Thursday, August 22, 2019

Big Donor

Dr. Grumpy: "How you doing today?"

Mr. Big Donor: "I'm tired. You wouldn't believe what happened to my daughter's husband last night."

Dr. Grumpy: "He okay?"

Mr. Big Donor: "My son-in-law, Todd, was hanging up some pictures last night and accidentally hammered his thumb. It was really killing him. Maybe he broke it. He ended up having to go to ER."

Dr. Grumpy: "Ouch. That must have hurt."

Mr. Big Donor. "So he finally went there around midnight, and they left him sitting in the lobby. He said they kept bringing all these people from ambulances in ahead of him, and this one lady who had something stupid, like chest pain, got taken right back."

Dr. Grumpy: "  "

Mr. Big Donor: "So he finally called me when he remembered I'm on the hospital foundation's board. I was so angry. I called Dr. Brown... you know him? He's CEO over there? I have his home number and woke him up and told him about this bullshit they were doing to Todd. He took care of it, and they got Todd back in the next 5 minutes. But it's such crap that I even had to do that. I mean, I'm not a doctor, but even I know how a health care system should work. But the dimwits in ER have no clue."

Monday, August 19, 2019

Seen in a chart

I have no idea what this means, or why it's listed as a therapy.

Thursday, August 15, 2019


About 10-15 years ago, there was an internist who took night call doing hospital admissions. He worked from 5pm - 7am, and I was usually there from 5am to 6pm, so we encountered each other a fair amount toward beginning and end of day.

He was an eccentric dude (though a good doc), the type who tends to be best working night shift. He always had a large briefcase with him. Everywhere. It never left his side. No one but him knew what was in it, was never seen open. He took it in patient rooms, the bathroom, the doctors lounge... everywhere.

Late one afternoon I got called to see a guy admitted for a minor stroke. He was a retired baseball Hall-of-Famer. So I went in, and was talking to he and his wife, doing my usual neurology stuff.

I’d just finished answering their questions when Weird Doc and his huge briefcase wandered in to do the admission. He came in, set the briefcase down. I handed him the chart, since I was done with it and headed for my next consult. He glanced at it, then said “OH MY GOD! YOU’RE MIKE HOMERUNSLAMMER! CAN I PLEASE HAVE YOUR AUTOGRAPH?”

He opened the briefcase. I may have been the only person on Earth (besides him) to have seen its contents. It was crammed full - and I mean REALLY full - of baseball cards. I'd never seen so many. All neatly arranged by teams and years.

He rummaged through it and pulled out the guy’s card from some year. And a pen. And a clipboard. and handed them to the patient. Somewhat stunned (I was kind of in shock myself) he signed it, handed it back, and the briefcase was closed.

Then he pulled his stethoscope out of his pocket and started business. "Thank you! So, what brings you to the hospital today?"

Monday, August 12, 2019

"I'll take that as a yes."

Dr. Grumpy: "Did you have a headache when these other symptoms occurred?"

Ms. Patient: "Well, I believe I may have, if that was my awareness of how I felt was to have had a headache at the time than it could have been that I was possibly aware of having a headache."

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Fun with EMR

I went to look up a patient's blood pressure trend at the hospital, but only found this:

People's lives depend on this, too. Don't that just make ya feel good?

Monday, August 5, 2019


I get in the hospital elevator with a 30-ish woman who's talking to someone on her cell phone. I hear:

"No, seriously, Sue, all the doctors here are idiots. Nurses, too. I mean, they tell me stuff about Mom's condition and tests and stuff, and I google it, and it always says the opposite of what they're saying. This place is a deathtrap. I'm trying to get her transferred somewhere else, where people know what they're doing."

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Love and marriage

While on call last weekend, I was trying to track down a few victims patients when I noticed my call partner's (Dr. Nerve) wife was in one of the rooms on the floor. So I went in to say hi.

Dr. Grumpy: "Hi... Wow, that's a big cast. What happened?"

Mrs. Nerve: "He talked me into going on one of his overnight hikes-to-hell yesterday, in Southstate Canyon. About halfway through I tripped on a rock and broke my ankle."

Dr. Grumpy: "Holy crap. Are you okay?"

Mrs. Nerve: "Yeah, they operated on it last night."

Dr. Grumpy: "That's a pretty remote area. Did he have to carry you out?"

Mrs. Nerve: "No, they sent a helicopter and airlifted me here. We were WAY off the regular road."

Dr. Grumpy: "Where is he?"

Mrs. Nerve: "No idea. After I broke the leg he called for the helicopter and left. He said he was going to finish the overnight hike, and would meet me back here today."

Monday, July 29, 2019

Random pictures

Okay, time to hit the mailbag for stuff you guys have sent in.

First, from the "what the hell does that mean?" files:

In the build-up to July 4, one reader noticed that this lonely fire-extinguisher isn't particularly reassuring if the whole pile goes up:

Then we have this sign, from the "look, I said it already" department:

Apparently the Utah Shakespeare festival is presenting one of the Bard's more popular works:

I'm guessing this newsflash was written by someone who really loved "Death Race 2000"

Reader A writes that her mother's recent attempt at baking bread came out vaguely obscene:

Another got this offer on his phone, and says that he personally wouldn't drink any product whose name sounds somewhat like "diarrhea."

Dr. K says that when he and his family were at a resort last month they put this up before Father's day:

And, lastly, it's kind of scary they have to remind people not to do this:

Thursday, July 25, 2019


Not-so-great moments with using Epocrates:

Monday, July 22, 2019


I'm sitting in my office with an elderly lady with Alzheimer's disease and her devoted son.

Dr. Grumpy: "So how's she been doing?"

Mr. Son: "Better, at least a little. I mean, her memory is still pretty bad, but she's calmer, and the nurses tell me she's more cooperative and isn't yelling since you started the new medication."

Dr. Grumpy: "Has she..."

Mr. Son's phone rings and he looks at it.

Mr. Son: "I better answer this, it's Casa DeMentia, her memory-care place. I'll put it on speaker phone in case you want to ask them anything... Hello? This is Mr. Son."

Susan: "Mr. Son, this is Susan. I'm the charge nurse at Casa DeMentia. I'm calling to let you know that your mother isn't in her room, and we've searched the building and grounds thoroughly and can't find her. We're afraid she somehow wandered off..."

Mr. Son and I both look at the patient, who's calmly sitting in my office leafing through an upside-down magazine.

Susan: "... so our security people are going to review video to see what happened, but I wanted to make you aware. I'm going to call the Grumpyville police for a Silver Alert, too, and..."

Mr. Son: "Um, my Mom is right here with me. We're at Dr. Grumpy's office. I signed her out at the front desk when I picked her up."


Susan: "Cindy, before you told me Mrs. Memory was missing, didn't you check the sign-out book first... WHY THE HELL NOT? You (expletive)."


Susan: "I'm so sorry to bother you Mr. Son. Will she be back for lunch?"

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Heading out

It's summer vacation time, gang.

I'll be heading out for a few weeks with my wild bunch.

Back sometime in the second half of July.

Until then, have a great summer. Or, if you're reading this from the southern hemisphere, have a great winter.

And so it begins.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Seen in a chart

Thank you, K!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Patient quote of the day

"I was watching health news on TV this morning. Did you know you can die if your heart isn't working right?"

Monday, June 17, 2019


Three elderly ladies are sitting on a bench outside the nursing home when an older gentleman walked by.

One of the ladies yelled out, “Hey, I bet we can guess how old you are!”

The old fellow said, “There is no way you can guess my age! I look great for my age.”

One of the women said, “Yes we can!”

“No, you can’t!”

“Can! Just drop your pants and undershorts and we'll tell your exact age.”

The gentleman was embarrassed, but wanted to prove they couldn't do it. So... he dropped his drawers and let it all hang out.

The ladies asked him to turn around a few times while they looked from different angles, then had him jump up and down twice.

They then whispered back and forth for a minute, and finally one said. “You're 87-years-old.”

The fellow was stunned. Standing with his pants down around his ankles, he asked, “You’re right. WOW! How in the world could you tell?”

There was a pause, then one woman answered “Last week we were all at your birthday party.”

Thank you, Webhill!
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