President Returns to Work

February 18, 2005

PRESIDENT Abel Pacheco returnedto work this week after being hospitalizedfor two days last week because of chestpains he experienced on Feb. 10.After medical exams and monitoring atthe Hospital Calderón Guardia in San José,doctors said Pacheco, 71, had not suffereda heart attack and that his symptoms werebrought on by work-related stress,although tests revealed he does have smallfissures in his arteries.The fissures, also knownas coronary ischemia syndrome,involve an energydeficiency in the heart muscle.Luis Paulino Hernández,general director ofCalderón Guardia, saidFriday that Pacheco’ssymptoms are not necessarilyindicative of futureproblems, and the Presidentis in “excellent generalhealth.”A Casa Presidencialspokeswoman confirmed to The TicoTimes that all of Pacheco’s medical testshad “turned out well,” with no seriousproblems revealed. He was released fromthe hospital Saturday.The President received various visitorsduring his stay, including Vice-PresidentLineth Saborío and Public Health MinisterRocío Sáenz.Asked if Pacheco had been subjectedto any particular stress lately, Saborío said,“Tension, stress, that’s part of governingevery day.”Hernández said the President, who is adiabetic, will need to follow a healthy dietand exercise regimen to help ensure goodhealth.At his weekly Cabinet meetingTuesday, Pacheco said he had promised tofollow his doctors’ orders.“I am a very good patient,” he said.“All these years of marriage have made mevery obedient.”DOCTORS also recommended thatPacheco take a weeklong vacationto reduce his exposure tostress, but the Presidentannounced in a statementSunday he would not heed thislast piece of advice.“Leaving my obligations isimpossible,” he said. “I can’t.It would do me more damage togo on vacation because of amedical order and begin to sufferbecause of what is goingon.”“They tell me to take careof my stress, but we’ll see howI do,” he added. “It is difficultto be President, if you love yourpeople, and not suffer stress.”Pacheco maintained his characteristicgenial tone while in the hospital. Hepraised the staff, saying “they treated melike a king;” told the Costa Rican people tobe “calm – this little old man isn’t dying;”and said in a phone interview with the televisionprogram Buen Día that “they gaveme every possible test. I think the only oneI’m missing is the papanicolau (papsmear).”

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