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Sen. Mark Kirk highlights his rehab in stroke recovery video

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WASHINGTON--Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) thanked "the people of Illinois for their patience with this patient to recover from a big stroke" in a video posted on his Senate website on Sunday to show his progress in speaking and walking.

The 3.14 minute video shows Kirk, 52, talking to the camera from his home in Fort Sheridan, Ill.--over a symphonic musical track-- with clips showing Kirk's physical therapy sessions at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in May, June and July.

Kirk speaks slowly but clearly. He uses only his right hand in the video--to drink coffee or talk on the phone.

The Sunday video was the second released by Kirk's office--the first was a 2.5 minute video in May--to chart his comeback from his Jan. 21 stroke. He recently completed a two month "mobility study" at the Rehabilitation Institute and the video has scenes of Kirk in a harness on a treadmill and walking up stairs.

Kirk--sworn into office on Nov. 29, 2010-- said he receives daily briefings about Senate business from his staff and GOP Senate leadership.

Asked Sunday when Kirk could return to Washington, Kirk spokesman Andrew Flach told the Sun-Times in an e-mail, there is "no timeline" for his return.

"The progress that I have made has been very encouraging - learning to walk again and improving my speaking skills, all due to the experts at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago," Kirk said.

Scenes from the Sunday video included a shot of a July 26 visit he had with Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) at his home--which was posted on his Senate website the next day. Also used in the video--produced by his Senate office-- were shots taken from a recent visit by Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), all told "morale boosters," Kirk said.

Kirk's office has been issuing occasional updates on Kirk's condition. Kirk left the Rehabilitation Institute in May for out-patient treatment.

On July 27 Kirk said in a statement, "I am grateful to Dr. George Hornby, the physical therapists, and other personnel of the walking research trial at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for helping me to advance my mobility and independence over the past nine weeks.

"With their encouragement and help, within the research trial I walked an average of 3,677 steps per day, a total of 14.79 miles over ground and on the treadmill, and up 145 flights of stairs. As I move into a new phase of outpatient rehabilitation for occupational and physical therapy, I will continue to work hard in order to further regain my strength."

Kirk underwent three surgeries following his stroke which impacted the right side of his brain. Kirk wrote in a May column that his brain and speech abilities were not "impaired" and the left side of his body was initially paralyzed after the stroke.

A reason Kirk wanted to share pictures from his rehab, he said, was to "make sure that people know what my condition is, to be an example to other Illinois families that may unfortunately have to survive stroke."

At the end of the video, where Kirk thanked people for their patience with him he said it was important for people to know this about a stroke: "Your loved one can recover quite a bit."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 5, 2012 3:02 PM.

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