Pope John Paul is made of stern stuff, indeed. The 84-year-old year old is comfortable in hospital today after a light anaesthetic and a routine tracheotomy to allow him to breathe easily was performed in Rome’s Gemelli hospital. Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls gave the good news, refuting press reports that the Pope had needed a respirator, had contracted an infection, and had a fever.
All wrong, he said: “The Pope has spent a comfortable, quiet night and woke up this morning lucid from the anaesthetic with a good appetite. He ate his breakfast normally; ten biscuits, a coffee and a yoghurt. “The post-operation phase is going smoothly, he’s breathing regularly, and his cardiovascular signs are all normal”. The Vatican now appears sufficiently reassured of the Pope’s health that no further medical bulletins will be issued until Monday, barring any surprises. Pope John Paul II cannot speak at the moment but his taking some sort of part in Sunday prayers has not been ruled out.