Sen. Dianne Feinstein was absent from the Senate for nearly three months due to shingles, her office has said.
A report from the New York Times, however, noted she was diagnosed with several complications stemming from shingles.
The complications left her face partially paralyzed and affected her balance and vision.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein was absent from the Senate for nearly three months as she battled a shingles diagnosis, her office previously explained. A new report, however, reveals that she was also diagnosed with encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, among other complications.
According to a New York Times report, which relies on anonymous sourcing, said that Feinstein's shingles moved to her face and neck, leading to balance and vision problems along with partial facial paralysis.
As the New York Times noted, post-shingles encephalitis can lead to "lasting memory or language problems, sleep disorders, bouts of confusion, mood disorders, headaches and difficulties walking." Even prior to her shingles diagnosis, reports indicated Feinstein appeared to have mental acuity issues.
In February, just prior to temporarily stepping away from office with shingles, Insider reported that Feinstein couldn't remember voting on the Senate floor.
"Did I vote for that?" Feinstein said.
And according to Rolling Stone, the 89-year-old senator from California for years has had a member of her staff accompany her while she strolls the halls of Congress to avoid missteps with journalists. Rep. Nancy Pelosi's eldest daughter has also been seen assisting Feinstein since she returned, but the former speaker denied using the relationship to help Rep. Adam Schiff, the candidate Pelosi endorsed to replace the aging senator.
In her absence from Congress as she dealt with shingles and complications arising from it, several Democratic representatives called for Feinstein to resign, as her absence meant Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee couldn't confirm some of President Joe Biden's nominations.
A representative for Feinstein referred to the statement the senator provided the Times, "I'm back in Washington, voting and attending committee meetings while I recover from complications related to a shingles diagnosis. I continue to work and get results for California."
The possibility that Feinstein's condition may be even worse than previously known fits within a long history in Washington of elected officials not being entirely forthright or in some cases taking steps to cover up health complications. Insider explored this history and questions in detail for "Red, White, and Gray," a series of reports about how the nation has become a gerontocracy. An Insider analysis found at the time that Congress is as old as the legislative branch has ever been.
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