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Elder Bush is in ICU battling a fever

Erin Mulvane, Express-News
Updated 1:32 am, Thursday, December 27, 2012

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  • George H.W. Bush, 88, has a condition that causes instability from the waist down, so he mostly uses a wheelchair now. Photo: Charles Krupa, Associated Press / AP

    George H.W. Bush, 88, has a condition that causes instability from the waist down, so he mostly uses a wheelchair now.

    Photo: Charles Krupa, Associated Press

 

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Former President George H.W. Bush was in the intensive care unit of a Houston hospital Wednesday night battling a fever, his spokesman said.

The 41st president has been at Methodist Hospital for more than a month now.

Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman in Houston, said the 88-year-old's fever rose Wednesday, but doctors reported he was doing better than the day before. He was admitted to the ICU on Sunday and has been on an all-liquid diet.

“He is considered in guarded condition,” McGrath said. “He has suffered a series of setbacks.”

The fever was being treated with Tylenol, but it had not responded. McGrath was not sure what caused the fever.

“His doctors have said emphatically this is not the end game,” McGrath said.

Bush has had various health problems in recent years. In February, it was reported he had been diagnosed with lower body parkinsonism, a condition that causes instability from the waist down. As a result, he mostly uses a wheelchair now.

On Nov. 7, he was admitted to the hospital for a lingering bronchitis-like cough and was discharged Nov. 19. He was then readmitted the day after Thanksgiving when the cough wouldn't go away and has been in the hospital ever since.

Bush spent Christmas Day in the hospital with his wife Barbara and several family members who live in Houston. The family ordered food from Gigi's Asian Bistro in the Galleria area, where they traditionally eat on Christmas. The president was unable to partake because of his all-liquid diet, McGrath said.

His sons — former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — have both visited him during his hospital stay and are planning to return soon.

Bush and his wife reside in Houston during the winter and spend their summers at a home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

The oldest living former president, Bush, a former vice president, congressman and CIA director, served as president from 1989 to 1993.

erin.mulvaney@chron.com