National Catholic Register

Education

The Gift He'll Be Most Thankful For Is Life

BY Register Staff

November 04-11, 2001 Issue | Posted 11/4/01 at 2:00 PM

 

Paul Jalsevac's has one great wish for Christmas 2001? He wants to go jogging.

That's because Jalsevac has been using supports to walk since his astounding—and some say miraculous—recovery from a car accident last spring.

On March 4, Paul Jalsevac and was involved in the accident on his way back to Christendom College in Front Royal, Va.

Jalsevac was taken to the local hospital, but due to the extreme nature of his injuries, he had to be taken to the trauma unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital, over an hour away from Christendom College. He barely survived the trip. On arrival at Fairfax Hospital, it was determined that, besides the external cuts and bruises, Jalsevac's liver was split in two.

It was expected that Jalsevac would die.

But over the next couple of days, while Jalvesac underwent three major surgeries during which his heart stopped once, students and professors from Christendom stayed at the hospital with the Jalsevac family and prayed.

Back on campus, other students went on a fast of bread and water for Jalsevac's well-being and placed their prayers before the Blessed Sacrament in Christ-endom's Chapel. Also during this time, Jalsevac and his family were placed on prayer lists and prayer chains all across the world.

Whole convents, a major seminary in Rome, Mother Angelica on EWTN, and even the Holy Father himself were asked to pray for Jalsevac and a miraculous recovery for him.

Throughout the month of March, Jalsevac's condition changed almost daily. There were times when it seemed as if death was inevitable, other times, life. He seemed at times to be in a coma, and at other times coherent.

“His Mom and I said the Divine Mercy Chaplet and other prayers for him,” said Steve Jalvesac, Paul's father. Sometimes, “Paul was trying very hard to mouth the words. His mother asked if he was trying to say the words with us and he clearly mouthed the word ‘Yes.’”

Due to the serious nature of the injuries, Jalsevac was very prone to high temperatures, fevers and infections.

The whole world was able to keep apprised of Jalsevac's condition through lifesite.net, an Internet site run out of Canada by Jalsevac's father.

Reports were posted to the site, along with pictures of Jalsevac in his hospital bed being visited by fellow students, friends and relatives. On March 22, Jalsevac was transferred to a hospital in Canada to be near his family in Toronto.

Near the end of March, Jalsevac seemed to finally regain some consciousness, and began to make movements and gestures at his family. By the beginning of April, Jalsevac was sitting up in a chair, with the assistance of his nurses. He was able to write down his thoughts to communicate with his family. He could read novels and listen to music. On April 10, after 37 days in critical care in three different hospitals, Jalsevac was moved to a different floor of the hospital.

Jalsevac had to learn how to speak again, due to the fact that he had required a tracheostomy earlier in his treatment.

He received Holy Communion for the first time since the accident on April 12, Holy Thursday.

By April 20 he was back to eating normal foods.

On May 4, with the aid of his nurses and crutches, Jalsevac took his first steps in two months.

By May 19, Jalsevac was getting in and out of his own wheelchair and was released from the hospital. At the beginning of June, Jalsevac began going to rehabilitation to work on walking and gaining his weight back. At this time, he weighed in at only 117 lbs, about 40 lbs lighter than his normal weight!

And on Aug. 28, after much struggle, pain, hardship, prayer and perseverance, Paul Jalsevac returned to Christendom College where he can now be seen zooming around campus in his bright blue electric go-cart.

Dr. Jack Landis, the main physician, told the family that Paul's recovery was a miracle. That miracle—and the prayers that asked for it—has already had a definitive effect on one other soul.

There was a young 17-year-old patient named Jennifer at Ivona Fairfax Hospital at the same time as Jalsevac who was in an apparent permanent coma. At the request of her mother, Jennifer was baptized. Her mother said the reason for her decision to have her daughter baptized was the witness of the college students praying for Jalsevac.

Home for Christmas

Paul says the Jalsevac home, in Toronto, is a hub of Christmas activity. “My friends are always over here for meals,” said Jalvesac. “They come over to say Hi” but “my mom doesn't let them go out of the house without eating.”

Even if he isn't able to walk unaided by then, he said at this Christmas his friends and family “will be able to offer thanks to God for giving us the special blessing of spending our Christmas together.”