Brown back at work after heart surgery Commissioner puts in shortened day in surprise appearance

'Doing tremendously well'

Official expects to come into office 2 or 3 days a week

July 31, 1996|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

County Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown returned to work yesterday, 14 days after undergoing a quadruple bypass operation.

Brown's four-hour work stint surprised his colleagues. His doctors told him before his July 16 open-heart surgery that he was not likely to return to work until September.

"I am doing tremendously well, much better than I thought," said Brown, who looked fit and healthy. "I had the choice of sitting at the house thinking about the office or actually coming into the office," he said. "I'm in no shape yet for a normal 10 hours, but I can complete two hours a couple of days a week."

Brown said his goal is to build up stamina gradually. "I expect to come into the office two or three days a week, with the expectation that I will have returned to a full routine by Labor Day," he said. "I like the job. And it's hard to sit at home. Daytime TV is the pits."

If yesterday's appearance is any indication, Brown should be going full-tilt soon.

He arrived at the office at 7: 30 a.m. and worked until 11: 30, joining Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Richard T. Yates in a discussion and vote on recreation and parks matters.

When he left, he took work home with him.

He also picked up an 18-inch-high stack of cards and letters from well-wishers.

"I am very touched by all the people who wrote notes and cards. It made up for a lot of years of reading the hot line," he said, referring to an anonymous telephone complaint column in a local newspaper.

Brown plans to return to work again tomorrow to join the other commissioners in hearing an appeal of the county planning director's denial of a proposed post office in Eldersburg.

He said he will not jeopardize his health, however, leaving the possibility that he will stay home if he does not feel well. "We'll see how I feel Thursday," he said.

"The first week after surgery was everything I anticipated," Brown said. "I felt physically abused. But I am amazed at how quickly my energy returned. I was out of bed the same day, walking within two days, home within five. It astounds me. The whole thing was a positive experience for me. Of course, I haven't seen the bill yet."

His "one lingering regret," Brown said, is that the medical expertise he received was not available years ago when his father died after a heart attack.

Pub Date: 7/31/96

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