George H.W. Bush (photo by Getty Images)
(USA Today) - Former president George H.W. Bush is headed home after being hospitalized for more than six weeks for a persistent cough and bacterial infection.
Bush was discharged Monday from Methodist Hospital in Houston after being treated for bronchitis, a bacterial infection and a persistent cough, according to a press release from his office.
The former president expressed his gratitude to the medical staff at Methodist and for the many get-well messages received from friends and others.
"Your prayers and good wishes helped more than you know," Bush said, "and as I head home my only concern is that I will not be able to thank each of you for your kind words."
Bush, 88, was hospitalized Nov. 29 for a persistent cough and it was later disclosed he was in intensive care because physicians were having difficulty controlling a fever that developed after the cough was mostly resolved.
On Dec. 29, Bush's office said the former president had improved and was transferred back to a regular hospital room. He underwent physical therapy to rebuild his strength.
"Mr. Bush has improved to the point that he will not need any special medication when he goes home, but he will continue physical therapy," Amy Mynderse, the internal medicine physician in charge of Bush's care, said in the press release.
Bush and his wife, Barbara, live in Houston during the winter and spend their summers at a home in Kennebunkport, Maine. On Jan. 6, they celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary. They are the longest-married presidential couple.
Bush had served two terms as Ronald Reagan's vice president when he was elected in 1988 to be the nation's 41st president. Four years later, after a term highlighted by the success of the 1991 Gulf War in Kuwait, he lost to Democrat Bill Clinton.