In the past few days, we've heard a lot of good news about Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot through the head outside a Tuscon Safeway two weeks ago. We've learned that she's opened her eyes, stood up, scrolled through the photo display of an iPad, and, as of today, been moved to a rehabilitation facility in Texas.
These items are all part of the larger story of Giffords's astonishing survival and recovery. And it's all heartening stuff. But, says Chris Rovzar at New York magazine, this is one story we probably shouldn't be following too closely, or too optimistically. "Her complete recovery is very, very far from certain," writes Rovzar. "And the press's breathless coverage of every daily improvement has led to expectations that will almost surely lead to disappointment."
Rovzar goes on to note that while "it's easy to imagine a sunny scenario in which Giffords makes a quick and complete recovery, returns promptly to work in Congress, and maybe runs for higher office one day," the truth is that no one knows what Giffords's path back to health will be like. It may be difficult. It will surely be long. She may not recover fully--right now, it's just not possible to say. Her neurosurgeon has told reporters that "it's not uncommon for people to initially improve, then plateau." And Rovzar adds that "plateau or no plateau, her family may well decide it is in her better interest to quit Congress while she recuperates."