Maybe Now
Monday, 24 January 2011 10:26

Hope and Prayers for Representative Giffords: Giffords

Two weeks after the social and political circus that defined the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords , the murders of four others, and the ongoing recovery of other citizens of Arizona, there might be something sane, even pertinent, to say.

All the hullabaloo aside, the horning in on the attention and exploitation of the horror by everyone but Pee Wee Herman, the reportage from her physicians in both Tucson and now Houston, is sounding both good and more realistic. By late in the day on the 21st of January, these remarkable practitioners were referring to the advantages of the disadvantage of experiencing the passing of a steel trajectory through the left side of her brain. The wound was clear through, nothing remained dangerously lodged in the immeasurably fragile gray matter under her temporarily refrigerated skull. Swelling, so far, is under control. Infection, still a threat, has been held at bay. She seems to recognize her mother and husband and on the way to the airport in Tucson to be flown to Houston, she smiled at the sound of cheers and applause from well-wishers who lined the path taken by the ambulance. She has moved her left side and the muscle tone in her legs is “good”, showing no sign of atrophy due to neurological trauma. Good stuff.


Update Feb 13 2011
With a group of friends and family members acting as a backup chorus, Ms. Giffords has been mouthing the lyrics to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby.” And as a surprise for her husband, who is celebrating his birthday this month, a longtime friend who has been helping her through her rehabilitation videotaped her mouthing the words to “Happy Birthday to You.”




However, unlike the early reports by physicians, even more so by media pundits during that first week, her doctors are now saying more. They are admitting to the necessity (and possibility) of a miracle – that is, that it is possible that this terrific woman will be able to stand in place at some point down the road, that she might be able to regain speech, hold something in her left hand. In fact, miracles being miracles (and they have happened with respect to the severely brain injured), with six months or so of rehabilitation, she might be able to go home and continue her recovery as an outpatient. She might be able to manage a revised role as a mother and wife, as a friend, and as an amiable neighbor. She might.

Two weeks after the “tomorrow she will be back at the office” reportage that followed the horror, the many people who cared and held vigil in earnest deserve to know the truth – or at least some of it. Hope is critical in these situations, as are prayers. Loving concern permeates the air and reaches the afflicted. This is a scientific fact. However, the earlier days did not constitute a period of realism or facts. Perhaps, by necessity, they were eerily unrealistic. In addition, culminating in President Obama’s declaration that Gabby opened her eyes right after he ministered to her, just before his loosely related political rally, “story-telling” and false narrative around a tragedy are not always useful. Narratives can unite for a while, but when they are torn away by the dark, stark nature of wounds that cannot heal, everyone is re-wounded. The warm unity that comes rightfully and naturally with concern and hope turns to more sadness, more defeatism and resignation. Better to sprinkle the good with the “normative bad”, the pronouncements of progress, with an honest measure of the need for and possibility of miracles.

The truth isn’t so bad – and it never lets us down.


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