Openly gay Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl is so energetic and enthusiastic about his personal and political passions, it is hard to imagine that anything could slow him down. But his office announced that Rosendahl has had atrial fibrillation - an abnormal heart rhythm which can cause blood clots and lead to a stroke - for several years. Last Thursday, he underwent a surgical procedure to implant the Watchman, a "breakthrough" device in bio-medicine.
Rosendahl is part of a US clinical trial for the Watchman, a 2-4 cm large device shaped like a tiny umbrella, that is widely used in Europe, Asia and Australia as an alternative to the blood-thinning treatment warfarin.
Dr. Shephal Doshi, Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, performed the 45 minute procedure. "Everything went as expected," Doshi said in a press release issued by Rosendahl's office. "The Councilmember did very well and had an excellent result. He'll be home tomorrow and off the warfarin."
Rosendahl told me Saturday that he is doing fine and hopes to be back at work this week, if permitted by his doctor.
According to the press release:
"Doshi says atrial fibrillation is part of the aging process and many patients do not feel the irregular heartbeats until they are diagnosed by their doctor. According to the American Heart Association, atrial fibrillation is the most common of heart arrhythmia, affecting more than 2.2 million people in the United States. Doctors typically treat the condition using blood thinning medications which can reduce the risk of stroke but in some people can cause unpleasant side affects such as bruising or bleeding. The drugs can also impose limitations on a patient's diet, physical activity and travel."
Ironically, just as Rosendahl was facing the surgical procedure, he was also featured in a very good cover story for The Argonaut newspaper about SoCal lawmakers who said they will not to let the Jan. 8 shooting of US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (and 19 others, six of whom died) in Tucson, Arizona stop them from meeting with their constituents.
"After the shooting, I think we all realized that we’re vulnerable," said Rosendahl, who the newspaper reported was with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Westchester) at Mar Vista Gardens in Del Rey when the shooting occurred. "But democracy can’t function unless (lawmakers) are among the public."
Rosendahl told me he thinks about the 1968 assassination of his political hero Robert F. Kennedy every day. The Argonaut reported: "I was at the Ambassador Hotel when Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated," the councilman, who worked on the former senator from New York’s campaign, solemnly recalled. "That image has been with me the last 42 years of my life, so I realize what can happen when you are in public office."
The newspaper reported that Rosendahl has recently faced hostile crowds in Venice and Playa Vista. "The tone of political discourse needs to appreciate what’s going on out there in the world," Rosendahl, a former psychiatric counselor, said. "There is a lot of anger over unemployment and a lot of lingering anxiety among people and it’s very real."
But Rosendahl said lawmakers have a duty to meet with their constituents. "It goes with the territory," he reiterated. "This is about open democracy, and this is part of our job as elected officials."
(Crossposted at LGBT POV)