At the beginning of last week, Bob Mercer’s doctors at the Mayo Clinic gave him a good bill of health. On Friday, the South Dakota Newspaper Association gave Mercer its Distinguished Service Award.
Yeah, Bob Mercer had a pretty good week… certainly better than when his collapse at the end of the IM22 hearing on December 21 knocked him off the Capitol beat for a few weeks.
In Part 3 of our conversation (click here to download to your device!) at Friday’s SDNA convention here in Aberdeen, Mercer talks about the award and the health problems—blood clots, meningioma, kidney failure—from which his doctors and his guts have brought him back. The three minutes he spends on the award and the thirty-plus he spends talking about his illness and recovery suggest which part of this really good week was more important to Mercer and his wife Ellen. Here’s the full audio:
Mercer notes that Dave and De Knudson offered him the use of their house while he was in and out of the hospital in Sioux Falls during the winter. In the thick of his health troubles, Mercer actually resisted accepting the offer, out of concern that taking such a gift from a former (and Mercer emphasizes former) politician might compromise his journalistic integrity.
Mercer feels great, but he’s not entirely out of the woods. Two little tumors are still riding around in his brain; his doctors are waiting to see if they grow, and Mercer is waiting to decide whether to sic the docs on those tumors with knife or gamma rays.
On side effects, Mercer says he can’t take notes as quickly now, but that has simply driven him to review documents more attentively. He wakes up more in the middle of the night, but he says that just gives him time to hop online and blog more. And in a completely non-journalistic mystery, Mercer says his taste buds are firing differently, making him like some foods he didn’t like before and feel neutral about some foods he used to like.
Mercer mentioned receiving the AP’s South Dakota Journalist of the Year award thirty-one years ago. He says he plans to practice journalism in Pierre for twelve more years. He also looks forward to coaching baseball this summer.
Thank you, Bob, for telling us what’s been going on with you, and for your determination to keep telling us, for twelve more years, what’s going on in Pierre.
- Listen to Part 1 of the Mercer interview, on Mercer’s early career, here.
- Listen to Part 2, on Mercer’s four years as Governor Janklow’s press secretary, here.