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Alston goes under the knife – of Friese

Rep. Lela Alston (D-Phoenix) (Cronkite News Service photo)

Rep. Lela Alston (D-Phoenix) (Cronkite News Service photo)

Arizona Rep. Lela Alston’s homecoming celebration at the University of Arizona was cut short by appendicitis.

The Phoenix Democrat checked into Banner – University Medical Center Tucson on Oct. 27 after spending several days at her alma mater. It was her 50th homecoming celebration, Alston said, but rather than get to watch the Wildcats football team take on Washington State, she spent Saturday, Oct. 28 in surgery with a colleague: Rep. Randy Friese, a trauma surgeon at the hospital.

“I got very lucky. I went in at midnight, and I got backed up behind some more severe cases,” Alston said. That meant that by the time she was able to have surgery Saturday morning, Friese, a Tucson Democrat, had checked in for his shift at the hospital.

Friese said he was initially skeptical when he saw Alston’s name on his surgical schedule.

“Certainly I saw a name I recognized, and I thought, ‘that can’t be the Lela I know,’” he said. “But then I walked through the ER and it was.”

Alston said the surgery was a success, though she’s pared down her schedule for the next few weeks as she recovers. And she hasn’t gotten over missing the University of Arizona homecoming game.

“I missed the ballgame! I’m so ticked off,” she said.


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