KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (AP) — Former President George H.W. Bush is healing well after taking a fall this summer, feeling good enough to go out on his speedboat and even visit a local biker bar with his wife.
The nation’s oldest living president is “healing nicely” after he fractured his C2 vertebra, the second one below the skull, in July, said his chief of staff, Jean Becker.
Former first lady Barbara Bush is pleased with her husband’s progress, Becker said.
“She is just thrilled that he has recovered the way he has. They’re at the end of this road. It was a scary thing when it happened, and he’s almost back to 100 percent,” Becker said.
After getting his doctor’s green light, Bush has gone on his boat several times when the sea was not too rough.
He also recently attended the George and Barbara Bush Lecture at the University of New England and paid a surprise visit to Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.
He even grabbed a beer at a biker bar last month. Photos posted on the website of Bentley’s Saloon in nearby Arundel showed Bush greeting staff and posing for pictures with his wife.
Even though he remains active, the father of former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush doesn’t plan to get heavily involved in Jeb Bush’s campaign to become the third in the family to serve in the Oval Office. The Bushes will attend occasional events on their son’s behalf.
Bush, 91, continues to wear a neck brace to help immobilize his neck as he prepares to travel this week from his summer home in Kennebunkport to his primary home in Texas for the winter. His doctor said at the time of the break that it normally takes three to four months to heal.
Bush, who has a form of Parkinson’s disease and uses a motorized scooter or a wheelchair for mobility, has dealt with setbacks before. He was hospitalized in Houston in December for about a week for shortness of breath. He spent Christmas 2012 in intensive care for a bronchitis-related cough and other issues.
Still, he likes to keep busy. Despite the loss of mobility, he celebrated his 90th birthday last summer by making a tandem parachute jump in Kennebunkport.
The family declined to provide details of how Bush fell at Walker’s Point. Doctors said he suffered no nerve damage and that he’ll fully recover from the incident.
Becker said that the doctor has suggested that the president’s healing is ahead of schedule. She said he’ll likely be wearing the neck brace for another month.