Gabrielle Giffords Leaves Arizona for Houston Rehab Center

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords left the University Medical Center in Tucson this morning en route to a hospital in Houston to begin rehab after she was shot "through the brain" less than two weeks ago.

Giffords, recovering in Tucson since the January 8 shooting, left for Houston about 9:20 a.m. today. She is traveling with several people, including her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, and Doctor Pete Rhee, one of the lead surgeons who treated Giffords after she was shot.

So far, Giffords' recovery has been nothing short of miraculous.

The hospital announced earlier this week that Giffords, with the help of medical staff, stood on her own two feet, which is remarkable considering she was shot, as doctors described it, "through the brain" just 13 days ago. She's opened her eyes, moved all of her legs, and Kelly says he believes she's tried to speak, although a tracheotomy tube in her throat prevented her from doing so.

"I am extremely hopeful at the signs of recovery that my wife has made since the shooting. The team of doctors and nurses at UMC has stabilized her to the point of being ready to move to the rehabilitation phase," Kelly, said in a statement released Wednesday.

Giffords was on her way to the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research Memorial Hermann in Houston, where Kelly lives with his two daughters.

In 2010, TIRR was ranked as the fifth-best hospital in the country for rehabilitation by U.S. News and World Report. Giffords recovery at TIRR will include therapy for things like motor skills and speech.

It's still unclear whether Giffords will be able to speak, but doctors remain optimistic that talking could be the next milestone in her recovery.

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