After surgery - the first three days

This section describes actions you can take to improve recovery over the days following surgery.

Day 1

  • Pain scale, monitor where your pain is. Tell your nurse if it’s greater than 4.

Pain scale

  • Your urinary catheter will be removed in the morning (unless otherwise advised by your surgeon) - once removed you can walk to the bathroom to urinate.
  • Your patient controlled analgesia will be switched to oral pain medication.
  • With assistance you will get up and we will encourage you to sit out of bed in your chair and walk the corridor following our exercise guidance.
  • We encourage you to sit out of bed (on and off) for approximately 8 hours.
  • You will be asked about the activities you have done on day 1.


Bowel surgery patient
With thanks to one of our previous patients for her kind permission to use her post surgery photography in this resource.

Day 2

  • Eat solid food but keep meals small. If you are feeling able you can start to eat a little more (little and often is the key).
  • Continue to drink plenty of fluids.
  • Gently increase your levels of activity from day 1.

We will advise you of a discharge date today if you are feeling well.

Patient sitting on bed with nurse

Day 3

On the third day you should continue the same activities as yesterday, and again increase the level of activity if possible.

Some patients will be discharged home on this day if they are meeting all of their goals.

We will send you home if your surgeon is happy with your progress:

  • We are happy with your blood tests.
  • You have passed wind/bowel motion for patients who have a stoma ~ if you are confident with your stoma practice.



  • By doing deep breathing exercises, eating little and often, and being out of bed and walking regularly, research has shown you will make a quicker recovery.
  • By doing these things, you are less likely to develop lung infections or problems with your circulation, and your bowel function will return to normal faster. By avoiding these problems, you will feel better and be able to go home sooner.