Tags: Pope | Returns | Vatican | After | Surgery

Pope Returns to Vatican After Surgery

Monday, 14 March 2005 12:00 AM

A gray Mercedes minivan whisked the 84-year-old pontiff just after sunset Sunday the 2 1/2 miles from Gemelli to St. Peter's Square, then through an archway guarded by Swiss Guards as he returned to his Vatican apartment.

A few hours earlier, he managed to read aloud a few greetings when he appeared near a window of his 10th-floor hospital suite as the faithful cheered below.

"Dear brothers and sisters, thank you for your visit. To everyone, have a good Sunday and a good week," said John Paul, who received speech and breathing therapy at the hospital following the tracheotomy, which left a breathing tube in a hole in his throat.

At one point while behind the closed window, John Paul gripped his head as if in discomfort or pain.

The Vatican said Monday it decided not to issue a new medical update on the pope, saying the acute phase of his latest health crisis was over.

Some had great faith that John Paul was bouncing back. The pope crossed himself as the minivan pulled away from the hospital and, seated in the front passenger seat, waved to the crowds from a partially lowered window.

The Vatican has said it was up to the pope's doctors to decide whether to take the tube out.

Throat specialists who haven't treated the pope have said that such breathing tubes are usually either taken out within a few days or left in indefinitely.

Leaving the tube in place allows health personnel to quickly deal with emergencies like the breathing crisis. But having a hole for an extended time makes patients more vulnerable to infections.

One way to deal with that would be to limit John Paul's contact with the public and try to keep him in relatively antiseptic environments.

But that would be a dramatic change in style for John Paul, who has tried to reach out to his flock in person, in public ceremonies at the Vatican and globe-trotting pilgrimages.

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A gray Mercedes minivan whisked the 84-year-old pontiff just after sunset Sunday the 2 1/2 miles from Gemelli to St. Peter's Square, then through an archway guarded by Swiss Guards as he returned to his Vatican apartment. A few hours earlier, he managed to read aloud a...
Pope,Returns,Vatican,After,Surgery
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2005-00-14
Monday, 14 March 2005 12:00 AM
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