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Senator Kirk: A Stroke Survival Story


In January of 2012, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk suffered a stroke. He recently sat down with Stroke Connection and told his story of survival. See an excerpt below and then follow the link to the full article.

Stroke survivors do not always return to work. Even when they do, it’s safe to say that they are not welcomed back by the Vice President of the United States. Not so for Mark Kirk, the junior Senator from Illinois.

In January 2012 Sen. Kirk had experienced dizziness and felt numbness in his left arm and leg on a Saturday morning and checked himself into a hospital near his home in Chicago. He was given anticoagulant therapy when imaging tests revealed a dissected carotid artery. When his vision blurred and his lift side continued to tingle, he was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, a primary stroke center, in case surgery was necessary. That was a good call as surgery was required when the dissected artery blocked the blood flow to his brain on January 27th. About a week later, we woke up in the intensive care unit following two surgeries, including a craniotomy, to relieve the swelling in his brain. “I remember thinking that someone was sharing a bed with me, not realizing that is was my own leg,” he said in an interview with Stroke Connection. He vaguely remembered a Super Bowl party the ICU staff had and the smell of the food they brought.

A few days later he was transferred to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. There he dreamed that three angels visited him and asked him to go with them, but “I said no because I knew where I was, on the ninth floor of the RIC. And why I was there – to begin a long, difficult recovery from an ischemic stroke,” he recalled in an interview with the Washington Post.

To read the full article, follow the link to online version of Stroke Connection.

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