Not long after the last posting here, the evening of May 22, I became violently ill and the accompanying pain was so severe I called 911 and was taken by ambulance to the Community Hospital where I was put in ICU on oxygen and a morphine drip.
After a few days I was moved to the critical care wing, the drip was replaced with injections throughout the day and night for pain, and I was put on other IVs to deal with pneumonia, fluid on the lungs and another infection. CAT scans and x-rays, an ECG and blood tests, became part of the routine while I remained very weak and bed ridden. Also, I was only on fluids for nourishment. The team of 3 doctors said I was suffering severe pancreatitis, which had them baffled as I had none of the underlying conditions for such an illness.
While because of Covid-19 protocols, no visitors were permitted into the hospital I was able, as I had my cell phone from when I called the ambulance, to have my family drop off a charger so we were able to keep in touch. This was particularly helpful when – still in hospital, bed ridden, hooked up to oxygen and IVs, the doctors, on May 31, my 35th ordination anniversary, said no longer in my life could I consume even a teaspoon or less of wine for Holy Mass. This was stunning and heartbreaking, but I recalled something Pope Benedict had granted years ago for priests who cannot consume fermented wine, so called a friend who checked and verified that priests may use a non-fermented wine called Mustum, which my own doctor approved my using once I was back in the poustinia.
By June 1st I was off fluids and starting solid food, small amounts at first, off the oxygen, pneumonia and fluid on the lungs healed, though I remained on high doses of pain meds as the doctors said that aspect of healing would take a few weeks. The physiotherapists helped me start to walk after the long time in bed and by June 6th I was released and now in poustinia continue the long journey of recuperation.
Around the world in various ways people are saying thank-you to Frist Responders, Doctors, Nurses, and countless others caring for us during this pandemic.
Living in Canada where we are blessed with free universal medical care I did not have, as people in many countries do, the stress of wondering how things would be paid for and so I am grateful to those in government, politicians and civil servants, and to working men and women who pay taxes, for our system of medical care.
Deep gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and all the staff who took such care of myself and everyone in the hospital needing care.
Thank-you also to my family and friends whose phone calls, bringing me back from the hospital, getting prescriptions, groceries and lavishing love and prayer, helped me get through the long hospital stay and to continue this journey of recovery.
© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph