Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has been told that she was shot. Her ability to walk and talk is improving. And there's "a good chance" she'll be able to attend her husband's space shuttle launch next month.
Doctors provided the new details about Giffords' condition Friday, describing several milestones that have occurred in her recovery in recent weeks. They include the removal of her breathing tube and her improving ability to walk with assistance and talk in complete sentences such as "I'm tired and want to go to bed."
Dr Imoigele Aisiku called the breathing tube removal as a "fist-pump" moment.
"I'm very happy to report that she's making leaps and bounds in terms of neurological recovery," Dr. Dong Kim said.
Her memory is also improving, although she does not recall the tragic event in Tucson that wounded her and 12 others and killed six people.
"She has been told about the event both by her husband and by us, and I think she understands," said Kim. It's still not clear if Giffords knows if people were killed at the event, however.
Doctors also said she is showing emotion at various times, including smiles when she makes key progress.
"She has a personality that's already showing through," Kim said. "She's very upbeat, focused on getting better. She hasn't shown us depression and she's just been very forward looking and even with the speech she's not showing much frustration."
Kim says "it's a good possibility" that she will be able to attend her husband's space shuttle launch in April. He says doctors expect to reattach a piece of skull at some point in May, but that she can travel before that happens. She currently wears a helmet adorned to protect her head.
The news of her progress has been welcomed in her hometown of Tucson, where her supporters held a benefit concert on Thursday night to raise money for a fund created by a survivor of the attack. Rockers Alice Cooper and Jackson Browne were among the headline acts at the concert.
The suspect, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, has pleaded not guilty in federal court. Authorities described him as a mentally unstable college dropout who became obsessed with carrying out violence against Giffords. He appeared in court this week in Tucson at a hearing attended by at least three survivors of the attack.