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Seminole mayor cleared to return to work

SEMINOLE — Mayor Jimmy Johnson plans to be back on the job at Tuesday night's council meeting, less than two months after his lung transplant.

Johnson said his doctor cleared him Thursday to return to work.

"I'm okay," Johnson said. "He said I'm doing really well."

Johnson said he plans to spend some time Tuesday at the Seminole Chamber of Commerce, where he is executive director, and plans to go to the council meeting that night.

"I will be at the council meeting, leading the meeting. I'm back, like John Wayne," he said. "It's amazing. I feel real good about it. I don't feel weak at all."

Johnson was diagnosed last December with pulmonary fibrosis, a fatal disease that causes progressive scarring of the lungs. He received a new left lung March 2 and has had an amazingly fast recovery.

Tests showed last week that Johnson's lungs were working at 77 percent capacity, a vast improvement from testing before the transplant, when his breathing capacity was in the low 60 percent range.

He's also managing to ride his bicycle, walk and climb stairs. And his voice seldom has the gasping quality it was developing before the transplant.

But the recovery has been hard on a man who is used to going and going and going. He has been doing some work at home. And he joined a council meeting earlier this month by telephone. But he has been eager to return despite the fears of colleagues and friends who are concerned that he's trying to do too much too fast.

Johnson said that won't be a problem.

"I'll go back real slow," he said. "I've got to try it to see what happens. … I am looking forward to it because sitting around the house gets boring."

Seminole mayor cleared to return to work 04/19/08 [Last modified: Saturday, April 19, 2008 4:32am]
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