Breathing tube is TOTALLY standard during general anesthesia. It's inserted well after you're under and almost always removed before you wake up. You might have a tiny bit of a sore throat but if you've ever had an upper endoscopy then you've already experienced discomfort that is far worse than a breathing tube.
As an aside... I've been posting/reading here for a while and it wasn't until reading your post that I realized that "Old Hat" and "Old Mike" are different people. I saw gyno and did a double take!
dx'ed UC pancolitis 5/12
past meds: asacol hd, VSL#3, apriso, rowasa, xifaxan, 6mp, cortifoam, pentasa, cimzia, canasa, butyrate, flagyl, cipro, prednisone, remicade, methotrexate, cholestyramine, cortenema
current meds: none!
step one: colectomy, end ileo 1/16/13
step two: j-pouch construction, loop ileo 5/1/13
step three: takedown 7/31/13