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Showing posts from December, 2015

A good day to arrive at St Thomas's hospital

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Above is a good "My View for a While" photo, to use an expression coined by Fr Z. I'm on the 7th floor of St Thomas's hospital, opposite the Palace of Westminster. I arrived here yesterday on the feast of St Thomas of Canterbury, after whom the hospital is named: it goes back to within living memory of the holy Bishop and Martyr.

Today the consultant surgeon brought me the very welcome news that the waiting is over and tomorrow morning, I am to go under the surgeon's knife. Do remember me in your prayers - indeed thank you for all the prayers you have offered already. Several priests have very kindly offered their Mass intentions for me over the past couple of weeks and I am most grateful for that. If you have scheduled Mass intentions, a memento would be much appreciated.

On a practical note, general visits are not encouraged. If all goes well and there are no complications, I'll be in the intensive recovery unit for a bit, then gradually clearing out my lu…

A uninterrupted sleep and then "all systems go"

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Last evening I was moved to a side room in another ward. I was able to shut the door and sleep without interruption for seven and a half hours, waking up without having to struggle with grumpiness half the morning. Which was nice.

Now it is "all systems go." I am about to be transported to another hospital where a bed will be waiting for me, and presumably without much delay, will be prepared for surgery. Nowadays, heart bypass surgery is quite common, and generally successful, but it is a major business, so your prayers would be much appreciated - for the success of my operation and recovery if that is God's will, or for my eternal salvation if the Lord decides it is time for me to render an account of my stewardship.

Remember - heart attack or no heart attack - we will all face eternity within a few short years. We forget that so easily and concern ourselves with stupid trivia or even sinful things that last a moment but can lose us salvation. May I join my voice to t…

Serco turkey at the CCU

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Since Wednesday, I have been on the shiny, hi-tec Cardiac Care Unit. I got taken down for the angiogram yesterday morning. The process bore more than a passing resemblance in my mind to a scene in a Jason Bourne film. The warehouse-like antechamber was in stark contrast to the futuristic op room with screened control desk, boom arms and an enormous screen showing things going round my blood vessels.

The upshot is that my coronary arteries are like the Dartford crossing on a Friday afternoon and so I will have a heart bypass operation as soon as a bed is available in the hospital where they do those. It will be an inpatient transfer, so in the meantime I wait on the Cardiac Unit.

This makes for an unusual Christmas Day. This morning, for the first time since my ordination, I was able to get the Urbi et Orbi blessing and indulgence. I unplugged the headphones at the end bit for the nurse to hear the papal national anthem - which, to be honest, is my favourite bit.

I have been able to s…

Happy Christmas

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May our Blessed Lord, born in the stable at Bethlehem for our salvation, shower his blessings upon you and your families on this holy feast.
"But tell me, my sweet Infant, why dost Thou turn Thine eyes on every side? What art Thou looking for? I hear Thee sigh; tell me wherefore are these sighs? O God! I see Thee weep; tell me wherefore dost Thou weep? Yes, replies Jesus, I turn My eyes around; for I am seeking for some soul that desires Me. I sigh out of desire to see Myself near to a heart that burns for Me, as I burn with love for it. But I weep; and it is because I see but few souls, who seek Me and, wish to love Me." St Alphonsus Liguori

Liberated from the Mindray

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Today is Liberation Day. When I came onto the ward, I was connected by five leads to a machine that displays a moving graph and numbers for ECG, oxygen saturation, non-invasive blood pressure and respiration. Yesterday, in everyday language, that started "playing up." These machines are like a lot of yesterday's technology in that they have a complex nest of menus and submenus with non-obvious titles, default settings and navigation. Once you get lost down a dark alley, it can be difficult to find the path home again.

The problem is that if an "Internet of Things" approach were adopted, and all such data were displayed in a user-chosen GUI on any device, there would be a whole new front opened up for hackers to steal sensitive data.

Anyway, my five-lead machine was replaced with a slightly newer three-lead machine that was basically similar in principle: the "Mindray Datascope Trio." On the website of Pacific Medical, there is a section "Custome…

Being edified by hospital, gulping pills, and disconnecting from the drone

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A mild December morning here in hospital land and all is well. It is the first time I have been an inpatient in a hospital and the experience is helping me to understand a bit more of how a hospital ward works. The crossover and co-operation between all levels of staff is impressive.

Normally as a visitor you only get to see passing snapshots of the care that is given. Being in the same ward means that you hear the whole saga when "Bert" or "Lily" needs some particular personal attention. It is moving to see the patient, respectful preservation of a person's dignity in such circumstances.

So far today, I've given an early-morning blood sample, cracked jokes with the trolley guy who bought round the breakfast, got to know the student nurse, managed to shave using a cardboard bowl of hot water, and bought a copy of The Daily Telegraph which nowadays I only buy in emergencies such as this when it might be a diversion later to do the crossword. The qualified n…

A Minor Cardiac Episode and my view for a while

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Claud Cockburn won a competition with colleagues at the Times for the most accurate yet boring headline "Small Earthquake in Chile, not many Dead." I am reminded of this when trying to calm friends and family down over what happened to me in the wee small hours this morning.

I had a minor heart attack. One of the doctors did use that expression, though a young nurse who spoke to me later was versed in the new terminology of "cardiac episode" which makes me want to think up a script for Doctor Who. I'm not dead, but the experience of not being able to breathe properly does help to sharpen up one's focus on those meditations of St Alphonsus. Perhaps my many repetitions of the prayer "that we may not be surprised by a sudden and unprovided death" got me off this time.

I have been x-rayed, injected, and given a cocktail of drugs that has brought my blood pressure down to an impressively normal figure. I have wires connecting my chest and a bleepy mach…

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