Nightly News | February 09, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Another big story tonight, it's been a month and a day since Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head as she met with constituents outside a supermarket. Well, tonight the latest measure of her incredible recovery so far, she is apparently now speaking. Our own Janet Shamlian has the latest from the rehab hospital there in Houston . Hey, Janet , good evening.
JANET SHAMLIAN reporting: Hi, Brian. It was perhaps the biggest question about her condition after the congresswoman was shot. Would she ever again be able to speak? Well, tonight we may have an answer. It was a single word but it signified an immeasurable step forward in the recovery of Gabrielle Giffords . At a Houston rehab center, Giffords said "toast" when she was served her breakfast on Monday, her spokesman confirmed. It may not have been her first word, but it confirms what was previously
uncertain: Giffords can speak.
Dr. GERARD FRANCISCO (TIRR Memorial Hermann): She's a hard worker so I'm pretty sure that her recovery will be phenomenal.
SHAMLIAN: And there's more news, her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly , writing on Giffords ' Facebook page, " Gabby 's appetite is back, and even though it's hospital food , she's enjoying three meals a day." When she was shot in Tucson a month ago, a bullet pierced the left side of her brain, the side that controls speech, so there were questions about her ability to speak. Her doctors say she continues to improve.
Dr. FRANCISCO: We're very much encouraged by the progress that she has demonstrated and we're very happy that she's challenging us to come up with a tougher rehabilitation program for her.
Ms. PIA CARUSONE (Giffords' Chief of Staff): The speech therapy has been ongoing and she's certainly doing very well.
SHAMLIAN: Mark Kelly , who has resumed his training for the space shuttle Endeavour mission, is inspired by his wife's progress but a realist about the road ahead. Writing on Facebook , "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." Still a long road ahead, but now with one less hurdle. Giffords is continuing her rehabilitation tonight in the building right behind me. There is a lot of work ahead, but, Brian , everyone is encouraged by this development.
WILLIAMS: We'll take the good news. Janet Shamlian reporting that from Houston tonight. Janet , thanks.