Arkansas senator returns to D.C.


For once, no snark from us about things and people that don’t work in Washington. On Monday we were delighted to see someone who does: Sen. John Boozman.

Starting last Friday, the old Razorback was back at work for the first time since emergency heart surgery in April.

No easing back into it for Sen. Boozman. Instead he told reporters he was working “pretty much full bore.”

“Every day I feel I’m getting stronger, and I think getting back into the routine helps,” he said.

Sen. Boozman’s experience reminds us that too many of us do not listen to our bodies when they try to tell us something is wrong.

The senator told reporters he’d gone to a baseball game that April Monday and planned to get up Tuesday to meet with area mayors. But shortly after he went to bed he felt a cramp in his side. He just didn’t feel right, so he took his blood pressure and found it low. And then he went to the hospital.

Many stories like this, when someone just doesn’t feel right, end far differently because the person shrugged and thought, “I’ll see how I feel in the morning.” And that turns out to be too late.

Still, Sen. Boozman, doctor and man of science, walked into the ER and started chatting people up as is his wont. The man who never met a stranger eventually mentioned he wasn’t feeling great, and although initial tests looked OK, an MRI showed a tear in his aorta, a tear just about one millimeter short of having a fatal consequence.

“After the imaging, the whole tone changed,” Sen Boozman said.

Nine-hour emergency surgery to implant an artificial aorta came next, followed by a slow and uncomfortable recovery.

The senator’s return has lifted the spirits of his staff, according to communications director Sara Lasure. “People have more spring in their step,” she said Monday.

For his part, Sen. Boozman promises to work hard but not to overdo it.

“I’m going to try to be selective and concentrate on things that are needed for the people of Arkansas,” he told reporters.

We suspect that still will have him doing more than his family and even his staff might like. But for today, we’re glad to know he’s back in D.C. and feeling stronger each day. And we’re glad that he listened to the “noise” his body was making to get his attention. He’s provided a good example of what to do at those times: Remain affable, but get to the hospital and listen to the doctors when they say to sit down and stop talking.

— Southwest Times Record