Doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago say Sen. Mark Kirk has a long recovery ahead after suffering a severe stroke over the weekend.
Kirk checked himself into Lake Forest Hospital on Saturday, telling his staff he wasn't feeling well. He was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where tests revealed he had suffered a stroke.
Kirk's brain began swelling Sunday night, forcing doctors to take the 52-year-old senator into surgery to remove a four-inch-by-eight-inch portion of his skull. Kirk on Tuesday is still recovering from the emergency surgery in Northwestern's intensive care unit.
"Sen. Kirk has had a stroke to the right side of his brain," Dr. Richard Fessler told reporters Monday. "What that means is that it will affect his ability to move his left arm, possibly his left leg and possibly can involve some facial paralysis."
If the stroke had been on the left side, Fessler said the senator's speech and ability to think may have been affected. Any damaged physical functions could take weeks or months of rehabilitation during his recovery process.
And during that time, there is still a job to be done in Washington.
Staffers released a statement Monday evening saying they plan to keep the senator up-to-date on Capitol Hill news.
"As Senator Kirk begins his recovery, his office will remain open to constituents," the statement read. "The staff will continue to provide the same level of service and dedication to the residents of Illinois as they have for the last year."
While some work can still be done with Kirk in the hospital, vote-taking and discussion of key issues cannot.
Kirk's doctors are expected to provide an update on the senator's condition later Tuesday.