Of course, it was probably Eisenhower's 4-pack-a-day cigarette habit which did the most damage to his arteries. He quit cold-turkey in 1949 3a.
The pace of Eisenhower's recovery from his infarction is also interesting. Summarized in the table below 1, it seems slow by today's standards, but for the time was remarkably aggressive. In 1955, patients with a myocardial infarction were routinely kept in bed for 6 months afterwards, and Dr. Paul Dudley White was criticized by his contemporaries for mobilizing the President so quickly. In retrospect, Eisenhower's "rapid" recovery after his infarction changed the way infarct patients were treated thereafter [???ref.]. Today, patients with an uncomplicated myocardial infarction spend just a few days in the hospital.
|September 24||Infarct. Bedrest prescribed.|
|October 11||First allowed to see a cabinet member.|
|October 22||Sitting up in a chair for a few hours each day, and holding daily conferences about his presidential duties.|
|November 7||Walking and starting to climb stairs.|
|November 11||Returned to Washington, the trip delayed a month so that Eisenhower would not be seen being wheeled to the airplane and being lifted on board. After landing in Washington, goes to his farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.|
|December 26||Eisenhower doubts whether he should run for a second term as president with that "sword of Damocles" over his head. He suggests that Vice President Nixon should run instead.|
|January 13||Famous secret meeting with close advisors about his future. They recommend strongly that he should run again.|
|February 14||Medical team reports there are no signs of cardiac enlargment. Harvard cardiologist Paul Dudley White, a member of the team, tells the press there was nothing to indicate that President Eisenhower could not carry on "his present active life satisfactorily for another five to ten years." Privately, White, a Republican, urged the President not to run.|
|February 28||Eisenhower announces he is running for a second term in 1956.|
a p.123 b p.116
a p.325Comment: This book stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for 26 weeks, prompting Jacqueline Kennedy to require all staff at the White House to sign a pledge agreeing not to write about their experiences (NY Times, page B8, Nov. 12, 1997). Parks's mother, a maid at the White House from 1909-1939, had actually been encouraged by Eleanor Roosevelt to write and publish a memoir (p260).