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Once you have left hospital you may be a little uncertain about what to expect. The following advice will hopefully help, although it is important to note that if the advice given to you by your consultant or GP differs from the following guidelines, then you should follow your consultant or GPs instructions instead.

Becoming mobile again
A small amount of daily exercise may be of benefit. Try just a short walk, increasing the distance gradually. Climbing stairs is a useful exercise and is also a good way to judge your progress. Some people find it easier to go up backwards on their bottom for the first few times. You should experiment and see which method you are most comfortable with.

It is perfectly normally to feel tired and rather vulnerable in your first few weeks at home. You may also feel frustration at not being able to do all the things you want.

You should avoid all strenuous and taxing jobs immediately after treatment. Only when you feel up to it should you attempt small chores.

When you resume driving, you should first check with your insurance company that you are still covered in your present condition. If you are, then start with short journeys and slowly increase the distance, but remember your movement and strength must be up to coping with emergency stops as well as normal driving.

Healing
All wounds progress through several noticeable stages. Depending on your treatment you may experience such sensations as tingling, numbness and itching. You may also feel a slight pulling around the stitches and a hard lump forming. These are perfectly normal developments and are a part of the healing process. However, if a wound starts swelling or discharging then you should seek medical advice.

Eating
Due to lack of activity you may experience a loss of appetite or even suffer from indigestion. Small meals taken regularly can help to alleviate both symptoms. If you have lost your appetite then milky drinks can provide you with a good source of energy and goodness.

Washing
Unless otherwise advised, it is quite safe to get your wound wet 2 or 3 days after your operation, though any dressing on your wound should be removed first.

Going to the toilet
The difference in diet, the change in level of activity and the prescription of medication can lead to irregular bowel habits. This is perfectly normal and the problem should correct itself in time. If you are suffering from constipation, you can help yourself by eating a high fibre diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. When going to the toilet you should try to avoid straining, particularly after abdominal surgery, so it might be helpful to have a mild laxative.

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