President Bush held to a full work schedule Tuesday with no recurrence of the irregular heartbeat that put him in the hospital over the weekend. Bush even joked about "my previously fibrillating heart" and showed reporters the wires to his heart monitor.
Presidential spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said that Bush's heart rate was monitored throughout the night. "It was perfectly normal all night long and this morning," Fitzwater said.In addition, Bush had a complete electrocardiogram test Tuesday morning immediately after getting up. The EKG test showed no irregularities, Fitzwater said.
The president did make one change in his lifestyle, Fitzwater said. He followed the advice of his wife, Barbara, and switched to decaffeinated coffee.
Mrs. Bush told reporters on Monday that Bush routinely drank at least six cups of coffee a day.
At the first event of a day crammed with meetings and appearances, Bush told a Rose Garden audience at a small business awards ceremony, "Welcome from the bottom of my previously fibrillating heart.""I must admit I'm glad to be out of the hospital. It's a little unsettling to turn on the news and see Peter Jennings pointing to a diagram of a heart with your name on it," Bush joked. "It isn't even Valentine's Day."
Bush even showed reporters the white wires leading from pads on his chest to the small pager-size transmitter on his waist. But he declined to reveal more, saying: "Do you think I'm Lyndon Johnson?"
It was a reference to the former president's display of the long scar on his abdomen after gall bladder surgery.
Later, in a meeting with senators, Bush said, "Back to normal and I'm feeling great . . . . Same old me."
"This world is full of fibrillators. I've had so many calls," said Bush.
The president, who went to bed at 8:40 p.m. Monday, was up at 5:20 a.m. Tuesday and arrived at the Oval Office for a full day's work at 7:23 a.m. Fitzwater said. "He looks good," the spokesman said.
Fitzwater said that, even though Bush had felt fatigued on previous jogs, doctors did not believe he had previously experienced any bouts of irregular heartbeat before the incident Saturday at Camp David.
"He slept good and feels rested. Mrs. Bush said this morning `he slept like a log,"' Fitzwater said.
The president's heartbeat registered normal within 25 minutes of his return to the White House on Monday morning from a two-night stay at Bethesda Naval Hospital brought on by an irregular beat.
Fitzwater said that the president has a monitor strapped to him at all times. He wears a device on his waist the size of a pager, attached by wires to pads on his chest.
It sends a signal to a viewing monitor "that a nurse monitors continually" from an adjacent room.
During the day, the monitor is in the study off the Oval Office. During the night, the monitor is set up in a room across the hall from the president's bedroom.
Fitzwater said that Bush remains on medication to control the uneven heart beat.