Much lies ahead for those impacted by the tragic shooting incident in Tucson, Ariz. on Jan. 8, 2011. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head, is currently undergoing treatment and her doctors say they are guardedly optimistic she will recover from her injuries. While it is impossible to provide an exact scenario for a patient who sustains this type of injury, the following link from the Brain Injury Association of America provides broad details on the treatment and recovery process brain injury patients face. http://www.biausa.org/brain-injury-treatment.htm
The shooting victims will face many personal challenges in their journey, and EmpowHER member Jennifer Longdon understands them. She was the victim of a random shooting in Phoenix, Ariz. on Nov. 15, 2004. Her finance sustained brain injuries from the bullets, which left long term effects including cognitive challenges and blindness. Longdon’s spinal cord was struck, and parts of both lungs had to be surgically removed. She now has no sensation or function from her chest down, and no muscle power in her stomach or back to help her do things as simple as sitting up. (That movement alone took her two weeks to learn.) The people who shot Longdon and her fiance were never found.
Today Longdon, 50, has an active life that includes working as a realtor specializing in accessible housing services, being an athlete who has participated in several marathons, serving her community in distinguished roles and more. She has a unique, real-world perspective on the process involved in recovering from senseless gun violence, so we asked for her thoughts.
An Advocate’s Prayer for the Victims of the Tucson Shooting Tragedy
By Jennifer Longdon
For most Americans, the Tucson shooting tragedy will lead to discussions ranging from free speech to gun rights to the way we diagnose and treat the mentally ill. For the 19 individuals who were shot and their families and friends, the conversations will be very different.
For some, the priorities will be funeral arrangements and the myriad details that mark the too-soon passage of their loved ones.