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Kirk Continuing To Make Progress After Stroke

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U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), attending a town hall meeting in Westmont, Ill., on March 19, 2011, spoke at U.S. involvement in an international military effort against Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Doctors said U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk was continuing to make progress after suffering a stroke more than a week ago and undergoing at least two surgeries to relieve swelling on his brain.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital neurosurgeon Dr. Richard Fessler said Kirk has been upgraded to fair condition as he continues his recovery.

“Senator Kirk’s recovery is continuing. He is alert, talking and responding well to questions,” Fessler said in an a statement about Kirk’s condition on Monday. “We are very pleased with his progress.”

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Kirk has been hospitalized since Jan. 21, when he checked himself into Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital after suffering headaches and dizziness.

He was later transferred to Northwestern Memorial after doctors determined he was suffering an ischemic stroke and needed surgery to relieve swelling on his brain. Doctors removed a large section of his skull to relieve the swelling one week ago anda day after that procedure, Fessler that the senator was “doing better than expected” and even asked for his Blackberry within two days of first having the stroke.

A second surgery performed Wednesday involved removing two small pieces of tissue that had been rendered non-functional by the stroke.

Fessler has said Kirk is expected to have long-term difficulty using his left arm, and possibly his left leg, but Kirk is expected to make a full mental recovery.

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