! And, as always, my prayers keep-a-coming!! Love you!!!

Toni Ann

"What's the Word?"

asked Magic Michael.

"Heal", said Amazing Al.

"Good, you always were a man of your word."

So that's what's happening. Healing. He told me to tell you he was able to sit up without anyone holding on to him for about 1 -2 minutes. We just missed that trick yesterday, but we did catch his speech therapist. She was pleased with is progress and thinks he'll take the swallow test late this week or early next. He is still very weak. We just know part of the answer to that is real food, so please keep praying for that test!

And, he "danced" to his new CD. He even played the air fiddle! This is my idea of good therapy. No wonder I didn't make it into Physical Therapy school! Apparently there is more to real therapy than music but it sure can change your state of mind, so I'll be here burning CD's while he does the real work.

Lots of love,


Sunday, July 27, 2008


Dear Al and Family,
I missed your send off from Virtua but I wanted all of you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Al, you look great in your pictures and keep up the hard work!! You are truly amazing!!
Best wishes Lisa Chiaradio, RN

Saturday, July 26, 2008

To Sanctus Albertus Magnus

What?! Not interested in his computer yet????? Oh, c'mon, Al, this is a first. But soon I know you will be.

Sorry I can't come and visit right now - I would really love to see you looking your svelte self. But in the Fall, maybe Dan and I can make a little trip back there - we would like that a lot.

Keep plugging away, SAM. A big hug from SA.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Slow and Steady Wins the Race....

Suzanne and Frankie gave him a turtle to remind him of that and slow and steady is how Dad's playing this one. It's working! He was able to sit on the side of the bed without anyone holding him up. A huge accomplishment and the therapists are very pleased with his progress. He has been working very hard in his sessions as you can all imagine.

So, keep envisioning him getting stronger every day and soon, but not too soon, he'll be walking out the door! In some brand spanking new clothes - he now weighs 199 - down from 240 or 250.

Love from him to all of you. He is not too interested in his computer just yet(what?!), but when he is he'll look forward to reaching out to each and everyone of you to thank you for all the love and support you have given to all of us.

I think my family would agree that he is up for short visits so if you wanted to pop in and say hi I'm sure he would love to see you. Visiting hours are from Noon to 8 pm.



Tuesday, July 22, 2008

get well

Hi Al,

Marc Teti from West Chester, PA. Sorry to hear that you've been so ill but glad to see that you're through the worst of it. Was emailing Angela to see if she said hi to my relatives in Torricella when she and Dan shared the news.

Well keep getting better and you may have a chance to enjoy the rest of the summer. We're heading to SIC, NJ for the week on Saturday. One day I need to drive over to your neck of the woods to say hi.........after you heal that is.

Best of luck.

Marc Teti

Tuesday update

I wish I had more to report, but Dad is just doing his thing one day at a time. This is a slow process.

What I do know is that his surgical wound is healing nicely. He continues to work on his swallowing exercises and will be taking the swallow test this week. The occupational therapist gave him some silly putty to work his hands and fingers and I heard he has been sitting up on the side of the bed - a little.

Thankfully, Michael is still on top of all of this and making sure he Dad is getting the best possible care and attention.

I'll be sure and report any changes, big or small. Patience is still the name of this game so here is a quote for my dad....

“Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in one ahead.”
~Bill McGlashen

Peace, Michelle

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Torricella Peligna: ArtMusic&Taste - a great success

Dear Al,
Here's the latest report from TP, written today to the Forum by Mario Di Fabrizio.
I thought it might cheer you along, to hear how well it went - and to picture it in your mind!
Much love
Marion Porreca.

Sunday, 20th July 2008

Torricella Peligna: ArtMusic&Taste - a great success.
First of all, I want to congratulate the organisers of this event, ArtMusicFlavour, starting with the President of Proloco in Torricella, Antonio Di Fabrizio, down to all the youngsters who were involved in organising it. You were wonderful and, thanks to you, Torricella finally returns to shine in splendour with a new light.

On Friday evening, there was a noticeable air of tension and emotion about a new and unknown event. The organisers rushed frantically along the beautiful route trying to resolve any unforeseen difficulties that might have arisen, whilst the crowds began to fill the roads, aglow with illuminations and torches. They stopped every now and then along the route to taste the excellent wines distributed in the cellars and the foods prepared by the agritourism firms and by Proloco; fried pizzas were devoured almost as soon as they were made, as were the roasts, the sausages, the lamb, the potato gnocchi, the pasta and beans, the cheeses, etc.

On Saturday evening, they expected a massive influx of people, but the reality was even greater than any possible prediction, Torricella Peligna managed to welcome ever so many people and it looked its very best to the eyes of those who had come to our village for the first time. The full moon and the starry sky accompanied the songs, the music and the dancing until dawn. It was marvellous to look around and see the lights of other villages and the outlines of the mountains in the distance, it seemed as if they one dominated the whole world and I heard many people express this feeling as they strolled along, that they never thought they would find such a beautiful and welcoming village.

The only off-key note of the whole event was the absence of some of our co-villagers, to whom I can only say that they have missed an extremely beautiful, unrepeatable moment for our village. I hope that the success of this event might open the hearts and minds of everyone, let us make it possible for the potentialities of our village to shine out and let us give a helping hand to those men, women and children who knew how, with their commitment and so much imagination, to build a new image for Torricella Peligna.

Well done!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Trach B. Gone

Me and my dad :)

Buh-bye, trach. Nice breathin' with you, we're on our own! See you never.

Dad is working his way off of "things" attached. They took the trach out today!

This will make it easier to work on swallowing, so he can pass the test some time next week. Between the trach and not having any speech therapy there was almost no way he could have passed before. Although I'm sure he's been doing his best to figure out how to re-train his throat, it's nice to know that Shana, the speech therapist, is helping him out. We like her. I see iced tea in his near future.

Get a load of this handsome face!

He is a skinny belinx as you can see...but still mucho handsome. I'm telling you, the nurses love him.

Dad and Sister Mary Holy Water - a special visitor!

Long Term Acute Care - Lourdes

Good morning!

I had a wonderful visit yesterday with dad, cousin and Frankie and his wife, Suzanne. Like all of you, they love my mom and dad and have been a big help emotionally and physically. Thank you both!
Dad looks great (mom reminds me it is in part due to the high bilirubin count). The nurses think he's "hot" and also mentioned the 2 handsome visitors he had yesterday morning - Uncle Bill and Uncle Charlie!
Dad's voice is still not as strong as it will be, but he can communicate very well and we played a few rounds of "Ghost" - a word game.

We spent some time with his case manager and she explained the purpose of his stay in LTAC (long term acute care). The average stay in an LTAC unit is about 25 days, so this is our goal. His medical state is still critical but stable. Their focus at Lourdes will be on healing his surgical wound, strengthening his swallowing muscles so he can begin to get food and drink by mouth and to keep his lungs healthy and get him off the trach.

When he moves to the next facility, Care One, the focus will be on physical strength, walking etc. He will get that type of therapy as well in LTAC but they want his main energy to go to healing, not workouts. One day and counting....

Here, again, is the link to the facility. Visiting hours are 12 - 8 pm.

Love to all of you.

PS Apparently, Michael is still rowing the boat. Not quite ashore just yet, but we can see land?!
I have been desperate to claim "out of the woods" status - we're getting there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Magic Michael....

Dad is in Willingboro at the new facility! The nurses gave him a huge heartfelt send-off. They are happy to see him moving on. Speaking of heroes - they are at the top of the list. They took great care of my dad. All had an area(s) of expertise and together they got him where he is - on his way home! There will be a party back at Virtua when my dad can walk back in on his own and they can get a real look at the man we know and love dearly.

Cousin Maureen sent the last post to my dad. It was short and sweet and packed with emotion. I know she was really worried about him and kept him going with her prayers and love and we love her for it. I know all of you felt the same way about Dad's illness. It was scary and we tried our best to stay upbeat and confident but he had some serious odds to beat and the doctors always made sure we were aware of that. They did not make it pleasant, however, they did keep him alive so we forgive them!

You all helped us tremendously. Many of you said just the right thing at the right time. Just knowing how much you love him was a blessing. So, thank you from all of us. Dad will thank you himself when he sees you :)

Back to heroes. I was just the messenger and tried to keep it light for my own sake as well as yours. Many times the blog was better than the reality. I like to think it was the lighter side of the actual news. Sometimes I just wanted to stay home and get all my news from the blog :) It was cathartic for me, but I can't claim hero status. But I know who can....

My brothers, my sister-in-laws, my kids, my husband, my mom, my dad.....they are my heroes and I can't even begin to do them justice, but I'll try over the next few weeks. Tonight's blog is devoted to Michael.
Magic Michael...
He truly had the weight of all of this on his shoulders. The boss man. He made all the decisions. Talked to all the doctors, called all the shots. Had to deliver all the news - mostly bad and he managed to spin it all. He was there day and night. He fought just as hard as my dad and deserves a serious round of applause. Did I mention he's a great guy, too? He just knows my dad healed himself - mind over matter. I can see him whispering it in dad's ear. He did have some help from great friends - Todd, Hassan, the doctors. I repeat, he truly had the weight of all of this on his shoulders. On that note, I wrote a song for my him and my family - surprised? It's not totally original so you should know the melody. Feel free to sing along - I think it's time.

Michael rowed the boat ashore........Al - lelluia!
Michael rowed the boat ashore.......Al-le-lu - u - ia !

Lauri kept his boat afloat........Al - lelluia!
Lauri kept us all afloat .......Al-le-lu - u - ia !

Jeffrey helped to row the boat .....Al- lelluia!
Actually, Jeffrey bought a boat....Al- le-lu - u - ia!

Dad can't wait to take a ride.... Al- lelluia!
Mom will be there by his side - Al- le-lu - u - ia!

Andy helped to row the boat ... Al- lelluia!
Andy finally got engaged......Al-le-lu - u - ia !

Amy helped to float his boat.... Al- lelluia!
Amy agreed to marry him....Al-le-lu - u - ia !

Bob, Danielle and Bobby helped to row the boat ... Al- lelluia!
Bob, Danielle and Bobby kept my spirits afloat....Al-le-lu - u - ia!

Christian, Carly and Allie helped to row the boat ... Al- lelluia!
They danced and played and gave us hope ....Al-le-lu - u - ia!

You all helped to row the boat ... Al- lelluia!
There are too many to name ...Al-lelu - u - ia!

Michael rowed the boat ashore... Al- lelluia!
Michael rowed the boat ashore ...Al-lelu - u - ia!

My mom helped to row the boat ... Al- lelluia!
My mom kept my dad afloat....Al-lelu - u - ia!

Actually, my mom and dad built the boat - "Al and Lee -ee Yeah!"
Actually, my mom and dad built the boat - "Al and Lee -ee Yeah!"

More songs at the party....
Write your own - I'll sing with you!!

Cheers. I'll post tomorrow after I visit.

Love you,

Monday, July 14, 2008

Welcome back Uncle Al

Hello there Uncle Al,

I got home late from work and as usual checking the blog. It's so nice to have you back "dancing in my seat as I type". I must tell you that you've made us all a little water eyed over the last few weeks. Scared us half to death to tell you the truth. I wish we all could just stand next to you for a moment so that you could feel the love that just seemed to flow your way while you were fighting so hard.

As usual, your "Super Hero" , Michelle not only kept our spirits up but some how, in only the way Michelle can, made us laugh while we were all wringing our hands. Sending you Major Hugs and kisses. Love you verra much Moe

Dad in Charge

It's a good morning!

Dad is officially on the case and cousin Frankie and Suzanne are in for a visit! Life is good.
They had a great visit with him yesterday and then a lovely evening at Michael and Lauri's.

In the meantime, dad has been studying his chart and asked to re-take the swallowing test. He is desperate for a cold glass of iced tea. I thought love was better than iced tea, but maybe not after 3 months of dry mouth.

So, he will take his test today. Wish him luck and liquids. Go, dad. We know you have been focusing on it and will do your very best.

We are waiting on infectious disease to sign off on his release. He had a few fevers last week due to an infected pic line so they are waiting to make sure he is infection free before they let him go. He's ready and so are we. A change of scenery will do us all good.

Love and hugs to all of you. More news later today.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday News....

Hi, all,

Dad continues to get a little stronger every day.

They have given him a smaller trach in an effort towards weaning altogether. His voice is stronger and he is anxious to move to the next facility so he can start rehab in full force. That will happen some time this week.

I'll keep you posted. He wanted me to tell you all again how much he loves you and appreciates your love and support :) xo Me, too, me, too!

Love, Michelle

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Guess who called me?

Did you guess, my dad? It was GREAT!! He called Jeff and Andy and Uncle Charlie today, too!
Mike and Mom were already there (and dialing, of course!)

What a wonderful day. Hugs and kisses, Dad. You are the best!

I love you. Michelle

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hi from Steve and Sandi

Hi our old friend.

We have been following the messages of your steps forward and some backward, but as the days have turned into weeks and now months, things are improving. I know it is not at the pace you want, but in the end you will be jump out of bed and do a little two steps. Just like you did two weeks after your knee surgery and we were out to dinner. Of course then, you had a couple of adult drinks and maybe that made the different.

A couple of BLOGs ago, there was mention that you noticed that Thursday was not spelled correctly and it made me think of sign in Nassau about free carts with golf. You were sure you read it correctly and let the golf manager know your thoughts, even after he tore down the sign. You always have a gentle way to influence people and try to guide them to the right (your) answer. NOT!!!!!!!!

I am in Florida now and keeping a spot open for a round of golf and some good times. It's time to hurry up get well. If we have to do it NJ, that OK too. But, we are going to do it.

By the way, on August 6, I am having my knee repaired and only hope it will be as good as your. I am using a doctor in Florida, because all you see is people here is people with white hair and scars on their legs. The doctors must be good, because they have so must practice.

Thats is for now. We love you partner.

Steve and Sandi

Message for SAM

Hi Al!

I see you are doing much better - I am really glad. Pretty soon you'll be back to your old self. Can't wait. Please know that I am thinking about you often, and sending you healing energy, like so many others. Antonio likewise. He asks about you all the time. I was very happy to see your message to us - keep up the good work and get yourself out of there soon - we need you to join the real world!

With much affection, Angie (better known in some circles as SA)

Tuesday Update

Apparently, Dad was not supposed to get the water he swallowed the other day! He is still struggling to get those muscles back in shape so isn't ready for that next step to liquids.
He'll get there. This is one of the things they will work on when he is moved to the next facility. Still waiting on when that will be.

I'm not sure he is aware of just how far he has come already and how much work he has already done to get to this point. I also think he does not feel as good as he looks to us, but as he gets his strength back his spirits should improve, right, Dad?! It's not easy and we have high expectations for him. That's what happens when you are an over-achiever all your life!

Take your time, Dad. Each day brings you closer to home. This too shall pass - but not you!! Hang in there.

We love you. Michelle and Gang xo

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dear Al,

Until today, I was unaware of your recent illness.  I'm sad to hear that you have had this rough time, but pleased to know that you are doing much better. Please take this time to gain your strength back, because next summer I'm looking forward to seeing and spending time with you in Torricella Peligna! We will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of my father's birth, and we need to celebrate together!

You have been such a wonderful part of my visits to Torricella Peligna, and it has been such a nice experience to get to know you and your lovely wife. You helped make my visit with my son last year memorable. Thank you.

God bless you and your family.


Victoria Fante Cohen

Hello from Woodcliff Lake

Soooo happy to hear about your terrific progress Uncle Al!!  You're on my mind all of the time, but I don't get to check the blog too often.  What a wonderful surprise to see that you submitted your own post, and that you were able to swallow water!  We're looking forward to seeing you again soon.  Feel well, and continue to make steady progress, because I am sure you want to get the heck out of there!!

Love you,

Nancy, Roger & the boys

Sunday, July 6, 2008

England expects....

"England expects that every man will do his duty" ......*

SO, now, dear Al, it's up to you to become victorious in your own battle and to overcome all odds and get better, get up and go home!!

Enough of this lounging about in your hospital bed!!Even over here across the seas, we are thrilled to learn of your recent excellent good progress - and now that you can read these messages, this one is especially for you.

Please carry on getting better we can't wait to see you out of there and back at home where you belong.Your family needs you, your friends need you, Torricella needs you ... and the web site is suffering as much as you!!!

Very much love Marion Porreca.

Author's Note:

* England expects.... was a signal sent by Admiral Horatio Nelson, from his flagship HMS Victory as the Battle of Trafalgar was about to commence on October 21, 1805. Trafalgar was the decisive naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars. It gave the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland control of the seas, removing all possibility of a French invasion and conquest of Britain. The significance of the victory and Nelson's death during the battle led to the phrase becoming embedded in the English psyche, and it has been regularly quoted, paraphrased and referenced up to the modern day.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

From Kim & Ryan

This has been the BEST week in a long time! I'm sooo happy to hear all this good news. And the amazing effect it's had on your family! You have so much to catch up on when you RUN yes RUN outta there! Maybe when you get out we'll all hop on the Speedline and go to Christian Street in the Italian market and see Ryan's mural that he starts on Monday! Can't wait for that day! I wouldn't mind just seeing you hop out of that bed!!! I'm sure you can't wait to get started back to LIFE! We can't wait to have you back! If you are feeling up to it, I may stop to see you tomorrow, Sunday! If not maybe next week! Again Al, WELCOME BACK! We love you and have missed your smiling face so much! Still praying every 9:33 we can! Love you all! Kim and Ryan

Saturdays News...

Hi, all,

Just had a nice visit with dad. My husband and kids came down too and they were so happy to get a big smile from their dad and grandpop. He was pretty tired, but in typical fashion he used all his strength to make us feel better!

Jeff is there now and I'm sure even if all he does is stare at my dad sleeping, he is quite content to do so. I'm sure dad is content just to have Jeff in the room. Everyone is happier when Jeff is in town and my dad is no exception. Unfortunately, Jeff has to get back to get his boat ready for dad to go fishing! That will be "the best day ever"!

My dad loves you all very much and wants you to know he'll be back to his old self as soon as he can.

Monday he will have a "swallowing" test and if he does well (is there any doubt?) maybe he can have some liquids. Just in from Jeff at the had a sip of water! So much for the swallowing test. This news is live, folks!

Anyway, enjoy the good news.

Dad loves reading the blog so if you want to post a short note to him he would enjoy it. If you can't figure out how to post, just email me - and I'll post it if you want or just read it to him. Mom has been saving all your cards so we'll be bringing them up when he moves to the next place.

We are all so appreciative of your support and prayers. You have been a blessing.
So, keep it up - we have a ways to go!

Love from Marlton!

The Porreca Family

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hi from Sardinia

Piera and Leonardo here... You made our day today with the great news. Watching the beautiful sights here of red rocks over an emerald sea we thought of you wishing a continuous recovery - not because we want you back to work but because you are such an important part in the life of so many. We'll send you pictures when you are back in shape checking your email. Can't figure how to post pictures here in blogger.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What a Fabulous surprise!

How great to find a post from Al The OA. It's been a long time buddy but a lot of people are sure happy to hear that you're talking (and maybe walking). Keep up the great work on your end and we'll keep up the prayer push so you're home SOON.


Live from Marlton NJ

A note from Dad....

"Sorry I've been out of touch. I've been reading some of your blogs and I can't tell you how much I appreciate all the thoughts, good wishes and prayers that you sent my way. Can't wait to see you all in person!"

Much love to all,


PS Notice the change in font size? My dad helped me edit the HTML code so he could read the blog from his bed. Nothing wrong with that man's brain!

He was wonderful today. I don't think he feels it as much as we do. He is still trying to wrap head around the whole thing and figure out just what happened. He is speaking well and asking lots of appropriate questions, has his own opinions about therapy and ice and would like a ginger ale please.

Here's the best (after the HTML trick) - he found a typo on his blackboard. Some dope wrote "Today is Thrusday, July 3" So...he was saying "Thrusday" and we were starting to worry that maybe he did have some speech issues - then we found the typo - long after he did! I warned you about typos on this blog. He'll find them.

Also, he will not be moving to the Acute Care facility until next week. They just want to keep him over the holiday weekend and give him one more CAT scan before they move him to next step. More later - gotta run.

Jeff's in town - yay, Jeff!

Love, Michelle

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Moving on....

Well, it sounds like Dad will be moved on Thursday (tomorrow) to a long term ICU facility in Rancocas. Mom and Mike visited it today and were very pleased. Here is the link if you want to check it out or get visiting hours etc.

My dad is working very hard to get his strength back. I'm sure it will be a lot of effort to get back up to speed so we continue to pray for his health and good spirits. If we could do the work for him we gladly would.
Well, maybe not all the work, but I'd certainly be willing to take a turn :)

Jeffrey comes in tomorrow and we are all looking forward to a happier visit than last time. My dad is going to be sooo happy to see him and I know Jeffrey is equally as excited to be able to talk to my dad. Me, too, me, too!!

It does us all good to see one another smiling and we anticipate there will be much more of that going forward.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend and I'll be sure and post all progress. Maybe even a photo?!

Peace, Michelle
Grandpop -

Today Mommy, Daddy, Bobby & I are going to the beach and last night I had a dream that you were with us. You walked up to where we had our umbrella in the sand and you surprised us and said "Hey! Who is ready to drive a sand car?" And you dug your famous sand car and turtle for me and Bobby. So I woke up smiling because I know that you are making amazing progess and we will be taking a trip to visit you this weekend! You're almost there, Grandpop! Keep going strong!

Love You More,

Fantastic news!

Whew! So happy to hear SAM (Sanctus Albertus Magnus) is working his way up the ladder. Soon I'll be getting techie advice from him - can't wait!!!!!

Love and light from SA (Saint Angela)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

He Speaks!

Al-lelluia! He is off the ventilator and is able to speak. We are all very relieved.

Here's what I heard so far:

He told Amy she was beautiful - couldn't take his eyes off her. Smart guy with excellent taste.

Andy meanwhile was staring at Dad! He was soooo happy to report to me how well Dad was doing today and I very much appreciate how good it feels to be able to do so.

I think we did our best to find something positive everyday, but there were some days I think we were making it up :) How about the day all we could think of was that Dad was not paying high prices at the pumps?! Then we remembered his electric bill...up and down, that's how it was. Nice to be on the upswing.

Dad had a CAT scan today, so I'll let you know happens with that. I won't see him until Thursday when I get Jeff from airport and bring him to the hospital. What a nice reunion that will be!

All good news right now. Enjoy it. We are!

Love, michelle

PS He loves you xo