Update on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Update on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Although she was able to travel to Florida for husband Mark Kelly’s space shuttle launch in May, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) is not yet ready to return to the grueling job of representing Arizona’s 8th district according to her chief of staff.

Pia Carusone gave an interview to the Arizona Republic in which she frankly discussed the Congresswoman’s recovery from a gunshot wound to the head during an assassination attempt on January 8. Carusone pointed out that the best way for doctors to know the extent of the physical damage to her brain is by using an MRI, but that option is not available to Rep. Giffords because metal bullet fragments remain in her brain.

Rep. Giffords can communicate, but not always with words. “She is borrowing upon other ways of communicating. Her words are back more and more now, but she’s still using facial expressions as a way to express,” Carusone is quoted as saying.

As for Giffords’s future, Carusone said that the only legal timetable for making a decision about whether she will run for her congressional seat again is May 12, 2012 when petitions for re-election are due. “We’re about halfway through the process that is the most important for recovery,” Carusone said, the first 12-14 months after a brain injury. Doctors remain optimistic that Giffords will make a “tremendously good recovery,” but exactly what her condition will be is unknown. “All that we can hope for is that she won’t plateau today and that she’ll keep going…,” Carusone told the newspaper.

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