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The Daily Wildcat

Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Giffords speaks for first time

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., is speaking “”more and more every day”” in response to rigorous speech therapy carried out during her rehabilitation at Houston’s TIRR Memorial Hermann, her press secretary said Wednesday.

C.J. Karamargin told the Houston Chronicle by phone from Tucson that his boss had begun speaking “”recently,”” often using more than one word. She ordered toast for breakfast one recent morning, he said.

He declined to give examples of the words or phrases spoken by the congresswoman.

Her speaking is “”happening more and more every day,”” Karamargin said. “”She is improving in all areas.””

Giffords’ recovery of the ability to speak is the latest milestone in a recovery TIRR doctors say is occurring at “”lightning speed.”” It comes about a month after she was shot in the forehead during a gunman’s rampage in Tucson, Ariz. Six people, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge, were killed outside a grocery where

Giffords was meeting with constituents Jan. 8.

On Jan. 26, the Arizona congresswoman was transferred to TIRR, the Memorial Hermann Hospital System’s elite rehab center, after two weeks in the intensive care unit of University Medical Center in Tucson and five days in Memorial Hermann’s Texas Medical Center ICU.

Husband Mark Kelly, a League City astronaut, posted on Facebook Tuesday that Giffords had her appetite back and was eating three times a day, “”even though it’s hospital food.””

“”It is hard to believe that only one month has passed Gabrielle was shot,”” he wrote. “”The doctors says she is recovering at lightning speed considering her injury, but they aren’t kidding when they say this is a marathon process.””

Memorial Hermann doctors were not made available Wednesday to comment on Giffords’ speaking breakthrough.

Karamargin said Giffords was working with hospital staff on “”all sorts of language and speech exercises”” as part of the rehabilitation process. “”This is the result of them working with her on her language and speech exercises,”” Karamargin said. “”It’s a combination effort — her team pushing her and the congresswoman pushing herself. They’re both working hard and it’s paying off.””

The staffer added: “”We are all very excited and elated with this latest news. We’ve known for a few days. It’s hard to keep good news contained.””

“”To people who know Gabby, this is not a surprise. We know her as a woman of grit and determination and we’re seeing that now. We are super pleased.””

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