Bush to Sharon: Exercise, Diet and Work Less Hours

U.S. President George W. Bush told Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to eat less, work less and exercise more in a phone call yesterday following Sharon's release from the hospital after treatment for a mild stroke, a government statement said.

A pale but smiling Sharon was released from Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, yesterday morning, declaring that the incident would not have an impact on his work.

Bush called to wish him well, and advised him, "be careful about food, start exercising, and cut back on work hours," the statement said.

The president also reportedly told Sharon that he needs him healthy, and said he hoped to see results of physical exercise and weight loss when the two meet in a couple of months.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called Sharon yesterday, and similarly advised him to rest, take care of his health and cut back on his work load, according to a statement from Sharon's office.

The 77-year-old Sharon also received get-well messages from Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. envoy Elliott Abrams, who was speaking on behalf of the U.S. government, said Sharon's aide, Ra'anan Gissin.

Hadassah physicians decided to release Sharon after he underwent a new series of tests, including a CAT scan and MRI, to determine the effects of the stroke he suffered Sunday evening.

The stroke, termed a mild cerebral vascular event, "will not leave behind any damage or any traces," said Dr. Tamir Ben-Hur, chief of the hospital's neurology department. "There's an excellent chance it won't repeat itself. I think after he rests he will be able to return to normal activity."

Ben-Hur said the clot had been caused by a minor malfunction with the heart, which he said is not uncommon among otherwise healthy people.

Doctors said Monday that Sharon had been conscious throughout the hospital stay. "There was no paralysis, and in medical terms he wasn't confused," Ben-Hur told a news conference. "He had some difficulty in his speech, which was caused by a small blood clot."

However, Ma'ariv quoted members of the medical team that first treated Sharon as saying that he had been quite confused for most of an hour.

"What was said at the news conference was not exact," said one of the doctors. "The prime minister did not know what day it was, what time is was, or where he was. For 45 minutes he could not count or perform basic movements. [The hospital officials] are not obligated to disclose everything, but to give inaccurate information is already taking a position [on the prime minister's health] and is very problematic."