19 hours ago
Friday, September 23, 2016
Anyway, last night I was doing an online study, and it asked me how many Duchenne's patients I've seen in the last year. I said zero.
So the next question...
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Mary: "If you could just fill out these forms... And let me copy your insurance card..."
Mrs. Parker: "Where's the restroom? I need to use that first."
Mary: "Sure. If you go back past the elevators it's on your right."
Mrs. Parker: "I didn't take the elevator."
Mary: "Oh, okay, then the bathroom is across the hall from the staircase."
Mrs. Parker: "I didn't take the stairs, either. I just walked here."
Mary: "Okay... then... uh..."
Mrs. Parker: "I'll go look for it, and be right back."
Monday, September 19, 2016
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
I get a fair number of emails from people asking me for advice on careers in medicine. I don't answer them often, because realistically I can't make those decisions for someone else. A career in this insane field, not to mention all its different branches, is a pretty personal choice.
A medical student, though, recently wrote and asked what one piece of advice I'd give anyone already in med school (besides "cut your losses and get the hell out"), so I thought about it.
Here it is:
Learn to tie shoes.
Yes, you read that correctly. That's my sage advice, for whatever it's worth, to all of you in training.
Now, I figure you already know how to tie your own shoes (although in the age of Velcro straps I could be wrong). What I'm talking about is tying someone elses shoes. This is a 180° reversed perspective of tying your own, and takes a little bit of getting used to, and not making them too tight.
During my 4th year of medical school I had a rotation where I was assigned to a family practice doc, just for his morning rounds at the hospital. I don't remember his name. He was in his mid-50's, and was always neatly dressed with a tan blazer. I'd meet him outside the doctor's lounge every morning and we'd see his hospital patients.
What always impressed me is how he knew his patients. Not just their medical stuff, but he'd often make comments like "she bakes the best sweet potato pie" or "he paints great landscapes." And his patients clearly adored him, too.
Anyway, the time we rounded was usually when breakfast was being brought around. Most docs I'd met would just ignore it, and have the food set aside until they were done talking to them.
But not this guy. He'd take the trays and help sit the patient up to have them. He'd ask what they liked in their coffee (though usually he already knew!). He'd open those little cardboard milk cartons (they can be tricky) and pour it in cups or on cereal. He peeled and cut up bananas for them.
And, if we happened to go in while they were getting ready to go home, he'd help them tie their shoes.
Although some may find this silly, I found it was a pretty important lesson. Letting your patients know you care about them goes beyond looking in ears and reviewing labs. It wasn't an act, this guy obviously just wanted to help them.
I typically don't round during meals, but I do tie shoes. Checking feet for atrophy, sensation, and reflexes are a big part of being a neurologist, so you end up with barefoot patients sitting on your exam table.
Younger people generally don't want help, but older people or those with physical limitations appreciate it. Helping them put on socks and tie their shoes may not seem like a lot... But it is. It's letting someone know you care about them, no matter how grody their toenails are.
Pro tip: always keep a shoe-horn handy.
No matter how far you go in medicine and life, never think that you're above helping another person put their shoes and socks on. You aren’t. And someday you may be in their position.
Monday, September 12, 2016
Dr. Grumpy: "Okay, so at the last visit..."
Mrs. Bickerson: "Doc, what's with the box of clothes by your briefcase?"
Dr. Grumpy: "Oh, my kids cleaned out clothes that don't fit them anymore, so I'm dropping those off at the charity store on the way home."
Mrs. Bickerson: "That's a good idea. We have some old chairs I've been meaning to donate."
Mr. Bickerson: "No, we're not getting rid of them. I can use them. They just need to be re-done. Why can't we donate the old vacuum in the back closet?"
Mrs. Bickerson: "What do you mean? It still works."
Mr. Bickerson: "It's not like you ever use it. It's taking up space."
Mrs. Bickerson: "What, like one square foot in a room you never go in?"
Mr. Bickerson: "We don't need it."
Mrs. Bickerson: 'What about that fucking dune buggy you got on Craig's List that takes up the whole shed and that you've never driven? It's bigger than a tank."
Mr. Bickerson: "Really? How about the stupid exercise machine you don't use? Let's get rid of that."
Mrs. Bickerson: "Oh, it is SO on now. Let's talk about that collection of racing photos piled behind the couch..."
Posted by Grumpy, M.D. at 7:45 AM
Friday, September 9, 2016
“Hi, I saw Dr. Grumpy about 10 years ago for something or another. Anyway, my wife may have had a stroke, or migraine, one of those things, this morning. I’d like him to order an MRI on her for today. We’re flying out tonight to Europe, so need it before then."
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Annie: "Dr. Grumpy's office, this is Annie."
Ms. Daughter: "Hi, this is Mrs. Substantia's daughter, and her Parkinson's disease is really bad this afternoon!"
Annie: "What's going on?"
Ms. Daughter: "Her tremor is out of control! She's shaking everywhere, and can barely walk!"
Annie: "Has she missed any medication doses?"
Ms. Daughter: "No! She got her morning pills right on time!"
Annie: "What about her 2:00 p.m. afternoon pills?"
Ms. Daughter: "I haven't given her those yet. Should I?"
Monday, September 5, 2016
The twins (Craig and Marie) routinely beat the crap out of each other. This is such a normal occurrence at our house that we just ignore it unless at least one liter of blood is spilled.
So after I got home from work today, the phone rang.
Dr. Grumpy: "Hello?"
Mrs. Playground: "Is this the father of Marie Grumpy?"
Dr. Grumpy: "Yes."
Mrs. Playground: "I'm the playground supervisor at Wingnut Elementary School, and I have to notify you that Marie was involved in a playground fight today, with a boy at school."
Dr. Grumpy (glancing out the window at the twins gouging each others eyes out on the trampoline): "Is she in trouble?"
Mrs. Playground: "Yes, she has to miss recess tomorrow. She and the boy suffered some minor scrapes, so I need to notify the parents of both children."
Dr. Grumpy: "Okay, thank you."
I hung up the phone, looked at Mrs. Grumpy, and began counting. "5-4-3-2..." As soon as I got to "1", the phone rang. I bit my tongue, hard.
Dr. Grumpy: "Hello?"
Mrs. Playground: "Is this the father of Craig Grumpy?"
Dr. Grumpy: "Yes."
Mrs. Playground: "I'm the playground supervisor at Wingnut Elementary School, and I have to notify you that Craig was involved in a playground fight today, with a girl at school..."
Friday, September 2, 2016
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Dr. Hack: "Yeah, this is Mike Hack, I'm an internist on the east side, and I'm not happy about what you told my patient."
Dr. Grumpy: "The guy with Myasthenia Gravis?"
Dr. Hack: "Yeah. I'd told him he had a stroke, and you have the balls to tell him something else?"
Dr. Grumpy: "But... he didn't have a stroke. His MRI was normal."
Dr. Hack: "Look, he had slurred speech. Any idiot can look up slurred speech and find out that it can be caused be a stroke. Except, apparently, a neurologist."
Dr. Grumpy: "A lot of things besides stroke can cause slurred speech. His brain MRI was normal, his Myasthenia antibodies were elevated, and he responded to Mestinon."
Dr. Hack: "Yeah, whatever fancy bullshit testing you people use nowadays. I've never referred to you before, and I sure won't do it again."
Monday, August 29, 2016
Friday, August 26, 2016
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
I was a college student, living in a small condo near BSU with 3 other guys, in the mid-1980's
The place was old, and (like most college-based condos) not in the best repair.
One night, I made the fateful decision to have a chicken pot pie for dinner (this is college, man, you eat what you can afford).
I put it in the oven (a real oven, we didn't have a microwave), turned it on, set the timer, and went back to my room to read. As I left the kitchen I heard a loud mechanical "clunk," though didn't think anything of it at the time. The dump was full of weird noises.
When I wandered back 30 minutes later, I discovered the oven had somehow activated its self-cleaning mode - meaning it locks the oven door and heats itself up to something on the Kelvin scale to incinerate anything inside. Including my dinner.
The whole condo at this point began smelling like a chicken pot pie. I turned off the oven, only to discover that it had broken. Even with the cleaning cycle stopped. The door was locked and couldn't be opened.
I walked over to McD's that night for dinner.
The chicken pie was now a fixture of the condo. There was no way to get the oven door open without tearing it apart. The landlord didn't really care about fixing it since the place was falling apart, and the 3 of us didn't have the money to fix it ourselves. So we left it there.
As the semester progressed the kitchen would occasionally develop a weird smell from the culture medium residing in the oven. When this happened (every few weeks) we'd turn the oven on for a while to bake the culture into oblivion for another month or so. We'd turn it off again when it began to smell like chicken & mold pot pie. For all I know the oven had become a primordial soup experiment, and some new life form was evolving.
When I moved out 6 months later the pie was still in there. For all I know it still is.
So, if you're a college student living in a run-down condo with a locked oven that smells like a chicken pot pie when turned on... I'm sorry.