Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 74(1) February 2024

Faith in Medicine

The gift of being a carer.

Dr Adrian Treloar

De Adrian TreloarOn October 30th my wife seemed entirely well

We set off to Church together on our bicycles. At 10.41am her heart stopped and she collapsed. She was resuscitated but did not regain a heart beat for 40 minutes. By the grace of God (and very remarkably) she survived, but lives now with a very severe brain injury. After 2 months in ITU and on a chest ward she went for rehab but was found to be too unwell for rehab. In April, 5 months after her original injury, she came home to my care. She has been home now for 7 months

It’s hard to put into words the things I have learnt, the dashed hopes of recovery, and the joys of see- ing her home. Clearly, and especially at the start, I hoped for substantial recovery. She did indeed recover till about New Year, but after that, made little progress. I now do not expect much improvement and realise that I love her now as she is. She does not have to get better to “qualify“ for my love and care... She is my wonderful wife and that cannot be taken away.

She remains very unable, and fully dependent upon my care and that of her other carers. She talks very little, and continues to be the leader and inspiration of the wonderful family that she created with God and with me. The huge pain of seeing her so poorly has been accompanied

For myself, while I yearn that she might be better, I can also be grateful for her Extreme unctionShe has received absolution through that sacrament. Additionally, she has (by virtue of her brain injury) become incapable of sin. My wife is a pure soul. While I might well prefer that she could be well enough once again to be able to sin, she is not. I live with a saint, for whom I care. We have also received very many and graces as a result of the last year.

It is indeed a joy to care for her, to have her home, to hold her hands and to push her in her wheel-chair. Carers do this for love. To be able to care is, for me, a huge gift and privilege.

As St Catherine Labouré said of those for whom she cared, “I see the face of Christ in each one”.

St Catherine Labouré

St Catherine LaboureAt the end of January 1831 St Catherine Labouré was sent to serve in a home for the elderly in Enghien, the poor of the neighbourhood, the marginalised etc.

During 46 years of untiring service she was a harbour of peace for everyone, looking out for the elderly with unusual generosity, especially those who were the most disagreeable.

She gave equal attention to the sick whom she attended during their agony. St Catherine said - “I saw the face of Christ in each one”.


Treloar A. St Catherine Laboure - Seeing the face of Christ in the sick and suffering.
Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 66(3) Aug 2016.