Berkeley Co. lawmaker has surgery for blood pressure problem

April 08, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Berkeley County’s junior state senator is on the mend after he underwent surgery Monday morning at a Charleston, W.Va., hospital to address a recurring bout with erratic blood pressure.

“I’m just grateful to be eating again,” Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said in a telephone interview from his room at Charleston Area Medical Center Monday afternoon.

Blair said the surgery involved the placement of a stint to address an 80 percent renal artery blockage in his kidneys.

“It was quite a challenge just to find (the blockage),” said Blair, recounting more than one doctor visit to try to find what was causing swings in his blood pressure.

“This all actually started back before Christmas,” said Blair, who easily won election to the state Senate in the November general election.

Blair, 53, said he expects to be back to work at the capitol by Wednesday after missing a handful of days of the Legislature’s 60-day regular session, which ends at midnight Saturday.

On Monday, Blair was granted a leave of absence on a motion by Senate Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley.

Blair said fellow Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, and former State Sen. Dan Foster, D-Kanawha, who are both physicians, helped him address his health problem while in Charleston for the legislative session, which is his first as a state senator. Blair previously served in the House of Delegates from 2003-2010.

Now, Blair said he has to make some lifestyle changes on his own and take better care of himself.

Blair said he quit smoking about two months ago and added that he intends to start eating better.

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