Pain is notoriously unquantifiable, and difficult to describe. So when I was getting ready to go in for my surgery I wasn't sure what to expect, which was tough for a planning-type person like me. I'm sure different folks have very different experiences, but I feel like my pain management at the hospital was so good as to be completely invisible to me. I knew at all times that I could ask for more pain relief, but I never once considered it, there was no hint of a need.
I recall regularly taking two extra-strength tylenol while in hospital. I’m sure that heavier drugs were used on me, but I don’t recall (perhaps due to the effects of those very drugs). Certainly, by the last day or two in the hospital I felt pretty lucid, and it was just tylenol for me.
In my first couple of days at home I quickly tapered down to no painkillers at all: not to be a hero (that’s dumb), but because I simply didn’t have any pain. Now, I’ve taken a regular strength tylenol once or twice because of muscle soreness in my upper back (can’t stretch it out, of course), but that has been it.
This has been pleasant surprise overall, as what had been a matter of some dread pre-op has turned out to be a complete non-issue. Hooray!
All that said, I know that some people use strong painkillers and chemical drugs for off-label purposes. That's problematic for lots of reasons, but the one to be highlighted here is that when (not that farfetched!) you have a major medical event you definitely, definitely want those drugs to work as intended.