Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Was that really so difficult?

It was encouraging to learn Tuesday that Sen. Mark Kirk’s recovery from a stroke he suffered earlier this year is progressing well.

The senator these days, in an image provided by his staff

I found it particularly interesting that Kirk will be participating in a research trial at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago during the next several weeks that is meant to improve his gait pattern (ie., the way he walks).

SOMEHOW, I SUSPECT the old Navy guy in Kirk will respond well to being challenged with a daily regimen of continuous walking over flat surfaces, on stairs and on a treadmill.

All of this is based off information provided by Kirk’s Senate staff, which provided an update to the Illinois Republican’s website on Tuesday to give us a three-paragraph statement from Dr. Richard L. Harvey, who is director of the Institute’s Center for Stroke Rehabilitation.

In that statement, we learn that Kirk has managed to walk just over 10 miles total since his stroke. Which is about as much as many of us manage to walk in a week.

But considering what Kirk endured, I’d say it’s a great accomplishment.

IF ANYTHING, SEEING this statement, along with a link providing more information about the research trial that Kirk will endure in the near future, was encouraging.

For his personal sake, he’s making progress toward recovery. For professional sake, we the people who elected him to a six-year term that runs through early 2017 have a right to know that only the most politically partisan amongst us should be thinking of trying to pick a replacement for him.

While I personally would be surprised to see him anywhere in Washington, D.C. anytime during the 2012 calendar year, it would seem for the long-run that we still have the senator whom a majority of the Illinois electorate picked two years ago.

And since he is in nearly daily contact with his staff, it would seem that they truly are acting on his behalf and with his instruction. We don’t have some rogue staffer playing “senator” with his boss’ title.

THE ONLY QUESTION I really have is, “Why did it have to take so much squabbling in order to get this kind of information.”

For it is pretty clear that the senator’s staff used their website to get this word out, largely to shut up that segment of the public that was starting to construct all kinds of conspiracy theories about the lack of health-related data concerning Kirk’s condition.

Considering that in the days right after Kirk suffered his stroke, he and his staff were very forthcoming about what was happening.

Then, we got week upon week of nothing. Which really did have some people starting to think that something was being covered up. (I’m sure some will still think these details from Tuesday are a lie, but some people are just determined to believe the worst, and should probably be disregarded by the masses).

LIKE I WROTE earlier, I expect Kirk to undergo a lengthy recovery process. We all realize that. I’m also fairly confident that to the degree it is possible for one man to do so, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., is handling the interests of Illinois residents in the U.S. Senate.

I don’t think we’re being neglected that much – even though in recent days there have been news reports about how lacking in influence and charisma the Illinois congressional delegation is now, compared to past years.

I know some people have argued that Kirk should be allowed to recover in peace. Yet I’d argue that we elected Kirk to a public post on our behalf. I have no problem with him taking all the time he needs to recover. The political post will still be there when he’s ready to return.

He just needs to open up with the details so we know how long the wait is and so that the "conspiracy theory" types can find something else to obsess about. Just like he did on Tuesday, and hopefully will continue to do so while his recovery process continues.


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