Senator Johnson turns 60. Still under sedation as South Dakota holds their nightly vigil. What's going on here?

It has almost disturbingly become habit among South Dakotans to check the news in the evenings to check for signs of improvement for Senator Johnson.

It's not like we stand at the precipice waiting for nuggets of information to fall like the national media, to eat them up and regurgitate them with the commentary of our favorite tele-doctor. On either side of the aisle, we care about the guy. He might be our neighbor, or the man our candidate ran against for mayor (or in this case, U.S. Senator). For gosh's sake, as noted on this website, my wife and kid were taking pictures with him this summer.

So we're genuinely concerned.

And we take strong note and pay attention when the Associated Press tries to play our emotions like a roller coaster as in the latest from the AP/MSNBC:
Dr. Vivek Deshmukh, head of Johnson's surgical team, said in a statement that the South Dakota senator's overall condition has improved and he is gradually being weaned off sedation to help his brain heal.

The statement said Johnson is expected to undergo more tests in coming days.


Dr. Keith Siller, director of the Comprehensive Stroke Care Center at NYU Medical Center and assistant professor at the NYU School of Medicine, said it is unusual for a patient to be sedated after brain surgery for more than a few days.

"The two-week period is longer than I would be happy with," he said.

Read it all here.

So which is it? Is this good news or bad?

I hear things from Reid and Daschle that say that the Senator is "doing well." Then I'm reading this AP report that leads one to think that we should be concerned. Are the national politicos feeding South Dakotans political B.S. when we want the honest truth from them? Or is it the media trying to play it back and forth?

At this point, I think I'd rather hear it straight.


Anonymous said…
Any good news will be passed on immediately. I don't think any negative news will be known until it is impossible to keep it secret any longer.

But even if Johnson is unable to resume his duties in the Senate, I don't think he will resign or that someone will be selected to replace him. In this politically charged climate, the Dems would never let this happen and take a chance on losing their slim grip on majority status.

I do hope that Johnson will recover. But do I think we will be told the truth if he doesn't? No, not until it is impossible to keep it a secret or until he announces he won't seek reelection in 2008.
Anonymous said…
I, also, hope that Tim Johnson recovers. However, we are not receiving the whole story about his condition. My work in the healthcare field tells me that being sedated for 2 weeks such as Johnson has been, is definitely unusual. The weaning should have been going on for the past 1 1/2 weeks. Perhaps they are not able to arouse him? Too bad they aren't giving the whole story.
Anonymous said…
For the time being we just have to take the word of Daschle, Harry Reid and Brendon.

Ain't that reassuring enough for ya?
Anonymous said…
It will be interesting to see whether Sen. Johnson participates in the voting process of organizing the Senate in 2007.
Anonymous said…
11:19. Love it!
Anonymous said…
11:19 and 3:22 - I don't care if you poke fun at Daschle and Reid. They are public figures. But leave the Senator's son out of it

You both have no class and should be ashamed of yourselves.
Anonymous said…
I disagree that Sen. Johnson won't resign if unable to resume his duties. First, he is dedicated to South Dakota and I believe that he would do what's in the best interest of this state even if it might not be the best for the Democrats (Stephanie would probably still be in a strong position to run for this seat, even if it were held by a two-year Republican incumbent). Second, it is pretty well known that Brendan wants to run for office and I think it would sully the Johnson name if Tim (or family) kept him in office without being able to perform his duties.

That being said, I think it all comes down to wanting to know the whole story and, in all honesty, hoping Sen. Johnson makes a full recovery, whether or not he is holding public office.
Anonymous said…
Anon 12:31,
There is NO WAY he will be participating in the voting process to organize the 2007 Senate. That takes place next week, and the man has not regained consciousness yet. If and when he arouses, he's not going to just wake up and walk out of the hospital and into the Senate chambers. He will require extensive therapy. Either the Senator is doing better than is being reported (doubtful), or he is out of commission for a long, long time.
Anonymous said…
Of course everyone wants Senator Johnson to recover. We would like to know the truth too.

The doctors should have given a full account of his condition in the beginning and the local media should have been informing us of what to expect from there. Something doesn't feel right about this.
Anonymous said…
4:08. I agree my response shouldn't have been directed toward Johnson's son. Whether or not he is a public figure is irrelevant; he is family. And I do apologize.
Anonymous said…
Michael, much as Johnson might want to resign if his health dictated it, I think there would be much pressure put on him and his family to not let that happen if it would mean that Dems would lose control of the Senate.

Unless, of course, they could find another Jeffords to change his stripes after being elected as a member of one party. Always wondered what the whole story was behind that. Maybe we could ask Daschle??!
Anonymous said…
Anyone who talks about anything but prayers for Senator Johnson and his family should just shut up.
Anonymous said…
I have prayed for Tim Johnson but there is nothing wrong with the desire to be fully informed about his condition. He is an important public figure.
Anonymous said…
When will you stop acting like a vulture and just let the man recover? You are obviously unable to restrain yourself as you salivate waiting to hear what might befall Senator Tim Johnson. Grow a conscience already, pp.
Anonymous said…
"So which is it? Is this good news or bad?"

" At this point, I think I'd rather hear it straight."

Gosh pp, remember the good old days. Back when we could “hear it straight”! Back when we could just look at a videotape of a patient and know if their brain is OK and make the patients medical specialists look like fools?

Where is Senator Bill Frist when you need him? "I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office,"

Senator Frist did a lot of things right and the vast majority of the time I supported him, but that was one time he was wrong!

Let Senator Johnson's doctor handle this situation. "Medical guessing" from those "experts" without direct knowledge of the facts is just plain wrong!

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