ST. PETERSBURG — Three weeks after a bike accident placed her in a coma, City Council Chairwoman Leslie Curran is walking with the help of nurses and talking, friends and colleagues said Thursday.
Lance Rodgers, a local artist and friend of Curran's, said the 54-year-old has been moved out of Bayfront Medical Center's intensive care unit and into the hospital's physical rehabilitation unit for brain injuries. A tube that had been in her throat was removed Wednesday, making it easier for her to speak, Rodgers said.
He and Jeff Danner, one of her colleagues on the City Council, visited her separately on Thursday and both said that shades of her lively personality have returned.
"Her humor is definitely there," Rodgers said. "I asked her how she likes to be in the hospital, and she said, 'It sucks.' I was waiting for her to flip me off."
"She's in good spirits,'' Danner said. "But she's irritated. She doesn't like being there."
Rodgers said Curran was awake and alert and talking in a whisper. He said she's speaking in short, complete sentences.
Curran fell off a bike Aug. 30 as she and a friend cycled in the Lakewood Estates neighborhood. She was behind her friend when her front tire touched his back tire, causing her to lose balance. A cyclist behind her also crashed while trying to avoid her, but he wasn't injured.
Curran, who was wearing a helmet, suffered a severe concussion and was placed in an induced coma for several days.
Last week, her 33-year-old daughter, Stacey, sought and was granted guardianship of Curran so she could take care of her mother's finances and personal issues. Guardianships for incapacitated adults are usually granted when the recovery is expected to be a slow one.
Rodgers said Curran's progress will be slow.
"She's made progress, but it's not as speedy as we hoped," Rodgers said.
On Tuesday, the County Commission temporarily replaced Curran on the Tourist Development Council with Mayor Bill Foster.
Foster will serve until Curran returns. It's still not known when that will be, however, and city administrators are planning other moves, such as replacing her temporarily on boards, like the Homeless Leadership Network.