Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas is coming, the staff are getting fat

(Not to mention Dr. Grumpy)

December, at least for me, is the worst month in my practice. The schedule is usually half-empty as people try to postpone things to after the holidays ("maybe my right arm will start working before the new year"). Patients have a million things come up at the last minute and can't come in. Most irritatingly, my epilepsy patients always get so damn busy that they forget to take their pills, and then have a seizure, and then get angry at me because they can't drive for a month and go Christmas shopping. Like it's MY fault!

But the biggest office issue this time of year is food. The holidays offer a perfect storm.

Like many medical practices, my staff and I depend on drug reps to help supply our nutritive needs. We average 2-3 drug company lunches (occasionally breakfasts) per week, and with the leftovers get 5 days out of it. Sometimes even enough to take home.

But in December, that starts to vanish. Many reps take vacations, or have mandatory time-off. A lot of them find they've gone over-budget for the year, and so to balance it out they cut lunches in December. So we're left with the prospect (gasp!) of foraging for ourselves!

The converging issue that makes this worse is what does come to the office. Every MRI place, lab, physical therapist, pharmacist, and grateful patient sends us trays of stuff. And not healthy stuff, either. Cookies, cakes, pastries, candies, cupcakes, donuts, chocolate covered anything, and other stuff. By the boatload.

So we eat this shit instead. And with fewer patients, we have more time to hang out in the back and chat and eat. And since we are all trying to save money for holiday gifts, we don't want to go get something healthy (like at McD's or Taco Bell).

(There are other options- a diabetes specialist down the hall from me puts all the sweets out in his lobby for the patients. Really.)

So our lunches become a selection of cookies, a few chocolates, and maybe a piece of pie (hey! it's apple pie! Isn't that healthy?).

And it's in this condition that I have to face my evil arch-enemy, the Wii Fit Trainer, who just delights in telling me how much my weight has gone up.

Fortunately I have the new Wii Fit Plus. And so far I've been killed repeatedly by giant wrecking balls on the obstacle course. It's so depressing I'm going to go have a cookie.

27 comments:

erichollins said...

My triathlon group had our holiday party on Sunday and there were three things at the party: alcohol, meat, and dessert. It was glorious.

I always try to bring a veggie or fruit tray to gatherings like this just to balance it out a bit and my stuff is always the first to go.

Amanda said...

The Wii Fit is evil. Everytime I get on it says "Oh" which sounds more like "Oh, well fatty, where have you been and what have you been eating".

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Amanda- yeah. I hate that "Oh" too, like "Oh! You've gained a lot!"

warmsocks said...

I take my doctor cakes and cookies. Jerky and a vegetable tray would seem weird!

~TH said...

One year when I was working in ICU, a family member brought us in a chocolate chip cookie dough cheese ball with graham cracker sticks to dip in it.

We devoured it, of course... tasted just like cookie dough.

She left the recipe... cream cheese... butter... brown sugar... powdered sugar...I'll stop there.

I've taken to making that same cheese ball over the holidays for all of my skinny friends.

Ann T. said...

Dear Dr. Grumpy,
That fresh stuff just won't make a gift basket. I don't know why.

In Louisiana, when Christmas ends, people start bringing Mardi Gras king cake to work until Lent begins. Small wonder nearly everyone in New Orleans is waddling their way across town.

So, anyway . .. got any brownies back there?

Ann T.

The Mother said...

We have the same problem. Plus our office girls are great bakers. They bring in pies and cakes. ACK!

We're doing P90X. Tony may yell at us for not pumping hard enough (and how he always knows is beyond me. I was always taught that the TV screen was a one-way kind of thing), but he does NOT check our current weight when we start.

Thank the iron pumping gods.

Old MD Girl said...

Does the Wii fit at least make a happy sound if you lose weight?

I gained 5 pounds the month I did a rotation that had pharma lunches. Despite the fact that I walked 4 miles a day to get there and back. Those lunches were AWESOME. And I'm glad they are prohibited where I work now.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Old MD Girl- No, it just shows you a graph of your progress.

If I banned rep food the staff would kill me. It's one of the perks.

Jacqueline said...

Hmmm...and no one brings in a Chick-Fil-A nugget tray? You do need some protein!

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Jacqueline- We've had those, but usually as a rep lunch.

moppie said...

So no more free pens but they can provide free lunches?

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Moppie- Lunches fall under educational activities, because they go over drug data with you. But the food they buy and money spent have to be within certain financial limits.

mommy-medic said...

I miss the free pens. and the post-it notepads. Of course we have to swipe them from hospitals because drug reps don't visit fire stations, but when I worked for the urologist..... what an array of- intresting to say the least- pens there were!!!

Enjoy your grub! (every once in a while people bring good stuff to eat, but they usually assume we do all the good cooking, and we DO, but they bring us leftovers- half a tray of stale sandwhiches with 4 inch thick bread and one slice of see-through mystery meat anyone?)

type1emt said...

I'd like to be a patient at the practice across
the hall...that's all I have to say.Living on (the equivelent of)carrot
sticks makes for a very Un-Merry December.

Anonymous said...

We provide after hours answering service for FREE for the 400 plus physicians in our area. About five of the 400 think to do anything to thank us for the service (might it be a kill the messenger mind set?)but one practice brings us a fruit basket about the size of a Volkswagen. Great gift. But we also like chocolate.

Anonymous said...

Well, my self-imposed 'semi-fast' through the next 7 days will work out through 12/22 and if I can lose some appetite by then, maybe keep going through the new year. And, I think I can lose 15 lbs by then. I've made it past a carry-in with two different kinds of homemade chocolate fudge, fried chicken, Hershey Kisses and Treasures, (the three peanut M&Ms don't count 'cause I do need some protein with the 10 shifts in a row), three kinds of salad with mayonnaise dressing, a gamut of homemade cookies and brownies. Today the pharmacy I'm working in is next to a kitchen putting out the best, most pervasive lasagne I've ever had the misfortune to catch a whiff of, and if I can run the gauntlet this afternoon past the bakesale at the grocery store on the way home...

Helen said...

My office is full of stuff staff bake and bring in, and now we're starting to get boxes of chocolates and baskets of stuff from clients. It's too tempting - I always give in.

Lyn said...

Perhaps there should be an obstacle course with giant wrecking balls between you and the food?

student dr. blaze said...

Last year I was working for a Bariatric Surgery practice (aka weight loss surgery) during the holidays. Two of the four staff members had undergone bypass themselves and couldn't eat any sweets. The third was the nutritionist (all 110 delectable pounds of her!). Then there was me. Since the surgeons were only on site for three half-days each, this meant that I, and I alone, was left to eat everything that the bariatric patients brought in to us because they couldn't eat it--in other words, all the dessert people gave them. Needless to say, I think I lived on desserts alone through december and january! At least it brought the food bill down, right?

Maha said...

I think I ate half my body weight in desserts and chocolate in my past 3 shifts alone. 90% of the staff are MAJOR foodies - and half of them are chocolate foodies. The piece de resistance - a 2 kg strawberry chocolate cheesecake. That's 2 KILLOgrams!

I'm just going to sit in front of the cath lab now.

Mr. Knucklehead said...

Here's where I get to break out a new joke I invented today...

My kids want a Wii Fit. Yeah, when I was a kid we had one of those. It was called a refrigerator box. We'd get all the neighborhood kids and see if WE FIT inside it.

Cue instant rimshot.

Ladyk73 said...

I hope I don't need therapy after I start playing with my new wii fit game. My dad is getting it for me for x-mas.

Of course I may use the Mi (is that right?) that my nephew made of me.....with a beard!

Anonymous said...

I have multiple chronic health problems, which means I have multiple specialists in addition to my primary. They take wonderful care of me, so I send them something special for the holidays. Today I realized that I had sent my male docs cookies, and sent my female docs fruit arrangements. Some weird sort of snack bias going on there.

auffer said...

you sure it wasn't an "ice box"??

Anonymous said...

I'm with Maha, just go sit in front of the Cath lab..Although I am the one calling the code blues at my joint, I hope someone has the sense to call mine. Funny this year alot of the Docs that bring us stuff are bringing us homemade presents..they all seem to be taking up crafts, I actually got a pretty handmade brooch and a knitted scarf! Signed: Hospital and BIG clinic switchboard operator.

Anonymous said...

The endocrinologist leaving sweets out for his patients reminds me of my Thanksgiving call at the VA. Where SOMEONE decided that EVERY patient should be offered pie, regardless of his/her dietary restrictions. I got about 300 pages for FSBG of 400! Gosh, I wonder why?

They should have just sprinkled the aspart on top!

 
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