Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords remains in critical condition but she's making more spontaneous movements all the time on her own, including fixing her hospital gown, one of her doctors said this morning.
"Very specific movements, she was able to feel her wounds herself," said Dr. Peter Rhee, medical director of trauma at University Medical Center. "She can fix her gown...we're very happy at this point."
The congresswoman remains in critical condition at UMC after Saturday's shooting, but her sedation continues to get cut back. She's still in the woods, but by this Friday, one doctor said she may be, "at the edge of the woods."
Rhee said Giffords' husband Mark Kelly has been by her side constantly, and medical staff have been encouraging him to get some rest.
"Right now, between now and the weekend, if something is going to go bad - it will happen in this time period," said Dr. Peter Rhee, medical director of trauma at UMC. "Let's say by Friday we're at the very edge of the woods. We've got a couple of days."
Rhee said there will be "without a doubt" some permanent damage that will occur from the bullet going through the left side of her brain.
"But will she be functional, viable, normal, you know, I can't say for sure but I am very hopeful that she will be," Rhee said. "We have really decreased the amount of sedation we are giving her and as a result of that she's becoming more and more spontaneous all the time."
There are six patients from Saturday's shooting who remain in UMC. Giffords is the only one still in critical condition, two are serious and three are in fair condition, Rhee said.
Giffords' district director Ron Barber underwent his second surgery Tuesday and his family said he's expected to move out of the intensive care unit on Thursday.
Barber's daughter, Jenny Douglas, spoke with reporters today and said her father is alert after his surgery but is deeply grieving over the loss of fellow staffer Gabe Zimmerman and longtime friend, federal judge John Roll. She said he's been asking about Giffords constantly and the family is hopeful that Barber will be able to visit with her soon.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the other victims and their families," Douglas said. "Our dad has friends across the political spectrum and like his boss, he just wants to do what is best for the community. That is what drew him to Gabby and that is what binds them."
Barber has been working with Giffords since 2006. Douglas said her father is asking that the community continue to pray for Giffords, her family and her recovery.
Fritz Simon, the son of injured Giffords' staffer Pam Simon, read a statement from his mother.
"The wounds inflicted are healing, thanks to the amazing care of the doctors and staff here at University Medical Center," he said. "The deeper wounds of needless loss of life, severe injury of co-workers and community members and the sadness over this act of violence will take much longer to heal."