Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Seen in an ER doc's note:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

This is a good thing

Mary: "Dr. Grumpy's office, this is Mary."

Miss Poppy: "Hi, I need to make an appointment with Dr. Grumpy."

Mary: "Okay, we can see you..."

Miss Poppy: "Wait, first, I need to know if you guys are connected to that big database where you can see which of your patients are getting narcotics from other doctors and when and how many and all that stuff."

Mary: "You mean the state monitoring program? Yes, we are."

Miss Poppy: "Never mind."


Monday, April 14, 2014

How ya doin'?

"It's been a busy year. I had to have all kind of treatments from the eye doctor. A few months ago I had this weird feeling in my eye, and had my friend Jan look at it. She's a librarian at the kids school, so I figured she reads all kinds of stuff. She thought maybe I had a fungus in my eye, and I'd once heard of a guy that happened to on the news, so it seemed like I should treat it. My oldest boy is on the high school football team - they were in the state playoffs last year if you remember - and is always having jock itch with burning and red stuff in his crotch. He has these tubes of fungus cream for it in his bathroom, so I rubbed it in my eye for a few days, but that only made things worse. So I went to the eye doctor and he said the cream wasn't supposed to go in my eye because it damaged something and I had to have all kinds of treatments for it. It really ticked me off because you'd think Jan should know better."

Friday, April 11, 2014

1 in 206

Dr. Grumpy: "Do you have any other medical issues?"

Mr. Methuselah: "They said I had arthritis on a bone somewhere. Do you know which one it would have been?"

Thursday, April 10, 2014

That's some pen

Annie: "Dr. Grumpy's office, this is Annie."

Mr. Waterman: "I need your help. The pharmacy is refusing to give me my seizure medicine! They claim you didn't order it. I know that's a lie, because I saw the doctor do it."

Annie: "Okay, let me look in your chart."

Mr. Waterman: "I'm all out, too."

Annie: "It looks like he wrote a prescription at your visit. Did you give it to them?"

Mr. Waterman: "Did I give what to them?"

Annie: "The prescription he wrote."

Mr. Waterman: "He didn't give me one! He sent it to them."

Annie: "But... In your chart it shows he gave you a handwritten script. What did you do with it?"

Mr. Waterman: "My copy? I tossed it. I didn't think I needed it."

Annie: "That was the prescription! Why did you throw it away?"

Mr. Waterman: "I figured it was sent from his pen as he was writing it."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dr. Grumpy: dementia magnet

The day is over. Mary left. I wander out in the hallway and am waiting for the elevator.

An older gentlemen in a tweed cap comes up to me:

Tweed Cap: "Excuse me, where is the cardiology suite?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Um, there's a cardiologist on the 4th floor, and another on the 8th. Do you know the doctor's name?"

Tweed Cap: "No, my sister had a heart attack earlier, and they told me she was here, in room 745."

Dr. Grumpy: "Oh, you're looking for the hospital. That's across the street."

Tweed Cap: "This isn't the hospital?"

Dr. Grumpy: "No, it's an office building."

Tweed Cap: "It looks like the hospital."

Dr. Grumpy: "No, you have to go outside, head east, and cross the street. There's a foot bridge over traffic."

The elevator opens and I get in it. So does Tweed Cap. I go down to the parking garage under the building and get out. So does Tweed Cap.

Tweed Cap: "So now we are in the hospital?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, no, this is a parking garage."

Tweed Cap: "But it connects to the hospital, doesn't it?"

Dr. Grumpy: "No. See that staircase over there? Take it up 1 flight, and you'll see the hospital right in front of you. There's a bridge across the street there, and you can take it right over."

Tweed Cap: "Thank you."

He got back in the elevator and the doors closed.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Great headlines

"Quick, Phil, get a headline ready that we can edit to use regardless of who wins."

p.s. The picture is also from the wrong game.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Seen in a hospital chart:

So, based on this detailed exam, we can assume which of the following:

The patient...

A. Is dead, and the doctor is in the morgue by mistake.

B. Has escaped, and left a mannequin in the bed.

C. Is a parrot.

D. Wait, how the hell is that part of a mental status exam?

E. The doctor billed this as a level 5 visit.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Quote of the day

"I take a blood pressure pill, or maybe it's for my cholesterol. Actually it might be a blood thinner. Anyway, it's one of those."

Thursday, April 3, 2014


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

Mr. 12A: "No."

Lady 12A: "Your mom had diabetes."

Mr. 12A: "Is that major?"

Lady 12A: "I think it's major."

Mr. 12A: "I don't."

Lady 12A: "What do you consider major?"

Mr. 12A: "Where did you go to medical school?"

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Poke into others as you'd have poked into you?

Ya know, I heard the Golden Rule a lot in childhood, but don't remember this part of it...

Gives a new meaning to "the Midas touch," eh?

Thank you, BW!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why I do what I do

It's been 4 years since I last ran this piece, and I think it's worth putting up again.

It ain't much to look at.

Two, maybe three pounds of grayish-white goop. It's not even solid in a living person. More like Jello that floats around in it's vault.

But it's amazing. From that sloppy goop has come remarkable stuff. It's sent a robot to land on a moon of Saturn. It's explored the bottom of our deepest oceans. Built the Taj Mahal. The Great Wall of China. Painted the Mona Lisa.

Go listen to the remarkable Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor". Not just the famous opening 30 seconds or so, but the whole 9-10 minute thing. That all came from the goop, long before it was heard or played on an instrument, it was just a series of electric signals jumping from nerve to nerve. The piece is over 300 years old. The mind that created it has been dead for over 250 years. And humans will likely be listening to it long after my great-great-great-grandchildren are dust.

The soul is there. The heart is amazing, but for all our romantic beliefs about it, who we really are is floating around in the goop. It's where hate, love, and everything in between comes from.

It's capable of terrible evil, such as the Holocaust, and remarkable good. Look at the outpouring of altruism that follows disasters. I love my dogs, but if something bad happens to a dog on the next street, they're not going to care. Yet the goop wants to help people who we've never met and have no direct impact on our own lives

My regular readers know I'm interested in maritime history. Why? I have no idea. It's just been a subject I've loved as long as I can remember. I've never been in the navy. The family military history consists of grandparents who served in the army, but never were sent overseas. I can only assume there is some particular molecular structure in my goop that makes me interested in it. Or that made me want to treat other people's goop for a living.

Twin and biological studies have shown that most of who we are is how we came here. Yes, life experiences and background count for something, but the goop is most of it. People with conservative beliefs raise kids who turn out to be liberals, and vice versa, no matter how hard they may try to pass on their beliefs.

Coke vs. Pepsi. Dogs vs. Cats. Mac vs. Windows. I suspect whatever makes us fall on one side or the other of these great philosophical issues is 95% or more in the goop, and we just come that way.

Everything you are, have been, and will be. Have desired, dreamed of, and done. Have felt. It all comes from a few pounds of goop.

And this fascinates me. Because, let's face it, we're just another part of the planet. A collection of complex molecules, electrical impulses, and chemical reactions. That's all people. Anatomically, all humans are pretty much the same. And we're not that different from other mammals. The difference in our genetic sequence vs. that of a mouse ain't much.

And yet that small amount of difference has led to amazing results. The ability to think beyond our own biological needs and to see the world around us for the beauty it contains. To watch a sunset and be in awe, even though we understand the science behind it. And to look up at the night sky, and wonder.

And that never bores me.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Mary's desk

Mary: "Dr. Grumpy's office, this is Mary."

Ms. Urgent: "I need to see your doctor right away! My doctor told me to call you guys!"

Mary: "Well, he's out of town this week, but next week we can see you on..."

Ms. Urgent: "Well, how far away is he? I mean, like where he could drive back tomorrow to work me in?"

Mary: "No, he's gone until next week. Now..."

Ms. Urgent: "But I need to see him! Doesn't he have a partner or something?"

Mary: "No, we're a solo practice."

Ms. Urgent: "What about you? Can I see you? You work there."

Mary: "I'm a secretary, ma'am."

Ms. Urgent: "But still, you must have learned enough just from working there!"

Mary: "No. Anyway, next week we have..."

Ms. Urgent: "I could be dead by next week! And don't tell me to go to ER, either! I'm tired of going to ER's. Why isn't the doctor there, anyway?"

Mary: "He took his kids to go visit family. Now, we can..."

Ms. Urgent: "You mean he goes on vacations? What the hell? Doctors shouldn't be allowed to do that! They trade that in to care for people!"

(hangs up)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring break

Due to my kids having this week off, we're going to visit family in warmer weather. I will return on March 31, 2014.

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