Nancy Reagan "feels wonderful" and is taking telephone calls and seeing visitors at Bethesda Naval Medical Center as she recuperates from breast cancer surgery, aides reported yesterday.
President Reagan told reporters as he left the White House for a visit to the hospital that his wife "will be coming home soon." He held up a poster with a red, white and blue lettered message: "Get Well, Mrs. Reagan." He also brought cookies to the First Lady.
"I've got to get to the hospital," the president said when reporters delayed him with questions about the attack on an Iranian oil platform and the stunning plunge of the stock market.
Mary Jane Wick, wife of U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Z. Wick and a close friend of the Reagans, visited the First Lady at the hospital yesterday. She was the first of the Reagans' California friends to call.
Elaine Crispen, the First Lady's press secretary, said Nancy Reagan is "feeling just fine."
"She sounds just great," and "feels like chatting, visiting and taking walks" through hospital corridors, Crispen said.
Nancy Reagan spent more than 1 1/2 hours yesterday afternoon with her staff and took care of routine correspondence from her room, Crispen said. Flowers and other greetings poured in from celebrities, and the First Lady's staff distributed some of the floral arrangements to other patients, she said.
Nancy Reagan, 66, underwent a modified radical mastectomy -- the removal of her left breast and nearby lymph nodes -- after a biopsy revealed cancer cells.
White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said Col. John E. Hutton Jr., the president's physician who is attending the First Lady, reported that "Mrs. Reagan's recovery is continuing very well and she feels wonderful."
The First Lady lunched on corn chowder, fruit salad and a fruit dessert, Crispen said. She will have a dinner of broiled steak, baked potatoes, asparagus, Caesar salad and fresh apple fritters with the president, Crispen said.