Injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Taken Outside Hospital for First Time Since Shooting

Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, said that he's sure his wife will recover.

January 20, 2011, 12:39 PM

Jan. 20, 2011 — -- 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."

Giffords suffered a gunshot wound to her head on Jan. 8 when Jared Loughner allegedly opened fire at an event held by the Democratic congresswoman outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, Ariz.

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.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Husband Mark Kelly Says His Wife Is Trying to Speak

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.

"But every time I interact with her, there is something quite inspiring," said Kelly. "I imagine the next step will be her walking and talking, and in two months you'll see her walking through the front door of this building."

In a personal interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer that aired Tuesday night, Kelly opened up about Giffords' recovery and the shooting that injured her and killed six people.

Kelly, who has been photographed by his wife's hospital bed holding her hand, said a habit of hers has convinced him that she recognizes him.

"If I hold her hand, she'll play with my wedding ring," he said. "She'll move it up and down my finger. She'll take it off. ... She'll put it on her own finger. She'll move it to her thumb. And then she can put it back on my finger.

"The reason why I know that that means she recognizes me is because she's done that before. She'll do that if we're sitting in a restaurant. She'll do the same exact movements," he said.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to Move to Rehab Center in Texas Friday

Kelly was struck by Giffords' progress again when "she stuck her hand up on the side of my face" and began giving him a neck massage.

"She spent 10 minutes rubbing my neck and I keep telling her, 'Gabby, you're in the ICU. You know, you don't need to be doing this," he said with a chuckle.

Kelly added, "I'm pretty sure she wouldn't do that to somebody else."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events