Evangelist Reverend Billy Graham was taken from his home in Montreat, N.C. to Asheville's Memorial Mission Hospital over the weekend after suffering pain brought on by intestinal bleeding. Once admitted to the hospital, he was put through a series of tests to determine the cause of the episode. Apparently, Rev. Graham had a similar problem in the mid-1990's when he collapsed during an appearance in Toronto.
The 88 year old reverend was transported by ambulance after the family called for emergency assistance. He was accompanied by at least two family members. The hospital admitted him, was able to stabilized him and later issued a statement saying that the condition was not determined to be life-threatening. The statement went on say that certain diagnostic procedures were performed including a bleeding scan and an upper endoscopy and doctors were able to determine that the bleeding had been halted. Apparently, there are small pouches in the intestines that can cause this sort of bleeding and are no longer an immediate threat once the bleeding stops.
His son, Franklin Graham, issued a statement today saying that his father is gaining strength, that he looks strong and is able to speak coherently. "He's been sitting up, has watched TV, and has eaten solid food, " Franklin Graham told reporters waiting for news at the hospital. He also explained that his father's condition is not uncommon in older people. He went on to say that he feels sure that his father will be back to his old self in no time.
Rev. Graham's wife, Ruth, died last month and it hasn't been an easy adjustment period for Rev. Graham to make, according to his son. They were married for 63 years. Since her death, the Graham family has made an effort to have at least one family member with their father at all times.
In general, Rev. Graham's health has been fairly strong. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1990, experienced the aforementioned episode in Toronto , and made a public appearance in the company of three ex-presidents when he appeared in Charlotte, N.C. last May for the formal dedication of the library built in his name. He has been known to use a walker. The hope of people in this area and his family, especially, is that he will re-gain his strength and continue his work before too long.
Rev. Graham has consistently appeared near the top of the list of most admired Americans, according to Wikipedia. The same source indicated that the Reverend is said to have had a "lifetime audience of more than two billion people, including radio listeners and those watching him on television."
Hospital officials suggest that he may be released as early as Wednesday barring any further complications.