How extraordinary? Her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, says Gabrielle Giffords insists on rubbing his back when he sits by her bedside. Doctors have upgraded her condition to serious as Kelly said he would be open to meeting the parents of the lunatic who shot her and thirteen others, and killed six more:
On Sunday Giffords’ condition was upgraded from critical to serious, a day after doctors replaced Giffords’ breathing tube with a tracheotomy tube to allow her to breathe better and free her from the ventilator. Kelly told Sawyer that Giffords’ is now moving around enough to give him a back rub.
“[It is] so typical of her. She’s in the ICU. You know, gone through this traumatic injury. And she spent 10 minutes giving me a neck massage,” Kelly explained. “I keep tellin’ her. I’m like, ‘Gabby, you’re in the ICU. You know, you don’t need — you know, you don’t need to be doin’ this.’ But it’s so typical of her that no matter how bad the situation might be for her, you know, she’s lookin’ out for other people.”
Diane Sawyer asked Kelly whether he would be willing to meet the parents of the shooter, and he said that being a parent gives him “a certain level of understanding”:
“I’d probably see them. You know, I don’t think it’s their fault. It’s not the parents fault. You know, I’d like to think I’m a person that’s, you know, somewhat forgiving. And, I mean, they’ve got to be hurting in this situation as much as much as anybody,” Kelly told Sawyer.
Kelly himself is the father of two teenage girls from his first marriage, and told Sawyer that being a parent gives him a certain level of understanding.
“Gabby has two stepdaughters, and I have children. And they must, I’m sure they love their son. And they must be, you know, as distraught over this as all of us are,” Kelly told Sawyer.
Meanwhile, ABC reports that the “heated rhetoric” meme has all but dissipated, at least on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers continue to worry about their friend and mourn the loss of a staffer:
All of this is good news. For his part, Kelly is under no delusions about recovery; he told ABC that this will take weeks and months, not hours and days. Giffords’ rapid return to interaction does not mean she will necessarily recover everything else as rapidly. Brain injuries notoriously are unpredictable and complicated. Fortunately, Giffords appears to have a top-flight medical team that has literally been battle tested, and that has to be playing a role in her miraculous response.
We’ll continue to pray for Giffords and all of the victims and their families.
Update: Please read The Anchoress’ moving thoughts at Patheos: “Love never fails.”