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Surgery can't keep Kolste from historic ceremonies

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Gazette Staff
January 21, 2009

One week ago, Debra Kolste wasn't sure she would make it to the inauguration. She collapsed in pain at the YMCA.


It was gallstones, and doctors removed her gall bladder.


Kolste, a member of the Janesville School Board, was released from the hospital Thursday and left for Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.


Her doctor didn't endorse the trip, but Kolste said she wasn't going to miss it. And anyway, she had a doctor with her, her husband, Rex Kolste.


The Kolstes traveled with their 20-something daughters and stood in line for tickets for hours Monday on Capitol Hill. Sen. Russ Feingold's office had none for them, so they tried Rep. Paul Ryan's office, where they asked for four but got two.


The parents gave the tickets to their daughters and then walked for hours, looking for a way in. No luck.


Kolste said she was struck by the historic moment, but most amazing to her were the people she encountered all week: "I never saw one person get angry, even though they were waiting in these horrific lines."


Kolste didn't even take pain medications, by the way. She jokingly calls her self a poster child for arthroscopic surgery.



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