Can someone please tell me what
happened to October?
When I checked the calendar on my
phone today, I saw I last headed to the gym on October 1st. Since my heart attack a few years ago, I had
been regularly trying to strengthen both my heart and lungs and to lose weight. The closing of the gyms for some time, unfortunately,
did interrupt my routine during this pandemic.
However, I eventually got back to doing about 60 minutes of cardio, two
to three times a week. I would work on
six various exercises (treadmill, bike, stair master, elliptical, rowing
machine, etc.) ten minutes each, in addition to lifting some weights. 60 minutes of cardio!
And for the past 18 to 20 months,
I stayed relatively healthy. However,
early in October I started to feel run down.
I developed some symptoms associated with Covid-19, and eventually went
to an Urgent Care to be examined. I was diagnosed with Covid.
While I quarantined for a time
and tried to get better at the rectory, I found my breathing to be more
difficult and labored. With
encouragement from a doctor-friend from my last parish, I admitted myself to
the hospital on October 13th, and they kept me for 11 days. I was given supplemental oxygen (not a
ventilator) at the hospital to help with breathing while being treated in
various ways for Covid-19.
For a few weeks it has been
difficult praying. I just could not
concentrate. Sadly, I did not
have the ability to say Mass nor did I receive any of the sacraments of the
Church in the hospital. I missed going
to Holy Communion. It was very, very
painful for me—both physically and spiritually.
When I was discharged from the
hospital and returned to the rectory, I found myself both alone and
afraid. I sat huddled on a recliner chair,
wrapped in a blanket, sitting close to the bathroom most nights.
Thank God for one of my
priest-friends who came to visit many evenings.
He anointed me with the Sacrament
of the Sick, heard my confession, brought me Holy Communion and did many
menial (but necessary) tasks for me at the rectory. He was truly a god-send.
What I have been struggling with
most days is a chronic fatigue. I have had a hard time just standing for any
prolonged period of time. I have been
able to say a private Mass in the rectory, but much of the time I have had to
sit down during it. I lost strength in
my voice and somewhere between 30 and 40 lbs. overall.
So as I write this letter to you
today, I see myself getting stronger day by day. I am by no means near 100%, nor do I have the
ability and strength to return to full-time ministry at this time. However, I can see progress being made with
the help of God’s grace and I trust the worst of this, fortunately, is over for
I thank the many priests who have
covered the various Masses for me. I
miss saying public Mass, but I know the time is getting nearer when I will be
back at the altar—both daily and Sunday.
Thanks for all your prayers,
support, generosity and kindness.
Fr. Ed Namiotka