APRIL 19, 2007 (STAR) By Katherine Adraneda - First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo may leave the hospital for home this Saturday.

Mr. Arroyo could already walk around his hospital room, his doctor Dr. Juliet Gopez-Cervantes said.

He is now out of the cardiovascular recovery room of St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) and in a regular private room.

Mr. Arroyo’s doctors have declared his kidneys already "fully functional" or "completely recovered," and not anymore needing dialysis and renal replacement therapy as he is "continuously producing urine."

In her latest medical bulletin late Wednesday, Cervantes said Mr. Arroyo’s "nasogastric feeding" was stopped yesterday, and that he was placed under a "progressive heart’s delight" diet.

Cervantes said Mr. Arroyo is now on "active rehabilitation" and is "on the way to optimum health" that he could already be discharged from the hospital by Saturday.

"(Levels) in his blood creatinine that set the kidneys in terms of function are all normal," she told reporters during the medical press briefing.

"He had a fever yesterday morning but we did not consider it as clinically significant since it was just one episode. In fact, the First Gentleman has good appetite, he was able to consume his food yesterday noon."

Meanwhile, Mr. Arroyo expressed his gratitude to friends and supporters who have prayed and continue to pray for his speedy recovery.

In a statement, Mr. Arroyo said that prayers from friends and supporters "helped save my life."

"I hope to reciprocate your prayers with an intensified effort to help the poor, especially the sick, in my own little way at the soonest possible time," he said.

Mr. Arroyo said he was "overwhelmed by the multitude of flowers" that he has received in the past 10 days that he has been confined at St. Luke’s.

However, he asked that the money spent for flowers be donated instead to the FG Foundation Fund at the Philippine General Hospital "so that we can serve a greater number of sick indigents."

The FG Foundation extends financial and medical assistance, including treatment, for various ailments to sick indigents at the PGH.

From January to early April alone, at least 210 sick indigents, mostly from Metro Manila, and various provinces have been beneficiaries of the FG Foundation, while financial assistance and medicines extended to the beneficiaries have reached over P1.5 million.

On April 9, Mr. Arroyo was admitted to St. Luke’s after complaining of persistent chest pain, which preliminarily presented itself as abdominal pain.

He underwent an "emergency surgery" Monday night after doctors eventually diagnosed him of a dissecting aortic aneurysm.

Mrs. Arroyo’s husband has been confined at the cardiovascular recovery room of St. Luke’s since Tuesday, or immediately after his "high risk" 10-hour open-heart surgery, which involved aneurysmectomy and a triple bypass.

Mr. Arroyo was initially diagnosed with a dissecting aortic aneurysm, but during the operation, cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Rommel Cariño found him to have coronary heart disease.

At Malacañang, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said yesterday they are eagerly awaiting the return of First Gentleman Arroyo this weekend.

Ermita said Mrs. Arroyo will be leaving for a two-day visit to Boao, China on Friday so it would be possible for doctors at St. Luke’s to allow Mr. Arroyo to be discharged when she comes back.

"In all probability, he would remain in the hospital when the President is not around," he said.

"I think a normal family would think that way… maybe they are waiting for her arrival so that by Sunday or Monday, the First Gentleman will be here already because she can take care of him." – with Paolo Romero

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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