Bishop of Knoxville Richard F. Stika is in good humor as he recuperates from a mild heart attack in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida hospital.
He suffered the attack on Saturday. It was brought on by diabetic shock likely caused by vomiting and dehydration because of the flu, the Diocese of Knoxville reports. His symptoms indicated that he did not have swine flu.
Deacon Sean Smith, chancellor of the Diocese of Knoxville, said that the bishop was “stable and responding very well to treatment, and all his attending physicians are optimistic of a full recovery.”
The deacon reported that he had “a wonderful long conversation” with Bishop Stika on Tuesday. Though the bishop is tired, Deacon Smith reported, “his sense of humor is back, and he wanted to express his deep appreciation for all the prayers and support he’s had.”
“He wanted everybody to know that he’s praying for them as well, and he can’t wait to get strong enough to come back home to be with his Christian faithful.”
Following reports of the heart attack, rumor spread that it was far more severe and had put the bishop at death’s door with kidney failure.
However, Deacon Smith repeated that the heart attack was “very mild.”
“His heart was thoroughly examined and found to be in great shape, and his kidneys are working normally.”
The bishop had bypass surgery five years ago. His cardiologist in Florida has examined his bypasses, pronouncing them to be strong.
On August 14 Bishop Stika had flown to South Florida to see his friend Archbishop Francis Mansour Zayek, retired from the Maronite Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn. Archbishop Zayek was himself ill and was going to return to Lebanon permanently, Deacon Smith reported.
Bishop Stika’s flu symptoms began Friday evening and he collapsed in his hotel’s lobby Saturday morning.
Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, a friend of Bishop Stika, visited the prelate on Tuesday morning.
A friend and former parishioner of Bishop Stika, Tim Trout, was on vacation with his family in Palm Beach, Florida at the time of the bishop's heart attack.
“Tim has been with him ever since and has been my liaison with the doctors all this time,” Deacon Smith said, according to the diocese. “He returned his rental car, checked him out of his hotel room, and paid the bill. He’s been a Godsend.”