Our View: Kirk’s recovery
Updated: March 3, 2012 8:30AM
Sen. Mark Kirk, who suffered a stroke Jan. 21, was “alert (and) responsive” this past week, giving doctors the thumbs-up and asking for his BlackBerry. This is good news for the Republican, who represented the citizens of Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills while serving as 10th District Congressman for many years.
The 52-year-old Kirk suffered the stroke, then drove himself to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital on Jan. 21. Doctors there discovered a carotid artery dissection in the right side of his neck, and he was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where further tests revealed the senator had suffered an ischemic stroke, which occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked.
Just one year into his six-year term, the Navy reservist has undergone two brain surgeries. His recovery will take months, we’re told, and will be tough.
The night before he started experiencing stroke symptoms, Kirk enjoyed conversation, a Miller Lite beer and a cheeseburger at the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago’s Loop at a get-together for his outgoing press secretary. The notoriously health-conscious Kirk normally dines on soups and salads for lunch because he has to keep to military weight for his occasional weekends as a Naval Reserve Intelligence officer, His is a cautionary tale for all of us: Expect the unexpected.
As the senator recovers at Northwestern Memorial he should know this: His hard-earned Senate seat is waiting for him.
We have no doubt the good people of Illinois, Republicans and Democrats alike, will wait patiently. They will cheer him on. They will welcome his return. Many already have.
Sen. Dick Durbin has offered to do “anything” to help Kirk with his Senate duties. And Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who was to be Kirk’s seatmate at the recent State of the Union address, said, “I promised Mark that I will keep his seat warm.” Similar sentiments have come in from fellow Republicans.
Get better, Sen. Kirk, and take your time. The weighty problems facing Illinois and the nation can await your return.