Saturday, July 18, 2009

Irrepresible Pope Back to Duty

Benedict XVI taking a walk with personal secretary Monsignor Georg Gaenswein.

Pope Benedict XVI slept well and celebrated his regular daily mass Saturday with his wrist in plaster, the day after his operation on the fracture, his spokesman said.
"He is learning to live with a right wrist in plaster," Federico Lombardi told AFP. "The most difficult thing for him is having to give up writing."

Lombardi said the 82-year-old pontiff, who is on a two-week holiday in northern Italy, would fly by helicopter on Sunday as planned to Romano Canavese, in the neighbouring Piedmont region, to recite the evening Angelus prayer.

Some 10,000 people are expected at the ceremony in the town, the birthplace of Vatican number two Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Lombardi said the rest of the pope's programme during his vacation, which is due to end on July 29, was also unchanged.

The German-born pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church since April 2005, had two metal pins inserted into the broken bone in a "routine" operation under local anaesthetic at Aosta hospital on Friday.

He had slipped and fallen in his bedroom during the night, a Vatican statement said.

Benedict's personal physician, cardiologist Patrizio Polisca, said routine tests found that the pontiff's general health was good.
Further details regarding the actual fall:
The Pope's accident took place around 1 a.m. He got up from bed to go the bathroom without turning on the lights. He stumbled and broke his fall with his right hand. He felt pain in it but he did not wish to wake up anyone. In the morning, he got up and came down a few minutes late to celebrate his daily Mass. He told his household - private secretary, two Memores housekeepers and valet - what had happened in the night, saying he thought he might have broken his wrist. But he wanted to say Mass first before calling his private physician, Dr. Patrizio Polisca, who is lodged in another cottage in the Salesian vacation colony at Les Combes.

Dr. Polisca saw him after breakfast. (This was his first travel with the Pope since he took over from Dr. Renato Buzzonetti in the spring.) He confirmed the fracture and urged that the Pope be seen at the hospital in Aosta (the nearest major hospital, only 20 kms. from Les Combes). So the incident was not due to an illness, but to a stumble in the dark.

The Pope got up by himself, did not want to wake up his household, and went back to sleep. Arriving in the emergency room in Aosta, he was subjected to a complete medical check-up, considering his age. He was given a private room to facilitate security arrangements. The check-up tests were normal and confirmed that the fall could not be attributed to any physiological malfunction.

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi thus proceeded to inform the media and assure them that it was just a slight fracture and there was nothing to be concerned about. After seeing the X-rays of the broken wrist, orthopedist Manuel Mancini explained the options to the Pope. The first was simply to place the entire right forearm in a cast while the fracture healed - apart from the inconvenience, there is a risk that the fracture would not be perfectly recomposed.

The better management, which the Pope chose [described in the story is posted in the preceding page] was a simple 'closed' surgical intervention that would involve no cuts and allow a smaller cast covering only the wrist and the forehand. Healing would be faster and there would be much more freedom of movement. ...
Hat Tip: Opinionated Catholic

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