Rep. Gabrielle Giffords may be released from intensive care and transferred to a brain rehabilitation hospital as early as this week, ABC News has learned. The fluid accumulation in her brain that concerned doctors over the weekend has already begun to subside.
Meanwhile, at tonight’s State of the Union address, members of both political parties will be wearing black and white ribbons in a show of solidarity with Giffords and the people of Tucson. In a special gesture, her friends in Congress will leave one seat unfilled.
“There is going to be a chair left empty to symbolize what we all know will be a triumphant return to the House of Representatives when she comes back to us full strength,” said Giffords’ friend and colleague, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.
In Houston, Giffords’ husband, NASA Commander Mark Kelly, plans to watch tonight’s State of the Union Address from the hospital. While he keeps watch by her side, the clock is ticking on a critical decision. Kelly has said he will decide within two weeks whether he will command the space shuttle Endeavor’s final mission in April.