For Fetterman, Voices Sometimes Sound Like Teacher in Peanuts

'New York Times' digs in to the challenges facing senator, now hospitalized again
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2023 10:39 AM CST
Fetterman's Worry: Did He Return Too Soon After Stroke?
Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., walks to a motorcade vehicle after stepping off Air Force One behind President Joe Biden, Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, at Philadelphia International Airport.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Sen. John Fetterman continues to recuperate in the hospital after feeling lightheaded. Doctors say he did not suffer a second stroke, but a lengthy story in the New York Times about the 53-year-old's health challenges suggests the first one continues to take a toll. Fetterman suffered the stroke last year amid one of the most high-profile Senate races in the country. “What you’re supposed to do to recover from this is do as little as possible,” says Fetterman chief of staff Adam Jentleson. Fetterman, however, “was forced to do as much as possible—he had to get back to the campaign trail. It’s hard to claw that back.”

The story by Anna Karni includes this sobering assessment: Fetterman "has had to come to terms with the fact that he may have set himself back permanently by not taking the recommended amount of rest during the campaign. And he continues to push himself in ways that people close to him worry are detrimental." The new health scare may force the Pennsylvania senator and his staff to make changes to his schedule, per the Times. As a backgrounder in the Philadelphia Inquirer explains, Fetterman isn't suffering cognitive issues—he remains sharp—but his "auditory processing" is impaired.

The Times story notes that Fetterman has said that when things are particularly bad, what he hears sounds like the muffled voice of the teacher in Peanuts specials. He used a tablet in the Senate to read a transcription of what is being said to him or around him. Fellow Sen. Amy Klobuchar is now familiar with the process, which involves a longer delay than usual in communication. “He answers like you would answer anyone,” she says. “It’s us that have to get used to it; he’s used to it.” (More John Fetterman stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.