Even when I have had an absolute skinful the day before, my head and body is never too sore to work or write an article, but after a session at St George's Hospital in Tooting on Tuesday morning I nearly had to wave the white flag in the afternoon.
I won't bore you with the gory details - you may be having your dinner - but suffice to say the operation under a local anaesthetic lasted longer than expected after the brilliant surgeons said I had the "thickest skin" (for that I read a polite "the fattiest") they had ever come across.
And so the first cut wasn't necessarily the deepest, trust me. Luckily, one of the surgeons liked her racing and is a regular to Meydan, so we had a good chat to take my mind off the ongoing legalised butchery...
But I'm alive and kicking, and talking of tough exteriors, I was astonished to hear on ATR on Monday afternoon that senior handicapper Phil Smith has accused me, by name, of calling for his "P45 at High Holborn on Monday morning" if Houblon Des Obeaux had won the Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick on January 16, the horse having been dropped a very generous 13lb in just three starts.
Of course, I said no such thing - but knowing that I can be a bit of a punchy so-and-so I checked, and sure enough the truth was much tamer.
This is what I wrote here on Jan 12:
"One of the BHA's key handicapping tenets is to favour the majority over the minority, so I expect the person responsible for allowing Houblon Des Obeaux to run off a mark of 146 in Warwick's Classic Chase to be hauled in for questioning on Monday morning after the horse has bolted up."
Rather different, I'll sure you will agree, than the claims.
But, hands up, I was completely wrong at Warwick as the horse ran a stinker off 146.
Then again, he is now rated 160 after his subsequent runaway Betfair Denman Chase win at Newbury on his next start (the mark off which he is asked to run off in the Grand National at Aintree), so I wonder if I'm not the only one in need of a thicker skin.
Each to their own, though, and maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle (he said, being diplomatic...).
Saturday's big race is the BetBright Chase at Kempton, and I reckon the handicapper can sleep easily enough as it's not hard to take much of issue about the marks of any of the runners.
Whether the bookmakers can get off scot-free is another matter, though, as Champagne West looks a shaky favourite considering his jumping issues, which were at their worst on his only right-handed chase run last season and resurfaced when he nearly fell last time at Cheltenham.
In fairness, he gives the impression he's pretty well handicapped if he can get it right, but good luck getting him to put in clear in a big field at the speed they're likely to go on drying ground at the weekend.
Talking of drying ground, that brings me to my idea of the best bet in the race, Opening Batsman for Harry Fry.
Now it could be argued that Fry has a more obvious contender in Thomas Brown (although he threw in a couple of howlers at Doncaster last time) and it's fair to say he's a novice with potential, but Opening Batsman simply loves this track and I can't believe odds of 20-1 each way with the Betfair Sportsbook accurately reflect his chances of following Pendil, Docklands Express and Nacarat into the records book as a dual winner of this valuable event.
Form figures this season of 95P following his return to form last term do not read great, but the first is easily forgiveable given it came in the Munster National at Limerick, his first trip away form Britain, and that fifth place was considerably better than it reads.
For a start, Opening Batsman raced round the outside all the way and, on ground that appeared more on the soft side of good to soft, he still looked likely to be a major player when joining the lead going strongly three out. Indeed, that's how many Betfair punters saw it as he traded at 1.42/5 in the run before his exertions and the extra distance taken going wide took their toll.
His last run was poor, but it came on very sticky ground and I like Opening Batsman's chances of running a lot better given a forecast suggesting it is going to be mostly dry all week.
Decent ground is what suits him best, it was good when he won it in 2013, and as he only just gets 3m let's hope whoever gets the ride takes a braver route on the inside.
The Betfred Eider Chase is the feature at Newcastle, and the lightly-raced Ballyculla could prove the one to beat at 13.012/1.
Warren Greatrex's nine-year-old was back in late this season having reportedly been delayed by an overreach according to part-owner Chris Sutton, who said: "Long trips are his forte", after his winning return at Bangor.
That certainly looked the case when he was headed down the back straight at Bangor but regained the lead and won going away a shade cosily, with Russe Blanc, favourite this weekend, last of the five runners.
Ballyculla has obviously been reasonably well-regarded as he ran in the four-miler at Cheltenham last season despite being rated a fair deal lower than a lot of his rivals and he performed well in seventh place, having still been in contention jumping the last.
He also performed with credit when fifth to Grand National fancy Gallant Oscar at Punchestown after that and that was a better race than the Eider. He has a lot going for him at double-figure odds.
Back Opening Batsman at 20-1 E/W with the Betfair Sportsbook in the Betbright Chase
Back Ballyculla at 13.012/1 in the Eider Chase at Newcastle