When you see your surgeon, ask him/her to call the anesthesia group that will be doing your anesthetic. Go talk to them, tell them of your fears. General anesthesia is safe. In a way, it's too bad you saw the intubation with a bad outcome, because they are the minority rather than a common occurance. I've done thousands of intubations. Some have been tough, but never had a bad outcome. Read closely what Dave told you about regional anesthesia for a gall bladder. Right on the money. Most surgeons won't allow you to take the regional route, and if you find one who will, it will be impossible to find an anesthesia group that will agree. Lap gall bladders take 45 minutes to an hour and a half, and are usually done on an outpatient basis. You go home that night or the next morning. And not feeling too bad, either. Open gall bladders are MAJOR surgery, with about a nine inch incision just below the bottom rib on the right side. There is major pain associated with open gall bladders, and an open procedure involves a four to seven day hospitalization (so its unlikely your insurance company would pay for an open gallbladder to help alleviate your fear.) And you will be feeling rough for at least two weeks, probably more like four.
Bottom line, PM me, I'll try to help you with the fears you have. Or, talk to the anesthesiologist/CRNA who will do your anesthetic. Believe me, general anesthesia is the way to go.
Kevin McHugh, CRNA
Edited to add: Get this taken care of NOW. The longer you wait, as symptoms wax and wane, there is more scarring. The last two open gall bladder surgeries I have done anesthesia for were done open because the patient had extensive scarring. No other way to get the gall bladder out. And, yes, I've seen lap surgeries done to take out a "hot" gallbladder.