U.S. Rep. Giffords devastated by news of shooting deaths, but physical condition improvingApril 24th, 2011 - 5:29 pm ICT by BNO News
HOUSTON (BNO NEWS) — U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords did not know until last month that six people were killed in the shooting rampage that seriously injured her in January, her husband and doctors have said.
Details of her recovery were disclosed in the Sunday edition of The Arizona Republic. The interviews given to the newspaper shed the first light on how Giffords has continued to improve physically since the deadly shooting on January 8, when 22-year-old Jared Loughner allegedly opened fire at a rally hosted by Giffords at a supermarket in northwest Tucson in Arizona.
The Congresswoman’s brain was pierced by a bullet on that tragic day, critically injuring her. And although challenges and uncertainties remain, Giffords’ physical condition has been improving.
But Giffords still does not know the extend of the tragedy, and only learned last month that six people were killed in the shootings when her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, was reading a New York Times article to her.
“[Giffords] followed with her eyes over his shoulder, noticed that he skipped a paragraph, and grabbed the paper out of his hand,” The Arizona Republic reported, adding that Kelly did not know that Giffords would be able to read it.
The paragraph that Kelly had skipped told that six people were killed in the Tucson shooting rampage, while more than a dozen others were injured. Realizing that a lot of other people were killed, Giffords started crying.
Her grief would spread over days and weeks to come. “So many people, so many people,” Giffords kept repeating. Her nurse would often find Giffords with heavy looks, repeating “no-no-no-no-no.”
“She was thinking of it like she couldn’t believe it,” nurse Kristy Poteet told The Arizona Republic. “She kept saying, ‘I want so bad,’ and she was trying to talk about it. But it was too many thoughts in one.”
But despite finding out about the number of casualties, Giffords still does not realize the extend of the tragedy. She is yet to find out that her friend Judge John Roll and colleague Gabe Zimmerman were killed, as well as a 9-year-old girl.
It is expected that the news will be a blow to Giffords, and it is uncertain how she will react. Kelly said he wants his wife to be able to process the emotions without fighting for the words, as she still struggles to speak in long sentences.
Giffords, while still weak on her right side as is common with bullet wounds to the left side of the brain, is now able to stand on her own. She can also walk a little and pushes a grocery cart up and down the Houston hospital halls as therapy, focusing on using correct muscles.
“I can’t say I notice improvement every day,” Kelly told The Arizona Republic, “but I can every few days.”
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