Thursday, March 15, 2018

Artisinal mailbag

All right, here's some more artisanal bullshit you guys have sent in.

If you feed your cow artisanal grass, what comes out the other end?

Very few chains are as ubiquitous and generic in America as Walgreen's, and yet they apparently carry artisanal stuff. Which I'm pretty sure was "handmade" by a machine in southeast Asia.

"How stylish can you get?"

Making toast is right up there with boiling water and putting chips in a bowl as far as culinary skills go, but apparently you can now take your "putting bread in a toaster and pushing down in the handle" skills to a whole new level for only $24.95 with...

Even videogames are now into it:

At this point I'm ready for a drink

Butt you just knew someone would sell this:

Order it with the toast book and make Scotch Woodcock!

Monday, March 12, 2018


I have a pretty good rapport with my patients, tossing jokes and mild insults back and forth during a visit. It's just part of the way I practice. Most of them like it, since it flies both ways. Patients that don't gravitate elsewhere.

But sometimes it has its consequences.

One of them, Ted, is an older fellow who works weekends at Costco, running sample stations. When he shows up they tell him where he'll be working that day. He briefly reads up on the product and sets up a table.

Yesterday, as I picked up some items to feed the teenage horde, I saw him at a table over by the pharmacy and waved.


And he waved a free sample in the air at me.

My kids (and everyone else nearby) cracked up.

I yelled back "Ted, you're a dead man!"

Friday, March 9, 2018

Breaking news!

From around the globe, Dr. Grumpy's crack reporters bring you the stories that shape our world.


A man and woman fleeing police officers attempted to escape by climbing a fence into a parking lot.

Unfortunately for them, the lot they chose was the secure one for the local police station, where several officers were conducting a training exercise.

Video surveillance shows the subjects somehow missing a large sign on the fence that said "POLICE DEPARTMENT."

Both were taken into custody.


From the "Bitcoin is so 2017" files...

In a sticky situation involving political donations, a local candidate has received several donations in... deer semen.

Yeah, you read that right. Frozen straws of deer jizz are worth big bucks, and are being sold and auctioned off at fundraisers. How you might explain coming home with frozen deer cum, as opposed to a cap with a political slogan on it, to your spouse is beyond me.

An attorney they interviewed for the story is named, I swear, Buck Wood.

Regrettably, the recipient of the donations isn't named Jane Doe, or even Bambi.

And here are some other interesting things seen in the news recently:

From the "who wrote the headline?" department:

Next, from the "I failed zoology" office:

And finally, we can only say, "I bet he did."

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mary's desk

Mary: "Hi, can I help you?"

Mrs. Lost: "Hi, I have an appointment with Dr. Grumpy, but I think I'm in the wrong suite."

Mary: "No, you're in the right place. Let me get you some forms..."

Mrs. Lost: "But Dr. Grumpy is in suite 608."

Mary: "This is suite 608. You found us! So if you can fill out..."

Mrs. Lost: "This isn't suite 608. It's 407."

Mary: "No, it's 608. You can see it on the door there."

Mrs. Lost: "When did you move to 407?"

Mary: "We didn't. Can I get a copy of your insurance card?"

Mrs. Lost: "Coming to the doctor is so confusing."

Monday, March 5, 2018

Skool Nerse Time

This is Mrs. Grumpy

This past weekend I somehow got dragged into chaperoning a school band competition, which involved a long school bus ride each way. The heavy snow didn't help, slowing the drive down to about twice what was expected.

I kept asking the band director if we could give up and go back, but she just laughed and said "the show must go on." As I stared at passing snow drifts out the window I wanted to throw her in them and let her walk.

Anyway, due to the unusually long drive we made an unplanned stop on the way home so everyone could use a restroom and get something to eat. Fortunately, America is full of generic shopping malls with a wide variety of stores and fast food places. So all of you disappeared for 20 minutes, which was fine with me, as I got some peace and quiet until you returned for the last 2-3 hours of the drive.

You guys were pretty quiet for the last leg, no doubt because of the effects of cheeseburgers and fries hurriedly crammed down at McWhatever's. Because of the silence I began to doze off myself. The band director, wired on her 28th cup of coffee of the day, was on her iPad maniacally working on next weekend's competition.

It was actually pretty relaxing until the screaming began in the back of the bus, and rapidly spread. I thought perhaps Freddy Krueger had climbed in through a window and was attacking the clarinet section. The bus driver almost crashed as he hurriedly pulled off the road and we all frantically piled out into the snow, terrified of, well, whatever had happened to set you all shrieking hysterically.

After the bus had been abandoned we got a clearer idea of the emergency.

Apparently a few creative souls, whose names we don't know at this time, had wandered over to House O' Reptiles and bought a paper bag FULL of crickets meant to be used for feeding lizards, and released them in the back of the school bus. This resulted in the mass panic.

A kindly police officer pulled over to see what the problem was. When told he climbed on the bus himself to see, and then began laughing hysterically. Our driver channeled his best Samuel L. Jackson and yelled "I've had it with all these.... crickets on this... bus!" (not quite in Mr. Jackson's original creative words).

With the snow coming down, and temperatures below freezing, and being 2 hours from home... we didn't have many choices. We all got back on the bus.

Usually there are a few couples in the back of the bus trying to make out, and I'm supposed to keep an eye on you. I must say, having a large numbers of arthropods crawling all over certainly put the kibosh on your hormones during the ride back.

Fortunately, that was my last chaperone job of the year.

Craig and Marie have asked me to buy them each a can of Raid to take on the next road trip.

The district has charged the band boosters an extra $75 for fumigation services.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Seen in a chart

Monday, February 26, 2018


Over the course of a career you see a lot of patients. I'd guess, based on looking through my charts, roughly 30,000-40,000 to date.

Most, especially the ones from the very beginning, are long forgotten. Sometimes I'll request old hospital records on someone from a place where I did a rotation and am surprised to see a note from a younger version of myself. And I have no recollection of them at all.

But a handful never leave you. Some because you learned a lot from them. Others because of a shared interest you chatted with them about. And a few because they struck a chord that's never gone away.

I was at the tail end of my intern year, doing a mandatory ICU rotation, when they brought him in. I don't remember his name now, mainly because I never knew it then, either.

He was a homeless man, who'd fallen asleep in a trash dumpster. In the dark early morning no one saw him fall into the back of a garbage truck when the container was emptied. With the noise of the engine no one heard his screaming as he was mashed by the machinery. When the truck was emptied a few hours later sanitation employees called 911.

He was still alive - barely - when we got him. Massive blood loss and multi-system trauma. Broken bones, ruptured viscera, missing pieces of limbs. Teams of doctors paraded in & out of the room trying to save him. As an intern I was one of them, but on the periphery of the internal medicine group.

What was left of his clothes had no ID, and he was never conscious. Social workers tried to find family, a name, anything. They combed missing person databases and made endless phone calls all over the country. Nothing really to go on, not even a tattoo. Just a 50-ish white male. Police spoke to other homeless who lived in the area. A few remembered him, but none knew his name or anything about him.

For a week in the never-ending daylight of the ICU an army of doctors, nurses, RT's, lab techs, and others did their best to keep him alive. Although his prognosis was grim, we all thought that, sooner or later, the social workers would turn up a friend, or relative, or find some lead to them. He was, after all, somebody's son. Or brother. Or father. If there was someone out there who might be able to tell us what he'd want, or even who just wanted to say goodbye to him, we'd give them that chance.

But it never happened. Roughly a week after he came in the attending doctors felt there was no hope and nothing further to be done. The machines were turned off one by one and he died quickly. Someone on the trauma service signed a brief death note and reached for the next chart. The body was taken away to an unmarked grave. I couldn't find it today if I tried.

I'm sure somewhere out there is an argument about how much money was spent on his case, and how many vaccines or school lunches or police or teacher salaries it could have paid for. Given how many cases there probably are like his, and multiply by that number... I'm sure it's a lot of dollars. But, while it has some points, that debate didn't occur to me at the time, isn't why I still remember him, and I'll leave it to other blogs to discuss.

Regardless of the circumstances of his life - I admit I'd have ignored him on the street if he'd asked me for change the day before - he died alone. Did he have any living family? Do any of them wonder what happened to him, then or now? Were they sick of whatever issues he had again and again, and had long pushed him out of their minds? Did he have a good childhood or was he always on the streets? Did he serve his country? Was he hoping to die in the dumpster or just looking for a little more shelter than the sidewalk offered that night?


25-30 years later I can still see him as they brought him to ICU, the different teams of doctors yelling orders. For a week I'd sometimes sit at the nurses station and stare at him, wondering. Did anyone else working on the case find themselves as bothered as I was? Maybe we just all covered it up, afraid that to admit he was anything but a badly injured homeless guy would be a sign of weakness. I may be the only person today who even remembers him at all.


The case still keeps me up at night. Thinking of him, and behind that the abject terror of the thought of someday myself, or my wife, or kids, or other loved ones or friends, being in the same situation. Alone. Impoverished with nothing. Unloved. A life and existence forgotten.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday reruns

Saturday morning.

Dr. Grumpy: "This is Dr. Grumpy, returning a page."

Miss Myelin: "Yeah, I see Dr. Cortex for my MS, and I woke up today with blurry vision, and I can barely walk."

Dr. Grumpy: "Have you had this before?"

Miss Myelin: "No, it's new. When my MS acts up Dr. Cortex usually admits me to the hospital for IV steroids."

Dr. Grumpy: "That's standard. I think you need to go to ER, and I'll likely admit you."

Miss Myelin: "Are you kidding? I don't have time for that shit."

Dr. Grumpy: "Excuse me?"

Miss Myelin "I don't have time for that. Can I schedule them for next week, like Wednesday or Thursday?"

Dr. Grumpy: "I suppose, but you'll have to call Dr. Cortex on Monday and... Look, if you're not going to let me help you, why did you even call on the weekend, anyway?"

Miss Myelin: "Because I thought it might need urgent treatment."

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Dr. Grumpy: "So let's see what the tests show. Any other questions?"

Mrs. Cephalgia: "Doctor, how will I know if I'm having a headache?"


Dr. Grumpy: "Um, because your head, uh, hurts."

Mrs. Cephalgia: "Oh, okay... that makes sense."

Monday, February 19, 2018

Breaking news!

From around the globe, Dr. Grumpy's crack team of reporters bring you the stories that shape your world.


Pastor George Gregory, of the Waterfront Community Christian Church, claimed that he was "counseling" a man found naked and tied up with rope in a parked car with him.

When police arrived the naked & bound man was in the front seat and Pastor Gregory was in the back "adjusting his clothes."

The good pastor states that he "did nothing" and was helping the man work through a drug problem. He also added that they “were just playing” and would “meet up from time to time to play with each other.”


Police were summoned to an apartment where cries for help were reported.

Upon breaking in, officers found 2 men "hopelessly locked together" with a mannequin dressed in a knight's costume and a remote-control toy car.

Both men were too drunk to explain exactly how this had happened, though, after being freed, one of them was charged with insulting the officers.

Inquiring minds want to know, but mercifully no pictures were taken.


A study found that epilepsy patients who developed impaired consciousness while driving were more likely to have car accidents than epilepsy patients who retained normal consciousness behind the wheel. (Neurology Reviews, January, 2017, page 8).

Friday, February 16, 2018

"Make mine a double."

This CME course title can be interpreted in more than one way...

Thank you Dr. A!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The answer

Thank you all for a great selection of serious, hysterical, and entertaining answers.

The correct one (as several guessed) is...

A guinea pig, viewed from above, with the owner drawing in areas where hair had fallen out (alopecia).

Congratulations to the winners! You've just won a brand new Chrysler Cordoba and you can pick it up at Morty's office!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Webhill, over at Veterinarians Behaving Badly, submitted this picture. It was drawn for her by a pet's owner.

Let's have your guesses. Answer will be listed tomorrow.

Hint: It is not a turd.

Monday, February 12, 2018


I now present Mary’s list of issues that always seem to plague the last patient seen each day (especially on a Friday).

The last patient of the day:

1. Shows up late, and wants to tell you the 10 minute story of why they're late.

2. Wants to read the HIPAA privacy form word-for-word and ask questions, even though it's identical to the one every other doctor and hospital in the country use.

3. Has a new insurance card and left it at home.

4. Forgot to bring the insurance authorization for the visit, and the doctor who issued it closed early that day.

5. Left their MRI reports/lab reports/small child in the car, has to go back to get them, and has no idea where they parked.

6. Refuses to start the appointment until their spouse/child/parent arrives, and has no idea where they are.

7. Has a new address, needs to fill out the forms for it, and has to call someone to verify what it is.

8. Needs a bunch of prescriptions written, with both 30-day and 90-day scripts written for every one.

9. Shows up late, checks in, then leaves to find a bathroom and is gone another 15 minutes.

10. Somehow manages to lose their phone/sunglasses/corgi in the lobby or exam room and needs you to help them look for it.
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