The Truth About Giffords' Recovery

Her progress needs to be viewed in relative terms
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 11, 2011 12:06 PM CDT
Updated Apr 16, 2011 7:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – It all sounds remarkable: Friends and colleagues have told the media about their "lengthy" conversations with Gabrielle Giffords, who is "running a campaign from the hospital." Indeed, she is getting better—but her progress might not be as speedy or extensive as those comments suggest. When you hear she’s recovering by “leaps and bounds,” that’s “in relative terms,” writes Peter Boyer for Newsweek. “Leaps and bounds' means much faster recovery than the average patient from a similar type of thing,” says her doctor. “If somebody has a severe brain injury,” he notes, “they are never going to be the exact same person." The goal? A “new normal.”

What Giffords' new normal will be isn’t clear yet. Her conversations have been relatively simple, mainly three- or four-word responses, but she’s just starting to form full sentences, insiders say. She hasn’t yet been told all the tragic details of the shooting, such as who else died—and she initially thought she had been in a car wreck. "When she starts asking for more details, we're going to tell her," says husband Mark Kelly. "But she hasn't asked that specific question yet." And while some call her the Dems' Senate frontrunner, Giffords doesn't even know she's a possible candidate, notes Boyer. "We haven't discussed any Senate race with her," says Kelly. "And I have no plans to do that for some time. She's focused on her recovery." (Read more Gabrielle Giffords stories.)

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