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by Zain Shauk / The Houston Chronicle


HOUSTON—Astronaut Mark Kelly, the husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, said Monday he’ll decide within the next two weeks whether to leave his wife’s bedside and command NASA’s final launch of space shuttle Endeavour in April.

Kelly said he visited NASA’s Johnson Space Center on Monday for the first time since his wife was shot Jan. 8 during an event with constituents outside a Tucson supermarket.

He said he has received an outpouring of support from his colleagues and people across the nation since a gunman redirected the couple’s lives from Capitol Hill and NASA training facilities to hospital rooms.

Kelly was hopeful that his wife could move to TIRR Memorial Hermann and start a full-fledged rehab program as early as Wednesday. She is currently at Memorial Hermann’s Texas Medical Center neuro-intensive care unit a few blocks away.

“It’s possible that it could be Wednesday, Thursday or Friday,” Kelly said. “We’re not that sure. … She has a team of doctors that are discussing the overall situation.”

Doctors are treating Giffords for fluid buildup in her brain, a complication that developed before she left the University Medical Center in Tucson, where she was treated for a gunshot wound to the head.

One of her doctors said Saturday that their next big decision will come the end of this week, when they determine whether the catheter currently draining the fluid can be removed or whether she needs a more permanent solution, a self-contained tube that would require surgery.

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