Monday, June 13, 2011

Approach each day with an appreciation of being alive.

Today, I will try to start  blogging about the ABC of Spirituality. It's a good timing because as I open my Yahoo! account, a photo of a smiling Gabrielle Giffords of the US Congress suddenly appeared in the Yahoo! News. Her office posted two clear photos of a smiling Giffords posing outside her Houston rehabilitation hospital last month, just five months after she was shot and critically wounded at a congressional event in Tucson, Arizona.
Here is the story of her attempted assassination and her eventual recovery taken from Wikipedia:

On January 8, 2011, Giffords was shot in the head outside a Safeway grocery store in Casas Adobes, Arizona, a suburban area northwest of Tucson, during her first "Congress on Your Corner" gathering of the year. A man ran up to the crowd and began firing, hitting nineteen people of whom six died; a twentieth person was injured at the scene, but not by gunfire.

The suspect, identified as Jared Lee Loughner, was detained by bystanders until he was taken into police custody. Federal officials charged Loughner on the next day with killing federal government employees, attempting to assassinate a member of Congress, and attempting to kill federal employees. Giffords's intern, Daniel Hernandez Jr., provided first aid assistance to her immediately after she was wounded and is credited with saving her life. She was promptly evacuated to the University Medical Center of Tucson in critical condition, though she was still conscious and "following commands" at the time.

On the same day, doctors performed emergency surgery to extract skull fragments and a small amount of necrotic tissue from her brain. The bullet had passed through Giffords's head without crossing the midline of the brain, where the most critical injuries typically result. Part of her skull was removed to avoid further damage to the brain from pressure caused by swelling. Civilian doctors who first treated Giffords said the bullet had entered the back of her head and exited through the front of her skull, but experienced military physicians later concluded that it had traveled in the opposite direction. Upon receiving a call from a staffer about Giffords's injury, husband Mark E. Kelly and his daughters flew in a friend's aircraft directly from Houston to Tucson.

Giffords initially was placed in a medically-induced coma to allow her brain to rest. She was able to respond to simple commands when periodically awoken, but was unable to speak as she was on a ventilatorNancy Pelosi said Giffords's husband Mark Kelly acknowledged that there is a "rough road ahead" for his wife's recovery, but was encouraged by her responsiveness, which included the ability to signal with her hand and move both arms. U.S. Army neurologist Geoffrey Ling of the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, was sent to Tucson to consult on Giffords's condition. Ling stated, "Her prognosis for maintaining the function that she has is very good. It's over 50 percent." On January 11, neurosurgeon G. Michael Lemole Jr. said that Giffords's sedation had been reduced and that she could breathe on her own. On January 12, President Barack Obama visited Giffords at the medical center and publicly stated in an evening memorial ceremony that she had "opened her eyes for the first time" that day. Shortly after the shootings, some questions were raised by the media as to whether Giffords could be removed from office under a state law that allows a public office to be declared vacant if the officeholder is absent for three months, but a spokesperson for the Arizona secretary of state said the statute "doesn't apply to federal offices" and is, therefore, not relevant.

As Giffords's status improved, she began simple physical therapy, including sitting up with the assistance of hospital staff and moving her legs upon command. On January 15, surgeons performed a tracheotomy, replacing the ventilator tube with a smaller one inserted through Giffords's throat to assist independent breathing. Ophthalmologist Lynn Polonski surgically repaired Giffords's eye socket, with additional reconstructive surgery to follow. Giffords's condition was upgraded to "serious" on January 17, and to "good" on January 25. She was transferred on January 21 to the Memorial Hermann Medical Center in HoustonTexas, where she subsequently moved to the center's Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) to undergo a program of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Medical experts' initial assessment in January was that Giffords's recovery could take from several months to more than one year. Upon her arrival in Houston, her doctors were optimistic, saying she has "great rehabilitation potential".

In late April 2011, Giffords' doctors reported that her physical, cognitive, and language production abilities had improved significantly, placing her in the top 5 percent of patients recovering from similar injuries. She was walking under supervision with perfect control of her left arm and leg, and able to write with her left hand. She was able to read and understand, and spoke in short phrases. With longer efforts, she was able to produce more complex sentences.

From early in her recovery, Giffords's husband had expressed confidence that she would be able to travel to Cape Canaveral, Florida, to witness the launch of his final Space Shuttle mission, STS-134, which was originally scheduled for April 2011. On April 25, Giffords' doctors gave her medical clearance to travel to Florida for the launch, originally scheduled for April 29, and she went to Florida where she was to watch from a private family area, without any public appearance or photography. The launch of STS-134 was delayed due to mechanical problems, and Giffords returned to Houston after meeting with President Obama, who had also planned to see the launch, with his family, at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). After continuing her rehabilitation therapy in Houston, Giffords returned to KSC for her husband's launch on May 16, 2011. Kelly wore his wife's wedding ring into space, which she had exchanged for his.

Giffords underwent surgery on May 18, 2011 to replace part of her skull that had been removed in January to permit her brain to swell after the gunshot to her head. Surgeons replaced the bone, using tiny screws, with piece of molded hard plastic; they expect that her skull will eventually fuse with the plastic’s porous material. Giffords no longer needs to wear the helmet that she had been wearing to protect her brain from further injury. On June 9, 2011, Giffords' aide, Pia Carusone, told the press that the Congresswoman continues to make progress in her therapy. As of that date, while Giffords' comprehension appeared to be "close to normal, if not normal", she is not yet using complete sentences. On June 12, two photos of Giffords taken on May 17 were released, the first since the shooting.

Indeed, her story is a living testament of hope, courage, will and determination. In each day that I wake up and open my eyes is an everyday thanksgiving for the goodness of the Lord. I hope everyone of us knows how to appreciate the beauty of life that we have and make each day a struggle to perfection.
Have a great day everyone!


  1. The story is really "...a living testament of hope, courage, will and determination."

    I believe it is a modern-day miracle. Thanks for posting this.

  2. and here we are thinking that our day-to-day trials are such huge burdens...

  3. @^travis - a modern-day miracle it're very much welcome!

    @Sean - compared to what she is going through right now, mine are nothing!

  4. I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I would like to invite you to come on over to my blog and check it out. God's blessings to you. Lloyd

  5. Thank you sir! I appreciate it a lot. I did check your blog and find it very interesting.
    God's grace be with you too!