Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sen. Johnson Has Surgery

By now, we have all heard of the stroke-like symptoms suffered by Sen. Tim Johnson, of South Dakota. These symptoms came to light during a phone interview, yesterday. Now, it is being reported that he has undergone surgery.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota underwent surgery on Wednesday, a source said, after suffering what a doctor called "symptoms of a stroke." The actions prompted concerns about his fellow Democrats' razor-thin majority in the incoming Senate.

While there was no immediate word on the condition of the 59-year-old senator, the source, who is familiar with Johnson's situation, said surgeons sought to remedy an unspecified medical problem.

Surgery is not usually a viable treatment option for a stroke. But, it is for an aneurysm, which can cause the same kind of symptoms if it is located in the brain.

PYY wishes the Senator a speedy recovery and thoroughly condemns all of the political chatter of how this may affect the balance of power in the Senate. It is much too early for that and is very tacky, at the very least.


Senator In Critical Condition

Johnson suffered from bleeding in the brain caused by a congenital arteriovenous malformation, the U.S. Capitol physician said, describing the surgery as succesful.

A cerebral AVM is different from an aneurysm. It presents the same way an aneurysm does, but is a much more difficult problem to fix.

At any rate, CNN is reporting that he did in fact hemorrhage as a result of this. In the case of either an aneurysm or an AVM, surgery can and often does correct this anomaly. But, the fact that he bled does not look good at this point. More complications can and often do arise if there is a bleed. Survival rates drop, when there is a bleed.

Many people have AVMs and never have a problem. But that is of little consolation, for Sen. Johnson. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family, today.


To illustrate why this country is so polarized at this point in our history, one need not look any further than comments at Steve Benen's blog, The Carpet Bagger Report.

(Steve is also the managing editor at the Daou Report, while Mr. Daou is working as Hillary's blog advisor.)

Note my comment (#4) to Steve's post:

It sounds like he has an aneurysm. Very rarely, would a stroke require a surgical intervention. If this is the case, recovery will likely be a long tough process, if he survives.

I am not pleased with how people on both sides of the aisle are already talking about how this affects the balance of power in the Senate. Our first thoughts should be with the Senator’s health and subsequent recovery. We do not elect D’s or R’s, we elect people.

Then note a specific reply (#8) to that comment:

kumbayah, #4, kumbayah.

I was about to ask what world you were living in… then I noticed it’s LA. I slapped my forehead and said “Of Course!”

Just kidding. Your comment was nice. Cute, quaint and totally unrealistic, with just a whiff of self-serving, self-gratifying, indignant self-righteous piety, but nice. Just kidding again. I mean when hundreds of thousands of people are being killed because of which party is in power, we should really focus on the suffering of one man, and ignore the balance in the senate, which is the reason the story has legs in the first place, and why we’re talking about it now. Totally you’re right. Good point.

…OK Now I’m really kidding.

So, the talk of the town in Democratic circles has centered on their fear that they may lose control of the Senate. Very little care and consideration has been given to the fact that a family is grieving and a man is fighting for his life, right now.

Their fear is that they will lose power.

While it is true that this story would not have legs if the balance was not teetering, right now, there is a certain coldness and callousness in people's hearts when it comes to politics. If there wasn't, we would not see comments like I just cited.

So, just where is the self-serving part of my statement? He doesn't say. But with a multitude of implications, he certainly shows who has the more self-serving comment, of the two.


Greg said...

Soledad O'Brien on CNN this morning made me want to vomit. She was talking about the guy like he was already dead, and the Republicans were poised to take back control of the Senate - gasp! No class. Am I the only one here who cannot stand Soledad O'Brien?

LASunsett said...


//Am I the only one here who cannot stand Soledad O'Brien?//

Not by a long shot. I think she leaves a lot to be desired, in the way of TV Journalists.

Greg said...

I'm left speechless by the stupid retort of that guy. I thought "rethuglicans" were supposed to be the cold-hearted, mean ones....

LASunsett said...


Wasn't that one of the coldest and insensitive things that could have been said, at a moment like this?

There are some people of whom you just cannot find a soul or a spirit inside. They are so numb to feeling the human condition that they say the meanest and vile things, without regard to class and dignity, whatsoever.

Anyway, you see his blog. It's not something that I would even link to, not even on a bet.

A.C. McCloud said...

While I agree that speculation is morbid and certainly insensitive at this point (this is a horrible time of year for such suffering) I'll venture this far on the speculation limb--

if Mr. Johnson can't fulfill his Senate duties then the Repub Gov. should appoint a temporary democrat to fill the seat, followed by a special election (if law allows). It would be the right thing to do.

LASunsett said...


It's not that it shouldn't be in the back of everyone's minds. Most anyone with a shred of political awareness knows and understands the balance could be affected. But, look at all of the stories that ran on this. The vast majority used it as a story unto itself. Many even led with it.

You said it well. Here we are at Christmas time, a man is facing an uncertain future, and the family is adjusting to an unexpected crisis. That part is bad enough, but to have to listen to it presented as a potential political crisis on top of it all, makes it even worse, in my opinion.

My only point in all of this is, the media whipped up the masses into a frenzy, before we even knew what the full scope of the story was.

BTW, your idea is certainly a noble and fair solution. But whoever that governor is, will be under an intense amount of pressure to do otherwise. My question is can he withstand the pressure?

Thanks for stopping by, if it wasn't for you and Greg, it'd get dull around here sometimes. (Anonim, are you out there? What do you think?)


Anonim said...

I am here. I haven't find much to comment on lately. Sorry.

We know, the feelings or privacy of public figures (politicians, celebrities, etc.) generally do not figure in considerations about their press coverage. At times, you even hear some people say they don't have any claim to privacy for being in public service. I wonder if this would apply to this case as well. To a certain extent of course. I haven't read, watched, or listened to related coverage much. But I would frown upon any partisan concern or glee over this. Apart from that, media is media, and some sickly sensationalism exists.

Having said that, Reps' losing control of both houses of congress was a big deal after the elections. Now, the possibility that the arithmetic might change again could be a big deal also. So some press coverage is understandable. Again, the dose and tone of such coverage are important.

I just caught a glimpse of Margaret Warner talking to someone on PBS tonight. I taught the exchange was measured and pretty educational. Warner's guest explained several scenarios with historical examples.

I think, AC's suggestion would be the honorable thing to do on the governor's part if it came to that. It would be interesting to see. I understand that a vacancy does not officially arise unless a senator resigns no matter how incapacitated (s)he may be. That's interesting, too.

After all above, I hope the senator makes a full recovery (59 is too young an age for this), and embarrasses us all for speculating here.

LASunsett said...

Hi Anonim,

I suspected that you (like Amerloque does from time to time) were in lurking mode.

Sometimes, the news is slow and I guess that makes it more difficult to be provocative. And when that happens, many are reluctant to take a swing.

I also believe that some who like to pile on when I make a provoking statement (or two), secretly agree with me on some things. But shhhh, don't tell anyone, I said that.


Welcome back, sir.

Having said all that, I think your point about the media's sensationalism has quite a lot to do with this frenzy. Slow news days bring out the frantic behaviors in all those that thrive on this stuff.

A.C. McCloud said...

My only point in all of this is, the media whipped up the masses into a frenzy, before we even knew what the full scope of the story was.

Absolutely. It says something about our current state of affairs. I hope the Senator improves for Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by,

My pleasure. Likewise.