(CNN) - Former first lady Barbara Bush was moved out of the intensive care unit of a Houston, Texas, hospital and into a regular room Thursday after surgery to repair and seal a perforated ulcer, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Bush, 83, was in good spirits and was joking with hospital staffers, the Methodist Hospital spokeswoman said. She was being fed intravenously. Her doctor earlier said she will be allowed no food by mouth for about a week, to avoid possibly stretching her abdominal area.
The former first lady showed up at Methodist's emergency room Tuesday night complaining of severe abdominal pain, Dr. Patrick Reardon, who performed the surgery, told reporters Wednesday. Doctors determined she had a perforated ulcer in her duodenum, the first portion of the small intestine after the stomach, he said.
In the operating room, doctors thoroughly cleaned her abdominal cavity of any contaminants that had leaked through the hole, described by the hospital as being 1 centimeter in diameter. Then, doctors repaired the ulcer and sewed a piece of the omentum, fat tissue in the abdomen, on top of it to seal it, Reardon said.
Bush's husband, former President George H.W. Bush, was with her Thursday morning, but was leaving to attend Thanksgiving dinner with his son Neil, the Methodist Hospital spokeswoman told CNN.
The ulcer was biopsied and is benign, Reardon said Wednesday. He suggested it might have been caused by anti-inflammatory medications.
–CNN Correspondent Sean Callebs contributed to this report.