I have had 4 surgeries at the Mayo Clinic and following each surgery I had vivid nightmares, similar to what you have described. I served in Iraq and have spent many years working in law enforcement, but have never experienced what I would consider PTSD. However, following each surgery I would have flash-backs that were vivid and seemed real. I could not sleep through the night because of how horrific the nightmares were. I went to a psychiatrist and he prescribed 20 mg of Paxil per day. Within a few weeks everything went back to normal; three of these surgeries were in 2012. March 8th of this year I had surgery again for a permanent end ileostomy and was admitted to ICU. Unlike the previous surgeries the nightmares and flash-backs started before the surgery. I went to a Psychiatrist and he prescribed 20 mg of Paxil per day, which stopped the nightmares and flashbacks, but didn’t help with the depression and anxiety, so a went to a therapist. The therapy sessions helped get my depression and anxiety under control. After the surgery the nightmares came, but were not as severe; probably due to the Paxil. I have continued my therapy sessions since the surgery. This week I have had no nightmares and I am feeling mentally and physically better than I have in about 2 years.