TUCSON, Ariz. – The husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords says his wife’s condition has improved so much that she has been able to smile and give him a neck rub as he has kept a near-constant vigil at her hospital bedside.
The interactions with astronaut Mark Kelly are new signs of Giffords’ impressive progress in recovering from a gunshot wound to the head at a political event nine days ago.
“She’s in the ICU. You know, gone through this traumatic injury. And she spent 10 minutes giving me a neck massage,” Kelly explained in an interview with Diane Sawyer to air Tuesday on ABC. “It’s so typical of her that no matter how bad the situation might be for her, you know, she’s looking out for other people.”
Doctors upgraded Giffords’ condition from critical to serious over the weekend and say they carried out three successful procedures that demonstrate she is recovering well.
A breathing tube was moved from her mouth to her throat along with a separate feeding tube that was shifted from her nose to her stomach. Dr. Randall Friese said removing the tubes in her nose and mouth reduces the risks of infections.
Doctors also said they performed a surgery on Giffords’ eye socket to remove bone fragments to relieve pressure on her eye.
Also, more details emerged Monday about one of the shooting victims who became distraught and was arrested during a televised town hall meeting.
James Eric Fuller, a military veteran and self-described liberal, started ranting at the end of the program Saturday. He took a picture of Tucson tea party leader Trent Humphries and yelled “you’re dead.”
Fuller apologized Monday through his girlfriend, Dorothy Deruyter. Fuller has been in a hospital since being involuntarily committed Saturday for a mental health evaluation.