I left out an important detail of our night in San Giovanni Rotondo. After being unable to sleep because of the lack of air and the mournful sounds of the poor lost dog outside, I must have finally drifted off because around 3AM I awoke in the worst pain in my life, a pain with which I'm unfortunately quite familiar. It was obvious that I had a kidney stone, which would surely put a damper on things for me. There was no way I was going to go to a hospital in Italy. No sir. I was going to have to ride this out until we left for home. If you've ever had a kidney stone, you know this is virtually impossible as this is not a pain you can ignore and a change in position does nothing to relieve the discomfort. Imagine 9 hours on a plane with a kidney stone. I'd sooner fly with a screaming infant.
I had nothing with me to kill pain except Ibuprofen and it was going to take a toxic dose to have any effect. I was sure this was my come-uppance for my lack of charity earlier regarding the Rosary. But fortunately, God doesn't think the way we do.
"I know what I'll do," I told myself, like the dishonest steward in the parable. "I'll beg Padre Pio to help me."
And that's just what I did. I got on my knees and pleaded with the saint to intervene for me. The miracle is that the pain subsided substantially and other than a few twinges, it disappeared altogether.
Thanks be to God, and for Padre Pio for his glorious intercession.