Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) has started speaking again, less than a month after she was shot in the head. She reportedly asked for toast when she received breakfast Monday at the Houston hospital where she is undergoing rehabilitation, according to Politico.
The simple request was the first report of her speaking since she was seriously injured when alleged gunman Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at a meet-and-greet event the congresswoman was hosting at a Tucson, Ariz., grocery store on Jan. 8. Six people were killed in the rampage, while 13 others were injured. Loughner has pleaded not guilty to three federal counts in the case, although more charges are expected.
Doctors said last month they planned to insert a speaking valve into Giffords’ breathing tube that would allow her to communicate.
The fact the congresswoman is speaking is another sign that she is “recovering at lightning speed” and displaying “encouraging signs everyday,” as her husband said Tuesday.
“It is hard to believe that only one month has passed since Gabrielle was shot,” Capt. Mark Kelly wrote on Giffords’ Facebook page. “The doctors say she is recovering at lightning speed considering her injury but they aren’t kidding when they say this is a marathon process.”
“There are encouraging signs everyday though. Gabby’s appetite is back and — … even though it’s hospital food — she’s enjoying three meals a day,” Kelly wrote.
The congresswoman is recovering at The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston. Doctors have said she is doing “remarkably well.”
“I want the families of all the other victims and the entire Tucson community to know that Gabrielle will soon stand by your side to mourn this tragedy and learn how we can heal,” Kelly wrote. “In the meantime, your prayers are being heard, so don’t stop.”
Kelly, an astronaut who has been on three space shuttle missions, resumed his training to command the space shuttle Endeavour’s final mission Monday. He announced Friday that he would man the mission in April, after putting the trip on hold following the shooting.
In announcing his decision, Kelly said he knew Giffords would have wanted him to command the mission.