Rev. Billy Graham doing well after being hospitalized with pneumonia

Rev. Billy Graham doing well after being hospitalized with pneumonia

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by NewsChannel 36 Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on May 11, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 12:20 PM

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Evangelist Billy Graham remains in an Asheville hospital after being admitted for treatment of pneumonia.

Mission Hospital released a statement Thursday morning, saying the 92-year-old rested comfortably Wednesday night and was able to sleep well.

Graham was admitted to the hospital Wednesday after he experienced sweating, coughing and breathing difficulty Tuesday night.

Graham's doctor confirmed Thursday that he has pneumonia and his temperature is normal. According to the hospital, Graham is doing well enough to resume his normal activities, including physical therapy.

Graham is listed in fair condition. A discharge date has not been set.

A hospital official said Graham has been watching television and joking with hospital staff during his stay.

Graham's spokesperson, Larry Ross, said Graham is grateful for the outpouring of love, concern and prayers of people across the country.

After hearing that Graham was admitted in the hospital, his friend of 47 years, Glenn Oliver, said he was praying for him.

"I do know he is ready and he's anxious to go to heaven to be with Ruth, but he said, 'I don't need to go right this minute," Oliver said.

At the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, visitors said they were keeping Graham in their thoughts.

"I was frightened. I thought, 'Oh golly, this is going to be the end for him.' Because pneumonia, you know, you don't get over that quickly. But you know, God still has a plan for him," said Alice Morton.

Doctors are very optimistic they'll be able to send Graham home soon to his house in Montreat.

A spokesman told NewsChannel 36 Graham's children Franklin and Ann are both out of the country and they don't plan to come home.

Graham's family has said the 92-year-old is in better health than he was several years ago, he still has a clear mind and he is still physically able. Graham does have some trouble with his eyesight and some hearing loss, so it can be difficult for him to communicate.

Ken Garfield worked as the religion editor for the Charlotte Observer and covered Graham for over a decade. He says Graham, and the people who surround him, have always been aggressive in his medical treatment.

"He is near Asheville so it's easy to get him to the hospital and he's obviously aggressive with that," Garfield said. "It's always hard to tell, once he's been hospitalized, what's at stake here, and what the seriousness of it is."

Garfield covered Graham's last major national public event in 2005 and says Graham struggled with that.

"Our heart skips a beat when something like this happens and he goes into the hospital with pneumonia and you always wonder about the seriousness of it and you feel for him," Garfield said.

Graham's most recent public appearance was in December 2010 when he personally welcomed former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura to the Billy Graham Library where the couple signed copies of their books.

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