It's not to late to request an epidural. I had a TVH and requested it the morning of surgery because my dr. said the anesthesiologist who I met with the morning of surgery is the one who decides the type of anesthesia. Many sisters who have had general have also had an epidural put in at the same time for post op pain relief rather than a PCA pump. Make sure you tell the anesthesiologist that you want an epidural to stay in for post op pain relief. Some dr's give spinals (little different than an epidural) and then they just give a PCA pump after that.
In my case I was afraid of general because I had a previous experience of severe nausea and vommiting for three days after general and I wanted to be sure this time I wouldn't have as great as a chance with a belly full of stitches. I had planed to have an epidural but I ended up having both a spinal and epidural. (one stick only)
With general, they sedate you so you don't experience the sensations when they administer the drug that paralyzes you, which is why you need intubation (tube in throat). If that's not enough to make you sick, often times they need to administer other meds, post-op, to "re-start" the digestive track, antibiotics to combat infection or irritation from the intuabtion tube, and of course, the nausea, and vomiting.... Not what you want with an abdominal incision! Although if general anesthesia is the only choice allowed such as in laporoscopic procedures due to the gas or dr's choice, there are meds to control that such as zofran. Here's a link about nausea.http://www.hystersisters.com/vb2/sho...ghlight=nausea
The sedation (no tube in throat) used with a regional is different from the sedation used for general. And with a regional, the level of sedation can be varied (light--just relaxed, medium-groggy, heavy--sleep through it all).
I was awake, alert, and not sick when my family came to visit me in my room after I got out of recovery. I felt great and had absolutely NO pain. If I had had general or a pca pump I would have probably had a very foggy brain and maybe an emesis basin in front of me.
If you do opt for an epidural it can be left in for 24 hours post op pain. I wasn't sure if I could tolerate a PCA morophine pump. (nausea, fogginess, etc) I wasn't concerned about morphine in an epidural/spinal because it doesn't have the same circulation--effects are limited to nerve-endings in lower portion of body and drug does not cross brain/blood barrier. You can read my story at the www house link below.
Here are some additional links that can help.
epidural or pca pump for post op pain relief
Difference between epidural and spinal
Also I noticed you said you are having a TVH and bladder sling. I think some urologist actually prefer that some patients have something like regional because they want to be able to test the effectiveness of the bladder work. Good luck.