Giffords' Husband, Staff Talk About Recovery

Tuesday, 26 Apr 2011 12:05 PM

By Andra Varin

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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords still has trouble walking. She mostly speaks in one-word phrases, instead of longer sentences. And she is now left-handed.

As she prepares to travel to Florida to watch husband Mark Kelly lift off Friday in the space shuttle Endeavour, new reports are coming out on the status of the Arizona congresswoman’s recovery from a gunshot wound to the head.

The bullet went through the left side of the brain, which controls movement on the right side of the body. So the formerly right-handed Giffords is now using her left hand to write, the Arizona Republic says.

She finds long sentences frustrating, so she often uses simple declarative phrases such as “awesome” and “love you,” the paper said.

It's "difficult for her to walk," Kelly told CBS News’ Katie Couric. She still "needs assistance." But, he said, his wife's personality is "100 percent there."

The congresswoman has not spoken publicly since the shooting rampage, which left six people dead.

Giffords’ chief of staff, Pia Carusone, told the Arizona Republic that the congresswoman has scars on her scalp – a grim reminder of the Jan. 8 shooting – but they will be covered by her hair is it grows out. A thin scar on her forehead is fading, Carusone said.

Kelly told the paper he can tell his wife is making steady progress.

“I can’t say I notice improvement every day,” he said, “but I can every few days.”


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