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Ex-President Bush remains hospitalized over Christmas

George W.H. Bush

CNN) — Former President George H.W. Bush spent Christmas with his family in a Houston hospital and is in good spirits, though doctors have not yet discussed when he may be released, his spokesman told CNN.

“The president has made very slight improvement, but still no discussion of discharge and doctors remain cautiously optimistic,” spokesman Jim McGrath said. Bush’s fever, however, had not abated, McGrath said.

Bush, who at 88 is the oldest living former president, was visited yesterday by his family, including his wife Barbara, son Neil, daughter-in-law Maria, and grandson Pierce. His daughter Doro is visiting him today.

“His mood is relentlessly positive and includes humorous banter with his doctor,” McGrath added.

He told CNN affiliate KPRC in Houston that Bush is “surrounded by his family, that is the best medicine and that’s not the ideal way to spend Christmas, but he’s playing the hand that he’s been dealt.”

Bush has been hospitalized for over a month now. He was first hospitalized from November 7 through 19, and then re-admitted to Houston’s Methodist Hospital on November 23.

Doctors were initially treating him for bronchitis and a lingering cough. More recently he had been undergoing physical therapy in preparation for returning home and developed a fever.

McGrath told KPRC that doctors’ optimism he would be home before Christmas came after “he had strung together a couple of good days,” but that the fever and other complications had interfered with that.

Bush said “I’m determined not to be grumpy about all of this,” McGrath told KPRC.

– CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this report

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