Gabrielle Giffords' Husband: She Smiled!

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, left,is shown with her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly. She loves motorcycles and yoga, and is as comfortable in a business suit walking the halls of Congress as she is clad in leather riding gear at the famed Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. She holds a master's degree in urban planning, yet can mount a tire in a flash. Pretty and petite, sometimes soft-spoken, she will take on even her most ardent adversaries and try talking them down with a firm hand but also a smile. Said one friend of Giffords: "She really pretty much defies a lot of description." Special section: Tragedy in Tucson AP Photo/Office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Gabrielle Giffords and husband, Mark Kelly.  (AP)
Gabrielle Giffords and husband, Mark Kelly. (AP)


(CBS) Congresswoman Gifford's husband tells doctors he's seen her smile a few times since the breathing tube has been removed.

Dr. Randall Friese says he hasn't seen the smiles himself and notes that sometimes people see things that they want to see, but he says if Mark Kelly says he saw his wife smiling, "I buy it."

Doctors were asked for their reaction to the reports that the Congresswoman had even given her husband a back rub. It implies a higher level of functioning according to Dr. Michael Lemole, Chief of Neurosurgery for University Medical Center who said these encounters suggest that "she's recognizing him and interacting, perhaps in an old familiar way with him."

Her physicians say that despite the removal of the breathing tube from her mouth, Giffords has not made any attempts to speak. There is still no clear sense of what, if any impact the shooting had on her speaking capabilities.

The Congresswoman's condition was upgraded from critical to serious over the weekend after doctors say she tolerated three procedures without any complications. On Saturday, doctors were able to remove bone fragments from Gifford's eye socket, a surgery they'd been waiting on, allowing for her condition to improve. They did the eye socket procedure at the same time they were moving her breathing and feeding tubes. Doctors say both those moves will decrease the chances of infection.

The next major milestone doctors are looking forward to is the congresswoman's discharge from the hospital and a move to a rehabilitation facility. That move could come in a matter of days or weeks. It depends totally on the speed of progress. Giffords' family has begun exploring the options regarding rehab locations. The doctors say the family's proximity is an important consideration.

  • Jennifer Ashton

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