Downton Crabby

I asked the doctor, how would you describe it?

The doctor said, it’s a piece of cake.

Such relief. My upcoming neck-back-head procedure would be a piece of cake!

Weeks later, I was in one of those McOperating Rooms. You know the deal: People in Official Blue Scrubs roll you in, knock you out, cut you here and there, wake you up, and if you can pass the blinking-on-command examination, they roll you back to your car. Off you go.

I believe the signs on the building read, “All Insurance and Credit Accepted!” and “Financing Provided!” If you’re in the area, you’ll know by the drivers. Watch for people in the wrong lane, blinker flashing, still wearing surgical hairnets and wristbands.

The assistant who gave me the IV promised I wouldn’t even care; I’d be awake but three cocktails into the party. He winked. Winked! I liked him. He was the kind of guy who’d pick up your bar tab just because.

Then the doctor stabbed the laser-needles into my neck. Oh yeah, man. Three cocktails, maybe four. Nice party. Nice cake.

Flash ahead several hours: at home, supervised by Mom, comfortably drugged and iced. The “party” ends. No cake. Not even a piece. Just pain and nausea and dizziness and doctor-bashing, until I began to consider what might have happened in the doctor’s office pre-procedure.


A squeamish patient and a very literal doctor. He sits on the stool, facing her. He has explained the laser-jabbing, nerve-frying, headache-ending, neckache-soothing procedure.

This patient wants to know how much this will suck. But she chooses better words because she is a writer. She asks, how would you describe it?

The doctor thinks, didn’t I just describe it? Yes. Yes, I did. I’m quite certain I described it. What could she possibly mean? … But of course! The poster on the wall behind me includes a picture of a piece of cake. Crazy marketing people! Clearly, this confused patient can’t make out what’s on the poster.

The patient repeats, how would you describe it?

The doctor says, it’s a piece of cake.


That suspected misunderstanding may explain why I’ve been absent from the blog. It also explains head-splitting pain, a narcotic haze, vomiting, and four days on the couch during which I told myself, I’m not that sick; this was a piece of cake; certainly I could write, even if it’s just notes.

Downton Abbey's Lady Sybil Crawley, the nurse I needed.

Downton Abbey‘s Lady Sybil Crawley, the nurse I needed.

Or I could knock off the second season of Downton Abbey.

No judgment, please. Like you would have passed up Downton Abbey? Especially if you’d just learned it’s Downton Abbey, not Downtown Abbey?

So I watched a scene with hospitalized British soldiers during World War I, soldiers without limbs, soldiers gone blind, soldiers and their nightmares. An immediate sense of wellness came over me. I felt just fine about my narcotic haze and even the vomiting. I wanted to call Dr. Piece O. Cake and tell him, well done, fine sir! The blue hairnet brings out the caramel hues in my brown eyes. Much appreciated. Please do come for tea. Shall I ring your butler and have it arranged?

So the figurative piece of cake was a literal pain in the neck, but I’m better. Well enough to blog and well enough to write. Yet one can never be too careful. Especially William, off to his first battle, or Anna, who may have seen Bates in the village, or Mary, who’s been asked for her hand by a newly moneyed rube.

I’ll check on my favorite characters and get back to work … um … when the nausea passes.

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