03/05/2009 at 07:00 AM EST
Former first lady – and first mother – Barbara Bush is resting comfortably at Houston's Methodist Hospital after undergoing open-heart surgery to replace her aortic valve.
Dr. Gerald Lawrie says Wednesday night's operation went "extremely well," and he expects his patient 83, to "recover fully" and resume normal activities soon. Her hospital stay is expected to be between a week and 10 days.
A family spokesman tells the Associated Press that Mrs. Bush is already up and talking. Her husband, former President George H.W. Bush, has been with his wife at the hospital and said in a statement: "I am very impressed with and grateful to the wonderful team of doctors and nurses at The Methodist Hospital who have helped Barbara. We have every confidence she is in the best hands."
After experiencing shortness of breath, Mrs. Bush was reportedly reluctant to inform her children about her impending surgery for fear of making a big deal out of it.
– Stephen M. Silverman