So I have been very positive about my upcoming valve replacement surgery. They are replacing 2 valves with mechanical ones on Wednesday. I have done my research and tried to keep a positive attitude, especially to please my mother. I just want some information about what I can expect when I come out of my TEE on Tuesday, and Surgery on Wednesday. Is the pain going to be as intense as I think? I really can't take any pain medication as either I am allergic to Codine, or anything else makes me violently ill. I would rather be in pain than hugging the bed pan as it were. Is it going to be possible to come through this surgery without pain medications? I have a high tolerance for the pain as I was born with R. Arthritist and have dealt with it my entire life and have been medication free since I was about 13 years old. Also, can someone please explain to me what the process will be like after I come out of recovery. Do I need to buy a notebook and pen so that I can write notes while I'm still on breathing machine? I was told I will be in ICU the first couple of days, and I have lots of family and friends that want to visit right away (some until they wheel me back also). However, being my always positive, never let anything bother me, happy go lucky self. It would absolutely mortify me for these folks to see me not up and about and at least chipper. So I would like to know about what time frame is best for guests. Also, my ex husband and I (we have shared custody of our 6 year old daughter) had agreed that Zoe (my little angel) would see me before the surgery, but not after until I was out of ICU and off breathing tubes etc. No point in her seeing me in that condition, but she is asking when she will get to come see me also. I don't ever go a day without seeing my girl. My ex and I have an amazing relationship where we are the very best of friends and still do everything together as a family. Now my surgery is scheduled for 7am and I thought I had to be there at 7 and surgery at 8:45, but turns out I have to be there at 5:15 am (thank goodness I am a morning person) so she can't see me beforehand now as she will have school. One other thing that concerns me is how I am handling this. I am a very positive person (as previously stated and stressed), and let nothing bother me. I am being strong for my mom, who is breaking down hard and refuses to leave my side for anything from the time I come home to the time I go to work. You can tell from a previous post that it is very dysfunctional attachment she has acquired since learning about my disease. I am a very independant person. Now people are starting to treat me like I am a freak cause it is not bothering me and some have said "we are just waiting for you to break down so we can be there for you." I have explained that is not me and I don't break down, I am not an emotional person, I am more of a guy than a girl emotionally. My best friend quoted our favorite Monica line from friends by telling me and everyone "that is just Donna 'she's dead inside'." As funny as it was and is I am starting to think that maybe something is wrong with me and I should be more emotional about all of this. My main concern was the idea of the scarring, but even that don't bother me now. I just don't understand why this is not effecting me like it should. It just feels like another day coming up emotionally. I am worried about the physical pain and that my 8 week mark will be on Halloween exactly (my favorite holiday) and I always have a huge party. I hope that I can be okay enough to enjoy it this year physically. So any advice on what to expect in ICU and time references on when is a good time for visitors (especially little people who are nervous) would be appreciated.