Don Ho eager to exit stage left from hospital
The musician has gotten a tune-up for his heart pacemaker
If he can talk his doctors and advisers into it, Hawaii musical legend Don Ho will try and escape from the hospital today.
But more likely, it may be tomorrow.
"I'm sick of the food here," he said from his bed at the hospital, which was not identified for privacy purposes. "I want cookies, I want ice cream, I want sweet stuff. Stay away from the salty stuff -- that stuff will kill you."
Ho, who underwent experimental stem-cell treatment in Thailand nearly a year ago for an ailing heart, checked into a local hospital on Sept. 13 to have his pacemaker tuned up.
"Just resting now," he said. "I'm at 30, 35, 40 percent of where I was a year ago, but then I was at 10 percent. The new pacemaker has two wires instead of one, one going into each chamber of my heart. They also put in a kind of balloon deal to keep my heart pumping while they did the operation.
"They just took it out and everything is pumping OK. Psychologically it feels great; physiologically, we'll see," Ho said.
Ho's twice-a-week shows at the Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber hotel are on hiatus while he recovers. He's considering additional stem-cell treatment if necessary, but would have to travel outside the country again to receive it.
Ho has been spending his days resting and watching television. A former Air Force pilot, he's a fan of aviation shows on the Military Channel and said he was looking forward to the World War I movie "Flyboys," opening tomorrow.
Assistant and partner Haumea Hebenstreit cautioned that it will be a while before Ho will be seeing anything that exciting.
"Hey, I saw the Red Baron for real," joked Ho. "He missed me this time!"