mark kelly4 18jan2011 spot

Photo: AZPM

Mark Kelly, astronaut and husband of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, shares his hopes for her recovery.

In an austere conference room at Tucson's University Medical Center, Mark Kelly met with Arizona Public Media's Michael Chihak to talk in detail about the tragic events of January 8--when his wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and 18 others were shot at a public forum--and Giffords' progress since.

The Navy officer and astronaut has remained at his wife's bedside since the shooting, but said he is finally getting sleep. Giffords, who was shot through the left side of her brain, is now able to open her eyes, move her arms and legs, and has given Kelly a neck rub. She has also pulled her husband's wedding ring off his finger. She then put it back on him, "fortunately," Kelly joked.

Giffords' "great" progress despite the seriousness of her injury is a testament to her spirit, said Kelly.

"She's such a fighter," he said. "I've heard people say this [her recovery] is kind of like a miracle. I wouldn't disagree with that."

Kelly said he draws strength from the support the Tucson community and the nation have shown the Jan. 8 shooting victims. He has received hundreds of e-mails and letters, including one from a Craycroft Elementary School fourth-grader who offered his hope that Giffords gets better and even sent along his lunch money.

"It was really, really touching," said Kelly, adding with a smile, "I'm going to try to give him back his money, though."

Giffords is the only victim of the Jan. 8 shooting remaining at UMC. Her family has said she will be moved to the TIRR Memorial Hermann rehabilitation hospital in Houston, part of the Texas Medical Center, on Friday.

Watch the full video below.

Michael Chihak interviews Mark Kelley, astronaut and spouse of Gabielle Giffords