Sunday, January 18, 2004

Fear of Pneumonia and Father Groeschel

Here is the latest update on Father Benedict from Father Glenn:

Today is Saturday, January 17, and here is a brief update on Fr. Benedict's condition.

Fr. John Lynch, a close friend and a diocesan priest from the Archdiocese of New York, continues to stay close by Fr. Benedict. He reports to me that Fr. Benedict had "a good day" and is stable in the wake of last night's extensive surgery. The leg was masterfully attended to thanks to the Holy-Spirit guided hands of a wonderful orthopedic surgeon and his assistant. Evidently, the right arm still needs work but it isn't a major concern for his doctor at this time. The incision in the abdomen is now safely closed. As planned, the doctors did place small "screens" or "filters" in the lower abdomen to prevent any blood clots from the lower extremities traveling to the heart, lungs, and brain. The bandages to the head wound were changed. This wound doesn't appear to be problematic at this point.

Fr. Conrad and Br. Sharbel both report that Father's color looks good, and the overall swelling of the face and body has greatly diminished. Father Benedict still remains in a "deep fog" because of the sedatives. The doctors want to slowly but surely diminish the amount of these pain-reducing medicines so that he can begin to respond to stimulus. From what I have been told, this is important; they don't want him to stay in this "fog" too long.

Although Father doesn't immediately respond to simple commands (e.g. move finger, etc.), he did flinch when the head bandage was being changed! Although no one wants to cause Father any pain, his reaction to pain is actually good. He has to in some way, struggle out of his drug induced sleep.

While these are good signs, we all must now turn our attention to an enemy on the horizon -pneumonia. At the time of the accident, like many of us, Father had a cold with some congestion. Also, although Father has been breathing on his own with the aid of a respirator, his breathing has been quite shallow. As he lies still in one place, fluid buildup in the lungs is almost inevitable. The doctors can almost see the enemy ready to attack.