This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Official Information request 'Patient information hand out / fact sheet brochure'.

When you leave hospital you will be given a summary of your 
stay; this has information about your problem, the treatment you 
received and any follow-up to the treatment.  Your GP also 
receives a copy but if you need to visit your GP, take your copy 
along in case the GP does not have it to hand.  If you become 
unwell following discharge from hospital, consult your GP.  
Some patients are advised to go to their GP for their follow-up 
check or you may be asked to attend outpatients’ clinic 
appointment.  This appointment will be sent to you in the mail.  
The appointment lets the doctor check your progress, give you 
any further test results and allows you to ask any remaining. 
Many people are surprised at the time it takes to get over an 
operation even if it was fairly minor.  It is common to feel tired, 
uncomfortable and vulnerable when you first go home.   You 
might find that you are not able to do all the things you would 
like to do because of this.   Don’t worry as this is quite normal.  
It helps to plan a rest time during the day.  Let your family and 
friends know that this is your recovery time so that you do not 
get disturbed. 
Pain Relief 
With good pain relief you will be able to move more 
comfortably and doing things like walking, coughing and 
showering will be easier.  You should sleep and feel better and 
have less chance of developing complications.  Things that you 
can do to improve pain relief are: 
•  Relaxation ( by listening to music or watching TV) 

•  Aromatherapy 
•  Meditation  
•  Reading  
•  Walking  
•  Deep breathing exercises 
Medication such as Panadol, taken regularly, is very effective as 
pain relief.  If you find that you are cannot manage your pain 
with these methods, consult your GP. 
Looking after your wound 
All wounds go through several stages of healing and you will be 
able to see changes in your wound.  People often feel: 
•  Tingling, numbness and itching sensations 
•  A firm lump under the scar as new tissue form 
•  Slight pulling around the stitches or clips as the wound 
It is safe to get your wound wet in the bath or the shower [unless 
otherwise advised].  There is no evidence to show that adding 
salt to the bath aids healing and it may make your skin feel dry 
and uncomfortable.  If your wound becomes more painful, red 
or swollen, or starts to discharge then consult your GP; these are 
signs of wound infection.  If you have clips, staples or stitches in 
your wound when you go home, you will need to go to your GP 
to have them removed.  Clips and staples are usually removed 
10 days after operation and stitches after 7 days.  Any stitches 
that you cannot see because they are under the skin will be 
dissolvable stitches and take some months to dissolve. 

It is important to gradually increase the amount of exercise you 
take.  You may decide to take a short walk two or three time a 
day and increase the distance over a few weeks.  Many people 
find it easier to sit in a high chair as it can be difficult getting up 
from a low chair, especially if you have had abdominal surgery.  
Movements that cause discomfort are bending or stretching, 
lifting heavy weights [including small children] and pulling and 
pushing [like vacuuming or lawn mowing]. If you have an 
abdominal wound you should avoid heavy lifting for a period of 
6 weeks to avoid the formation of a hernia.  Standing for long 
periods can also be tiring.  Avoid these until you feel able to do 
them.  If help is available for the first one or two weeks after 
discharge it is wise to accept it. 
Your Bowels 
Changes in diet, activity and the use of some drugs can lead to 
irregular bowel habits but this usually rights itself with time.  It 
you have had surgery on your bowel it would be wise to ask 
your doctor or nurse how your bowel might react now and what 
to expect in the future.  Straining can be uncomfortable and for 
some people unwise, particularly after abdominal surgery.  A 
well balanced diet and regular exercise are advised.  You may 
also be prescribed medication to regulate your bowel.  It is 
important that you understand the reasons for this medication 
before you leave hospital. 
Sexual Activity 
There is no set rule about the time at which you can resume your 
usual sexual relations.  You may find that you have less interest 
in sex while you are still recovering from your surgery.  This is 
natural and will improve as you get stronger and fitter. 
Generally, gentle sex can be resumed as soon as it is 
comfortable, perhaps around the time you are ready to go back 

to work, or within two to three weeks after discharge. If you 
experience pain or discomfort you would be wise to wait a little 
The time you can safely start driving varies a great deal with the 
type of operation you have had.  Ask for specific advice, but 
remember that your strength and reflexes must be up to coping 
with an emergency stop as well as normal driving. Consult with 
your Insurance Co. If you still have some discomfort from 
surgery then let someone else drive as your ability to react 
quickly is likely to be compromised. 
Back to Work 
When you are able to return to work depends upon both the type 
of operation that you have had and the type of work that you do.  
It is better to feel well before you return to work or you may be 
affected by tiredness and poor concentration.  Ask your doctor 
before leaving hospital about when you might be fit for work.  
You will be given a work certificate if needed.  If you have 
financial concerns related to your hospital stay you can ask to 
see a Social Worker. 
List here any questions that you want to ask: