Johnson Continues to Make Progress

Posted February 2, 2007 at 6:37pm

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) continues to make progress following emergency brain surgery in December and is recovering strength in the right side of his body, which had been affected by the arteriovenous malformation that prompted the surgery, aides to the ailing lawmaker said Friday.

A Johnson aide said he has progressed to the point that his staff is providing him with news clips from state papers on a regular basis. Johnson also is watching CNN and is attempting to catch up on more than a month’s worth of news and events.

The aide said Johnson’s physical recovery has progressed significantly and that he was able to stand up using parallel bars last week.

Doctors at the The George Washington University Hospital rehabilitation center last week said he has made steady progress in speech and reading therapy.

“Sen. Johnson is using limited full sentences and is initiating conversation with his family and therapists,” said Dr. Philip Marion, medical director for the Department of Rehabilitative Medicine, adding that his ability to read appears to have suffered little short-term damage. “Simply put, he is reading. The test showed that he is comprehending written material and successfully following written commands,” Marion said. “When it comes to rehabilitation, each patient’s recovery is unique but Sen. Johnson continues to impress us with his progress during his daily therapy sessions.”

Although the surgery ensured the lawmaker likely would not suffer long-term damage, he did suffer some damage to his right side. Combined with being bedridden for more than a month while he recovered, aides said it could take several more months before Johnson is able to return to work full-time.