Heart disease forces change of attitude in local priest

BARRY’S BAY – On July 4, 2013, Father Patrick McNulty was walking home from a meeting in Combermere when he knew something was terribly wrong.

He felt no pain, but experienced what he called a ‘sense of doom’ and collapsed to the ground.

“I knew it was something different than I have ever experienced before,” he said.

Father was rushed to St. Francis Memorial Hospital and then to an Ottawa hospital for open-heart surgery.

It was not considered a heart attack, Fr. McNulty said, but the episode required a triple bypass.

“Because there was no damage to the heart and muscle, they don’t call it a heart attack,” Father said.

It came as a shock to Fr. McNulty, who never had any kind of heart problems before and had no family history, either.

Luckily, his operation was successful. In fact, his doctor referred to the procedure as ‘boring.’

But Fr. McNulty’s recovery was anything but.

He developed double pneumonia and his kidneys began shutting down. His cognitive abilities were deeply impaired.

“I couldn’t think, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t walk,” he said.

Father, who lives at the Madonna House in Combermere, was in hospital until the end of August. Under the direction of the health care section at the Madonna House, Fr. McNulty gradually began walking and exercising.

He admitted that prior to the incident; he did not maintain the healthiest lifestyle. Fr. McNulty smoked and had unhealthy eating habits.

Get your February 5, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette, to read this full story.