WBEZ | stroke http://www.wbez.org/tags/stroke Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Nearly 1 year after stroke, Kirk returns to Senate http://www.wbez.org/news/nearly-1-year-after-stroke-kirk-returns-senate-104683 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP301656839444.jpg" style="height: 402px; width: 620px;" title="Members of Congress line the steps to the Senate door of the Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, as Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., second from right, accompanied by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., right, and Vice President Joe Biden, waves as he walks the steps to mark his return to Congress. Kirk said he often visualized climbing the 45 steps of the U.S. Capitol as a source of inspiration during his months of grueling physical therapy after suffering a major stroke last year. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)" /></div><p>WASHINGTON &mdash; Nearly a year after suffering a debilitating stroke, Sen. Mark Kirk walked the 45 steps up the Capitol on Thursday and reclaimed his seat in the U.S. Senate on the first day of the 113th Congress.</p><p>The Illinois Republican was greeted at the foot of the Capitol steps by an open-armed Vice President Joe Biden. With Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., at his side, and clutching a four-prong cane, Kirk climbed the steps to the Capitol&#39;s entrance to rousing applause from Senate colleagues, the Illinois congressional delegation and Capitol staff.</p><p>Kirk, 53, waved and smiled, pausing several times to greet well-wishers. &quot;Feels great,&quot; he said, walking through the door.</p><p>Moments earlier, Kirk&#39;s return brought most of the Senate, many members of the House where Kirk once served and dozens of congressional aides to the steps of the Capitol. On a frigid, but clear and sunny day, they cheered as Kirk emerged from a sedan to find Biden awaiting him.</p><p>&quot;Welcome back man!&quot; Biden said.</p><p>Kirk smiled broadly, hugging the vice president.</p><p>&quot;During the debate I was rooting for you,&quot; Kirk joked.</p><p>With Biden, Manchin &mdash; Kirk&#39;s closest friend in the Senate &mdash; and his Illinois colleague, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin nearby, Kirk mixed grimaces of concentration with smiles as he walked up the steps. &quot;Go, Mark go,&quot; &#39;&#39;yeah Mark!&quot; and &quot;you&#39;re almost there!&quot; fellow members of Congress cheered. Biden kept a steadying hand on Kirk as he climbed and Manchin lent a supporting arm around his waist. Kirk&#39;s ascent, with several pauses, took about 20 minutes.</p><p>As they neared the Senate, Biden told Kirk he could take all the time he wanted.</p><p>&quot;I made the same walk,&quot; Biden said. He was referring to his own recuperation from brain aneurysms in 1988 and return to the Senate.</p><p>Walking past reporters, Kirk settled into a desk near the back of the chamber. One by one, fellow senators came to wish him well and Kirk chatted with the senator seated next to him, Republican John Hoeven of North Dakota. In a prayer that began Thursday&#39;s Senate session &mdash; the first of the new Congress &mdash; Senate Chaplain Barry Black expressed gratitude for Kirk&#39;s return.</p><p>Kirk&#39;s return followed a year of an intensive, experimental rehabilitation regimen that is often compared to military boot camp because of its intensity. Throughout the process, he updated constituents with video messages about his rehab and his official work. From Chicago, he held video conferences with his staff and worked to keep up to date on Senate business with an eye toward a return this year.</p><p>&quot;I think I am more glad that he&#39;s back than he is,&quot; Manchin joked.</p><p>Durbin said he was thrilled to have Kirk back. &quot;Fantastic,&quot; he said.</p><p>Kirk was all smiles, too.</p><p>&quot;Good to see you,&quot; he said to a group of reporters waiting for him at the top of the Capitol steps.</p><p>Kirk keeps his seats on the Senate appropriations, banking and health-education-labor committees as well as the Special Committee on Aging. His term expires at the end of 2016.</p></p> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 13:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/nearly-1-year-after-stroke-kirk-returns-senate-104683 Kirk releases first video on policy since his stroke http://www.wbez.org/news/kirk-releases-first-video-policy-his-stroke-102500 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/kirk_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/9okBKA76Z1k" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Illinois U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9okBKA76Z1k">released a video</a> about the recent downgrade of the state&rsquo;s credit rating.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s the first video the Republican senator has released that isn&rsquo;t about his recovery from the stroke he suffered earlier this year.</p><p>Kirk&rsquo;s office has put on the internet produced videos of the senator&rsquo;s recovery showing him walking on a treadmill or talking with doctors.</p><p>His most recent video, however, had a much different tone.</p><p>&quot;The issue of pension reform continues to be a dark cloud over Springfield,&quot; a television news broadcaster is heard saying on the video with ominous music playing in the background.</p><p>The intensely grim minute-and-a-half-long video takes issue with Illinois&rsquo; recent credit downgrade, since legislators haven&rsquo;t voted on the state&rsquo;s vastly unfunded pension obligation.</p><p>At the end of the video, Kirk appears in an office and talks to the camera.</p><p>&quot;Everyone inside the borders of Illinois is disadvantaged by these higher interest costs because of poor debt management by our state,&quot; he said.</p><p>Meantime,&nbsp;Kirk&rsquo;s fellow Illinois U.S. Senator, Democrat Dick Durbin, said at an unrelated news conference Tuesday that he talks regularly with Kirk, but hasn&#39;t seen him in person. Durbin said Kirk is champing at the bit to get back to the Senate.</p><p>Kirk has not appeared in public since his stroke in January.</p></p> Tue, 18 Sep 2012 14:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/kirk-releases-first-video-policy-his-stroke-102500 New video shows Sen. Kirk's recovery http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/new-video-shows-sen-kirks-recovery-98947 <p><p>A new video of Ill. U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has been released. It's first since the Republican suffered a stroke in January.</p><p>The three minute video shows the Republican senator sitting up in an arm chair explaining his recovery process and thanking supporters.</p><p>"I want to thank everyone especially for the patience they have given me to recover from a big stroke," Kirk said in the video. "I want to thank the people of Illinois for (giving) me the honor to represent them in the United States Senate. I can't wait to go back to work."</p><p>Kirk is seen going through different stages of his rehabilitation program. In one scene the senator is wearing a harness and is hooked up to a machine as he walks on a treadmill. In another he walks with a cane as a physical therapist assists him.</p><p>In the video, the senator has visible limited mobility to the left side of his body, but appears mentally sharp as doctors had previously reported.</p><p>Kirk suffered a stroke in January. He was released from the rehabilitation center last week, and he's continuing his recovery as an outpatient. There are no details yet on when Kirk will be back at work.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/WpBoYmKX-QQ" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Tue, 08 May 2012 15:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/new-video-shows-sen-kirks-recovery-98947 Rep. Hultgren: Kirk's recovery going well http://www.wbez.org/news/rep-hultgren-kirks-recovery-going-well-98143 <p><p>Illinois U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is still recovering after suffering a stroke in January, but information about how he's doing is hard to come by.<br><br>Reporters gathered in Sen. Kirk's downtown Chicago office Wednesday for a news conference on the state's debt crisis. But it wasn't Kirk, or even a member of his staff, who was there - it was Rep. Randy Hultgren.<br><br>Hultgren said he hasn't spoken to Kirk directly, but he has heard positive things about his recovery.<br><br>"Everything I hear is very good, it's going to be a long process, but I know he's a fighter," he said. "We need him back as quickly as possible but we also need him to do everything he needs to do to be back to full health.<br><br>When asked if there was anyone on Kirk's staff that has actually spoken to or seen the Senator, Hultgren replied:<br><br>"Okay. We'll put that request in, any other questions while we're waiting? I don't have anybody in the room to be able to respond to that."</p><p>Hultgren said he wasn't sure when the senator would be back to work.<br><br>Kirk's staff later said updates on the senator's condition can only come from his doctors at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The RIC referred to a progress report from February 24th, a statement that reads, "Senator Kirk is fully engaged in his rehabilitation program and making improvements in walking and other activities."</p></p> Wed, 11 Apr 2012 13:31:28 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/rep-hultgren-kirks-recovery-going-well-98143 Mark Kirk transferred out of Northwestern http://www.wbez.org/story/mark-kirk-transferred-out-northwestern-96294 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-06/Mark Kirk_Bill Healy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois U.S. Senator Mark Kirk has been transferred out of Northwestern Memorial Hospital to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Kirk suffered a stroke nearly three weeks ago and has undergone two surgeries since then. Earlier this week, doctors reattached a portion of Kirk's skull that had been removed to help with the swelling of his brain.</p><p>According to a statement from RIC, Kirk will now be under the care of Dr. Richard Harvey.</p><p>In a statement, Harvey said, “RIC’s team of experts will spend the next few days assessing Senator Kirk’s condition and developing a comprehensive,&nbsp;targeted rehabilitation program tailored to achieve the goals that will be established by Senator Kirk and his family.&nbsp; The Senator has several pre-stroke factors in his favor that our research and experience demonstrate will foster a better recovery, including his relative youth, good general health and fitness, strong personal motivation, and high intelligence.”</p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 21:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/mark-kirk-transferred-out-northwestern-96294 Swelling 'subsided' after stroke, doctors reattach portion of Sen. Kirk's skull http://www.wbez.org/story/swelling-subsided-after-stroke-doctors-reattach-portion-sen-kirks-skull-96188 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-08/KIRK22.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Doctors on Tuesday re-attached the portion of U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk's skull that was removed after he suffered a stroke more than two weeks ago.</p><p>The roughly 4-inch-by-8-inch portion of Kirk's skull was removed the day after he began experiencing symptoms, in order to make room for swelling caused by the stroke. In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Northwestern Memorial Hospital neurosurgeon Richard Fessler said that swelling "had subsided."</p><p>Fessler previously told reporters that the bone was frozen sterilely, and described how it would be put back on.</p><p>"It's a very simple procedure to go back to surgery, reopen the same incision, which isn't hard to do because it hasn't healed very far," Fessler said during a January 24th press conference. "And you simply put the bone back in its position, connected with titanium plates and screws. And it's a very firm reconstruction of the skull."</p><p>Fessler in his statement Tuesday called this procedure a "milestone" in Kirk's recovery.</p><p>On Monday, the doctor upgraded Kirk to good condition, from fair, and said the senator watched the Super Bowl on Sunday night.</p></p> Tue, 07 Feb 2012 21:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/swelling-subsided-after-stroke-doctors-reattach-portion-sen-kirks-skull-96188