ROME — Pope John Paul II will return to the Vatican today to continue his convalescence following an appendectomy.
A medical bulletin issued by Gemelli Polyclinic Hospital on Monday said the 76-year-old pontiff's recovery has been "fully satisfactory" and that he is gradually resuming his daily activities.
"He's in good shape," said Dr. Attilio Maseri, chief cardiologist at the hospital. "He's better than I thought he would be."
John Paul appeared rested and in good spirits in his first post-surgical public appearance Sunday, joking from his hospital window that Gemelli had become "Vatican No. 3" because of his stays there. The papal summer palace in Castelgandolfo was Vatican No. 2, he quipped.
Doctors said the surgery was needed because of intestinal problems that had caused bouts of fever since December. The Vatican blamed the pope's ill health in past months on an inflamed appendix.
During his appearance at the window, John Paul kept his trembling left hand out of sight.
Vatican officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said Parkinson's disease may be a likely diagnosis for the condition. Parkinson's is a progressive neurological disorder that can be slowed by medicine.
Doctors involved in last week's surgery have acknowledged that other medical specialists are evaluating the pope.