Gabrielle Giffords Begins to Learn Details of Deadly January Day

Congresswoman still struggles with words and speaks in mostly short phrases.

April 25, 2011 -- Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has reportedly started to learn the details of the deadly shooting in January that left her among the 13 injured victims. Giffords has reacted by saying "so many people" and "no, no, no," according to the Arizona Republic, but is still unaware that staffer Gabe Zimmerman, federal Judge John Roll and Christina-Taylor Green, 9, died in the shooting, along with three others.

Giffords has been undergoing rehabilitation for a gunshot wound to her head at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. Doctors said the Democratic congresswoman from Tucson can stand on her own and is trying to improve her walking, the Arizona Republic said.

"Her left side is perfect. She can do whatever you can do," Pia Carusone, her chief of staff, told the newspaper.

Giffords' hair is short, a thin scar on her forehead is healing and fading, and her face is swollen but otherwise the same as before, Carusone said. Giffords still struggles with words and speaks in mostly phrases such as "love you," "awesome" and "I miss Tucson," the Arizona Republic reported Sunday.

Meanwhile, she is scheduled to visit Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Friday to watch her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, lift off, her Houston medical team said today. Kelly will command the last mission of the space shuttle Endeavour.

"Attending the launch is an opportune time for her to continue her therapy progression," Dr. Gerard Francisco, lead physician of the brain injury rehabilitation team at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital, said in a statement.

"Her attending the launch is a goal that we were working toward, and we have achieved that end. She has made remarkable progress in her rehabilitation, and we saw no reason why she could not travel safely to Florida."

Giffords, 40, is scheduled to leave the hospital Wednesday and be in a secluded viewing area for Friday's launch.

In an interview for the CBS "Evening News with Katie Couric," Kelly described Giffords reaction when she was told she was going to attend the launch.

"I think she said, 'awesome' and pumped her fist," Kelly said.

Giffords will have company with her, including her family, her husband's family, her staff and President Obama, with the first lady and their daughters. This will not be a public appearance for Giffords, her staffers say, although they might release a photo after the launch.

The crew of Endeavour will wear blue bracelets in honor of Giffords and when Kelly, 47, reaches space, he will read a personal note from his wife. The crew will also wake up to a song chosen by Giffords. During Kelly's 2006 mission, Giffords, Kelly's girlfriend at the time, selected U2's "Beautiful Day" to wake up the crew.

Kelly had suggested in the past that he might not command the last flight of Endeavour. But with his wife's improving condition and her encouragement, he said, he decided to resume command not just for his sake but because the space program was important to her.

"As one of NASA's biggest supporters in Congress, she was looking forward to having the opportunity to be there, and I think there is a pretty good chance to have that," he said in March.

Kelly's mission, STS 134, is the second to last space shuttle flight for NASA, and will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the space station. AMS will detect particles to prove or disprove the Big Bang Theory of the formation of the universe.

Kelly and five other astronauts on this mission are in quarantine now, standard practice before any space shuttle launch to keep the crew healthy for their mission.

ABC News' Bob Woodruff contributed to this report.