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Pope Recovering from Surgery

  • Sabina Castelfranco

The Vatican says the pope is in good spirits following surgery to insert a breathing tube in his throat. Doctors have advised the pope not to speak for several days.

The chief Vatican spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, says the pope spent a peaceful night resting after his surgery, and ate breakfast with a hearty appetite this morning.

Providing details of the pope's breakfast, Dr. Navarro-Valls said the pontiff had coffee and milk, yogurt and 10 small biscuits.

The spokesman says the pope's breathing has improved significantly since the tracheotomy, and that he has been experiencing a significant feeling of relief. He says the pope has not been using any mechanical assistance, such as a respirator.

"Upon the advice of his doctors, the pope must not speak for several days, so as to favor the recovery of the functions of the larynx," he said.

The Vatican insists that the pope underwent the tracheotomy to assure adequate breathing, but that it was not an emergency procedure. The operation involved placing a tube in the pope's throat to help him breathe better.

The Vatican spokesman, who is himself a medical doctor, did not give any details as to when the tube would be removed. He said that decision would be taken by the pope's doctors.

The spokesman also made clear that the pontiff showed no signs of a lung infection, was not suffering from pneumonia when he was taken to the hospital Thursday and did not have a fever.

He said a new medical bulletin on the pope's condition would be issued Monday.

Pope John Paul was said to be in good spirits after his surgery. His spokesman said that he wrote an amusing note asking: "What did they do to me?" And then added in writing: "I am always Totus tuus," a Latin motto meaning, "I am always in your hands."

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