When Democrat Pennsylvanian John Fetterman was campaigning for his current seat in the U.S. Senate, he suffered a stroke. Although he suffered some effects of the stroke, he continued his campaign and won the seat. His transition from candidate to senator has been made tougher by the strains of both the campaign and the job, The New York Times reported.
“What you’re supposed to do to recover from this is do as little as possible,” his chief of staff Adam Jentleson said. He said Sen. Fetterman “was forced to do as much as possible — he had to get back to the campaign trail. It’s hard to claw that back.” “It is stressful, having to go through that experience in the context of the most high-profile Senate race in the country,” he said.
Fetterman’s team spent the entire election season insisting that their candidate was fit to serve in the Senate and did not have remaining health issues. But on Wednesday the senator was rushed to the hospital after “feeling lightheaded,” though his team insists he did not have another stroke, The Washington Post reported, Conservative Brief reported.
Mr. Fetterman declined to be interviewed for this story. But aides and confidantes describe his introduction to the Senate as a difficult period, filled with unfamiliar duties that are taxing for someone still in recovery: meetings with constituents, attending caucus and committee meetings, appearing in public at White House events and at the State of the Union address, as well as making appearances in Pennsylvania.
The most evident disability is a neurological condition that impairs his hearing. Mr. Fetterman suffers from auditory processing issues, forcing him to rely primarily on a tablet to transcribe what is being said to him. The hearing issues are inconsistent; they often get worse when he is in a stressful or unfamiliar situation. When it’s bad, Mr. Fetterman has described it as trying to make out the muffled voice of the teacher in the “Peanuts” cartoon, whose words could never be deciphered.
“He has had to come to terms with the fact that he may have set himself back permanently by not taking the recommended amount of rest during the campaign. And he continues to push himself in ways that people close to him worry are detrimental,” The Times said.
In November a Fetterman advisor admitted, after his victory, that he will not be able to perform his job as normal, Breitbart news reported.
Because of his limitations, he has not been able to speak to reporters at the Capitol as he walks from room to room. “Before the stroke, he was the kind of person who loved the give-and-take with reporters,” his chief of staff said. “The challenge is to be able to get back to that place, given the current limitations.”
Last week, Fetterman was once again admitted to the hospital with what he called “lightheadedness. After a brief stay, Fetterman is headed back to the Senate. “A few minutes ago, Senator Fetterman was discharged from the hospital. In addition to the CT, CTA, and MRI tests ruling out a stroke, his EEG test results came back normal, with no evidence of seizures. John is looking forward to returning to the Senate on Monday,” his spokesman Joe Calvello said on Twitter.
NEWS: A few minutes ago, Senator Fetterman was discharged from the hospital.
In addition to the CT, CTA and MRI tests ruling out a stroke, his EEG test results came back normal, with no evidence of seizures.
John is looking forward to returning to the Senate on Monday.
— Joe Calvello (@the_vello) February 10, 2023
“He is in good spirits and talking with his staff and family. We will provide more information when we have it,” his communications director, Joe Calvello, said. He said “initial tests did not show evidence of a new stroke” and that “doctors are running more tests and John is remaining overnight for observation.”
As the 53-year-old senator began day three in the hospital for what his team called “lightheadedness” The New York Times said that some of those close to Sen. Fetterman are concerned about his health.
Even one of his Senate colleagues said that an adjustment has had to be made. “We’re going to have to learn our own styles with it,” Minnesota Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar said after experimenting with the tablet at a Democratic caucus lunch. “What I was saying was accurate even when I talked fast. I wanted to make sure it was accurate. It was kind of to imagine what it would be like to be him.” “He answers like you would answer anyone,” she said. “It’s us that have to get used to it; he’s used to it,” Conservative Brief noted.
“Spotted in Senate basement: John Fetterman He didn’t answer when I asked if he’ll be able to wear his hoodie on Senate floor,” Huffington Post reporter Igor Bobic said in a tweet that caught the eye of Fetterman advisor Rebecca Katz. “Two things we need to get out of the way: 1) John Fetterman has a suit and will wear it to the Capitol. 2) He is still recovering from a stroke and has lingering auditory processing challenges. The way Hill reporters are used to yelling questions at Senators will not work here,” she said.