From everything that I’ve read, George H.W. Bush is stable and recovering well from a tough bout of bronchitis. I believe President Bush is going on his third week in the hospital in Houston, but I don’t think anything is routine when you’re 88 years old, so they are being understandably cautious. I’ve seen no major, reputable news source report anything otherwise and I think we can all hope the former President gets well and out of the hospital soon.
Bush 41 is currently the oldest-surviving former President — he’s about 3½ months older than Jimmy Carter — and the 6th longest-living President in history. On January 30th, he’ll pass Harry Truman for 5th place behind Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, John Adams, and Herbert Hoover. In an October profile of Jeb Bush, New York Magazine did raise some questions about Bush 41’s health. This summer, Bush’s family gathered at their famous family home in Kennebunkport, Maine for a dinner party celebrating HBO’s documentary 41. But, according to the article: “there was a palpable sense that Bush was taking a final victory lap. Behind the scenes, the family was already making advance funeral arrangements and encouraging news outlets to prepare obituaries. Bound to a wheelchair and suffering from a Parkinson’s-like disorder, he smiled softly, easily brought to tears.”
Then again, let’s be real here: he was still skydiving on his 85th birthday, so George Herbert Walker Bush is probably going to outlive all of us. America’s youngest Navy combat pilot during World War II is one tough old man. He is confined to a wheelchair, but the “Parkinson’s-like disorder” weakened his legs and prevents him from walking and apparently doesn’t cause him any pain. As for funeral arrangements, the Military District of Washington, D.C., which is responsible for state funerals, actually works with the President and his family to prepare funeral arrangements when he is still in office in case something were to happen to him. My understanding is that this happens early in a President’s term and that the funeral arrangements are updated regularly by the President and his family, so it’s likely that Bush 41’s funeral arrangements have been in preparation for almost a quarter-of-a-century.
Like I said, George Herbert Walker Bush will probably outlive us all. Then he’ll go skydiving afterward. He has my best wishes and I hope he can go home for the holidays.