HOUSTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath says 93-year-old former President George H.W. Bush is eager to get well so he can get to his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
The 41st president is being treated at Houston Methodist Hospital for an infection that’s spread to his blood. He was admitted Sunday, a day after his wife Barbara’s funeral. She died a week ago at the age of 92. Mr. Bush is 93.
McGrath describes Bush as “the most goal-oriented person on this planet.” McGrath said Monday on Twitter that the 93-year-old Bush is “responding to treatments and appears to be recovering.”
Their son, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, indicated during his eulogy Saturday that his father had been hospitalized recently at the same time Barbara Bush was being treated.
“I think Dad got sick on purpose so that he could be with her,” Jeb Bush said.
Those hospitalizations were not publicly disclosed at the time.
First lady Melania Trump, who attended the funeral, sent her best wishes to the former president. Trump tweeted Monday evening: “Sending healing thoughts of strength, along with prayers, for President George HW Bush tonight.”
George H.W. Bush uses a wheelchair and an electric scooter for mobility after developing a form of Parkinson’s disease and he has needed hospital treatment several times in recent years for respiratory problems.
He was hospitalized for 16 days in January 2017 for pneumonia. During that hospital stay, which included time in intensive care, doctors inserted a breathing tube and connected him to a ventilator.
He also was hospitalized in 2015 in Maine after falling at home and breaking a bone in his neck, and in December 2014 for about a week for shortness of breath. He spent Christmas 2012 in intensive care for a bronchitis-related cough and other issues.
People in their 90s with Parkinson’s disease are often at higher risk of pneumonia and other infections because their swallowing process can be compromised, said Dr. David Reuben, professor of geriatric medicine at the UCLA medical school in Los Angeles.
“And the stress of losing a loved one can weaken the immune system,” he said.
Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics, he said, while viral infections require other treatments. Infections that spread to the blood usually are not viral, however, he said.
The prognosis for such a case would depend on a number of factors, including heart rate, blood pressure and oxygenation, Reuben said.
“The more of these parameters are abnormal, the more serious the case is,” he said.
Bush served as president from 1989 to 1993. Born June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, Bush also served as a congressman, CIA director and Ronald Reagan’s vice president.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)