Below are updates in chronological order on Father Chris. View post-operation updates here.
Sunday 22nd Sept
At 1pm, just before the start of a baptism, Fr Chris collapsed. He was well looked after by members of the baptismal family (who were doctors) until the ambulance arrived. He was then taken to Wythenshawe hospital. (Fr John came from St Chad’s to do the baptism!)
At 7:30pm, he said that he was in ward A10 and they had done dozens of tests, and that he was feeling better and hoped to be allowed home on Monday.
Monday 23rd Sept
He had a comfortable night, although only slept for about one hour due to his bed being near to the Nurses’ Station on an Admissions Ward. He said he was waiting for the Doctor’s rounds to find out if he could come home, but felt in good spirits and thanked everyone for their prayers. He also asked that we all keep praying.
Apparently, even after all the tests, the doctors are not sure actually what happened to him on Sunday. However, they are fairly certain that it wasn't a heart attack, on the grounds that if it had been, he wouldn't have been feeling so well now. Apparently, it could have been a faint, but that begs the question why?
Anyway, although he is feeling much better (a bit of a fraud is how he put it!), they do want him to stay in hospital care until his planned op on Sunday. He is currently trying to get BUPA to agree to fund an extra 5 days in the Alex, otherwise he will have to stay in Wythenshawe.
I asked about visitors, and he said anyone who wants to can visit him!
Tuesday 24th Sept
He was moved to Ward F5 last night (at 2am!) He has been diagnosed with pneumonia and we are waiting to see what effect that has on the planned op next Sunday. Treatment is intravenous antibiotics and oxygen (and rest!)
Just after 2pm, he was transferred to the Alex. The plan seems to be for him to stay in the Alex until he has recovered from the pneumonia. At that point, we gather he will need a further 2 weeks rest before they will consider doing the operation. This rest will be at a nursing home called Boarbank Hall in the Lake District. Obviously he cannot drive, so when we know the date he is going, we’ll be looking for a volunteer to take him there!
Please do feel free to visit him, but check the visiting list first, to make sure your planned visit doesn’t coincide with too many others!
Wednesday 25th September
He had his best night sleep since sleeping in his own bed last Saturday night! It was his first morning in the Alex, and he discovered that the morning is very busy with nurses and doctors coming in and out, so he suggested that visiting would probably better restricted to the afternoon and evening.
There has some been some professional discussion between his 2 consultants (the surgeon and the one treating his pneumonia) about whether the operation might still go ahead as scheduled after all, but it does still seem unlikely.
He still seems quite comfortable and cheerful, and was visited by Fr Michael Gannon, who assured him that he wasn’t to worry about anything, but just to rest and concentrate on getting better.
Thursday 26th September
Not much to report really. He is still receiving iv antibiotics, alternating with iv paracetamol (they’re not Roman ‘4’s by the way!), and his breathing is still a little laboured. Also he showed me how the cannula that they put in his right arm at Wythenshawe had ‘tissued’ (I just learned that word today), so his arm around the elbow was swollen and reddish. He is not sure how far through his recovery he is, but he is going to try to get the doctor to give him some idea what progress they think he is making.
He remains in good spirits though, and enjoys the visits. Don’t worry if you can’t remember the ward or the room number if you visit. Just ask for Fr Chris and they’ll be able to tell you straight away where to find him because they’ve been asked so many times!
Friday 27th November
Again, the situation remains fairly unchanged in terms of how he is feeling. It seems that the pneumonia is proving quite stubborn and not much progress is being made in getting rid of it. However he’s hoping that on the positive side, when they do finally beat it and he’s had his operation, he won’t be as susceptible to the coughs he seems to have been continually suffering from for a long time now.
He’s not feeling at all hungry, but that may be partly because they are trying to give him 3 large meals a day when he is unavoidably fairly sedentary. And it’s a shame because a meal arrived just as I was leaving and it looked delicious. However he has now asked them to give him half sized portions as he doesn’t like to waste food.
He was very disappointed to have missed the wedding today, especially when he heard all the details about the surprise Gospel Choir that came along. He said he loves weddings, so perhaps a good way of cheering him up when he gets home (although I think that just coming home with everything sorted will make him very happy!) would be for lots of people to get married. GO!
Finally(!), it was the Anniversary of his Ordination, and he was delighted to receive so many cards for that as well as all the Get Well cards. Unfortunately though, he isn’t able to drink a glass of wine to celebrate, which was a shame because I told him that a glass would have gone very well with the dinner that had just arrived, but not to worry because we would toast him with glass with our dinner instead, and he told me to ‘Get out’!
Weekend of 28th/29th September
A CT scan showed that the pneumonia was more widespread on one side than the original x-ray had shown. As a result, they have upped the antibiotics and they were hoping that by Sunday evening, they would have started to have more impact.
Despite all this, he is still very cheerful and Bishop Brian visited him after the 10:30 Mass.
Monday 30th September
Good News. He is finally making significant progress. His temperature is down, his breathing is much better, the painful cough has gone, he can walk further (he even made it to the entrance and he is contemplating a Great Escape!) and he is looking much healthier. As reported before, he has been in good spirits all through, but he is even happier now.
In fact he is so much better, that assuming the rate of recovery continues, they are talking about him being able to transfer to Boarbank Hall on Wednesday afternoon of this week. Once there, the plan would still be for him to continue to build up his strength again for approximately a couple of weeks ready for his heart valve operation (which he would return to the Alex for).
Tuesday 1st October
He didn’t have a very good night’s sleep last night, but don’t worry, it wasn’t because of a relapse, it was just one of those things that happens to us all occasionally. However, he had to wait until nearly 6 o’clock in the evening for the consultant to come round and confirm that they were still happy for him to be discharged into the care of Boarbank Hall tomorrow, but now it’s all systems go. He will be discharged at around 11am tomorrow (Wednesday), and hopefully will be whizzing off (with a very fast chauffeur!!) to Boarbank soon after that.
He is very grateful for everyone’s prayers and good wishes so far, but please keep them going.
Wednesday 3rd October
He was discharged from the Alex as planned, along with a long list of medication and instructions for the staff at the nursing home to oversee!
The journey to Boarbank took nearly an hour and a half, so he made it in time for a late lunch (which was very nice!)
His actual room doesn’t have a view, but there are some very beautiful views from the picture windows in the shared areas (especially those on the first floor) and he is on the ‘St Cecelia’ wing, which seems particularly apt for him!
His immediate plan when we left was to have a nap, as the combination of a couple of restless nights and the exertions of moving had left him feeling very tired.
In the expectation that the next couple of weeks or so will be fairly uneventful, with him (hopefully) just regaining his strength, the daily updates will be put on hold for a while. Although obviously, if there is anything to report, you’ll hear about it here first!
Sunday 6th October
First of all, no, you haven’t missed anything. This is the first post since the 3rd, and there is now some positive news.
He has been sleeping extremely well since he has been at Boarbank, and he has been feeling better every day. But the best news is that he has heard from his surgeon, and the plan is now for him to return to the Alex on Oct 17th with a view to having his operation on the 20th. He would then remain in the Alex for 8-10 days, after which he would return to Boarbank for some weeks (the exact amount of time being depending on his rate of recovery).
Thursday 17th October
Exactly on schedule, he was picked up from Boarbank and safely returned to the Alex in the early afternoon. He is looking and (says he is) feeling extremely well, having had a couple of weeks of rest, good food, gentle walks in beautiful countryside, long sleeps…(are you feeling envious of him at this point?!) But then we remember that he is here for a major operation on Sunday, so please keep on praying as your prayers have worked wonders so far.
In terms of visiting, he will be able to receive visitors on Friday and Saturday before the operation, but we are assuming that post-op there will be very limited visiting (if any) outside direct family, at least for the first few days. As before, he suggests that the morning be kept clear, but we don’t want to wear him out in the last 2 days before his op, so please use the chart in the porch again, not only to mark down any proposed visits, but also to see if he might already have enough visitors for any particular day. Please note too that he is in a different room this time.
Saturday 19th October
He is looking extremely relaxed, given that there is obviously a certain amount of apprehension before such major surgery, but having warned him about all the possible ‘worst case scenarios’, his surgeon left him with a cheery, ‘I’m sure you’ll be fine’!
The operation will take place ‘first thing’ on Sunday morning, so he is expecting to be woken at around 7am to begin all the pre-op procedures. Apparently, the operation itself should only take around 45 minutes, but his understanding is that he will be kept under sedation for a few hours afterwards.
Fr John will visit on Monday afternoon to give him communion if he is up to it. The doctors have said that he should actually get up and start moving about fairly soon after the operation, but we’re not sure yet how soon ‘fairly soon’ is!
A lot of his equanimity about the operation is, I’m sure, down to the knowledge that so many people are praying for him, so do please keep it up.