Originally created 01/30/05

Congressman Norwood works, recovers at home



WASHINGTON - Charlie Norwood, R-Evans, is working from his Washington home and steadily recovering from October lung-transplant surgery, according to staff in his Capitol Hill office, who would not allow Mr. Norwood to be interviewed last week.

Mr. Norwood's condition keeps him close to a Washington-area hospital, according to his staff, and prevents the five-term congressman from returning to Georgia's 9th Congressional District, which includes a wide swath of eastern Georgia, including the area around Athens.

For six months after his surgery, Mr. Norwood must stay within an hour's drive of the hospital where he underwent the transplant surgery, according to John Stone, the communications director for Mr. Norwood's office.

Mr. Norwood announced last fall that he had been diagnosed in the late 1990s with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a condition treatable only by a lung transplant.

He underwent a single-lung transplant at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax, Va., on Oct. 5.

With his travel restricted, Mr. Norwood did not attend a closed-door Republican retreat held late last week in West Virginia, an event that drew President Bush on Friday and was reported to be a strategy session for Republican lawmakers in both houses of Congress.

Although Mr. Norwood didn't attend the retreat, he did attend and vote in relatively mundane House business Jan. 25 and 26, according to the congressional record.

Mr. Norwood did not vote in the only other spate of business that the young 109th Congress considered Jan. 5, a day before he retook the oath of office.

Though most of his colleagues took the oath of office Jan. 4, Mr. Norwood did not and was sworn in Jan. 6, according to the congressional record. Mr. Norwood's staff refused to allow the congressman to be interviewed either in person or on the telephone last week, despite an earlier agreement.