ASHEVILLE, N.C. Billy Graham was released from the hospital Feb. 19 and is resting at his mountain home in Montreat, N.C., where he is expected to continue working on a book about the joys and challenges of growing old.
The 89-year-old evangelist was hospitalized in Asheville Feb. 13 for an elective procedure to replace a valve in a shunt designed to drain excess fluid from his brain. Merrell Gregory, a spokeswoman for Mission Hospitals, said Graham was recovering well and doctors were pleased with his progress, the Associated Press reported.
While he was still in the hospital, doctors monitored the new valve via CT scans, and physical therapists put Graham on a strength-building regiment of multiple daily walks, The Charlotte Observer said. Doctors will continue to adjust the new valve externally at Graham's home, and his spokesman said the evangelist looks forward to returning to a normal schedule.
The Observer said friends and family noted that Graham remains frail and especially missed his wife Ruth last Thanksgiving and Christmas, the first holidays since her death last June.
In the hospital, Graham was in good spirits, the newspaper said, and he received many get-well cards as well as a phone call from President Bush.
The new valve was an update to a shunt installed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., in 2000 to alleviate the condition hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid within the brain that can cause symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease. At a recent checkup at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., doctors found that the shunt was no longer draining the fluid properly, and they proposed an operation.