Frank Vascellaro not hip to Amelia's Nightingale act

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 8, 2011 - 3:28 PM
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Frank Vascellaro and his wife Amelia Santaniello

Photo: Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

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WCCO-TV anchor Frank Vascellaro misses all the Florence Nightingales who attended to him recently when he had hip replacement surgery at Abbott-Northwestern.

"I do," he said, "God bless them, they were awesome."

Now that he's home, he claims his wife and co-anchor Amelia Santaniello has not been tending to his rehabilitative needs.

"The kids have been great. They have been compassionate, helpful. Makes me think we're doing something right," he told me Thursday. "If you want real humor on this, talk to my wife. She made me a sandwich. I had to tell her please don't put bad pasteurized cheese in plastic wrapping on my sandwich. I'm Italian. That's not acceptable. I'll say 'Can you please pick up a pair of socks or underwear I left in the bathroom?' She'll look at me, roll her eyes and go How long is this going to go on? I don't mind helping you but I'm not here to be your maid. I bought you a special grabber at the store. You need to learn how to use it..."

"That's what I get. That's a really good example of what it's like," said Vascellaro, explaining that the grabber is a long handle extension to pick things up because "after hip replacement surgery you're not supposed to bend over."

He had this nice thing to say about his wife's assistance: "She'll help me put on my socks occasionally.

"If something were to happen to me, put your investigative reporter hat on."

Vascellaro is not yet a man in his 50s so why hip replacement now?

"A Birmingham Hip Replacement," he corrected me.

Birmingham as in Alabama? I asked, because we had a bad connection.

"Birmingham as in England, they developed this procedure there," he said.

One of the hips on his mom Rosalie Vascellaro, 87, is not original equipment. "One is fake because she fell when she was 65," he said.

Vascellaro pegged his surgery, which he had April 1, to "bad genetics and athletic abuse."

When I reached Santaniello, who is half-Italian, she said, "My husband told me he had a delightful conversation with you. He went on and on about how much fun he had."

Yeah, what's up FloNo?

"Dear God, you know him. I can never do enough for him. When someone is doing something nice for you, you shouldn't complain," she said. "But the meat has to go beyond the corners of the bread on his sandwiches. Then he's saying Amelia, what cheese is this? Processed? It not like I put garbage in his sandwich."

She said he casually made the most amazing remark to her after they concluded a conference call ironing out details of their co-hosting the University Minnesota Lillehei Heart Institute gala April 30: It was so good to have adult conversation.

"This was TWO DAYS, 48 hours after his surgery!" she said "And who am I?! We're having adult conversations!"

Maybe too adult, although neither said any of those words when we talked.

Vascellaro hopes to be back at work from his surgery by May sweeps. He said he was having excruciating pain and he took the first opening Dr. Scott Anseth had. Vascellaro also raved about the collegial atmosphere of the group therapy physical therapy session he had at Abbott-Northwestern.

Wouldn't say Vascellaro is looking forward to having more surgery, but there's a chance he will.

"Dr. Anseth said I need both replaced, but we'll see what happens because the left one doesn't bother me," said Vascellaro.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on FOX 9 Thursday mornings, repeated late nights on the Weekend Buzz.

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