(The Hill) — Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) suffered from more serious complications from her shingles diagnosis than previously disclosed.
A spokesperson confirmed on Thursday that Feinstein suffered from encephalitis, a rare complication of shingles that causes the brain to swell, as well as Ramsay Hunt syndrome, in which the shingles virus impacts the facial nerve causing facial paralysis and other symptoms.
“The senator previously disclosed that she had several complications related to her shingles diagnosis,” the spokesperson said in a statement, adding, “While the encephalitis resolved itself shortly after she was released from the hospital in March, she continues to have complications from Ramsay Hunt syndrome.”
Feinstein returned to the Senate last week, after a more than two-month absence to recover from the bout of shingles. However, the senator said in a statement that her doctor had advised that she work a “lighter schedule” as she continues to deal with complications.
“Even though I’ve made significant progress and was able to return to Washington, I’m still experiencing some side effects from the shingles virus,” she said in a statement. “My doctors have advised me to work a lighter schedule as I return to the Senate.”
The California Democrat’s return allowed the Senate Judiciary Committee to advance three judicial nominees whose approval had been held up by her absence.
However, the 89-year-old appeared confused while talking with reporters on Tuesday about her extended absence.
“No, I haven’t been gone,” Feinstein said when a reporter asked about the well-wishes she has received from her Senate colleagues since returning. “You should — I haven’t been gone. I’ve been working.”
Asked if she was referring to working from home, she added, “No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting. Please. You either know or don’t know.”