Capt. Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, said today that the congresswoman soon will be "back at work" and predicted she would be walking around in a couple of weeks.
"I'm extremely hopeful that Gabby will make a full recovery. She is a fighter like nobody else I know," said Kelly.
In another sign of progress, Giffords was taken outside of the hospital today for the first time since the attack to give her some sunlight. Just Wednesday, she stood up for the first time with assistance and looked out of a hospital window.
"I am extremely confident that she will be back here and back at work soon," said Kelly during a press conference today. "I told the hospital staff to expect her to be walking around here in a couple of weeks. She'll be back."
The motive behind the attack that killed six people and wounded 14 likely will never be understood, Kelly said.
"I don't think we're ever going to fully understand the why and the how and the reason for what happened on the eighth of January," he said. "We'll never fully understand the emotional-- This has been a challenge for all of us.
"But what it has done is that it's certainly shown me, and not only our country but the entire world, what Tucson is all about," he said. "I know my wife Gabrielle would be very proud of how this community has responded to this tragic situation."
Kelly also joked that he knows Giffords can't wait to write "thank you" notes to all of her supporters.
Giffords already has been able to scroll through an iPad, actions described today by her doctors as "fantastic achievements forward."
Since the shooting, Giffords has been treated at Tucson's University Medical Center. But she is scheduled to be moved to the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research at Houston's Memorial Hermann Hospital, which specializes in brain injuries.
Her relocation also will allow Kelly, who lives in Houston, to stay by her side during her rehabilitation.
"Every day, we still see improvements," said Dr. Peter Rhee, one of Giffords' doctors.
Dr. Michael Lemole, another of Giffords' doctors, said the congresswoman has gone through a few small procedures over the past few days, including one to "revise" her wound. He described the procedures as "housekeeping."
Kelly believes his wife has been attempting to talk, but is unable to because of the breathing tubes.
"I feel like she's made some attempts to speak," said Kelly. "I also feel like intellectually she knows [the tubes] are there and understands what that means. She, in my mind, has made some attempts [to talk].
"She'll smile at me, she'll do a couple of things that she'll only do around me, like pat me on the face very gently," said Kelly. "I can look in her eyes and tell she is well aware of who is around her and just very aware of the situation."
Kelly admitted that despite his wife's improving condition, he still worries about her long-term health.
"This whole thing concerns me," he said. "I have a lot of concerns until she makes a full recovery.