Nora Hembree Battle felt out of her routine as she drove past the hospital Saturday.
But it was for good reason. For the first time in a little over three weeks, she didn’t have to stop and enter the facility.
Greg Hembree, her father and a South Carolina state senator, had been released from the hospital earlier in the day. Hembre was hospitalized July 27 after suffering a brain aneurysm at his home. He later was placed in a medically-induced coma after he contracted a staph infection, most likely from an IV, for eight days before coming out of it a week ago.
“It’s funny. I drove by the hospital today and he was already gone and I was just driving by it, not having to go inside, which was really wonderful,” Hembree Battle said. “So we’re very happy.”
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The senator came home earlier than expected after making significant progress in the past week, his daughter said.
“He’s doing great. It’s been a solid week of progress,” Hembree Battle said. “Doctors and therapists are happy. It’s still going to be a journey of rest and rehabilitation for his foreseeable future, but everything is going great.”
Hembree fulfilled a goal he’d set going into the week, his daughter pointed out.
“His goal was to get out on John Warner’s birthday,” Hembree Battle said, referring to her youngest son, whose first birthday was Saturday. “He accomplished the goal he set for himself earlier this week. He had a lot of doctors and nurses and physical therapists and occupational therapists that helped us get there.”
The family plans to celebrate during a birthday dinner Sunday at her parents’ house. Thanks to Saturday’s news, the family will have even more to celebrate.
“He’s really excited to be home,” Hembree Battle said of her father. “He will be joining in the birthday festivities.”
Hembree will be turning 58 on Tuesday. While there are plenty of reasons for celebration, the senator will need to take it rather easy moving forward, Hembree Battle said.
“I think one of the biggest things after you’ve been in a coma is there’s physical therapy and occupational therapy that happens and he’s doing really great in that,” she said, while noting that no complications are anticipated. “So I’m sure he’ll be working at that over the next several weeks. But his biggest job really is just to rest.”
The Republican has served as South Carolina’s District 28 senator representing Horry and Dillon counties since 2013. Before that, he was the 15th Judicial Circuit Solicitor, a position now held by Jimmy Richardson.
Hembree Battle said the expectation is that her father will return to session in January. While he recovers, she said, his office is at work and executing business as usual.
“If any constituents have an issue they can reach out to his office and they will get to work on it,” Hembree Battle said.
Hembree is an attorney with the law firm Monckton Hembree and Humphries. He and his wife Renee Hembree live in Little River and attend Ocean Drive Presbyterian Church.
As of Saturday, at least some of aspects of his life are getting back to normal.
“We’re definitely happy,” Hembree Battle said. “Dad is home.”
David Wetzel: @MYBSports, 843-626-0295