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Sen. Kirk doing better than expected after stroke

Doctor: Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois speaking, doing better after weekend stroke By The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) ' A Chicago neurosurgeon says U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is speaking and doing better than doctors expected after emergency surgery following a stroke over the weekend.

Dr. Richard Fessler says the Illinois Republican is answering questions and is very aware of his surroundings while he is in intensive care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Fessler on Tuesday said Kirk has some facial paralysis and speaks with a slight slur. The doctor says Kirk appears eager to get back to work and has asked for his Blackberry.

Kirk is expected to remain in intensive care for several days as swelling goes down in his brain. Surgeons removed a piece of his skull to alleviate swelling.

The stroke affected the senator's left side. Doctors say he has a difficult road ahead with regaining movement.

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