Sen. Kirk gears up for return to Washington


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Posted Online: Jan. 02, 2013, 1:19 pm
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HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) U.S. Sen. Mark 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.

Kirk hopes to accomplish that goal on Thursday when he plans to return to the Senate.

In an interview with the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald the Illinois Republican called the stroke 'the hardest thing I've ever overcome and the biggest lesson in life I have ever learned by a country mile.'

The massive stroke limited movement on the left side of his body and affected his speech. He spent months learning to walk and climb stairs, along with speech therapy, at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Kirk, 53, now speaks more slowly and deliberately. He also uses a four-pronged cane and may need a wheelchair. He is expected to have a scaled back schedule and won't keep the same busy travel schedule he once did.

He said the stroke gave him a renewed sense of purpose, deepened his faith and the experience made him vow 'to never, ever give up.'

'I would say that I definitely became much more religious,' Kirk told the newspaper. 'They say there are no atheists in foxholes, and this stroke put me into a very deep foxhole. Yet, that feeling of faith sustained me, so I have no feelings of anger or regret.'

Kirk briefly returned to his Senate office in Washington last month for the first time since the stroke and met with aides. During his rehabilitation, he held videoconferences with staffers and kept in contact through email and phone.

Doctors have said that Kirk made excellent progress during his rehabilitation, which included grueling physical workouts as part of experimental therapy. In November he climbed 37 floors inside Chicago's Willis Tower as part of a charity event.

Kirk's office kept the public updated on his progress with video updates and statements. He also campaigned for fellow Republicans leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

'My hope was my recovery would be easily understood and very public and very transparent,' Kirk said. 'Most times the public figures cover up the big problem they have.'














 




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  Today is Tuesday, Sept 2, the 245th day of 2014. There are 120 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: It is estimated that 300,000 people attended the recent Democratic convention in Chicago when Gen. George B. McClellan of New Jersey was nominated as a candidate for president of the United States.
1889 — 125 years ago: Alderman Frank Ill, Winslow Howard and Captain J.M. Montgomery returned from Milwaukee, where they attended the national Grand Army of the Republic encampment.
1914 — 100 years ago: Three members of the Rock Island YMCA accepted positions as physical directors of other associations. Albert Cook went to Kewanee, C.D. Curtis to Canton and Willis Woods to Leavenworth, Kan.
1939 — 75 years ago: Former President Herbert Hoover appealed for national support of President F.D. Roosevelt and Congress in every effort to keep the United States out of war.
1964 — 50 years ago: The Rock Island Junior chamber pf Commerce has received answers to about 65 % of the 600 questionnaires mailed out recently in a "Community Attitude Survey" to analyze sentiments of citizens towards their city's various recreational, educational, and civic service programs.
1989 — 25 years ago: The two thunderstorms passing through the Quad Cities last night and early today left some area residents reaching for their flashlights.






(More History)