Former U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan was listed in serious condition Monday morning, recovering from a near drowning in her backyard pool, and a doctor says she could be out of the hospital within a week.
"Right now, I think things look very good that she'll get totally back to normal," said Dr. James Little, a neurologist. "She's very close to normal right now. I think she will continue to improve. As best as I can tell right now, she probably will regain full mental functions."Jordan's condition was upgraded Sunday afternoon from critical to serious but stable, and she continued to improve Sunday night.
"She started her liquid diet tonight. She is breathing on her own. She is receiving supplemental oxygen, though," hospital spokeswoman Kari Larsen said.
Jordan, 52, gave the thumbs-up sign Sunday to her intensive care unit nurse and is able to talk.
"She's in good spirits now because she knows she's going to get well," said Dr. William J. Deaton, a pulmonary specialist.
"She's emotional about that and a little bit teary-eyed some of the time, knowing what she's been through and how close she came to a real catastrophic event. But she still also has her jovial personality. She was joking a little bit this morning," Deaton said Sunday. "She is vastly improved."
Jordan, who gained national attention during the 1974 Watergate impeachment hearings, was flown by emergency helicopter to Bracken-ridge Hospital on Saturday after being found floating face-down in her pool.
Jordan's live-in companion, Nancy Earl, called paramedics, who restored her pulse and breathing.
Deaton said she came "within four to five minutes, 10 minutes at most" of suffering severe brain damage and possibly death.
"She does not know what happened and was clearly concerned about it and had indicated that she didn't think she would go swimming alone again," Deaton said.
Jordan was breathing Saturday night only with the help of a ventilator, but Sunday the device was gone and she was responding to questions and talking, doctors said.
Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, telephoned a message for Jordan, hospital spokeswoman Carolyn Hinckley Boyle said. Jordan made a seconding speech for Bentsen's nomination at the recent Democratic national convention.