Monday, January 10, 2011

The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the crapshoot of brain damage

When I first heard Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had been shot in the head, I was shocked and saddened. How could this have happened? Why? Whywhywhy? Next thought: I wonder what kind of brain damage she'll have. I hope it's not too devastating.

As of today, she remains in intensive care, unable to speak but responding to doctors' inquiries by moving her fingers.

Exactly where the bullet zoomed through her brain could mean the difference between whether Giffords will be able to walk and talk again. It will make all the difference in her cognition, her ability to use her hands and fingers, her ability to eat and even sleep.

Brain damage is a crapshoot.

I know something about brain damage because of Max's stroke. Crapshoot: Max had a bilateral kind, so both sides of his brain were affected. Crapshoot: His brainstem, which is critical for functions like breathing and movement, was spared. Crapshoot: So were his basal ganglia, also vital for moving as well as learning.

Crapshoot: That my child had a stroke. That Giffords was shot. That six people died that day, including Christina Taylor Green, the nine-year-old who'd gone to the meet-and-greet because she was interested in politics.

I've been thinking about what the future holds for Giffords. And I'm desperately hoping luck lends a hand.


  1. Oh Ellen! I have been thinking this too! Crap shoot is exactly it for all of us. - patty

  2. I join you in hoping & praying for the best possible outcome for Gabrielle Giffords. Also sending up prayers for those who lost loved ones that day. I cannot even imagine the grief that the parents of that beautiful 9 yr old girl are feeling right now. Such a senseless tragedy....

  3. The tragedy in Arizona is so heartbreaking and sad isn't it? Awful for everyone and I also can't stop thinking about that 9 yr old little girl. Life is just one big crap shoot huh? You never know what hand you will be dealt. I'm thankful for every moment. So live life to the fullest and be happy. And with that thought I'm getting offline now!

  4. You took the words right out of my mouth.

  5. It's so true. Sometimes life seems so incredibly arbitrary and cruel. I'm praying with you for her and her family. Trusting that what seems arbitrary to us now will make perfect sense someday...

  6. I too pray for Gabriell Giffords, as well as all those who lost loved ones on that day. I was especially upset by the tragic loss of the little 9 year old girl and the 30 year old young man. They had so much living left to do. The whole thing is very heartbreaking.


Thanks for sharing!

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