Friday, October 8, 2021

When walking each day doesn't come without pain and suffering

A blog reflection of mine prior to an important surgery

While I know that any reader of this blog page of mine expects an entry submitted by me to be something that would inspire readership and that it should be something that is positive in its outlook in life, I do realise that this expectation exceeds the reality of my daily living in these days of mine that see me living toward the needed placement of two PEEK plates (which are polyetheretherketone) high-performance semi-crystalline engineering thermoplastic with outstanding chemical resistance, very low moisture uptake, good fire performance and excellent mechanical strength across a broad temperature range with good multi dimensional stability.  My neurosurgeons tending to my skull are trusted in getting the best materials to piece back together my skull which they operated on after my accident that happened on 24 May this year.

After the surgery to remove the two portions of my skull, I had to move temporarily into my mother’s residence to be tended to by her employed housekeeper.  There was little or no way I could survive on my own if I moved back to my priestly residence where I was living alone and there was no helper to provide me assistance which I need.  During the time I was recuperating from the first surgery, I had to go back to the hospital regularly to be treated by a physiotherapist doctor and his team to bring me back to my former fitness level, and when I was at home, I was to try to repeat the taught exercises so that I could gain the strength which I somehow lost with the accident.  

During this time, I developed an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection where I was coughing repeatedly, and the doctors in the hospital was told about this.  This caused them to worry since a patient undergoing serious surgery with this condition could easily come out of it with added problems breathing, and it was in the light of the present serious COVID situation that they are deciding to move the surgery from the initially planned October dates into the start of November.  Each day I am living with a tinge of melancholy and regret that this incident had happened to me when I was out trying to sustain my strength by a simple exercise like taking a brisk walk outside of the parish church I was living in.  Thank God the parish priest was kind enough to replace me that morning as the celebrant of the morning Eucharist, and he had to explain to the parishioners why I was missing at the Mass where I should have been the celebrant.  I am grateful to Fr Paul Ngo from the depths of my heart for being so kind and generous, who even up to this day, shows me support and friendship even though I am unable to be at the parish as I am officially on medical leave until my second surgery is completed.

It is without fail that each day I am feeling somewhat empty inside.  A priest isn’t ordained to just sit at home trying to get by the days unproductively till his needed surgery comes.  I do pray each day, and am incessantly offering up rosary recitations where I am praying for the many who are in need of prayerful support.  I know that many of my parishioners and friends have been praying for me, and this is why I am sustained so well despite the apparently unproductive life I am leading right now.  Many friends have tried to reach me by messages on the phone asking me how I am feeling, and honestly, I find it very challenging to be honest to say that each day toward the surgery is a trial on my patience.  All I often say is that I am doing well and that I am praying each day for them, and they are grateful for this.  But I do know that they too are praying for me, and I use the opportunity to thank them profoundly for their selflessness and generosity of heart.

Is it wrong to feel somewhat despondent with life the way I feel?  I read about many who have struggles in life, but they either don’t feel despondent or are constantly upbeat about life despite what life is giving them.  I must admit that sometimes when I read these reflections, I feel a tinge of regret and sadness that my own life isn’t as positive and upbeat as theirs.  Perhaps they have not gotten in touch with their inner spiritual life and it could be that they do not allow themselves to feel negative about what life is giving them.  I have given up asking God why I have to go through this struggle on my own.  Perhaps it is part of the prayer  in the Lord’s prayer where we pray not to be put to the test by God.  I do realise that all we have in life is given us by God, and not all that we receive from him are things that are outstandingly positive.  This situation that I am in is one such situation, and I need to constantly remind myself to thank God for each day.  While it is a challenge to live so positively, I do know that in the long run, it will benefit me and heighten my spirituality.

If you who are reading this is hearing this personal reflection for the first time, I apologise if it has disappointed you.  I have benefitted from your sustained prayers for me all this while, and I humbly ask that you could continue to pray as you did.  This blog reflection was not meant to be a disappointment, but an honest revelation of how I am feeling each day inside of me.  Hopefully, as the days toward the surgery move on, my approach toward life will change for the better.

Know that as each day passes, I will be offering up rosaries for the many who have been praying incessantly for me, as well as those who have not been doing so.  Everyone stands to benefit from prayers and acts of sacrifices offered up to God on their behalf.  And for those of you who are suffering from COVID, I pray that the medications you have been prescribed will help you to recover soon and that you will be springing back to life with your family members in good time.

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