Skip the Anesthetic YKTTW Discussion

Skip the Anesthetic
Normally you want to be unconscious for that kind of procedure
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(permanent link) added: 2012-10-10 00:11:07 sponsor: KJMackley edited by: maxwellsilver (last reply: 2013-10-30 09:15:56)

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There will come a time when you have to undergo surgery or otherwise do not want to feel the pain that is associated with a certain activity. Yet for whatever the circumstances may be you may be forced to skip over the painkillers and endure some very uncomfortable few minutes.

Generally this is meant to convey both the urgency of the situation and establish some badass cred for the individual involved. If they already Feels No Pain then this might not be as big a deal.

Naturally, there is a truth in television aspect here coming from horror stories of individuals who were awake during major surgery and could feel it (anesthesia involves both numbing pain and invoking paralysis to prevent twitches, you can see what might happen if the mixture is off). Not to mention a Life or Limb Decision or in Self Stitching, where this is usually implied.


  • The Bourne Legacy has Aaron remove a tracking device in his hip once he realized he was being targeted as part of The Purge. This is done swiftly out in the Alaskan wilderness and it looked quite painful. It was later established that the "chems" Aaron and the other operatives take are designed to either delude or help them to ignore pain.
  • Subverted in the film version of The Fugitive, as Kimble had to stitch up an injury sustained in the bus crash and was seen sticking in a needle before doing the procedure. It still evokes the trope in how he is performing surgery on himself.

Live Action TV
  • In Stargate Atlantis, when they first met Ronon he revealed he had a tracking chip at the base of his brain stem that the Wraith used to track him down for sport. As he didn't trust the others, he insisted Dr. Beckett perform fairly intense surgery with him awake, sitting up and holding his gun. Subverts the norm as he passed out from the pain once the chip was removed.
  • An episode of Burn Notice had Michael with a bullet in the back from an assassin trying to kill him, done off a ricochet and such wasn't deep but still hurt like hell. As he didn't want to have to explain it to a hospital he had his brother fish it out and the narration brings up that he had to deal with third world medicine before.
  • Game of Thrones. "Kissed by Fire" When Qyburn tells him there will be "pain" when he cleanses Jaime Lannister's amputated stump, Jaime simply says "I'll scream". When Qyburn rephrases it to "quite a bit of pain", Jaime replies "I'll scream loudly".
  • Dollhouse. Adelle DeWitt at the end of "A Spy in the House of Love" when she's getting a gunshot wound stitched up by Dr Saunders. It's implied she's punishing herself for trusting Laurence Dominic, who turned out to be an NSA mole.
  • M*A*S*H
    • Col. Flagg of the CID insists on going into surgery without anesthetic because if he's knocked out he might inadvertantly talk, and nobody at the unit is cleared to hear any of the state secrets he might accidentally divulge.
    • In another episode a Turk and a Greek soldier are both at the 4077th at the same time trying to out-stoic one another, refusing anesthetic after a fight at Rosie's bar.
      Turkish soldier: What's this?
      BJ: Something to kill the pain while I fix your leg.
      Turkish Soldier: I am Turk. I not need that.
      Greek Soldier: If Turk no need, Greek no need.

Video Games
  • Played for laughs in Team Fortress 2's Meet the Medic vid. The Medic is trying out an experimental new surgery on The Heavy, while keeping him alive and awake using the medigun.
    Heavy: Should I be awake for this?
    Medic: Well... no. But as long as you are, could you hold your ribcage open a bit?
  • In Quake IV, the process of Stroggification involves the subject's limbs being cut off and cybernetic replacements being grafted on in place. The Strogg don't bother to anaesthetise the victims of this process, they just give them an extra-large dose of steroids to increase their chance of surviving the procedure.

Western Animation
  • In Transformers Prime Megatron stole the arm of an ancient, unnamed Prime and had it replace his own arm. When Knock-Out prepared to induce stasis (as Cybertronians feel pain like any other organism) Megatron refused, claiming he wanted to bask in the power he was about to receive.
  • Referenced by Cotton Hill in King of the Hill in the story of how he and Deedee met. While at a VA hospital, Cotton tells the patient next to him:
    I don't take no anesthetic. Did Lincoln ask for girly gas when they blow'd his head off?
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