Following a nearly three-month absence, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) returned to the Senate this week following a lengthy battle with the shingles virus and it was immediately evident that she was not yet fully recovered from that health issue.
It was subsequently revealed that Feinstein had also suffered from a couple of previously undisclosed serious complications during her recovery, including the paralysis of her face and inflammation of her brain, according to TheBlaze.
Those complications may help explain the 89-year-old senator's rather frail appearance and obvious confusion in recent days as she is escorted around the Capitol in a wheelchair by staffers to participate occasionally in a decidedly reduced workload since her return.
It was The New York Times that first reported Thursday on the "bleak reality" of Sen. Feinstein's "shockingly diminished" and "disoriented" condition that at least one unnamed close ally described as "frightening."
The outlet noted that the shingles virus had spread to Feinstein's neck and face and caused what is known as Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, which results in facial paralysis and can negatively impact vision and balance.
It was also revealed that Feinstein had suffered from encephalitis due to shingles, which is swelling of the brain that can result in "lasting memory or language problems, sleep disorders, bouts of confusion, mood disorders, headaches and difficulties walking," particularly in older patients, per The Times.
That reporting from The Times was confirmed later that same day by the Associated Press via a statement from Sen. Feinstein's office that acknowledged the accuracy of the report about the full breadth of the "complications" that had not previously been completely revealed.
"The senator previously disclosed that she had several complications related to her shingles diagnosis," Feinstein spokesman Adam Russell said in a statement to the AP. "As discussed in the New York Times article, those complications included Ramsay Hunt syndrome and encephalitis."
Russell added that the encephalitis had "resolved itself shortly after she was released from the hospital in March" but that his boss continued to suffer the effects of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.
That claim that the potentially life-threatening encephalitis "resolved itself shortly" is a bit dubious, tho, given that the Mayo Clinic states that "complications may last for months or be permanent."
The persistence of encephalitis symptoms like confusion and memory loss were seemingly evident in a stunning incident this week documented by the Los Angeles Times in which Sen. Feinstein appeared to forget that she had been gone for nearly three months and instead claimed to have been working and voting at the Senate the entire time while speaking with a reporter.
When asked about her recent return, Feinstein said, "I haven't been gone ... you should follow -- I haven't been gone. I've been working." Asked to clarify if she meant that she'd been working from home, the senator replied, "No, I've been here. I've been voting. Please, either know or don't know."
"How have they felt about you returning?"
FEINSTEIN: "No, I haven't been gone. You should follow the— I haven't been gone. I've been working."
"Working from home is what you're saying?"
FEINSTEIN: "No, I've been here. I've been voting." pic.twitter.com/kGqH3wjZkA
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 18, 2023
Suffice it to say, the once quiet rumblings of calls for Feinstein to immediately resign or retire, largely confined to the progressive far-left, will undoubtedly now grow louder and increasingly include mainstream and centrist Democrats who can no longer sit quietly and watch the obvious deterioration of their elderly colleague.