by Jim Nintzel
ABC News has released excerpts from an interview with Mark Kelly, husband of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, on 20/20 tonight. The program airs on Channel 9 at 9 p.m. in Tucson.
In the interview, Kelly tells Diane Sawyer that he had been worried about his wife’s safety and they had discussed it in the past:
DIANE SAWYER: Had you been worried for her safety?
MARK KELLY: Absolutely. Yes. And she was too.
DIANE SAWYER: Had there been death threats?
MARK KELLY: Yeah, she's had death threats. As— as a lot of members of Congress have death threats. She's had 'em before. // she says, you know, "Someday I'm really worried that somebody's gonna come up to me at one of these events with a gun."
DIANE SAWYER: She said that?
MARK KELLY: Oh yeah. I mean she said it— I mean we've talked about it probably, you know, 10 times.
This weekend Gabrielle Giffords’ condition was upgraded from critical to serious. Mark Kelly told Diane Sawyer that his wife is responding to more complex commands and at one point she even reached out and started giving him a neck rub:
MARK KELLY: So typical of her. She's in the ICU. You know, gone through this traumatic injury. And she spent 10 minutes giving me a neck massage. […] And I keep tellin' her. I'm like, "Gabby, you're in the ICU. You know, you don't need— you know, (CHUCKLES) you don't need to be doin' this." But it's so typical of her that no matter how bad the situation might be for her, you know, she's lookin' out for other people.
DIANE SAWYER: She reached up to you—
19:16:12:00 MARK KELLY: Reached up and gave me— you know, for 10 minutes. I just stayed there because it seemed to comfort her. […] You know, when somebody needs to be doing that for her or needs to be doing something for her, you know, she was doing that for me.
At yesterday's UMC press conference, Dr. Michael Lemole, the neurosurgeon who is treating Giffords, was asked about the neck rub. He said:
There’s a lot of inference there, but it does imply that she is recognizing him and that she is interacting in, perhaps, an old, familiar way with him. … All those higher cognitive levels of function are at least somehow, somewhat preserved here.