Kelly weighs Giffords' rehab, NASA duties

Jan. 25, 2011 at 11:40 AM
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HOUSTON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Astronaut Mark Kelly says he'll decide soon whether he will leave the hospital room of his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., to command the Endeavour.

Kelly said he visited NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston Monday for the first time since his wife was shot Jan. 8 during a meet-and-greet event at a Tucson grocery store, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday. Six people died and 13 people, including Giffords, were injured.

Kelly, tapped to command NASA's final launch of Endeavour in April, said he met with Peggy Whitson, chief of the center's astronaut office, with whom he'll discuss the mission.

"Whether I'm actually going to do that or not, we have not decided," Kelly said.

Kelly expressed hope that his wife could be moved from a Houston hospital's neuro-intensive care unit to TIRR Memorial Hermann to begin a rehabilitation program as soon as Wednesday.

"It's possible that it could be Wednesday, Thursday or Friday," Kelly told the newspaper. We're not that sure. ... She has a team of doctors that are discussing the overall situation."

Kelly said he was optimistic for Giffords' full recovery, adding that his wife received rehab therapy while being treated in the intensive care unit.

"She was better yesterday than the day before and is better today and there's more stuff she can do," he said. "She's getting physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy every day. The doctors are very impressed. ... I don't know when she's going to be doing laps around the building, but it's coming."

He said his two daughters, Claudia and Claire, are back in school.

Kelly said he declined an invitation to attend President Obama's State of the Union Tuesday in Washington because his wife's recent transfer from a Tucson hospital to Houston and preparation for her rehabilitation regimen.

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