Barbara Bush recovering after surgery

Nov. 27, 2008 at 4:30 PM

HOUSTON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Barbara Bush, wife of former President George H.W. Bush, spent Thanksgiving in a Houston hospital after surgery for a perforated ulcer.

The former first lady, also the mother of President George W. Bush, was reportedly making a good recovery. Dr. Pat Reardon, her surgeon at Methodist Hospital, said the first thing she did after she regained consciousness following the operation was to tell a joke.

Mrs. Bush went to the hospital Tuesday because of abdominal pain she later described as "worse than childbirth." The surgery was completed early Wednesday, The Houston Chronicle reported.

Her hospitalization ended plans to attend the Thanksgiving football game between the University of Texas and Texas A&M in Austin. Bush gave the tickets to one of his wife's doctors, an unnamed enthusiastic Texas fan.

Mrs. Bush was also denied Thanksgiving turkey because she was being fed intravenously.

"I appreciate the support from everyone here in Houston and, really, everywhere," Bush said.

The former president said he was especially grateful to the staff at Methodist for working long hours to care for his wife.

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