George H.W. Bush Recovering; Barbara '1,000 Percent Better' - NBC Southern California
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George H.W. Bush Recovering; Barbara '1,000 Percent Better'

The 41st president was placed in the ICU to address "an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia," his office said

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    Former President George H.W. Bush was admitted Wednesday to the intensive care unit of a Houston hospital with pneumonia, and his wife, Barbara, was hospitalized as a precaution after suffering fatigue and coughing, a spokesman said. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017)

    What to Know

    • Former President George H.W. Bush treated for pneumonia. He's stable in the ICU and hopes to be discharged in a few days.

    • Former first lady Barbara Bush, 91, treated for bronchitis after experiencing fatigue, coughing; reports feeling 1000% better Thursday.

    • Former President George W. Bush and wife Laura still expect to attend the inauguration and do not plan to travel to Houston

    Former President George H.W. Bush is recovering and may be discharged from the intensive care unit of a Houston hospital after being admitted Wednesday for pneumonia, a spokesman said.

    His wife, Barbara Bush, was also admitted after she came down with bronchitis this week, but reports feeling "1,000 percent better" after rest and antibiotics, family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement.

     

    The 41st president was placed in the ICU to address "an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia," McGrath said. He later told The Associated Press that doctors were happy with how the procedure went. Bush was first admitted to the hospital for shortness of breath.

    The 92-year-old former president will remain hospitalized, but will hopefully make it out of the ICU in the next few days, McGrath said.

    "I don't think there's a whole lot of money to be gained betting against George Bush," McGrath said. "We're just kind of in a wait-and-see mode."

    McGrath said Barbara Bush, who is 91, had not been feeling well for a couple of weeks, "and it finally just got to the point this morning where she said she wanted to take it out of committee and have the experts check it out." He described the move to admit her Wednesday as precautionary.

    The Bushes, who were married Jan. 6, 1945, have had the longest marriage of any presidential couple in American history. At the time of their wedding, he was a young naval aviator. She had been a student at Smith College.

    After World War II, the pair moved to the Texas oil patch to seek their fortune and raise a family. It was there that George Bush began his political career, representing Houston for two terms in Congress in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

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    Bush, who served as president from 1989 to 1993, has a form of Parkinson's disease and uses a motorized scooter or a wheelchair for mobility. He was hospitalized in 2015 in Maine after falling at his summer home and breaking a bone in his neck. He was also hospitalized in Houston the previous December for about a week for shortness of breath. He spent Christmas 2012 in intensive care for a bronchitis-related cough and other issues.

    Despite his loss of mobility, Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by making a tandem parachute jump in Kennebunkport, Maine. Last summer, Bush led a group of 40 wounded warriors on a fishing trip at the helm of his speedboat, three days after his 92nd birthday celebration.

    George Herbert Walker Bush, born June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, also served as a congressman, CIA director and Ronald Reagan's vice president.

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    His office announced earlier this month that Bush and his wife would not attend Donald Trump's inauguration this week due to the former president's age and health.

    "My doctor says if I sit outside in January, it will likely put me six feet under," Bush said in a letter to Trump on Jan. 10. "Same for Barbara. So I guess we're stuck in Texas."

    The letter added that the couple wished Trump "the very best."

    Bush spokesperson Freddy Ford confirmed to NBC 5's Meredith Land that President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, still plan to attend the inauguration and that they "are looking forward to a full and speedy recovery."

    In response to the letter and subsequent hospitalization, Trump tweeted Wednesday, "Looking forward to a speedy recovery for George and Barbara Bush, both hospitalized. Thank you for your wonderful letter!"