LORAIN - Lorain County Commissioner Lori Kokoski is out of commission.
Kokoski said she had an emergency bypass in her left arm on Aug. 21 to repair arteries that had simply stopped working.
She said she woke up that morning with numbness in her arm and it was discolored.
"I though I was having a heart attack, so I went to the ER," Kokoski said.
The doctors told her that one of the two arteries running from her elbow toward her hand hadn't worked in some time and the other was also clogged. That meant an eight- to nine-hour surgery in which Kokoski said doctors grafted a vein from her left leg into her arm.
Kokoski, 44, said she was in an intensive care unit at Community Regional Medical Center in Lorain until Aug. 23, when she was released. She said she's been recovering at home ever since but hopes to return to the office this week.
Kokoski said she went to the doctor Monday and was told she was doing well but needs to work harder on extending her arm.
She admitted she hasn't been doing that as much as she should because of the pain.
"I can't even blow dry my hair," she said.
The timing, she said, couldn't have been worse because the county officials are launching a campaign to back retention of a 0.5 percent sales tax increase that Kokoski and her fellow commissioners insist is necessary to deal with the county's budget shortfall.
Kokoski said if there is one good thing to come out of her surgery it's that she hasn't had a cigarette since the morning she went to the hospital.
She said she hopes this will be the time she finally quits, particularly after talking to her biological mother - Kokoski is adopted - about what happened to her and learning that she has a family history of blocked arteries and veins.
"Heredity and smoking - the two don't mix," she said.