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World News

Pope Francis eats breakfast and takes a walk two days after surgery

by Press Association

Pope Francis has eaten breakfast, read the newspapers and taken a walk as he continues recovering from intestinal surgery, the Vatican said.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said tests performed following Sunday’s surgery to remove half of the Pope’s colon yielded “good” and normal results.

“His Holiness Pope Francis rested well during the night,” Mr Bruni said. “This morning he had breakfast, read some newspapers and got up to walk. The post-operative recovering is regular. Routine control tests are good.”

Francis, 84, underwent three hours of surgery on Sunday for what the Vatican said was a narrowing of the large intestine. The Vatican said doctors removed the left side of his colon.

He is expected to stay in Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic, which has a special suite reserved for popes, through the week, assuming no complications.

The Vatican has given few details about the Pope’s diagnosis or the procedure he underwent, saying only that he went to hospital for planned surgery for a diverticular stenosis, or narrowing of the colon.

It is a common problem that affects 80% of people over 80 but can require surgery if the lining of the colon becomes so scarred that it begins to obstruct it.

The surgery generally entails removing the left side of the colon and then joining up the remaining healthy parts of the large intestine.

Doctors have said a risk of the operation is that the connection between the joined-up parts of the colon can sometimes fail, causing more pain and possibly an infection. Such a failure is very rare and would require another operation.

Francis has enjoyed relatively robust health, though he lost the upper part of one lung in his youth due to an infection. He also suffers from sciatica, or nerve pain, that makes him walk with a pronounced limp.

He had a busy schedule in the run-up to Sunday’s surgery, including a day-long meeting on July 1 with Lebanon’s Christian patriarchs, suggesting he was not in excruciating pain before the procedure.

Francis’s next routine appointment with the public would normally be on Sunday. He customarily appears on Sundays at a window overlooking St Peter’s Square, blesses the faithful below and speaks for a few minutes, often about current events.

If he remains in hospital, he might opt to do what one of his predecessors did while recovering at Gemelli. During some of his many stays there, St John Paul II sometimes appeared at his hospital room’s window to wave and bless well-wishers gathered outside.

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