Tuesday 18th January 2022

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The Big (Almost) Return

January 13, 2022 Frontpage No Comments

By DEACON MIKE MANNO

(Editor’s Note: The Wanderer is delighted to welcome Mike Manno back to our pages, and we ask our readers to continue to pray for his full return to good health.)

  • + + Well, I’m back.
    Sort of. You probably read in this space that I suffered a stroke last October. Fortunately, my wife took me to the hospital immediately and I missed the worst aspects of a stroke.
    For what seemed an eternity, people kept coming into my room wanting me to squeeze their fingers, and give them the date. It’s Halloween, I’d say, only to be asked a question I kept getting wrong: what year is it?
    Once they even asked me who the president was, when I gave them my answer they never asked that question again.
    Initially I couldn’t formulate my thoughts into words and only gobbledygook came out as I struggled to say something that made sense; I think I sounded like a complete idiot when my bishop came to visit and I couldn’t talk in coherent sentences. I’ve since seen him and I think he understands, about the stroke part, not so sure about the idiot part.
    I was in the hospital six days and with my speech returning, I made a case to the hospital to let me go home and put myself at the mercy of my regular doctor. The hospital doctors agreed and it has been doctor and specialists appointments ever since. I think I’m currently booked through February.
    Most of the effects of the stroke are gone: I have my balance, I don’t run into things anymore, I can navigate the stairs, go out for lunch, and attend Mass. What I can’t do is read or drive. Apparently, the specialists tell me, that what my eyes see is not registering with the brain (I really do have one), which hinders my ability to understand how the letters make up a word on a printed page.
    I’m doing what the doctors say, which is to try to read every day and hopefully the brain will reconnect with the eyes. It seems to be working and I am gradually getting through a book that I ordered just before my stroke.
    It does leave me with another problem, however. Since I cannot read without some difficulty, I cannot proclaim the Gospel at Mass, nor can I read the Prayers of the Faithful that the deacon is supposed to read.
    Since we have several deacons at my parish, I’ve been effectively “laid-off” for the duration, although I was on the altar for one of the big Masses for Christmas where I simply helped distribute Communion.
    The eyes/brain problem has also affected my peripheral vision. Until that clears I can’t drive which means I can’t do my home and hospital visits. How long it takes my eyes/brain to adjust and get back to normal no one knows.
    All I know is I’m working hard to get there, and I appreciate all the prayers on my behalf.
    I am restarting my radio program, Faith On Trial, as I write this (early January). After my stroke my friend and co-host Gina Noll took the reins the first week, but was notified that the show would be put on hiatus until I could return. The station manager did move my show from 10 a.m. to 9:30 Thursdays. I think that as long as I can get a ride to the studio, I can make this work.
    Additionally, I reported to the courthouse that I was unable to continue with the cases to which I had been appointed and the judge kindly removed me from all of them, which, of course, takes an enormous responsibility off my shoulders.
    So as I’ve been home recuperating, and due to my continuing eyesight difficulty, I’ve spent a lot of time watching the news on TV — okay, a lot of time with football, too — but the point is I’ve been frustrated that so many disgraceful things have been happening under the new administration concerning religious freedom and our rights under the Constitution and I couldn’t talk back.
    Now my wife worries about that because the neuro-specialists have warned me to keep my blood pressure in check lest I have another stroke. Fortunately, this column and my radio program give me a chance to vent that frustration and at least try to challenge the situation.
    So now this is no longer just a ministry; it’s my rehab therapy.
    For the immediate future you’ll probably be seeing a bit shorter column as it takes a bit longer to review court opinions and press releases. But, the important thing, at least for me, is that I’ll at least be back in the game, probably not as a starter, but I’ll be on the field again.
    And, good news for me, my wife will be retiring from her job later this month. That means she’ll shortly have all day to read court opinions and press releases to me. Nice how that is working out – not sure how she will feel about it, but I still have faith in my ability to sweet-talk her (by the way, don’t anybody show this column to her).
    And, of course, it’s important that we do what we do. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., recently opined to Tucker Carlson that during the past year nine of the Bill of Rights have been eviscerated, and only the Second Amendment — the right to bear arms — has been left intact. The nine he referred to include freedom of religion, free speech, and the right to assemble — all contained in the First Amendment.
    These are challenging times. Every voice needs to be heard and as long as I can write I intend to contribute.
    Oh, and don’t ask me about the president. You don’t want to hear a deacon use those words like the poor nurse at Mercy Hospital did.
    Thank you for all your well-wishes and prayers.
  • + + (You can reach Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com.)
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