Congresswoman Giffords on road to recovery

Congresswoman Giffords on road to recovery

McClatchy Papers MCW

Abby Lopez, AP Lit Set7

On a bright Saturday morning, January 8, seventeen civic-minded Americans, listening to a question-answer session with their congressional representative, fell victim to the violence of one lone gunman. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was one of eleven who survived the shots fired by Jared Lee Loughner. 

With a shot fired directly at her head, the immediate reaction was that Giffords’ chances of a complete recovery were slim, let alone survive the direct shot through the frontal lobe of her brain. Science teacher Mr. Paul Sloshberg explained, “The frontal region controls speech formation (talking), long-term memory, personality, and logical thought.”

Although responding extremely well to surgeries and treatments, Congresswoman Giffords has a long road of recovery ahead of her.  “She will probably have to relearn how to speak, walk, write, etc…. They say she recognizes her family and seems to be able to respond to commands, so this relearning process will probably happen quickly. She will probably never speak or walk as well as before the injury, but she will be functional.”

Questions arose as to whether Giffords could go back to work once she recovers, and if she would be able to resume the active life she had led before the shooting. With the potential threat to her speech, memory and rational thought process, Giffords’ career as a congresswoman is put at stake. Will she be able to make decisions for the State of Arizona or will she have to give up her office as a representative in Congress?

At the time of the tragedy, Mr. Sloshberg predicted that “she will return to her job, but not for a long time. It all depends on how much higher-level thinking ability was lost. I think everybody in the country wants to see her return, when she’s ready, and we will forgive her if her speech and movements are awkward.”

A month after the tragedy, Giffords continues to make unprecedented progress at her new treatment facility in Houston, even ordering toast for breakfast last week and progressing well with both speech and language therapy sessions.   Her husband Astronaut Mark Kelly has resumed training for the last U.S. Endeavor space mission in April because of the unprecedented progress his wife has made in recovery at her new treatment facility in Houston.

“I have every intention that she’ll be there for the launch,” Kelly said. “I’ve already talked to her doctors about it.”