The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

July 1, 2013

Love on mend after surgery

By Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald Reporter

CHARLESTON — Shirley Love already is relishing the thought of biting into a huge steak with all the trimmings.

That sumptuous repast might have to wait a while, as the former state senator gets back on his feet from multiple heart by-pass surgery this month at Charleston Area Medical Center.

“I got myself in an awful mess,” the Oak Hill native said in an interview.

“Gracious sakes, I went through it once.”

Back in 1997, the former radio-television broadcaster underwent open heart surgery, in what he described as a 10-way operation.

“It wasn’t any fun,” he said of his most recent visit to the operating room, where he faced a like number of by-passes.

“That’s for sure. But I’m doing good. You have to learn to do everything all over again. You just do.”

Cards and telephone calls have poured in from across the state, including his former colleagues in the West Virginia Senate, where he once represented the 11th District. One of his callers was the man who went from being Senate president to governor — Earl Ray Tomblin.

Rep. Nick Rahall and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., both telephoned their words of encouragement, and the latter provided Love with a funny memory. Decades ago, when Rockefeller ran for governor, he appeared with Love at a political function but had nothing in his wallet to cover a hot dog and Coke. Love was never reimbursed.

“I don’t think he’s ever going to pay for that hot dog,” Love remarked, with a laugh.

During the surgery, Love said he suffered a stroke, necessitating an unspecified time for rehabilitation at CAMC’s General Division.

“I feel sorry for folks who have a stroke,” Love said.

“You’re a helpless human being when you have a stroke. Man, I tell you, I don’t want to see anybody suffer a stroke. You’re just like a vegetable. That’s the truth.”

Before the surgery, Love said he suspected something was amiss when he went to his physician for a checkup. It was the same eerie feeling that preceded his first heart surgery back in 1997.

Love expects to be home within three weeks and is looking forward to some home cooking.

“It’s awful,” he said of the hospital cuisine.

“If you ever want to lose weight, all you have ever got to do is just check into a hospital.”

Once home, the 80-year-old retired senator expects to find the menu vastly improved.

“I’m going to get me a big ol’ fat steak and get into it,” he said.

“And everything that goes with it. Do it all.”

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