Friday, December 9, 2016

Gift guide

Life is full of tough decisions, especially when you have $85 to blow. What should you spend it on?

Like most people, you're probably thinking "if only there was a decent rock in a leather half-pouch I can get for only $85, but I can't find one."

Fortunately, Nordstrom has heard your cries, and is now selling exactly that: a solid rock, found somewhere in the Los Angeles area, and lovingly sewn into a leather case.

"You're shitting me, right?"

Order it here. The possibilities are endless! You (or the lucky recipient) can use this $85-rock-in-a-half-leather-case as a paperweight, doorstop, or artistic commentary on sado-masochism's relationship to classical philosophy's effects on the fabric of human relationships.

And, best of all, when someone asks "What did you get for Christmakuh?" You can say...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Breaking news

Keeping you up to date on the world around you, we at the Grumpy Neurological Emporium news division strive to bring you the most important stories.

Dateline: Florida.

A car with 4 days of parking tickets all over the windshield was found to have a dead body inside, slumped over the steering wheel. The unfortunate man had apparently died of natural causes shortly after getting into his vehicle.

The city of Fort Lauderdale has kindly agreed to dismiss the accumulated parking fines due to "extenuating circumstances."

Dateline: Oregon

Craig Buckner, after being arrested on drug charges (he'd fallen asleep while waiting outside a courtroom on other charges and was drug tested - I swear)  was worried about his pet parrot's well-being. This is understandable, as the bird (imaginatively named "Bird") had been left outside the building in a tree.

Mr. Buckner was allowed to retrieve Bird the bird, but then Bird refused to be separated from him when they took the mugshot. After a few attempts officers decided to wing it, and snapped the picture anyway:

(Photo: Multnomah County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Dateline: Florida (again)

Unidentified burglars climbed over a backyard fence at night, hoping to break into a house. Due to them failing to scope out the area in advance, they landed on top of the owner's beehive, knocking it over.

The occupants were buzzing mad about beeing woken up, and chased away the evildoers.

Local hospitals have been asked to bee on the lookout for anyone coming in with an unusual number of stings.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

This time of year festive is everything. We all want to look festive, act festive, and be so sickeningly festive that total strangers will give us money to go away.

Of course, all this festivity comes to naught if your anus doesn't smell equally festive, too.

Fortunately, Tesco (the same company that brought you horsemeat burgers and bolognese sauce) is, for a limited time only, selling...

Mulled spice scented toilet paper!

Yes, now you can smell holiday-fresh EVERYWHERE (and I mean everywhere). But you better hurry, because this cosmetic necessity is only available until December 23.

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! If having an invigoratingly holiday-smelling rectum isn't enough for you, you can now get mulled spice scented toilet bleach! Just in case Santa needs to use the john and puts his head below the rim to make sure you're on his nice list.

And (I SWEAR!) this toilet bleach is not only scented, but the site says it's safe for use by vegetarians and vegans.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

Nikolaos of Myra was born in 270 A.D. in the area now called Turkey.

And today I suspect a lot of seismic activity in the middle east is caused by him spinning rapidly in his grave. Because this is the man who, over roughly 1500 years, became Santa Claus in Western culture, appearing in shopping malls, used car lots, TV specials, Viagra commercials, movies, condom ads, and heaven knows what else.

I think Nikolaos would be pretty horrified by the whole spectacle of what he's become.

Even more horrifying, at least to me, are the Santa-themed business suits that are promoted as things you can wear to important meetings this time of year. I suppose this is a measure of job security. The only men likely to wear these outfits are the ones who know they can't be fired and those who want to be.

What am I talking about? Not the generic St. Nick suit that abounds on fat bearded guys working in department stores this time of year, but these hideous ensembles of jacket, slacks, and a tie:

"Hey, ladies, want to check out my sack?"

"The sneakers are for running, since this outfit is a chick magnet."

These are not, I must stress, pajamas. For PJ's they might be sort of cute. But no, someone designed and is selling them as standard business attire for this time of year.

So here's a perfect gift for the guy who... (let me get back to you on that). 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Dr. Grumpy: "Any major illnesses in your family?"

Mrs. Time: "No, actually a lot of longevity. My mother would have lived to 100, I mean, if she'd made it another 24 years."

Monday, November 28, 2016

Here we go!

As we near the end of another trip around the sun, it's again time for the annual...

Dr. Grumpy's Gift Guide!

I'm going to kick off this year with something truly meaningful. After all, in cultures around the world, motherhood is revered.

So what would be an ideal gift for your growing child to always remember mom by? Something meaningful, lasting, powerful...

I know! What could be more appropriate than jewelry made from your very own breast milk?

Featuring an array of bracelets, rings, and pendants, you can now remind your child, or yourself, or the guy who knocked you up, of all the sacrifices you made for them during your "nursing journey" (that's what the site calls breastfeeding, I swear).

Cookies not included.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Heading out for the holiday

Back on Monday!

Have a good one, and try not to get killed in a Walmart Friday morning at 2:45 a.m. in a fight over the last "Fondle Me Elmo" doll.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Weekend reading

Trapped by the dropping temperatures and unexpected snow this weekend, I got caught up on some medical reading. I thought I'd share some of it with you:

The driving abilities of patients with Alzheimer's Disease worsen as the disease progresses. In addition, people with Alzheimer's Disease were more likely to have trouble with driving and other complex tasks than age-matched controls without cognitive problems (Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, May 11, 2016).

Patients who suffered a massive stroke requiring neurosurgical decompression, and survived the whole thing, were more likely to be dependent on others for long-term care than those who didn't make it (New England Journal of Medicine, September 7, 2016).

Friday, November 18, 2016

Beware of the Dragon

Seen in a chart:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Tracy: "Hello?"

Annie: "Hi, this is Annie at Dr. Grumpy's office. I was trying to set up the MRI for you..."

Tracee: "What time should I be there?"

Annie: "Well, we were looking for old studies to do a comparison. They had a few past MRI's for someone with the same last name and birthday, but the first names were all slightly different."

Tracey: "Oh, they're all me."

Annie: "All you?"

Traysee: "Yeah, I like to spell it different whenever I feel like it."

Annie: "Okay..."

Tracie: "That way it's special."

Annie: "Indeed it is."

Monday, November 14, 2016


I was a neurology resident, doing a rotation at a large county hospital. Like most county hospitals, it served a predominantly indigent population.

I was in my 2nd year of residency, 3 years out from medical school and in my late 20's.

She was the same age. I'd been consulted because she couldn't afford her epilepsy medication and had a seizure. She was also pregnant with her 4th child. So she was in the OB ward of the county hospital.

I had a job, an apartment a few miles away, a 4-year-old car in the parking lot, and a girlfriend (now Mrs. Grumpy).

She was homeless. None of her kids had the same fathers. She bounced between different shelters and whichever guy would take her and her kids in for a few days.

I'd showered that morning. She and her kids smelled awful, and obviously hadn't bathed recently.

I was in a generic shirt, tie, and pants from Target, with the required white coat. She and her kids were in tattered clothes from a donation center.

As I talked to her, scribbling her history down on my note pad, I suddenly realized I knew her.

10 years earlier we'd been in the same year in high school. We took PE, economics, typing, social studies, and chemistry together. We weren't close friends, but knew each other and said "hi" in the halls and local stores when we crossed paths. I suddenly had a vivid memory of her running to third base when I hit a single in a softball game.

I didn't mention it, and if she recognized me she didn't say so. I don't think she did. Her chart was huge, and I was just another in an endless stream of residents she dealt with on her frequent admissions. I restarted her seizure med and folic acid and she was discharged later that day. I went to another rotation the next week and never saw her again.

To this day I think of her. We came from the same upper-middle class backgrounds. We went to high school in American suburbia. Her parents were as successful in their area as were mine. Not wealthy, but comfortable, with expectations for their kids of college and a job and self-sufficiency.

I wondered how she got there. In 10 years we'd landed in very different lives. Had she made bad choices? Drugs? Alcohol? Had she just encountered terrible shit luck that all of us dread happening to us? A marriage gone bad? Domestic violence? A financial catastrophe beyond her control? I remembered seeing her and her parents posing for a picture at graduation. Did they know where she'd landed?

Sometimes, while trying to sleep, I think of her sitting there. I wonder if she's still on the streets. If she got her shit together and was able to move out of poverty. If she's even still alive. I'll probably never know.

Maybe she did something stupid, the kind of thing where all of us living in comfort can say "that would never happen to me, I'd never do something like that." Or maybe the circumstances were entirely beyond her control, the kind of financial clusterfuck nightmare that all of us dread destroying everything we have and work for.

I'll never know the answer. But the encounter always reminds me how much of life can be terrifying random chance, no matter how much we'd like to believe otherwise.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Seen in a chart:

Monday, November 7, 2016

Saturday, 12:23 p.m.

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

Mr. Sativa: "Hi, um, you saw me for headaches last year, and referred me to a headache specialist, and I kind of have an emergency, and I can't reach him."

Dr. Grumpy: "Okay... What's up?"

Mr. Sativa: "Well, that doctor suggested marijuana, and it works fine, but this morning my dog Mojo ate it all, and now he's really sleepy. I mean, he's breathing, but I can't wake him up. What should I do?"

Dr. Grumpy: "I'd call your vet. I don't treat dogs."

Mr. Sativa: "Oh, I hadn't thought of that."

Dr. Grumpy: "Okay, good luck and..."

Mr. Sativa: "With a stoned dog, um, should I play music or something?"


Dr. Grumpy: "I'd go with Dark Side of the Moon."

Mr. Sativa: "Cool! Thanks, doc. I'll call the vet now."

Friday, November 4, 2016


Trying to figure out why a lady was coming to see me, I called the other doctor's office and asked them to fax over the most recent chart note.

This is all I got:

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