A close friend of the U.S. congresswoman who was shot in the head while meeting constituents says Gabrielle Giffords responds to questions, laughs at jokes and recognizes visitors.
Tilman Fertitta recently visited Giffords at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston where she recovering after being shot Jan. 8, in Tucson, Ariz.
She tells The Associated Press that Giffords is doing therapy from morning until night, is in good spirits, and improving faster than had been expected.
Fertitta says that one of her first verbal encounters with her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, was when he asked her how she was doing. She responded: "better."
Fertitta met Giffords through Kelly. He says they have been friends for eight years and he attended the couples' wedding in Tucson.
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.