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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' ready for next big step?

Reports on the progress of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords continue to be positive, according to an article posted by WKBT-TV in La Crosse.

Giffords is the Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head on Jan. 8. The bullet reportedly entered the front of her head and exited the back, causing extensive damage. Yet she has made remarkable progress in recovering from that traumatic brain injury.

She's currently going through a reeducation process: learning all over how to walk, talk and take care of herself.

She will in a matter of days arrive at a point in her therapy that she, her doctors and her family will need to decide whether or not it's time to shift her rehabilitation to outpatient care.

A rehabilitative medicine doctor told the Associated Press that he expects her to be released from the rehabilitation center she's been staying in by the middle of the month. That would be approximately 10 weeks after the shooting.

One clue to her wellbeing might be revealed late this month when it will be determined whether she can attend the Florida space shuttle launch to be commanded by her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.

While it will be interesting to see if Giffords can attend the launch, it's more important, experts say, for her to be well enough to begin outpatient care. It isn't yet clear whether the care would be in Houston, where her husband has a house, or in Tucson, where the couple have their home and where her family lives.

In March, doctors said Giffords was progressing in "leaps and bounds."

Resource: WKBT-TV: "Next big Giffords decision: When can she go home?" by Ramit Plushnick-Masti: April 5, 2011

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