Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Ronald Reagan was president of the USA from 1981-1989. He was immensely popular with conservatives in both the USA and the UK. 

He was the first conservative president to win two consecutive terms in thirty years.

Before becoming a politician, Reagan was an actor.

He was 78 years old at the end of his presidency -At the time, Reagan was the oldest man ever to seek the Presidency. Thus, there was concern during his campaigns whether his health was up to the job. He sought to downplay these concerns by vowing to resign the Presidency if he became medically unfit. He also authorized the release of information about his medical history...

In 1945 he had Pneumonia, he fractured a femur in 1949, he had one or two urological operations in the 1960s.At the time of his 1980 election, the hearing loss was described as "moderate" and was fitted with a $1000 custom-made hearing aid in 1983.1981 he survived a shot gun assassination attempt. In 1995 he had a colon cancer operation. In 1987 he had an operation for prostate cancer and also skin-cancer. In 1993 Reagan became increasingly forgetful. Alzheimer disease was diagnosed during his annual visit to the Mayo Clinic in 1994.Died of pneumonia on June 5, 2004.
Reagan's birth was long and difficult (to a degree that his mother was advised not to have more children [9].) He weighed 10 pounds at birth. In that era of high infant mortality, Reagan's father bragged about his fat little "Dutchman" and the name stuck.
As a child, Reagan would have to sit in the front row in class to see, which embarassed him. In sports, Reagan sometimes got hit in the head with the ball he could not see. It was only at age 9 or 10 that a visiting nurse made the diagnosis. Reagan later said that when he got glasses, he was surprised to discover that trees had leaves and that butterflies existed -- neither of which he had ever been able to see .He was so nearsighted that, as a college football player, his vision was limited to the square yard of turf occupied by the opposing team's guard. His vision disqualified him from serving in combat units in World War II . Later in life, Reagan wore contact lenses. When delivering a speech he would remove one lens so he could read his notes and leave one lens in so he could see the audience. Thus, for those around Reagan it was common practice to see him re-inserting a contact lens after speaking..

Reagan was shot on March 30, 1981. A long-nosed .22 caliber bullet, fired from a pistol, ricocheted off the Presidential limosine and entered Reagan's chest, under his left arm. The bullet was of the exploding type, but it did not explode. The main threat to Reagan's life was from blood loss and a collapsed lung.

After entering Reagan's body, the bullet ricocheted off his left-sided seventh rib. By now the bullet was deformed into a dime-shaped mass, and when it entered Reagan's left lung, it did considerable damage to the lung tissue. The lung began bleeding, and collapsed. The bullet lodged about one inch from the heart.
The first-line treatment for a collapsed lung is a chest tube -- a plastic tube that is inserted through the skin, between the ribs, and into the chest cavity where the lungs sit. This is not a difficult procedure, and medical students are often allowed to insert a chest tube (under supervision) after having seen just once how to properly do it. Dr. Zebra was told that a medical student at the George Washington University School of Medicine, doing a rotation in the emergency room, had earlier that day seen a chest tube inserted. Furthermore, the resident supervising the student told him, "OK, you get to put in the chest tube on the next case that comes in." Shortly thereafter, an ashen Reagan walked through the door and collapsed. The resident immediately looked at the student and said: "No!"

A 1984 proctoscopic examination disclosed a small polyp in Reagan's colon. Biopsy showed it was benign. In March 1985, another polyp was found, as were trace amounts of blood in his stool. A change in Reagan's diet eliminated the blood. He underwent endoscopic removal of the polyp and colonoscopy on July 12, 1985, at Bethesda Naval Medical Center. Colonoscopy disclosed a second, more dangerous tumor -- a villous adenoma -- that could only be removed by surgery.

Although Nancy Reagan apparently preferred to delay surgery until the following week on the advice of her astrologer, Reagan preferred to have the surgery the next day -- to avoid having to repeat the colonic preparation .

The operation lasted 2 hours and 53 minutes. The right-sided portion of Reagan's colon was removed -- about 2 feet of length. Exploration of other abdominal structures found no spread of the cancer. The tumor was ultimately classified as a "Duke's B," meaning it had invaded the muscle of the colon, but was confined to the bowel wall. Post-operatively, one of the surgeons remarked about the then-74-year-old President: "This man has the insides of a forty year old". Reagan left the hospital on July 20.


At one time Reagan "possessed a remarkable memory that his brother described as photographic". Soon after graduating from college, he auditioned for a sports announcer job by "re-creating the fourth quarter of a Eureka College football game from memory" . (Reagan had played in the game.) As an actor, "much of Reagan's early career was spent in the B-film division, where his knack for quick memorization made him a valuable asset. Producers of B-films, as Reagan often put it, 'didn't want them good, they wanted them Thursday".

By contrast, as President, in his 70s, "He forgot the names of Cabinet officers, trusted aides and visiting dignitaries. In Brazil, he toasted the people of Bolivia" . A friend tells of a film clip in which Reagan, as President, is asked a question, only to look completely blank until his wife Nancy whispers an evasive answer in his ear (audible to the camera), which Reagan then speaks.
In 1993 Reagan became increasingly forgetful. Alzheimer disease was diagnosed during his annual visit to the Mayo Clinic in 1994. His condition was announced to the public in a carefully worded letter to the American people on Nov. 5, 1994.

Ronald Reagan, died of pnuemonia, at his home in Bel Air, Los, Angeles, with at least two of his children and his wife, Nancy Reagan by his side in 2004.

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