New reports indicate that California Senator Dianne Feinstein is suffering from a heretofore-undisclosed case of encephalitis as a result of her recent hospitalization for shingles, raising further alarm about the health of the ageing politician.
The gray matron of the Golden State returned to the halls of Congress in a triumph earlier this month, sitting on her wheelchair like a burnished throne, yet the images of Feinstein from that day were disconcerting to many observers.
The senator long past her prime appeared with one eye sagging in its socket, and she seemed to possess a confused temperament, apparently going through the work day in a dementia-induced state.
Feinstein’s disturbing appearance was reportedly caused by Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, a paralysis of the face and neck which occurred as a side effect of the shingles, according to a report by The New York Times.
Interestingly, two individuals who spoke to the Times on the condition of anonymity claimed that Feinstein had also contracted a case of encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain most frequently triggered by a bacterial or viral infection.
The purported encephalitis diagnosis is especially concerning in light of longstanding concerns about Feinstein’s mental faculties, with the potential side effects of encephalitis including a litany of cognitive issues such as confusion, dementia, mood swings, language issues and hallucinations.
Rumors have long circulated about Feinstein’s mental capacity and fitness for her job. As early as 2020, The New Yorker reported on Feinstein’s alleged senility, claiming that for several years she had shown severe problems with short-term memory and comprehension. Since then, several other progressive-leaning outlets have published embarrassing revelations about the ageing politician’s mental faculties.
In keeping with these concerns, the elderly congresswoman has appeared dazed and confused throughout her return to Congress, where she participated in a party-line vote to approve three of President Biden’s judicial nominees.
When Slate journalist Jim Newell asked Feinstein how her colleagues felt about her return to the Capitol, the gray lady seemingly denied her prolonged absence, saying “No, I haven’t been gone. You should follow the — I haven’t been gone. I’ve been working.”
It remains to be seen whether Feinstein, or what remains of her, will see her term through to completion in 2025. However, if the senator’s health continues to deteriorate at the rate we have seen, it is likely that the calls for her resignation will only grow more adamant, as Feinstein’s own party increasingly views her as more of a liability than an asset for advancing the progressive agenda of the Democratic Party.
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