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Giffords's Return to Congress Remains Uncertain Giffords's Return to Congress Remains Uncertain

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Giffords's Return to Congress Remains Uncertain


Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., on January 5.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Everyone wants Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., to recover from the terrible shooting of January 8, but we haven't heard many specifics about how she's doing. She's a long way from full recovery, we learned today, struggling to speak and not yet comfortable releasing a photo of herself to the public. Giffords will have to decide by next spring whether or not to run for reelection, and her return to Congress remains uncertain.

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The Arizona Republic asks some tough questions of Giffords's chief of staff, Pia Carusone:

For example, how well is she able to communicate with them?

"We do a lot of inferring with her because her communication skills have been impacted the most," Carusone said. "If you think of it as someone who is able to communicate with you clearly, it is easy to test them. You can ask them a series of questions, and you can get clear answers back. Whereas with Gabby, what we've been able to infer and what we believe is that her comprehension is very good. I don't know about percentage-wise or not, but it's close to normal, if not normal."

Does her struggle to communicate mean that she's not using complete sentences?

"Exactly," Carusone said. "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. Pointing. Gesturing. Add it all together, and she's able to express the basics of what she wants or needs. But, when it comes to a bigger and more complex thought that requires words, that's where she's had the trouble." ...

"We're about halfway through the process that is the most important time for recovery. Patients recover for the rest of their lives, but it's the first 12 to 14 months that you make the biggest jumps.... In the doctors' minds, it's not even close to when you begin to make the final prognosis for the quality of her life."

Read the full story at The Arizona Republic.


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