Video: Barbara Bush has surgery for ulcer

NBC News and news services
updated 11/26/2008 11:48:01 AM ET 2008-11-26T16:48:01

NBC News reports former First Lady Barbara Bush underwent routine, laparoscopic surgery Tuesday night to correct a perforated ulcer.

The Methodist Hospital in Houston reports she is resting comfortably Wednesday morning, is visiting with her family and is expected to be discharged from the hospital next week.

Family spokesman Jim McGrath said Mrs. Bush experienced abdominal pains and went to the hospital as a precaution Tuesday. McGrath said former President George H.W. Bush was with her.

During the procedure last night, surgeons cleansed her abdominal area, then patched and closed a one-centimeter hole in Mrs. Bush's stomach, caused by the ulcer.

Earlier NBC News reported that she had suffered a stomach ache for a few days and her doctor believed food poisoning may have been to blame but sent her for routine tests.

Mrs. Bush is 83.

Current first lady Laura Bush, Barbara Bush's daughter-in-law, said Wednesday: "She's doing great. George and I talked to both President Bush and Barbara Bush last night while they were in the hospital and they were both doing very well then."

Interviewed on ABC's "Good Morning America," Laura Bush said the White House doctor had spoken to Barbara Bush's doctor Wednesday morning and "she's doing very well."

Sunny presence
For years, Barbara Bush has been a sunny presence in American life, the sort of person who would make herself and others comfortable at your kitchen table. But she also was tough.

In the course of being George H.W. Bush's wife, she had to pack up and move the household 28 times before residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.

The former Barbara Pierce, daughter of the publisher of McCall's magazine, married George H.W. Bush in January 1945 when he returned a hero from World War II.

She was the girl who, swept off her feet by a handsome Navy aviator, dropped out of college to marry him, "the first man I ever kissed."

They had had their first child, George, while still at Yale in 1946. A daughter, Robin, died in 1953 of leukemia a few weeks before her 4th birthday. The other Bush children are sons Jeb, Neil and Marvin, and daughter Dorothy.

Mrs. Bush disclosed she was suffering from an overactive thyroid ailment known as Graves' disease when she lived at the White House. The disease causes teary eyes and double vision in Mrs. Bush, according to her doctors.

The Associated Press and NBC News' Jamie Gangel contributed to this report.

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