Less than a year after suffering a major stroke, Senator Mark Kirk returned to the Senate last week by walking up the 45 steps to the chamber with only a cane assisting him. WGLT's Washington correspondent, Hanna Gutmann reports it was described as miraculous by doctors but it's unclear how Kirk will function on a day to day basis in the Senate.
While Kirk returned to the Senate on his own two feet, staff took him out in a wheel chair about 2 hours later. He made short comments to colleagues and the press on his way in, speaking slowly and haltingly. On his way out, his staff stopped me from getting a full response.... "could i ask you how it feels to be back?"
"I can I...thank you."
Despite this, Senator Dick Durbin believes Kirk will be a functional senator.
"You bet he will, you bet it. We'll be working together as we always have."
Central Illinois Republican Aaron Schock believes Kirk is ready to return.
"His mind is all there, obviously he's not moving as quickly, but in the great deliberatative body which is the U.S. Senate he still has a sharp mind, a great wit about him and i think he'll continue to bring forth thoughtful ideas."
Kirk will continue his therapy in Washington, and his doctors expect improvement for two to three years. He has a specially outfitted apartment near captiol hill and staff to take care of his personal and legislative needs. Kirk's doctors say they expect him to recover language and communication over the next two years and to improve the muscle stiffness he displays.(photo courtesy U.S Representative Adam Kinzinger, IL-16)
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