HOUSTON, Texas -- While President George H.W. Bush remains in intensive care at a Houston hospital, his spokesman sends word that the 41st president is in good spirits –– so good that he's even singing with his nurses and doctors.
"The Bushes thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes and, like their doctors, are cautiously optimistic that the current course of treatment will be effective," wrote spokesman Jim McGrath in a statement.
The former president was hospitalized on Nov. 23 with what spokeswoman Jean Becker has labeled "a terrible cases of bronchitis which then triggered a series of complications." He was moved to the ICU at Methodist Hospital in Houston on Sunday following a "stubborn" fever.
Becker told the Associated Press Thursday that Bush "looks like he went a few rounds with Mike Tyson" but that "his doctors have said emphatically this is not the 'end game.'"
"Is he sick? Yes. Does he plan on going anywhere soon? No. He has every intention of staying put. He would ask me to tell you to please "put the harps back in the closet,"" wrote McGrath in a statement.
The spokesman asked for the public to pray for Bush –– and then asked them to laugh for him, "since he is the funniest person we'll ever know."
Bush and his wife, Barbara, live in Houston during the winter and spend their summers at a home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Bush, the 41st president, had served two terms as Ronald Reagan's vice president when he was elected in 1988 to succeed Reagan. Four years later, after a term highlighted by the success of the 1991 Gulf War in Kuwait, he lost to Democrat Bill Clinton amid voters' concerns about the economy.
Bush was a naval aviator in World War II — at one point the youngest in the Navy — and was shot down over the Pacific. He's skydived on at least three of his birthdays since leaving the White House, most recently when he turned 85.
He left New England for an oil business job in West Texas in 1948. He's also been a Republican congressman from Texas, U.S. ambassador to China and CIA director.
Bush suffers from a form of Parkinson's disease that forced him in recent years to use a motorized scooter or wheelchair for mobility.