Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dumpster diving with Dr. Grumpy

After 10 years of faithful service, our office credit card machine won't be supported in 2011. Apparently some sort of new gadget is required. So I ordered one last week, and it came over the weekend.

Monday was a pretty frantic afternoon here, and Mary had to leave 15 minutes early to meet with her son's teacher. Since I was done with patients, and to procrastinate on dictations, I pulled out the old machine and installed the new, shiny, credit card gadget.

I tested it (it works) and on the way home tossed the old machine in the environmentally-friendly electronic recycling dumpster at Local Electronics Store.

So Tuesday morning Mary comes in, and runs back to my office. She looked frantic.


Mary: "Where's the old machine?!"

Dr. Grumpy: "I installed the new one last night."

Mary: "WHERE'S THE OLD MACHINE?!!!"

Dr. Grumpy: "I put it in the recycling dumpster down the street."

Mary: "I DIDN'T BATCH OUT AND CLEAR IT LAST NIGHT! I WAS IN A HURRY AND FIGURED I'D DO IT THIS MORNING!!!"

Dr. Grumpy: "Calm down, I mean, how much could be in it? 10 or 20 bucks?"

Mary: "$458!!!

Dr. Grumpy: "WHAT?!!!"

Mary: "You had a few cash-pay patients yesterday, and..."

Dr. Grumpy: "Is my first one here yet?"

Mary: "No."


I grabbed my coat and yelled to Pissy's staff we'd be back in a few minutes. Mary and I ran to my car, and drove over to the dumpster.

Someone had left the lid open overnight, and so there was snow on the pile of computer monitors, old hard drives, iPods, and cell phones. In conduct unbecoming a neurologist, I climbed into the dumpster and frantically dug through the snow (forgot my gloves at the office, too). Several downtown homeless people stopped to watch, and one kindly yelled that there weren't any cans in there.

I found the machine, tossed it to Mary, climbed out, and we sped back to the office.

While I was with the first patient Mary transmitted billing from the old doodad and wiped its memory.

My patient asked why I didn't have my usual Diet Coke on my desk. I told her I didn't need it.

29 comments:

Amanda said...

This is one of your best stories!

JannieCPH said...

This one will go down in history as vintage Grumpy .... So funny !!

Swami Dil said...

Don't need the Diet Coke.......dined at the dumpster today!!

The Mother said...

Never throw out a piece of electronic hardware. Ever.

Because as soon as you do, you will realize that you need that doohickey to match up with this doohickey, and you just tossed it.

(We are, right now, trying to find a serial drive to back up an old system. So I know this drill).

Kathy G said...

That's what happens when the boss starts doing stuff around the office :-)

Glad the story had a happy ending.

Azuka said...

This totally made my day.

Eileen said...

Men!!!!!!!!!!! Always ASK before chucking anything! This image will keep me going for MONTHS!

BTW - I know you're not a rheumatologist - but do you think this sort of adrenal rush might be a way of dealing with polymyalgia rheumatica and other autoimmune rubbish ailments? I only ask as some of us find that a coffee helps - other, of course, find the opposite.

Just wondered...

wv - hesti - well, just don't be next time!

Ben S said...

Instead of a separate machine, it can be cheaper (and easier) to get one integrated with the computer. It's also much faster not using dialup, and the better providers can give reports on transactions (so you wouldn't have to panic if something happened prior to batching). There are probably some medical practice-related programs that have built-in capability as well, but my knowledge of merchant services comes from retail sales.

Anonymous said...

Good training in case Congress further lowers doctors fees.

Had a good laugh, thanks.

The RPh said...

Funny story! But even funnier to me was the Google ad at the end of the comments for rental Dumpsters in my area! Gotta love Google ads!

Julie said...

i think you should issue Mary with a camera, so that dumpster diving moments can be captured and distributed ...

SuFu said...

I know the exact feeling. That's why I have all the lab data (20 years worth) backed up on a series of 1 TB drive I keep at home in a fire "proof" box. I'll pry never access 99.9% of it, but I know it's always safe and sound.

Maha said...

That was an unbelievably funny story! Glad you managed to find your machine but the visual of you dumpster diving is gonna keep me laughing for the rest of the week!

Crazed Nitwit said...

Hahahahaha. THe visual this story inspired: PRICELESS!

So happy you found the old machine.

Anonymous said...

Stored data is ultimately retrievable, even the last pages in the copier. The best bet is to remove any hard disc drives and destroy them.
I use a .357, does the job and is sort of fun. :)

Kat's Kats said...

Cost of old machine $worthless w/out support

Cost of new machine $more than you want to spend

Cost of watching Dr. Grumpy dumpster diving?? PRICELESS!!

smame - it's not a shame, it's more like Dr. Mame... but you really have to see the movie.

Anonymous said...

When the FDIC shuts down a bank, it pays a company to go in and remove any computer hard drives, AND pull the memory from copy machines, faxes, etc. It's almost scary how many electronics have "memory" and how it can be to erase it when you want to get rid of the electronic item.

ERP said...

Did you find anything else in there worth keeping? Like maybe a vintage Mac Plus?

RxKerBer said...

That was just about as good as the shower cleaner story.

Just Thelma said...

As soon as I read "Is my first one here yet?", I knew where this was going. You didn't disappoint!

Thanks for starting my day off with a great visual. That'll keep me chuckling all day!

Don said...

When I was between contracts, I would go bottle scrounging in town to get some exercise and bring in a little cash from redemptions. I often saw a surgeon from a local hospital at some of the same dumpsters in the wee hours or at the local redemption center. His territory and mine met at a few spots downtown. The local cops thought that anyone bottle scrounging was either a vagrant or a dementia patient, and most of the scroungers got questioned often. He carried in a pocket his hospital ID for those occasions. The MD was willing to go deeper into the dumpsters than I was, and he dressed appropriately. He looked worse than the local street people, but a very courteous man. He generally grossed about $20-25/week, but avoided his hospital's dumpsters since the custodial staff had first dibs.
Another scrounger was the plant manager of a large factory in the area. All 3 of us, and some others, have healthy cases of insomnia that the scrounging and walking helped ease.

Diana said...

I'm impressed you asked if there were any patients waiting for you first!

Nectarine said...

"condunt unbecoming a neurologist..."

This is something I wish I could have seen! Great story.

Anonymous said...

Repeat after me, five hundred times:

"I will not touch anything on Mary's desk."

"I will not touch anything on Mary's desk."

"I will not......(keep going, 497 more)


Pattie, RN

lovinmyjob said...

Wow!!! Glad to know you're not too proud to dumpster dive!!! This would have been a great opportunity to look for Christmas gifts.

arzt4empfaenger said...

The things we do for money!

Great story, Dr.G.! Thank you for the smile this evening!

Anonymous said...

Glad it wasn't Bring Your Child to Work Day!

In a few neighborhoods over you'd have been darn lucky to find it. Not only is there regular dumpster digging, but everything is in the proper recycling bin.

pharmacy chick said...

This post made my day!

SECRET PEPPER PERSON: said...

If I needed a neurologist I would see you knowing now that you are willing to dumpster dive. What an awesome human being. Most docs would have thrown Mary in head first or written it off.

 
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