SLOW BUT SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS
Having been in the hospital for five weeks to the day, I was discharged to home yesterday. I am only six days out of intensive care. I can walk small distances, climb a few stairs and I learned how to dress myself using multiple, amazing gadgets and gizmos. For a sixty-eight year old man, it is humbling to learn to walk again, wash again, and just manage to climb in and out of bed. In the last days in the hospital, I was coached, encouraged, and affirmed by incredibly dedicated physical and occupational therapists who are succeeding in teaching an old dog new tricks. Medically those challenges which three weeks ago challenged my life seem behind me. One could not ask for better doctors than those who have been at my side, and the nursing staff of St. Anthony Hospital are nothing short of spectacular. I was overcome with many emotions leaving Intensive Care which had been my home for almost three weeks, I shall always love that staff and pray for them and their families. A major moment in my day was when the Eucharistic Lord came to me in my room from the Pastoral Care staff – there is a peace found in being alone with the Lord.
I will live with a reversible ileostomy, which I am learning how to manage, for the next several months. Soon after the first of the year, I will return for the final surgery which will reverse the ileostomy, and, after recovery, be able to fully resume my usual activities. I have been counseled often and wisely to take it slow and my new short-term companion in life guarantees short homilies and brief ceremonies. Already I must continue to embrace the cross of Christ and suffer disappointment. On October 3rd nineteen wonderful married men will be ordained to the diaconate for this Church. They have studied long and hard and we will all be blessed by their presence. While I may be ambulatory enough (I do not know for sure) my companion at the moment will not allow me that length of time so I have asked my friend, Bishop John Noonan of Miami to stand in for me. He will be terrific but I wish…….
Each day now brings wonderful new accomplishments. I conclude with the words I spoke to my doctors and nurses at St. Anthony’s sometimes in tears, I not only owe my life to you but my future is more full of compassion, care and promise. You hold a special place in my heart.