American Pickers is currently in the midst of airing its 24th season on History Channel, and even though it’s been right around three years since former co-host Frank Fritz’s last appearance prior to his unexpected ousting, viewers are still quick to call for his return anytime the show comes up. That turn of events is unlikely to happen anytime soon, however, even if there wasn’t any juice behind the rumored feud between Fritz and Mike Wolfe. The latest update concerning the former reality star indicates the recovery process from the stroke he suffered in 2022 remains a full-time concern amidst his ongoing conservatorship, but he does appear to be back home at last.
Frank Fritz was first hospitalized back in July 2022 after a friend discovered he’d had a stroke in his home that left him on the ground and incapacitated. The debilitating incident was such that he was put under a temporary conservatorship in August, after a friend filed an emergency appointment, with court documents stating that Fritz was too impaired for proper decision-making, and was unable to care for himself in most ways without the help of others, physically and financially. A month later, the American Pickers vet was released from the hospital to spend the next several months recovering within a rehabilitation center.
In order for Fritz to vacate the rehabilitation center and move back home for the remainder of his recovery ordeal, his Iowan residence needed some major adjustments. For one, a wheelchair ramp needed to be built on the exterior of the house to allow him access into and out of his home, while similar additions were needed inside the home, particularly in the bathrooms, where safety bars and rails were also required. And according to the U.S. Sun, the ramp has indeed been built, with the outlet saying it was actually built “after he returned home from rehab.”
The ramp was set up around the side and rear of the collector’s farmhouse in Le Claire, Iowa, where he’s been living since first buying it up in 2010. He’d expanded the property a few years later, and built up an impressive warehouse for storage purposes as American Pickers‘ popularity exploded. It’s unclear how much time he’ll be spending out and about in the warehouse or elsewhere, but the ramp will certainly make that kind of undertaking easier to sort out for Fritz and his guardian.
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As dictated by the conservatorship agreement, a longtime friend of Fritz’s is serving as a personal guardian to assist in the latter’s recovery process at the homefront, while MidWestOne Bank is handling all financial-related affairs. The guardian will be helping out with cooking, grocery shopping, medical treatments for Fritz’s Crohn’s disease, physical therapy and more. He’ll also be responsible for bringing the TV vet to and from any outings that Fritz’s feels good enough to go on. So while it sounds like there’s still a ways to go before he’s back to feeling like his former self, being back home will hopefully only make things smoother.
This unexpectedly lengthy medical issue has taken a toll on Fritz’s financial situation, which was already reportedly taking a downward turn post-firing over unpaid back taxes. His conservatorship lawyer even filed paperwork requesting payment from his client, despite being court-appointed legal representation.
A report from November put his expenses north of $28,000 a month, with nearly $23,000 of that coming just from medical care, amounting to around $273K per year if it averages out. Following his firing from American Pickers, which itself occurred after Fritz’s back surgery caused further problems that led to a different kind of rehab stint, he’s reportedly only earning somewhere around $60K per year.
Only a week or so prior to this update, Mike Wolfe took to social media to reveal that he’d just filmed his final pick of the season, and shared a video highlighting the myriad crew members who brought Season 24 to life. In the comments, he addressed Frank Fritz directly in a rare moment, saying he’s been missed:
So fans should be expecting any surprise appearances from Frank Fritz in upcoming episodes of American Pickers, but I think we can all agree that the most important issue here is for him to reach the point of full recovery.