Maryknoll Transition #5

Whoa….. I’m way behind today. We drove 7 hours going to and coming from Kampong Cham Province where we had to say goodbye to three staff being terminated. Then I just finished (10:46 PM) a Zoom meeting of the new Africa-Asia Area in Maryknoll Lay Missioners. And now the camera won’t unload the photos…. More tomorrow!

Hospital Day 23

Given my choice, I would prefer not to spend a week or ten days in Covid isolation, but if I have to do it, the Maryknoll house in Bangkok hasn’t been so bad. I’ve spent much of my time alone on the third floor so others can use the house and not worry about my infecting them, but for days at a time I have been alone and able to make use of the rest of the house.

Here are some scenes from the ground floor of the office.

Standing just inside the front door of the office, this view looks toward the rear of the house. The rear desk is that of the office manager. On the left is a desk for Fr. John Barth and at right front is the desk for Serge, one of the volunteers working with Maryknoll in Thailand.
Going through the partially opened sliding glass door in the first photo, one enters a corridor area, with the office behind and the dining room and kitchen through the door at the rear, by the large Chinese painting on the wall.

Hospital Day 21

I came to Bangkok planning to stay at the Maryknoll office for three nights while I took a Covid-delayed physical exam. I am still here, three weeks later, although the end is in sight.

There are two guest rooms on the third floor, and this is the one at the back of the house. I’m not sure how I ended up in this one, although with the original plan of a three-day stay it really didn’t make much difference. But when my stay stretched to 3+ weeks, the lack of a table or desk in this room became a nuisance. I scrounged around for furniture the right height to type on and it worked out OK.
This is looking the length of the room from the other end where the door is. Apparently, it used to be a small apartment with a little kitchenette but some of the previous walls have been removed.
This is the other room on the third floor, at the front of the house. It has a table but the bed is so low I am glad I did not have to get in and out of it after major abdominal surgery. It was interesting that going up and down the stairs daily was no problem at all.

Hospital Day 18

This is the Maryknoll office in Bangkok at present, a much smaller house than was had previously. When i first arrived in Southeast Asia, we had 25 or 30 Maryknoll lay missioners, brothers, sisters, and priests assigned to Thailand. Now there are three priests, and one of them is still in the process of getting his visa.

The house and the center manager provide invaluable assistance to us all, especially in medical situations. My unplanned surgery and recuperation here is a good example.

Hospital Day 16

Good News

This morning I went back to BNH Hospital for follow up with the surgeon. He said the tumor on my kidney was cancer but because it was so new and so small, they got it all and that I don’t need to worry about it.. It’s always best not to have cancer at all, but this was good news after they did discover the renal carcinoma.

Hospital Day 16

…and Bad News

After I got home, I started noticing a scratchiness in my throat so I took a rapid test. I’m positive with Covid-19. Bummer. I will have to find out what I have to do according to Thailand rules but I am sure I cannot fly to Phnom Penh on 2 June! And probably I can’t fly to the US on 7 June.

Hospital Day 14

I was discharged from BNH Hospital on Thursday and have been up and about since then. I have been surprisingly free of pain. Today I went to mass at the Bangkok cathedral with Fr. John Barth and then we had lunch with some Filipinas here working with Maryknoll.

The Cathedral of the Assumption is a large downtown church that is invisible from the streets. It fronts onto a courtyard and is surrounded by the cardinal’s residence and church schools and offices.
The 100+ year old church is reflective of the French influence of the century before last. It is quite beautiful and very well preserved.
The black structure jutting from the wall is the pulpit from which the priests used to preach in the days before microphone systems. (I’ve always had a secret desire to try one some day.)
Fr. John Barth and Charlie at a dim sum restaurant after mass. With us is Arlene Sale (white top) who has been a lay missioner with Maryknoll for many years, working with refugees. Two of her neighbors joined us.