Things are looking up a bit for Randy Travis, his doctors said Monday in a video press conference.
The country star, who had been heavily sedated since surgery Wednesday to reduce stroke-induced pressure on his brain, is still in critical condition but has been stabilized, they said.
"He is awake and alert, interacting with his family and friends and beginning to start doing some early physical therapy," said Dr. Gary Erwin, an intensivist at the Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, where the 54-year-old country star has been since July 8.
Travis was first admitted — and put on life support, it was revealed Monday — through the ER at the Baylor hospital in McKinney, Texas. The singer's heart needed assistance from mechanical devices for the first 48 hours he was under doctors' care. He has been on a ventilator, but is currently being weaned off.
Also news on Monday: The initial suspicion of viral cardiomyopathy wasn't exactly correct. Yes, Travis had been fighting a viral infection for three weeks, but that merely "tipped over a more chronic condition," said Dr. Michael Mack, a cardiac surgeon and medical director of cardiovascular disease at Baylor Health Care System in Dallas.
"He has what's called idiopathic cardiomyopathy, which means he has scarring of his heart muscle that is causing his heart to be weak and not able to support his circulation without help of either medical devices of medication," Mack said.
Drugs and alcohol did not play a role in the heart disease, the docs said. Travis has a family history of heart problems.
The singer will stay hospitalized in Plano for another two to three weeks, Erwin said, both to stabilize his heart and to begin "aggressive physical therapy." He'll then likely be transferred to an inpatient facility for more PT, as it will take months to recover from the stroke, the doctor said.
Mary Davis, Travis' fiancée, took a moment to give thanks for all the support and prayers.
Her beau "feels the hands of the doctors and the care of the nurses and the love of his fans," she said. "His friends and family have all been touched by that. He is responding well to voices and he sees and he understands. He's miles beyond where any of us thought he would be a few days ago."