President George H. W. Bush hospitalized in Houston


by Michelle Homer / & Doug Miller / KHOU 11 News

Posted on November 29, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 12 at 5:34 PM

HOUSTON — Former President George H. W. Bush has been in a Houston hospital for the past week battling a stubborn cough, his spokesperson confirmed.

Bush was admitted to Methodist Hospital the day after Thanksgiving after being in and out of the hospital in recent weeks with viral bronchitis.

"It’s developed over the last couple of weeks, but it finally got to the point, after Thanksgiving, that they wanted to admit him," said spokesman Jim McGrath.

A secondary infection developed and delayed Bush’s recovery.

Dr. Amy Mynderse, an internal medicine physician in charge of his care, says the former President is sitting up, moving and walking as much as he can to speed up his recovery.

"This was never a serious or life-threatening situation," Mynderse said. "We simply wanted to prevent the progression of the disease into pneumonia, which is possible in any patient at this age."

. Mynderse says she is surprised at how quickly President Bush has recovered from his illness.

"He is definitely in great spirits," she says. "He is happy, joking and definitely getting better."

McGrath said Bush is otherwise healthy, getting "plenty of great TLC" from personnel at Methodist .

"He’s lapping it all up," according to McGrath.

Barbara Bush has been by his side in the hospital. President George. W. Bush and his wife Laura visited the elder Bush Sunday. A spokesman for the younger Bush, who lives in Dallas, declined to comment and referred questions to the 41st president’s representatives in Houston.

Other relatives, including son Neil, have also stopped by.

President Bush also has a form of Parkinson’s disease that affects his legs. In June, son Jeb Bush told CBS newsman Charlie Rose that his father now relies on a wheelchair or walker to get around.

"That’s hard for a guy who’s been so vital and vigorous in life," said Jeb Bush.

The elder Bush sounded more update about his condition, known as vascular Parkinsonism, in a recent interview.

"It just affects the legs," he told Parade magazine. "It’s not painful. You tell your legs to move and they don’t move. It’s strange, but if you have to have some bad-sounding disease, this is a good one to get."

"He’s still full of vim and vigor. His sense of humor is every bit as good as it always was, and he’s fine up here," said former Secretary of State James Baker on "41’s" 88th birthday. "It’s just an inability to walk."

Primary treatments for vascular Parkinsonism focus on reducing stroke risk factors, aspirin therapy to prevent blood clots and physical therapy.

The Bushes skipped the Republican National Convention in August, citing health problems. He attended a Texans game at Reliant Stadium in early November and at the PGA’s Ryder Cup in September.

Until recent years, Bush has belied his age by going skydiving to celebrate turning 75, 80 and 85 years old.

The Bushes make their winter home in Houston and spend summers in Kennebunkport, Maine.