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Botkin's heart surgery a success

"To hear Kitsap County Commissioner Tim Botkin talk over the phone April 2, you probably wouldn't have guessed a team of University of Washington Medical Center surgeons had just performed quadruple heart bypass surgery on him last Friday.Deanna Erstad, an office aide for the Kitsap County Commissioners, couldn't believe it herself when she called Botkin's nurse for a 72-hour update about his health and recovery rate that Monday morning.She was surprised when the call was patched through to Botkin - and he answered.What are you doing answering your phone? Erstad admonished, though pleased Botkin was well enough to do so.By way of an answer, Botkin quipped he didn't have enough cash to hire a receptionist for his hospital room. Erstad laughed.The truly Botkin-esque story spread quickly through the office, and folks could breathe a bit easier as a result, especially fellow Kitsap County Commissioners Chris Endresen and Jan Angel. Then they heard UW doctors expected to release Botkin from the hospital sometime April 3 because the surgery and his initial recovery went well.A UW Medical Center nurse said Botkin is an independent sort, he's taken several walks throughout the hospital and his vital signs are stable.He needs to take his mind off of the stress of the job for a while so he can recuperate, Endresen said from her office Monday. If you push it, it takes longer.Angel agreed, saying Botkin should rest to take full advantage of the surgery, which she says can only be a positive for his long-term health.Tim called this morning requesting that some reading material be sent to him, Angel said, noting Botkin still appears anxious to keep tabs on what is happening around Kitsap County, especially with questions surrounding the new governance center. That only makes sense, said Angel, considering commissioners work non-stop during the week, seven days a week. Faced with nothing to do, a person probably won't know how to react, she said - especially Botkin.While Endresen and Angel will both miss Botkin in his absence, they say they can make do without him in the short term, especially with help from their staff members. Doctors expect Botkin to recover within three to four weeks.Problems could arise, however, if Endresen and Angel don't agree on an issue that requires a vote.But I don't see that happening, said Endresen. Neither does Angel.However, Angel said highlights how small the board really is, compared with the current needs of the county.This situation really illustrates the disadvantage of having only three commissioners, conceded Angel, who is also closely watching whether the elected Freeholders of Kitsap County create any new county commissioner positions within the current board as part of their charter draft.Doctors say Botkin's surgery went off without a hitch and concluded one hour earlier than planned. Tests taken during Botkin's routine, physical exam last week indicated that several heart arteries were clogged because of a hereditary condition, so doctors immediately scheduled preventive surgery for 1 p.m. March 30. "

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