Two weeks after breaking her leg in a fall, New York Rep. Louise Slaughter said Tuesday she is undergoing painful rehabilitation but hopes to return to Washington early next month, and her health is otherwise "fine."
The 82-year-old Democrat and her doctor spoke to reporters during a news conference at the University of Rochester Medical Center, where she expects to stay for the next week and a half while spending about three hours a day in physical therapy.
She used the occasion to dismiss as "absolutely not true" rumors that she is seriously ill as she embarks on what may be her toughest campaign in a newly redrawn district. She is being challenged by Republican Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks.
"My health is fine; it's good," the 13-term congresswoman said. "I would not be running for office if I was about to die. I never start something I don't intend to finish."
Slaughter said she, her daughter and granddaughter were crossing a New York City street where construction was under way April 2 when she tripped on a portion that was dug up.
"I sat there and watched my left leg swell up and my left foot pointing over to the side," she said, adding it "scared my granddaughter to pieces."
She said the prospect of campaigning, even if from a wheelchair, against a younger opponent "doesn't bother me in the least."
"Everybody knows who I am and what I do," she said. "I've never been concerned about that. Most people, when they see me, don't know anything about my age."
Dr. Stephen Kates, who has been treating Slaughter since she had surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York shortly after the accident, said he expects her to make a full recovery. He said she severely fractured her femur just above the knee and into the knee joint.
Slaughter said she's lined up a red wheelchair to use when she's released.
"I always did want a red convertible," she said. "This is as close as I'm going to get."