The office of 89-year-old Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has admitted that she suffered a brain infection after being hospitalized with shingles.
Feinstein took a two-month absence from Congress after she was hospitalized with shingles. in February. After a long recovery period, Feinstein, the oldest sitting Senator, returned to work in May.
Since being back in Washington for just over a week, Feinstein’s behaviors have raised concerns about her mental wellness.
When Feinstein returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, she arrived 90 minutes late.
After returning to the Senate for the first time in three months, she seemed confused by questions about her lengthy absence and insisted that she had been there the whole time.
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“No, I haven’t been gone. You should – I haven’t been gone. I’ve been working,” said Feinstein on Tuesday when asked how she was feeling about her return. “Please. You either know or don’t know.”
On Thursday, The New York Times reported that Feinstein was suffering from more than just shingles over the past weeks. The news outlet reported that the shingles triggered encephalitis, a swelling of the brain that could impact memory and language capabilities, among other cognitive effects.
When asked about her condition, Feinstein downplayed it, saying, “It was a really bad flu. I’m doing better thank you.”
However, her own office contradicted this statement, telling CNN that Feinstein’s diagnosis included Ramsay Hunt syndrome and encephalitis.
“While the encephalitis resolved itself shortly after she was released from the hospital in March, she continues o have complications from Ramsay Hunt syndrome,” said a spokesperson for the Senator.
The Ramsay Hunt syndrome has reportedly caused vision and balance impairments, as well as facial paralysis.
Senator Dianne Feinsteins team has confirmed that the Senator lied when she said she only had shingles. They’ve now disclosed that she actually had Ramsay Hunt syndrome and encephalitis. Encephalitis is a very rare disease that causes inflammation of the brain… pic.twitter.com/KWMf0G51Kn
— 🇺🇸Travis🇺🇸 (@Travis_in_Flint) May 18, 2023
Another bizarre piece of the story is that Nancy Corinne Prowda, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s oldest daughter, seems to be working as Feinstein’s caretaker.
According to Feinstein’s office, “Nancy Corrine is a dear friend of Senator Feinstein’s going back more than 40 years. She has been spending time with the senator as she continues to recover from shingles.”
Although a growing number of Democrats are calling for Feinstein to resign, she continues to refuse.
“The Senate has critical, challenging work to do, and as the stakes are so high and she is not able to be present, to be informed and active, let alone have the rest she needs in order to recover, I feel she needs to step down,” Democrat donor Susie Tompkins Buell told the Times. “And yet she isn’t willing in this state of mind.”