Gabrielle Giffords continues to improve at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston, and doctors remain cautiously optimistic, while warning that there is still much we don’t know — the Arizona Congressman was shot through the brain, after all, and though her recovery has been pretty superstar-amazing, she was shot through the brain. It’s telling, then, that Giffords actually hasn’t been told of the details of the January 8 shooting that wounded her and 12 others, and killed six, including a staff member and a nine-year-old girl.
If anything, this should remind us that while Giffords is an incredibly strong human, she’s also a human, and she’s still quite early in the recovery process after sustaining a major injury, the sort that would have killed most people immediately — and the sort that has caused her to have to relearn such “simple” things as speech, walking, and coordination.
Pia Carusone appeared on The Early Show today to talk about Giffords’s progress, and said that Gabrielle knows there was “a traumatic event but has not been told about the severity of the wounds to others. That will happen in time when she’s ‘at a higher level of communication.'” (Giffords can now carry on simple conversations, laughs “at the appropriate times,” and is saying new words each day.)
“Doctors have said it’s not really fair, as you can imagine, to tell someone something so tragic and someone that might not have the ability to ask the detailed questions that someone will have when they hear this news,” Carusone said.
Beyond being fair or not (and being shot in the head is clearly not “fair”), there’s also the issue of causing further trauma to a woman who has already withstood far more than the average person. Not to mention — who gets the short straw and has to be the one to tell her?
Giffords’s husband, Mark Kelly, who would seem the likely candidate, will head to space in April. We hope she’ll be well enough to see him off in person.