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Gillibrand and Wasserman Schultz Visit Giffords, Describe Her Amazing, Doctor-Shocking Responsiveness


Grab a handkerchief before you read this one. As Obama mentioned in his Tuscon speech last night, Gabrielle Giffords has opened her eyes -- a remarkable development for a patient that was shot in the head less than a week ago. But it gets better. Giffords' close friends and fellow young Congresswomen, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and House Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), were allowed to see her in the hospital yesterday. Late last night, aboard Air Force One, they excitedly and passionately detailed their visit to reporters, describing not only an eye opening, but a remarkable arm lift and attempt to hug her husband -- movements that not only shocked her attending doctors, but apparently revitalized Dr. Lemole's faith in emotion entirely. “I just witnessed the impact of friendship and what you guys -- he said, you did this here today,” said Wasserman Schultz. An excerpt:

SENATOR GILLIBRAND: Okay, well, I’ll go, and then you’ll go -- okay. Well, we were very excited that we were even going to have the chance of getting to visit her hospital room. We didn’t know when we first came whether we had that opportunity. And so when we did have the chance, we were so excited to get to see her. And when we came in the room, the doctor was there, her parents were there, Mark is there, and the Speaker -- Speaker Pelosi and Debbie and I went in.

And we just were so excited, so we were telling her how proud we were of her and how she was inspiring the whole nation with her courage and with her strength. And then Debbie and I started joking about all the things we were going to do after she got better. And we were holding her hand and she was responding to our hand-holding. She was rubbing our hands and gripping our hands so we could -- she could really -- we knew she could hear and understand what we were saying and she moved her leg, and so we knew she was responding. And the more we joked about what we were going to do, she started to open her eyes literally.

And then you have to recognize, her eyes hadn’t opened -- we didn’t know that -- and so she started to struggle. And one of her eyes is covered with a bandage because it was damaged in the gunfire. So her eye is flickering. And Mark sees this and gets extremely excited. And we didn’t -- I didn’t know what that meant. And so he said, Gabby, open your eyes, open your eyes. And he’s really urging her forward. And the doctor is like perking up and everyone is coming around the bed. And she’s struggling and she’s struggling and it’s a good -- we couldn’t figure it out, maybe 30 seconds, where she’s really trying to get her eyes open, like doing this, this, this.

Wasserman Schultz goes on to compare the feeling of witnessing such a miracle to the feeling of giving birth. Read the full transcript at the White House site but, again, bring a tissue before you click. Text is real.

By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at January 13, 2011, 4:00am