Presidential press secretary James Brady was in "good condition" and "awake and responsive and talking" yesterday, his doctors said, as he began climbing back toward recovery from a major, epilepsy-like seizure Monday.
"I would not say he's super-sharp alert yet, but he's just about where we'd hope he'd be," said Dr. Dennis O'Leary, George Washington University Hospital medical spokesman.
Brady who was shot in the brain by President Reagan's would-be assassin March 30, was "still groggy from medication" but he was talking to his wife in the recovery room, according to his neurosurgeon, Dr. Arthur Kobrine.
As to the future, said Kobrine, yesterday's episode should not affect Brady's generally good prospects: the hope of regaining essentially normal brain function and eventually walking with a cane, despite some left leg paralysis and little use so far of his left arm.
As to whether there might be more seizures, however, Kobrine said, "You cannot predict. It's unknowable."
Kobrine remained alongside or near Brady yesterday, after spending virtually all day Monday and Monday night with him in the hospital's post-anesthesia recovery room. Kobrine's assessment was reported by White House spokesman David Gergan.
Brady's doctors were returning him yesterday to the same antiseizure drug he was taking before his attack, but adding phenobarbitol.
In larger does, phenobarbitol was used all day Monday and into the night to keep Brady anesthetized and asleep because of what O'Leary called "continuing electrical activity" -- as revealed by a continuous EEG or brain-wave recording -- and "some accompanying muscular activity." But this muscular activity was localized, O'Leary said, not the major, body-shaking convulsions that occurreed Monday morning.
"Toward the end of the day Monday his doctors were able to start backing off on the anesthesia, and the last electrical seizure activity was late Monday night," O'Leary added. t
As a precaution, Brady remained in the recovery room yesterday.
On Monday his doctors also saw some clear fluid, the spinal fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord, drainage from his nose. The fluid was apparently forced out by the pressure of the seizure. The fluid was normal, O'Leary said, and there was no evidence of any abnormal air passage that might cause brain infection.
Neurologists and neurosurgeons reading of Brady's case all pointed out that seizures and convulsions often occur after serious brain injury.