From the story:
But this morning, addressing his colleagues on the Senate floor, Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis said Ford’s family advised him that her illness is severe and there is no expectation that she will return to her public duties soon. Adjournment of the legislative session is now targeted for late April or early May.
“I have been in contact with her family, who have advised me that Sen. Ford had a surgical procedure in December and has had complications from the surgery since that time,” Kyle told his colleagues. “She has been hospitalized for various periods of time. I do not know whether she’s hospitalized today.
“But their expectation -- and they gave me the expectation -- is that Sen. Ford is facing some severe medical issues and that we should not expect to see her in the Senate anytime in the near future. There is no date they have given me.
“I can only ask, and her family asks, that you keep her in your prayers. Sen. Ford has struggled with her health in the last several years. I don’t have a period of time I can say I expect her back. I would hope she would be back next week but I don’t have the expectation she will be back in the next several weeks. We hope to have her back before the end of session but the session we hope is going to be shorter this year,” Kyle said.
If this is the case, then Senator Ford needs to focus completely on her recovery. This is not the first bout with serious illness since her election in 2006, and one sadly must wonder if she can continue to serve her District, given her frail condition.
Her first concern must be her health; if she is unable to perform her duties, it is time to consider if she should step aside so that the 29th Senatorial District may receive the representation it now lacks due to these circumstance beyond Senator Ford's control.
If she were to step aside, achieve full recovery (as we all very much hope that she does) and then decide to present herself for public office, I suspect she would be welcomed back with open arms.
Should she decide to do so, then the Shelby County Commission would appoint her successor to serve through the general election in November, IIRC. If that becomes the situation, I would only ask that they appoint someone who would not seek the office on a permanent basis.
Senator, please get well, we're all praying for you.