First it was David Warren‘s emergency heart surgery that worried us and deprived us of his commentary for quite a while. I had barely received the news of good Mr. Warren’s recovery when I started feeling bad (about May 13, notice the date.) I attributed my state to one of my strong allergy attacks. I am very allergic to the pollen of certain type of tree very common in the city of Buenos Aires. Yes, it is still a mystery why the Spanish Conquistadors named this area that way. Arguably, there is better air to breathe elsewhere in the country. So we ended up with ‘good air’ (that is not always so) by a ‘river of silver’ (the Rio de la Plata) where silver is conspicuously absent. But I digress. By May 26 I was in terrible shape. A friend suggested on the phone that I contact the City Emergency Medical Service (SAME) immediately. As I tried to reach my home phone to do just so, I realized I was unable to punch the three digits. My vision turned blurry and things started spinning around. I also noticed I was running a fever. I asked my friend to do the call for me and he did.
The docs were at my door only seven minutes later. They took a look at me from a distance and commanded me to get some spare clean clothes because I was going to the Hospital Pirovano for a few days at least. Fifteen minutes after their arrival, I was on a stretcher flying to the emergency room. After the presence of the virus was confirmed I was intubated. About a month passed by until I recovered some consciousness, followed by another month in the Intensive Care Unit. When I arrived at the ICU I was visited by the Catholic Chaplain. The good priest did not even dare to wake me up. My state was pitiful having lost 35 lbs. among other things. The Chaplain saw I was not going to make it through the night. He gave me the Last Rites. Perhaps it was the Viaticum and the prayers of many friends what kept me going. It was a month of pain, drug induced hallucinations, etc. I prepared myself to meet my Maker more than one time.
When I got slightly better I was sent to the SARIP Rehabilitation Unit. By that time I was unable to even sit at the edge of my bed, use the loo, or even eat properly. What followed was a miracle of sorts. The personnel there worked incessantly to bring me back and care for the huge bed sores growing on my bottom and chest due to the long intubation period (when one is supposed to be immobilized.) Some of that treatment is still going on. With their help I was able to recover some mobility –it will take about six months to a year to be back to where I was before the bug entered my system– and I was sent home on August 23. Here I am recovering slowly, writing this brief account of what happened and begging you for many prayers.
I owe my life to the extraordinary efforts of the Hospital’s physicians, nurses, technicians and to two friends who urged me to call the doctor when I was losing contact with reality. I will never be able to truly repay them.
You must learn from my experience and take all the precautions you deem necessary to avoid infection with this deadly virus. While I was in the Hospital I saw many men and women succumb to the disease, lose the use of their limbs, one simply went mad and could not be rehabilitated.
As I navigated the various stages of treatment and once I realized I was going to live perhaps to my approaching 67th birthday, I started asking in prayer what should I do with this additional time. I am not very clear about that yet. Everything has changed in the city, the country, the Church. All I can do is leave everything to God’s care since He always knows best. My projects have gone to the back burner and will stay there for a while. I will resume writing my weekly posts shortly as the mental fog dissipates. This post is a test. If something is not clear, blame on the virus!
Now, these things come in ‘threes’. First was David Warren, then it was my turn. I wonder who will be the unhappy Catholic blogger to endure the next “interruption” — just in case, let us pray it will stop at two.
Should you want to contribute something to offset the cost of medicines (very expensive here) and the wages of the nurse that is currently taking care of this poor old sinner … you can send what you can to THIS PAYPAL LINK. Thank you to all of you who asked for a way to help. God is in the details.
Like Duke Ellington used to say: “I love you madly!” I have the best readers in the world. Keep those prayers coming. God bless you all.