Our beloved English bulldog Tater Tot (the best dog in the world ever) had a minor surgical procedure this weekend and though she recovered well it is always worrisome for us when she has to be put under. Driving her home I was trying to imagine what the world was like before anesthesia was invented.
According to Wikipedia, nitrous oxide was used to try to deaden pain during surgery around 1800; carbon dioxide around 1820; chloroform in the 1830s, diethyl ether in 1842, and cocaine (!) in 1859.
I found it interesting that Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. coined the word "anesthesia" in 1846. I wish he has made it easier to spell.
Think of all the surgeries people have fairly regularly and try to picture what they would feel like with no anesthesia: wisdom teeth removal, broken bones being set, heart bypasses, etc. Ouch.