May 19, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords has surgery "grafting a piece of ceramic shaped by a computer to fit the part of her skull that was removed after her injury to relieve swelling."

"[D]octors ... opted for a prosthesis because the original bone was shattered and contaminated by the bullet... [S]ome fragments of the bullet remained in her brain and could not be safely removed."

46 comments:

edutcher said...

I wish her the best, but The Blonde's opinion is she will always need someone to watch her. The bullet affected a lot of the emotional control areas of the brain.

Fred4Pres said...

Good. I hope she fully recovers.

Not sure what else to say beyond that. People have been getting plates in their skulls for a long time. Heck, paleolithic cave men successfully did surgery like this (at least the releaving pressure part).

A. Shmendrik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A. Shmendrik said...

IIRC, the classic case was some railroad employee late in the 1800's who had a railroad spike impaled in his skull (ouch!). The formerly proper fellow recovered to lead a life of debauchery, leading to the inference that a certain region of the brain (damaged by the trajectory of that spike) controled moral reasoning.

I think we were all impressed that they were able to save her life - but the odds of that kind of brain trauma leaving you perfectly normal (albeit with scars) - not real good.

Methadras said...

May she have a speedy and healthy recovery.

Michael K said...

Gunshot wounds of the brain, especially close range, are usually fatal so she is way ahead as it is.

I did see one fellow who put the gun to his temple and missed. My students had the unique opportunity to interview a person who put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. The bullet ended up in his frontal sinus. Bad aim.

ndspinelli said...

computer ceramics...takes all the fun out of summer camp. I wonder if I could order a computer generated ash tray?

Herb said...

they are doing amazing things in this field from what they learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, great that she is able to be in Houston the worlds leading medical center.

Julius said...

Humanity will never grow old of waving the bloody toga.

The intro to the piece puts it bluntly...

Gabrielle Giffords, the congresswoman who was shot in the head in Tucson in January...

...presumably in case you haven't heard about it.

Her recovery is "remarkable", her progress “almost miraculous"... just like Jesus!

Dustin said...

This poor woman. All she did was show up to meet with some citizens and talk about the issues. She was shot in the face, and others were murdered, just for that.

I doubt, but hope, she recovers fully.

I also think it would be best to declare her office vacant and have an election to replace her. Frankly, I don't agree with Giffords on some very important matters, but I have this irrational little wish that they get someone who votes just as Giffords would have. I realize there are bigger things at stake, but still... this crap can't succeed.

CachorroQuente said...

"Her recovery is "remarkable", her progress “almost miraculous"... just like Jesus!"

Not like Jesus at all.

First, the damage was not self inflicted and second, it appears that Ms Giffords will survive.

Of course, the best outcome would have occurred had she not been shot at all. But considering that she was, I think everyone should be ecstatic about her progress.

Lucius said...

The moral imperative would be to hope for a "full" recovery. That would be an incredibly celebratory outcome, but literally *miraculous*.

Miserable world we live in, but it's Panglossian to think that brain matter doesn't matter. And I want to believe I have an immortal soul, that the brain is just a kind of keyboard for it and having Alzheimer's, or a lobotomy, or a shot to the head fucks up my keyboard, and my conscious mind is just the screwy screen, in a fog like a bad dream or a morning without coffee but the *real* me is okay and when I'm in Eternity in the Empyrean I'll be debating Lars Von Trier movies with Ronald Reagan and we'll all be doing our best. Truly I hope that's what the universe really is.

But for right now: a *semblance* of normal for Cong. Giffords would be awesome.

I feel a kind of disgust with all this melodrama about the space shuttle launch, this moving of her like a prop. Why does her husband need to go into space at all? Personally, I feel it's unseemly.

As for all the Dems talking about how she should run for Senate: this is *truly* unseemly, in the quantifiably crazy sense.

I honestly believe that the people who say this are just **waiting** for someone to ask them, so they can just come back with: "Well, better a Democrat WITH A HOLE IN HER HEAD than a damn stupid Republican!! LOL"

People floating, or just quietly entertaining, this fantasy of her as a Senate candidate should be appalled at themselves.

Phil 3:14 said...

I assume she'll have some speech difficulties and probably some residual right sided weakness. I'd assume some cosmetic issues but those can and presumably will be addressed (Remember James Brady who was left with a cosmetic defect to his left forehead)

The cognition and higher level functions are the critical issue for her to remain in office. They certainly are painting a good picture at this at this point in time. I hope if she has some cognitive or impulse control issues, her docs are upfront with her regarding future abilities.

I wonder when they will transition her back to Tucson?

I'd also predict pictures/public appearances (i.e. we can see her) in the next couple weeks, now that's out of the helmet and has her skull defect closed.

Methadras said...

Julius said...

Humanity will never grow old of waving the bloody toga.

The intro to the piece puts it bluntly...

Gabrielle Giffords, the congresswoman who was shot in the head in Tucson in January...

...presumably in case you haven't heard about it.

Her recovery is "remarkable", her progress “almost miraculous"... just like Jesus!


It's nice to know that you are leading the board in being the new Althouse ass.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dustin said...

"They certainly are painting a good picture at this at this point in time. I hope if she has some cognitive or impulse control issues, her docs are upfront with her regarding future abilities. "

I strongly disagree. They are trying hard to paint her in the best possible light, and the fact they avoid this topic in any substantive way proves that the information about it does not paint her in a good light.

God Bless her, but I suspect if she was capable of communicating a complex message, we'd have heard one. I think that bastard took away the best part of her future.

Rialby said...

Can someone explain to me WTF it's ok for her husband to be a on a ship orbiting the earth at this point? Isn't this the ultimate in selfishness?

A couple of weeks ago, I asked: What happens if, God forbid, something happens to him? Why would you do that to your disabled wife? Don't you have a duty to beg out and sit by her bed side?

And now she has to undergo emergency surgery for her injury. What happens if, God forbid, something worse happens? How could this clown shirk his duty to her?

TMink said...

Shmendrik, that case was Phineas Gage. He had extensive trauma to the frontal lobes, leaving him without inhibitions. He would steal, urinate in public, and do whatever his impulses led him to do.

I am not at all sure that Ms. Gifford has damage in the same areas. But given the extent of her losses, it is most unlikely that she will ever be able to serve as an effective representative.

So they should hold an election to fill her vacant seat.

Trey

Lucius said...

@Rialby: You ask a question I've been brooding over.

One of the reasons I admire Sarah Palin personally is that I recognize she has a get-go I'll never have. Politically I'm not progressive, but spiritually I share some of the same pessimism-- maybe that dreaded belief in the power of 'external forces' beyond our control-- that make me less than "can-do" about life in general. But I can admire it in others.

So maybe I'm a hypocrite to challenge why he's on that space shuttle. Maybe it's "the mission must go on." Maybe he or others truly believe the crew is safest with him. I don't know.

But to me, yes: it seems indulgent, or somehow unseemly. It seems like there's an option to stay here with his wife and accept that their lives are going to be much more circumscribed from now on-- or *at least* in the shortterm.

Instead it's like they're being promoted as a power couple, and it's in circumstances that are like a gross-out parody. It's like a nasty SNL or George Romero nightmare of what a glamorous congresswoman/astronaut couple's life would be like.

God knows they HAVE suffered a grievous loss. They would've been anybody's envy-- and now? So maybe he and others (she too, if she's even aware enough for that kind of reflection) are in denial. Maybe they think it's about soldiering on.

But I intuit a real dearth of sensitivity here. Maybe some powerful people (Dems? Obama WH?) are prodding him to keep his chin up. Maybe he's a real macho type. But I think he belongs with his wife.

To be brutally forward about it, I've asked myself: is this the kind of guy who's going to be looking for clandestine pastures to frolic in soon?

nevadabob said...

Isn't it the height of selfishness for her Democrat Party husband to be having the time of his life playing around on the International Space Station while his wife is having brain surgery to repair injuries she suffered in an assassination attempt?

Jesus H. Christ these Democrats sure do have a weird way of showing loyalty to their spouses.

Alex said...

What happened to the "new civility"?

Oh Peter Fonda just called Obama a "fucking traitor".

KenK said...

I just can't someone with this level of handicap running for senate. Even in Arizona.

ironrailsironweights said...

The results of the Tuscon shooting must raise some awkward questions for all the caliber snobs who proclaim that the 9mm is a pipsqueak cartridge, unsuitable for anything larger than a squirrel.

Peter

Rialby said...

"To be brutally forward about it, I've asked myself: is this the kind of guy who's going to be looking for clandestine pastures to frolic in soon?"

That hadn't actually come up in my own mind. I don't enough to know that but I do know if something happened to my family like this and I was being asked to travel to somewhere as far as India for a few weeks for business, I'd be cancelling my trip. And I need the money, it's not like they do.

Just seems weird that he would go into space given what could happen to him or her or both. To each his own.

Dustin said...

" Isn't it the height of selfishness for her Democrat Party husband to be having the time of his life playing around on the International Space Station while his wife is having brain surgery to repair injuries she suffered in an assassination attempt?"

?

Are you a moby? every time I see you say something, it's both crazy and goes out of its way to make clear it's attacking democrats in way no other Republican every does.

She supported her husband's work, and it's the kind of thing that takes a lot of planning and personal sacrifice. There's really no question that she would want him to go, and there's no question that she will he's not directly helping her surgery. She's having a lot of medical treatment, and it would be dumb for her husband to just give up on life. This shooting happened months ago. He is perfectly normal to have gone back to work.

In fact, this is inspiring and helps American remember Ms Giffords. Who would give up a chance to be on the last Endeavor mission, anyway? This is a symbol of our nation's greatness.

Anyway, even very hard liner conservatives wouldn't agree to what you're saying. That's why I suspect you're pretending to attack democrats in an effort to ghoulishly make this situation even uglier for partisan advantage. That sad thought is more likely than you earnestly meaning what you said.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

So far, maximum effort has been to minimize or hide the effects of her injury.

I think that's why her husband is on his flight and why photos of her don't exist.

Politics.

If she is unfit for office she should be replaced but nobody is saying that, one way or the other.

Politics.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Can someone explain to me WTF it's ok for her husband to be a on a ship orbiting the earth at this point? Isn't this the ultimate in selfishness?

There are so many variables, it is impossible for us to judge.

Perhaps he and she both know that his being there, hanging out in the waiting room of the hospital, won't make any difference to her immediate recovery.

Perhaps her operation, while serious, isn't dire. It would be different if she were on her death bed ready to gasp her last any moment. Of course, none of us know when that moment is.....should we all stop living?

If she is cognizant of what is going on she may have even encouraged him to continue. If she isn't in dire straits and needs to have moral support and encouragement, that can happen from a distance for a short period of time. Skype!!!

If it were my husband who had worked all of his life for a dream and he had the chance to take it, assuming my condition while terrible was stabilizing (I understand that she isn't critical anymore)....I would want him to go. I would be proud and want to share the thrill.

I wouldn't want to be not only the wife that he will have to take 'special' care of for the rest of our lives (a burden), but be the one who killed his once in a lifetime chance and be a source of resentment. I might get better.....or not....but some chances come only one time

Maybe I look at this differently because my mother sustained a similar brain injury, from an auto accidenty not a gun shot wound. We lived with those consequences for many many years. Recovery, such as it is, from a brain injury takes decades.

Why shouldn't he take a short period of time for this?

nevadabob said...

"If it were my husband who had worked all of his life for a dream and he had the chance to take it, assuming my condition while terrible was stabilizing (I understand that she isn't critical anymore)....I would want him to go."

And if she were my wife, the mother of my children, I'd give it up in a split second to be with her and my children during her brain surgery.

Space isn't going anywhere.

And it's incredibly selfish for this man to care more about some space fantasy only he will enjoy than his own flesh and blood.

We can and should judge him negatively for his selfishness so our children will understand that he's doing a morally indefensible thing by leaving his wife on the operating table to go play space cowboy.

David said...

Can someone explain to me WTF it's ok for her husband to be a on a ship orbiting the earth at this point? Isn't this the ultimate in selfishness?

Ridiculous. Her husband is doing his job. What else is he going to do? To the extent she can understand, she knows where he is and why. If she can't understand, how does it matter? He's not her doctor, her nurse, her therapist.

She is likely to have many setbacks as her life unfolds. Should he sit outside her room 24/7 waiting for the next crisis? If he does that, unless he is a true holy man, he will eventually tire of the role and he and she will be worse off for it.

Dustin said...

"
Space isn't going anywhere.
"


Well, that's a pretty stupid argument, given that he's not merely going into space, but rather performing a space shuttle mission. The space shuttle, and much of the space program, is going somewhere. The idea he can just wait for his wife's problems to go away before picking up his life's work is asinine.

I'll tell what isn't going away: his wife's condition.

rhhardin said...

I always did lanyards. They don't blow up in the oven.

ken in sc said...

My WWII Marine uncle Jim had a Japanese machine gun bullet next to his spine for over thirty years. When surgical techniques had improved enough, he finally had it removed. Maybe Giffords will benefit from future improvements.

Lucius said...

What exactly is this victory-lap Endeavour Space Shuttle mission supposed to achieve anyway?

Why exactly *are* we in space?

Why not just cede it to China for the next 20 years, let them get a head start.

Then, when they land a man on Mars, we can have another "Sputnik moment" and kick the teachers' unions to the curb, get the nation in gear.

--My visceral response here is Victorian. Family is more important than *optional* national duties at least. NASA has its trained cadres. And he should have the emotional and educational resources to stay occupied and centered here on earth, while he tends to his spouse.

His space "career" is mostly preparation. He has to have something else to do with his life anyway. --Or if he's going to be John Glen and be a geezer in orbit, then either way, it could wait.

He's just an astronaut, not a Navy SEAL. There's no good reason to go into tremors about the importance of a space shuttle "mission." It's become space shuttle *theatre*.

Let him hold her hand.

Dustin said...

" What exactly is this victory-lap Endeavour Space Shuttle mission supposed to achieve anyway?"

You honestly don't know what this missions's objectives are?

Shouldn't you look into it before condemning it?

Lucius said...

@Dustin: OMG Dustin, I did look!! They're CARRYING LEGOS INTO SPACE!!!

Holy crap, now my boner for **space** is as big as yours!

Oh, and they're hauling a giant magnet to look for "dark matter". Because the dominant paradigm in astrophysics can only find a tenth of the crap in the universe needed to explain how the universe operates. By all means, let's spend billions of dollars on supercolliders and magnets in space because if we ever had to tweak quantum mechanics' model of the universe, we'd have to go back to the book of Genesis or something.

Which has probably happened already, in a "parallel universe".

The one where space shuttle missions aren't a giant waste of taxpayer money on science geek candy like this and replacing panels on a godforsaken "space station" that will certainly never do anything cool.

Revenant said...

I think it would be better to let one of the privately-funded space outfits beat the Chinese to (a) the Moon and (b) Mars.

THAT would really send a message about the power of our political and economic system.

Browndog said...

Blogger edutcher said...

"I wish her the best, but The Blonde's opinion is she will always need someone to watch her. The bullet affected a lot of the emotional control areas of the brain."

Indeed.

That is the issue.

The fact this would make her a great U.S. Senator, according to the left, makes me sick.

Dustin said...

"OMG Dustin, I did look!! "

Then why did you say you didn't know? Because you're a liar? Yeah.

Anyway, I have no problem with criticizing the shuttle program for the most part, though this mission is not just space legos. Some missions are actually idea for this space shuttle, such as cargo requiring installation in space.

Anyone remotely informed already knows that the shuttle is installing equipment on the ISS. In this case, some sensors. That's their primary objective, but you pretend it's space legos because you're a harpy.

"I think it would be better to let one of the privately-funded space outfits beat the Chinese to (a) the Moon and (b) Mars.

THAT would really send a message about the power of our political and economic system."

Agreed. That would be excellent. The US Government has some interest in this kind of thing, but unfortunately, I expect Obama agrees with the UN's notion that you can't own property in space.

IMO, we should grant property rights to anyone who settles parts of the Moon or Mars. We should enforce those rights as best as we are able. And perhaps we should offer a few billion dollars to a company able to do so, as well. We're out of money, though, so I'm sure many will disagree with that one.

FedkaTheConvict said...

And if she were my wife, the mother of my children, I'd give it up in a split second to be with her and my children during her brain surgery.

She's not the mother of his children...she's Kelly's second wife and has no children of her own.

Henry said...

@Dustin. You're doing good work here. Thank you.

Blue@9 said...

And if she were my wife, the mother of my children, I'd give it up in a split second to be with her and my children during her brain surgery.

Space isn't going anywhere.


Um, it's the Endeavor's last mission. Space will stick around, but this is the last trip he'll ever make there.

As for the "OMG it's so selfish" reaction, do you know what was said between Giffords and her husband? I'm sure she's so glad you're looking out for her welfare, as opposed to her loving husband who, unlike you, never speaks to her.

Do you make this argument about men who are sent on tours to Iraq or Afghanistan? What a bastard for leaving his family. If he really cared, he'd desert and move his family to Canada!

The guy isn't pushing paper at a desk. It's a dangerous mission that a very small number of individual are capable of fulfilling. How many people who get to that position think it reasonable to decline -- and make someone else undertake the risk -- while his wife is recovering. It's not like she's in critical condition right now.

Lucius said...

@Dustin: Just to be clear, I only looked up the contents of the Endeavour mission after the fact of your challenge.

You're perfectly correct on that score: I merely assumed the mission was twaddle.

Then I looked it up, and verified that it was twaddle. More ridiculous twaddle than I had anticipated.

But it was safe to assume it was twaddle to begin with. Quit hyperventilating and repeat to yourself: it's just a stupid space shuttle!!

Regarding the issues laid out by AA's post itself, I think your comments are perfectly reasonable and, geneally speaking, I agree with them.

The tone of your discourse about the space program, however, positively shines with a florid exuberance that makes me think you must have slept in Apollo 11 pyjamas or something.

To put it bluntly: aside from preventing the threat of a foreign power putting some "Diamonds Are Forever"-style *weapon* into orbit, I don't care to spend one dime on space, public or otherwise.

Mars colonization is for LaRouchies, at least for this century.

All of this Endeavour mission work is-- at *best*-- routine maintenance. Panels for the fatuous space station. Yawn. Why is it up there again?

And then Legos. Squid embryos. "Dark matter" magnets [and yes, I'm no Creationist but I believe quantum physics is wrong]. And stroking and stoking the Giffords/whatshisnut brand.

No sane person above the age of six gives a damn about space shuttles, unless they blow up.

Sounding off about Endeavour as a symbol of national greatness just sounds bizarre. It's the straggler in a protracted post-Sputnik/post-moonwalk/post-Tang program that has produced-- WHAT? You want to fetishize something, fetishize USS George H W Bush. That thing is state of the art, useful, and named after a very righteous man.

Dustin said...

"All of this Endeavour mission work is-- at *best*-- routine maintenance."

Untrue.

Dustin said...

Though routine maintenance of something as valuable as the ISS is not exactly a waste of time.

The shuttle is not the ideal. We should have something better. I'd rather offer X Prizes to companies working that out for private space travel than subsidizing Nissans.

Lucius said...

And *snack bars* made by teenagers!!

Oh you're right, Dustin: Penultimate Shuttle Mission is a cornucopia of non-standard, non-routine excitement!

Look, if you love space, so be it. But if it weren't for the Giffords thing, nobody in the world would pay the slightest bit of attention to this. Space shuttle missions are not *exciting*. Being the pen/ultimate leg of a longhaul boring program is not exciting. Nothing will come out of this of plausible practical, national, theoritical, or other interest.

Unless the "ISS" as you dotingly call it, were somehow to prove to be what Roger Moore might call a "floating stud farm."

Anyway, if it's so valuable why is it "international"?

wv: "scones" Scones!-- and in blue for blueberry.

Now there's something worth getting excited over. Eat a scone!

Lucius said...

Dustin said: "Well, that's a pretty stupid argument, given that he's not merely going into space, but rather performing a space shuttle mission. The space shuttle, and much of the space program, is going somewhere"

That's a rather bizarre utterance. Noone implied he was levitating into space. Wow, not just space, but a "space shuttle mission"!

And that last sentence of your's above? The space shuttle is going to the proverbial scrap heap. At the moment, there doesn't seem to be secured funding for the last shuttle mission to even take place--"going somewhere" indeed.

* * * * *

Dustin said: "She supported her husband's work, and it's the kind of thing that takes a lot of planning and personal sacrifice. There's really no question that she would want him to go, and there's no question that she will he's not directly helping her surgery. She's having a lot of medical treatment, and it would be dumb for her husband to just give up on life. This shooting happened months ago. He is perfectly normal to have gone back to work.

In fact, this is inspiring and helps American remember Ms Giffords. Who would give up a chance to be on the last Endeavor mission, anyway? This is a symbol of our nation's greatness."
* * *
This 1st paragraph isn't entirely unreasonable, but is it "giving up on life" for a spouse to perform a familial duty in place of a (self-selected, non-emergency) public one? If he can *help* his wife better by remaining with her-- which some of us believe is the case-- then that's not throwing himself away. On the contrary: some of us contend that's what he's doing on this rinky space mission. That "really no question" is a little buttery. How do you know? In earlier comments you cast some doubt on whether she can formulate thoughts of this order at all.

But your 2nd paragraph above is just bizarre: like a David Lynch character's speech.

Any damn fool would give up a chance to be on the Endeavor's last mission. Good God man, what do you think it is, the Starship Enterprise. What valorous achievement has this particular shuttle-- or any shuttle, apart from those whose crews perished in them-- ever been associated with?

And since in the same comment you bring up this paranoid business about "moby"s, let me ask you: is it so damn important and imspiring for all Americans to be remembering Gabrielle Giffords *at all*? She's a tragic survivor, but there are also the tragic dead in that shooting, of whom we rarely speak. She is, as your initial comments seemed to agree, hardly likely to be destined for a continued career as a public servant.

So why does Astronaut Mike Dexter need to be in orbit to "help us remember" aboard that "symbol of our nation's greatness"?