Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween stories...

Hopkinsville, Kentucky is a small town in the western part of the state. There's a farm on the outskirts of town. And on August 21, 1955 it's owners were the Suttons. Their friends the Calloways were visiting from Pennsylvania.

The house didn't have running water. Around 7:00 p.m. Billy Taylor went out to the pump for a drink, and noticed a strange light in the sky. He told the others about it, and it was assumed to have been a shooting star... for a while.

An hour later weird things began happening. Odd noises began to surround the house, and the family dog began barking wildly. It then dug itself under the home, where it stayed until the next day.

Thinking there was a trespasser, Billy Taylor and Lucky Sutton got a pair of rifles and went outside. Across the yard they saw a small creature, about 3 feet high, with glowing eyes, large ears, and taloned arms. It was wearing a silver outfit. It didn't move it's legs as it suddenly began gliding toward them.

When it kept coming, they both raised their guns and fired. There was a sound like rocks being thrown against metal, and the creature flipped over backwards, then vanished.

Billy and Lucky started to walk in its direction. But as they stepped off the porch, another creature standing on the roof reached down and grabbed their hair. Both dropped back and fired again, with the same results- the rattling sound, and the thing vanishing.

The evening quickly became a nightmare. How many of the strange creatures there were is unknown, but they were everywhere around the house. They scratched at the roof. They'd peer in windows, and the frightened family would shoot at them. The glass broke, followed by the same rattling noise and the creatures briefly disappearing. But they always came back.

The nightmarish visitation continued. After 3 hours the families had a chance to get to their cars, and drove into town.

At the local police station they were found to be terrified, sober, and "the type of people who normally didn't run to the police". The officers specifically noted that the families did not appear to have been drinking.

Police investigated the scene, finding the house damaged by gunfire. But the strange creatures were gone. Although they weren't seen at other houses that night, strange lights were, and odd sounds reported.

Over the years the family members have been interviewed several times. Their stories are consistent, suggesting that they all witnessed the same traumatic event. They were generally felt to be honest people who'd experienced something mysterious and frightening.

Those who are still alive rarely talk about it to reporters, but in 2002 Lucky Sutton's daughter said "It was a serious thing to him. It happened to him. He said it happened to him. He said it wasn't funny. It was an experience he said he would never forget. It was fresh in his mind until the day he died. It was fresh in his mind like it happened yesterday. He never cracked a smile when he told the story because it happened to him and there was nothing funny about it. He got pale and you could see it in his eyes. He was scared to death."

Many explanations for the events of that night have been made, including escaped circus monkeys, Great Horned Owls, and inevitably, a hoax. The U.S. Air Force investigated, and found no answers. To this day the case is labeled as unsolved.

But not forgotten...

After the 1977 success of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Steven Spielberg was asked to make a sequel called Night Skies. This time, far from the benign visitors of Close Encounters, the aliens came to terrorize us. The movie was based on the Hopkinsville Encounter, which Spielberg had heard about while researching Close Encounters. Models and storyboards were done. The lead alien had a long glowing finger that killed animals it touched. Another alien was more friendly, and befriended a human child.

For various reasons Night Skies was never made. But it wasn't forgotten, and eventually the idea became 3 other Spielberg films.

The idea of malignant aliens taking over a home and terrorizing it's occupants gradually changed, and in 1982 was released as the horror film Poltergeist.

The same idea was reused in 1984, but this time the idea of the single friendly alien was in the plot. The movie was Gremlins.

And the third movie?

The evil animal-killing alien leader (with the glowing finger) from Night Skies was combined with his friendly colleague, and the 1982 film was called E.T.

Have a happy Halloween, everybody.

And never, ever, ever feed them after midnight.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Robbing a bank takes a lot of things. This apparently includes pants with button-able pockets.

Because you REALLY don't want to accidentally have your wallet fall out while making your getaway.

It's embarrassing.

Thank you to my reader Lee for submitting this.

Day at the Grumpy house

Mrs. Grumpy: "Ibee, can you get mmmph (inaudible)?"

Dr. Grumpy: "I can't hear you!"

Frank: "Aye, aye, captain!"

Nip & Tuck, D.V.M.

I'd like to thank my reader Webhill for sending this in. She says it's on her way to work.

What we have here is a cleaners/tailor shop that offers "Express Alterations"

And they're advertising next to another business, a veterinarian that specializes in cat surgery.

(click to enlarge)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Anatomy 101

Mrs. Dizzy: "My right ear is all clogged. I can barely hear. I think the fallopian tube there is plugged up."

The verdict

Dr. Grumpy, for the record, is not a big fan of McDonald's. Nothing personal, I'm just not a fast food person. Like all parents, I end up stopping there on road trips to feed the kids, but I've personally never liked fast food.

But on this one, I'm going to have to side with the Golden Arches. They lost a lawsuit to a manager, who claimed he gained weight from working there.

Excuse me?

Yep. You heard that. A court in Sao Paulo, Brazil, awarded a guy $17,500 on the grounds that his job at McD's made him fat (he gained 65 lbs. over 12 years). He blamed this on the company offering free lunches to employees, as well as feeling "pressured" to frequently taste the food himself to make sure it was good.

Nowhere in the article does it say specifically what the guy was tasting, but I doubt if it was a bag of McLettuce. It also doesn't explain why he couldn't find the time to exercise in 12 years, but I guess that was McD's fault, too. Nor does it mention whether he ever considered changing to a less appetizing job, such as managing a manure farm.

I think the only thing that I find reassuring here is that the case happened in Brazil. We Americans are so used to thinking of the U.S. as the land of the frivolous lawsuit, that it's nice to know the rest of the world is the same. People are people, and the human capacity to blame someone else is infinite.

Here's the original article.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hairs leap off like lemmings

You needed an urgent appointment because you had a seizure this morning. We got you in 90 minutes after you called.

You demanded I do something, so I suggested increasing your medication. You said you couldn't handle the side effects as it is.

So I recommended we change you to another medication. You told me that wasn't acceptable either.

Then you asked me why I wasn't doing anything to help you, when you clearly needed my help.

So I suggested we refer you to an epilepsy specialist at Humungous Neurology, Inc. And you accused me of trying to dump you, without even doing anything to help you.

What the hell do you people want from me? Magic?

Another day at the office

Annie was standing in the hallway. I wasn't sure if she was laughing, or crying, or both.

I asked her what was up.

One of my patients had called. He wanted to report that ONLY his left-sided pubic hairs had fallen off as a side effect of his headache pills. The right side was fine.

He'd even emailed us a picture (with his winkie tastefully hidden by a washcloth). In the interests of decency, I'm not putting it up here.

It looked like just a bad shaving job, complete with stubble and razor burn on the left side.

Why? Why? Why?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Starting out on the right foot

Dr. Grumpy: "So we'll start you on Aspirin. Dr. Internist is going to work on bringing down your blood pressure and controlling your diabetes. I've set up for physical therapy to get you started on an exercise program. Is that all clear?"

Mr. Tia: "Yeah. I know what I need to do. Take the medications, and focus on exercise and weight loss."

Dr. Grumpy: "That's going to be key. Other questions?"

Mr. Tia: "Yeah, is there a lunch place near here called Phil's?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, not sure. Why?"

Mr. "Oh, my buddy told me it's around here, and to try the hot Italian beef and cheese sandwich if I'm ever in the area."

Mary's Desk

Last week

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

Mrs. Freek: "Yeah, this is Ima Freek, I need to make a follow-up appointment with you. I saw Dr. Grumpy 8 years ago, and need to come back."

Mary: "Okay, hang on... You're not in our system. Are you sure you were here?"

Mrs. Freek: "Of course. I remember your lobby, with all the golf posters, and the golf clubs on the walls."

Mary: "Oh, that's not us. That's Dr. Darth down the street. Let me give you his number."

Mrs. Freek: "No, that's okay, I'm fine seeing a different doc. Can I come in next week?"

Mary: "Sure. Tuesday at 3:00. See you then."

This week

Mrs. Freek: "Hi, I'm here for my appointment. What happened to your lobby?"

Mary: "Nothing. It's been this way for years."

Mrs. Freek: "What did you guys do with all the golf stuff?"

Mary: "We never had that. I told you, that's Dr. Darth down the street."

Mrs. Freek: "Wait a minute... You mean the golf-club doctor isn't here?"

Mary: "No. I told you that on the phone. You said you wanted to come in, anyway."

Mrs. Freek: "I can't believe you misrepresent yourself as part of another office!"

Mary: "Ma'am, I explained that..."

Mrs. Freek: "I'm leaving! This is criminal!"

(storms out, comes back a minute later)

Mrs. Freek: "Hey, I left my cell phone at home. Can you call Dr. Darth to see if he has an opening this afternoon?"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's, um, for my sinuses.

Dude, I'm sorry if you're having trouble with your dealer, and he sold you some bad shit that he lied about being marijuana.

It's just wrong to rip you off like that.

But, in all honesty, calling the police to report him was NOT a good idea.

What the hell?

(cell phone rings, it's the kids' school)

Dr. Grumpy: "Hello?"

Miss Hourlywage: "Yeah, I'm calling about your son, Frank."

Dr. Grumpy: "Yes?"

Miss Hourlywage: "I'm writing him up for saying a bad word."

Dr. Grumpy: "Really? What did he say?"

Miss Hourlywage: "I don't know."

Dr. Grumpy: "You're writing him up for saying something, and you don't know what he said?"

Miss Hourlywage: "Yeah."

Dr. Grumpy: "Can I talk to someone who heard what he said?"

Miss Hourlywage: "Nobody heard what he said. He was in the room by himself when it happened."

Dr. Grumpy: "So how do you know he said something bad?"

Miss Hourlywage: "The other girl who works here told me."

Dr. Grumpy: "Can I talk to her?"

Miss Hourlywage: "She's off today, but she told me."

Dr. Grumpy: "When did this happen?"

Miss Hourlywage: "This morning."

Dr. Grumpy: "So if she's off today, how does she know what he said this morning, if he was in the room alone anyway?"

Miss Hourlywage: "Look, I'm just doing my job."


I would like to mark the passing of my political idol, Paul the Octopus, who died this morning in Germany.

For those of you who didn't read this post on him a few months back, I respected Paul's ability to correctly predict solutions in international disputes, and strongly backed him for the job of President/Prime Minister/Chief Goombah of Earth.

Paul was 2 1/2, which is apparently getting up there for an octopus.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Drug rep moments

Rikki Drugrep: "Doctors, Nopain is the only non-sedating, non-effective, treatment for these patients."

(Dr. Pissy starts snickering)

Rikki Drugrep: "I'm sorry, I meant non-sedating and non-addictive, treatment."

October 25, 1918

Vanderbilt Reef is a small, rocky island in the Alaskan inside passage, south of Skagway. It's just slightly above the water. Every summer it's passed by thousands of tourists on cruise ships, who take scant notice of it breaking the surface as they go by...

The inside passage has been, and remains, a critical waterway for both the U.S. and Canada. In summer it's dominated by cruise ships, but it also supports many communities. Due to geography and climate, roads and trains have difficulty getting to several areas. So ships are still a major source of supplies, travel, and trade.

At the start of the 20th century, this vital waterway was served by ships designed to transport both passengers and freight, whichever was needed. One was the Princess Sophia.

S.S. Princess Sophia

She was a modern ship by the day's standards, with wireless communications and electric lighting throughout. Though not as luxurious as the big Atlantic liners, she was considered quite comfortable.

In late October, 1918 the Princess Sophia was making a typical inside passage run, stopping at several ports in Alaska and Canada. She carried 343 passengers and crew, and was commanded by Captain Leonard Locke.

On October 25, at around 2:00 a.m. she drifted off course in a snowstorm and ran aground, quite hard, on Vanderbilt Reef. The force of the impact drove most of the ship out of the water and up on the rock. And there she sat, stuck. Although her bottom was badly damaged, she was perched high and dry out of the water. The engines and electricity were still running.

Princess Sophia grounded on the reef. The object in the foreground is a navigation marker.

A distress call was sent out immediately, and within a few hours a number of rescue vessels surrounded the beached ship. The storm had died down.

Captain Locke faced a difficult decision. The rocky area was exposed at low tide, making rescues dangerous for the coming boats. To add to the problem, in 1904 the steamship Clallam, under similar circumstances, had started to evacuate passengers into lifeboats. The boats capsized, killing 54 people. Rescue boats were later able to get everyone else off safely.

Since the Princess Sophia, stuck up on land, was in no immediate danger, the decision was made to wait on the evacuation until the afternoon's high tide.

By the time afternoon came, the weather was rapidly worsening. Strong winds whipped up violent seas, making approaches by the rescue craft impossible. Lifeboats couldn't be safely launched. Between Captain Locke and the rescue boat captains, they decided to postpone the evacuation until the next day. Although damaged, the Princess Sophia was high out of water, the power was operating, and it's people were secure. The rescuers returned to port to ride out the storm, and lodging arrangements were made on shore for when the passengers were taken off in the morning.

The afternoon storm became a gale. Then violent waves submerged the reef- and the Princess Sophia began partially floating again. Strong winds and waves blew her back off the reef and back into the water.

Except now she was a ship with her bottom torn out from the day's damage.

At 16:50 her wireless operator began frantically calling for help. The rescue vessels began to return, but a blizzard had started, limiting visibility to a few yards. Heavy seas broke over their decks in cascades. They tried to find Vanderbilt Reef, but in this condition were in real danger of striking the rocks (and each other). Realizing that nothing could be done except lose their own ships, they reluctantly returned to port.

The next morning the weather had improved, and the boats set out at first light for Vanderbilt Reef hoping to find survivors.

But all that was left of the Princess Sophia was her mast, sticking up from the wreck below.

Picture taken as boats arrived in the morning. The triangular navigation buoy is the same one seen in the previous picture. The Princess Sophia's mast is on the right.

Floating bodies were everywhere, covered in thick layers of oil. They continued to wash ashore for months, and many were removed from the ship by divers. Quite a few were children. Some were buried in Juneau, others in Vancouver. Their graves are marked in local cemeteries today.

343 people were lost. The only survivor was a dog, which belonged to a couple on board. It had swum to a nearby island and was rescued a day later.

The Princess Sophia made local headlines, but was forgotten on a larger scale. World War I came to an end shortly afterwards, and a worldwide flu pandemic that would kill 50 million people was raging. These 2 events quickly pushed the Princess Sophia from the newspapers.

The wreck today is completely submerged off Vanderbilt reef, passed annually by cruising tourists unaware of the tragedy beneath them.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Since I'm insanely swamped today, I thought I'd post this story from February, 2009, when my only followers were my dogs.

Highlight of call this weekend was a 20-something guy I saw for a head injury.

He had a fight with his girlfriend outside a restaurant and said he was going to teach her a lesson.

So he began repeatedly banging HIS head against the concrete sidewalk until he was covered with blood. At that point the police and paramedics pulled up, and so he began banging his head repeatedly on the police car's windshield until he shattered it

He then went back to beating his head on the sidewalk, which continued until the cops tasered him and the paramedics gave him a dose of Valium.

The admitting diagnosis was "Self Assault"

Exactly what lesson his girlfriend learned from this is unclear, but I suspect it had something to do with getting another boyfriend.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

On call follies

Dr. Grumpy: (looking at MRI film) "Looks like they did the surgery on the right side of your brain."

Mr. Craniotomy: "No, they did it in Missouri."

Friday afternoon

Dr. Grumpy: "Are you a smoker, sir?"

Mr. Camel: "No, not at all. I'm trying to quit."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Today's tip

People, if you're going to burglarize houses for a living, it is NOT recommended that you call the cops to report your getaway car has been stolen.

Like this fellow.

"Does your friend want fries with that?"

Cops: Woman drove around with dead body for months

(10-21) 14:59 PDT Costa Mesa, Calif. (AP) --

Police said Thursday they are conducting an investigation after discovering that a Southern California woman drove around, possibly for months, with the body of a homeless woman in her passenger seat.

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Thank you, Kayden, for submitting this.

Boy, that was tough

As you guys know, I do medical market research surveys as a sideline. Most of them have a few screener questions to make sure you qualify.

So today, I had this.

"We will now be asking you some screening questions to be sure you qualify for this study."

I clicked okay, and we went to the next screen. This question appeared:

"Are you willing to take this survey in return for the listed honorarium? [YES] [NO]"

I clicked [YES], and it went to the next screen, which said this:

"Congratulations! You've qualified to participate in this research."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Alrighty, then!

Dr. Grumpy: "Any more questions about the side effects?"

Mr. Pillz: "No, I think you've answered them... I'm just skittish about it. I mean, I hate pills. I haven't taken any in years. I never go to the drugstore. I'm not even sure where to get this filled."

Dr. Grumpy: "Is there a pharmacy near you?"

Mr. Pillz: "Yes, a Walgreen's at 5752 E. Dingo Lane, 1 block east of me. Their number is 867-5309."

Product testimonials

Yesterday I saw Mrs. Dementia, who's a sweet old lady who lives with her son.

Dr. Grumpy: "So at her last visit I started your mom on Remembra, for Alzheimer's disease. How's she been doing?"

Mr. Son: "Great doc, she's much better!"

Dr. Grumpy: "In what way?"

Mr. Son: "She's clearer. Like, she goes out for walks every night. The neighbors or police used to call us 3 or 4 times a week to say they found her lost somewhere. Since starting the drug they only call about once a week."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another moron!

Look, people, if you're going to steal clothes from Wal-Mart by putting on new ones in the dressing room, then leaving your old ones behind and wearing the new ones out of the store...

You should ALWAYS remember to remove your wallet and ID from your old pants before abandoning them.

Here's the story.

Thank you, Alison, for submitting this.


Okay. Here's a guy who had cocaine in his pocket.

He walked up to a freakin' police car, and asked the cops for a ride!

When they asked if he had any illegal drugs on him, he gave them a "Yes, uh, I mean no."

And then he was willing to let them search him.

Dude. You're an idiot.

Here's the complete story.

Freak out!

Dr. Grumpy: "Your labs look okay, lipid levels are good, and..."


Dr. Grumpy: "Well, everyone does, and your levels are fine."


Dr. Grumpy: "But you need to understand that some levels are normal and..."


Dr. Grumpy: "That's not what I said, ma'am, lipids are..."


Dr. Grumpy: "There are drugs that are used to lower lipids when needed, but your levels are already low and..."


And she walked out.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Flattery will get you nowhere

Part of the medical business is referring patients to other doctors, and reading their notes when/if they write back to you. Usually the letters are brief and business-like, but occasionally there's something out of the ordinary.

A few weeks ago I sent a lady to a cardiologist. I received his consult note yesterday, and saw this line. Apparently they discussed me, and he felt the need to comment on it.

I haven't changed it at all, except to take my name out.

(click to enlarge)

P.S. Dr. Ventricle: You spelled "Marx" wrong.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Attention: All my migraine patients!

Look, people, I know Botox for migraines was approved by the FDA on Friday.

This does NOT, however, mean that your crappy insurance company immediately has to cover it. Quite the contrary. Most of them will drag their feet for another 6-12 months before they're willing to cover it. So as much as you may want it, or I want to treat you with it, IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN ANYTIME SOON.

So STOP CALLING. Mary and Annie logged 47 calls from Botox-seeking-patients today, all somehow under the impression that since it's now FDA approved I suddenly have an endless Bucket O' Botox and can inject it at the drop of a hat. I don't have a drive-thru window. This stuff costs $525 a bottle, so I don't keep it lying around.

I have nothing against Botox. Or migraines. But get real, people. Your insurance company moves at the speed of an arthritic snail, and in this case is actually trailing the government bureaucracy.

So relax. Your insurance will catch up with the 21st century. Hopefully before it ends.

Cultural awareness

Dr. Grumpy: "I'm glad you enjoyed your trip."

Mr. Traveler: "It was wonderful. Did you know that in the European language they call mountains "'alps'?"

Dear Local Physical Therapy

Thank you for your recent letter on my patient's progress.

I noticed that instead of writing out "exercise" your therapist used the abbreviation "ex's". It took me a minute to catch this, but it was pretty easy to figure out when I saw it used in phrases such as "strength ex's", "coordination ex's" and "home ex's program".

However, there was one part of your note where it gave me pause.

In the "treatment plan" it said "She'll be building up her arm strength using her ex's balls."

I hope (for her ex's sake) you still meant "exercise"...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"I guess that's a failing grade, huh?"

I'd like to thank my reader Toni for sending this in.

A lady in Bellevue, Washington, was arrested after she (allegedly) attacked another woman while they were attending an anger management class.

19-year-old Faribah Maradiaga "blew up out of control", whipped out a knife, stabbed the classmate multiple times in the arm and shoulder, and threatened to kill her family. She's been charged with 2nd degree assault.

To read the original article, click here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Night at the Opera


In medical school, my roommate Enzyme and I had a dorm apartment next to a German couple, who were both grad students. We shared one big wall with them.

This pair were into REALLY loud sex. Moaning. Screaming. And she would scream "Fuck me, Heinrich!" repeatedly, with a bizarrely musical intonation. Like an opera number.

I have nothing against sex. Or others having sex. And noise like this in a cheap apartment is part of the college experience.

But this pair could really go at it. And it drove us nuts.

It's easy to tell someone else to turn down the TV or music. It's a lot harder to say "Hey! Can you stop humping so loud?!!!"

I think the idea was Enzyme's, but after 20 years I'm not sure. I found a used classical music CD at the college bookstore, and brought it home. We were listening to it while studying when the idea began.

We set up some speakers facing the mutual wall, and waited for the Brünhilda and Heinrich show to begin one night. It didn't take long.

And then, LOUDLY, we put on Wagner's piece "Flight of the Valkyries". Although it was tricky, we were able to time the main "dah-dah-dah-DUM-dum" part to coincide with her repeatedly screaming "Fuck me, Heinrich!" It actually sounded pretty good, like some sort of operatic porn.

After the curtain went down, we turned off the music.

A few minutes later there was some loud discussion in German (likely them swearing at us).

We never heard them going at it again. I suspect they started using another room. At least then it was the other neighbor's problem.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oooh, tell me more

Dr. Grumpy: "It looks like you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Do you do computer work?"

Miss Perky: "Yes. I work for a mens' club, handling their software, and sometimes their hardware, too".

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Calgon, take me away!

This afternoon I went to pick up the kids at the after school club.

Normally the door there is open, but today it was closed. Rather than knocking, I just opened it and went in.

BIG mistake. It was closed for a reason.

I stuck my head in the door, just in time to intercept a red-paint-filled styrofoam cup with my right cheek. Followed by a kid screaming "Hey Craig! I nailed your dad!"

A paint fight (water-based paints, mercifully) had broken out, and the teenagers running the show were hopelessly outnumbered.

The kids looked like a multicolored racial variant from "Avatar".

I drove home with my (very colorful) tribe.

My car seats look like a bag of Skittles. I'll deal with them over the weekend.

All kids got thrown in the shower.

We're having an unscheduled laundry night.

Just wait until Mrs. Grumpy gets home.


Dr. Grumpy: "Look, this is silly. I mean, this is the third consecutive visit when I told you to increase your dose, and you agree to do so, but then when you come back you tell me you never did, though can't tell my why. And you wonder why your symptoms aren't any better. If you're not going to take my advice, why do you even bother coming in?"

Mr. Pill: "Doctor, can I ask you a question?"

Dr. Grumpy: "What?"

Mr. Pill: "Do I annoy you?"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Staying active in pregnancy

Now, there are A LOT of things that a pregnant woman can do safely, but medical myths would lead you to believe otherwise. My esteemed colleague The Mother tackles the ones about pregnancy and alcohol today, and I strongly recommend reading it.

But there are some things pregnant women, especially those IN FREAKIN' LABOR, should absolutely not be doing.

Such as robbing a store.

Like this lady.


I'd like to thank my reader Kayden for submitting this.

The 110

Actually, there were 110 of us, not 300. And we definitely didn't look anything like that.

There were 110 of us. We all met at the same time.

A few married couples. Mostly single. Most of us had just graduated from college. Several were nurses. One or two were veterinarians. An actress. Some military vets. Others had just joined the military to pay for this. 2 were Ph.D.'s in sciences. Some of us had kids. A few were even living far away from spouses and kids for 4 years just to do this.

And there we were. Most of us had just moved to this city in the last 1-2 weeks. Found apartments, grocery stores, and laundromats, and finally this building.

It was the first day of medical school.

I was a 2 day drive from home and where I'd gone to college. I'd met my roommate the week before, and didn't know anybody else.

I miss them all now. None were really close friends, but the bonds you get with people who share the same life experiences with you are incredible.

They forge quickly. Med school starts out like a sledgehammer. No matter how prepared you thought you were for it, you weren't. And everyone else was in the same boat (though most would deny it).

So for 2 years we suffered through the same schedules of tests, lab groups, STUDYING (studying is a never ending process in med school). 110 people with almost identical schedules. Your social lives also tend to mesh, because you also want to go out to relax (i.e. drink) at the same time, and have the same post-test schedules to do it on. You see each other on campus and around town.

We formed sports teams. Couples. Groups based on religious affiliation. We went to sporting events together. Movies in groups. Road trips to baseball games and amusement parks.

In the 3rd & 4th years the contacts start to break up, because we were on different clinical rotations all over town. But the last week of school there were a bunch of lectures on "what to expect in residency", and there was something oddly reassuring about being together again.

I remember all of them. It's funny, because in other circumstances many of us probably wouldn't have gotten along, but the shared experiences of medical school made us friends. I'll never forget those people. I think of them more, and remember them more, than any other group I was with. My high school class, college groups, other residents. None of them have left an imprint on my memory as strong as the 110 in my medical school class.

There's only one I'm in semi-regular contact with, because life took us both to the same hospital. On rare occasions a new patient will bring in records from out-of-state, and I note that they saw one of my former classmates. Through the miracle of the internet it's easy to see where the others landed, and it's somehow reassuring to know they're out there. I wonder if any of them look me up. I'd like to think so.

But even so...

I missed my 10 year med school reunion a while back for bullshit reasons, and still regret it. I'm definitely going when the 20th comes around.

This post was inspired by Albino Black Bear, who wrote last week about a road trip she and some medical school friends went on.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Get 15% off hospital scrubs with promo code "white_lyt1"

Mrs. Daughter: "Doctor, I'm so worried about Dad. He insists on living by himself, but he forgets to lock his doors, he loses things, he forgets to pay bills, he leaves the stove on... Can you please give us some ideas for places he might safely live? And try to talk to him into moving into one?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Of course. I'll give you a list of places you can take him to look at."

Mrs. Daughter: "Just give it to him, he can go himself. He has a car."

Dr. Grumpy: "He's still driving? You just told me he can't live alone and you're still letting him drive?"

Mrs. Daughter: "Don't stop him from driving! I don't have time to take him everywhere!"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Childhood Lesson FAIL!

When I was a kid, which was a while back, I was told to never put a plastic bag on my head. Otherwise I might suffocate.

And every bit of plastic wrapping you find today usually has a "keep away from children due to risk of suffocation" label.

But apparently, such a critical warning didn't get to everyone. Like a guy who recently tried to rob a store, and somehow ended up nearly asphyxiating himself.

Here's the article.

Thank you to my reader Sarah for sending this in.

When hospital rounds go bad

Early this morning I went to the hospital to check on Mrs. Tinystroke. She'd been doing much better last evening, so my plan was to get her home today.

I walked in the room to see two nurses standing by the bed. Mrs. Tinystroke looked awful. Unconscious, limp, drooling and very pale.

Dr. Grumpy: "What happened? When did this start?!!!"

Nurse Nightshift: "She's been like this all night."

Dr. Grumpy: "WHAT! Why didn't anyone call me!"

Nurse Nightshift: "Because..."

Dr. Grumpy: "This is unbelievable! My patient burns down overnight and you guys don't think to call me? Holy crap! I need a STAT head CT and..."

Nurse Nightshift: "DOCTOR GRUMPY!!!"

Dr. Grumpy: "What? I don't want some lame excuse..."

Nurse Nightshift: "LOOK! The reason I didn't call you is because THIS ISN'T YOUR PATIENT!!!" Mrs. Tinystroke is in room 17. You're in 16."

(long pause)

Dr. Grumpy: "These gray heads are all starting to look alike."

Nurse Nightshift: "Yes, and you're giving both of us one."

(another pause)

Mrs. Tinystroke: "Dr. Grumpy, is that you out in the hall? Can I go home today?"

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More Important Research

Want to avoid bar fights? Don't go to bars frequented by heavy drinkers with a history of violence!

You didn't know this already?

Well, SOMEBODY had to research such an important issue. So from 1997 to 2002 somebody did just that. And found that bar fights tend to occur in places that are poorly lighted, dirty, and crowded, with patrons that are younger, angrier, impulsive, less considerate, and heavy drinkers.

They also found that women who get in bar fights have had 4 times as many drinks on those nights as they normally do (normal presumably meaning non-bar-fighting nights).

Here's the abstract for the main article. The complete article can be found in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol (which rejected my 1988 submission on cow-tipping).

They actually got 2 articles out of this, with this one focusing just on women. The second article was published in Aggressive Behavior (they're coming to my house next week to see if siblings fight).

Thank you to JoAnna for bringing such important research to my attention.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Attention mean commentors!

Now here's a lady who takes her blog seriously. Briana Greathouse.

She was so upset over internet postings that she went on a 4 hour road trip, with her gun, to kill a man who she felt had said mean things about her online. Fortunately, she was picked-up before she could hurt anyone.

Here's the original story.

I don't have such a lenient policy as she does. You piss me off, and I'm leaving my kids at your house.

Thank you, Tabby, for sending this in.


I'd like to thank my reader Salma for submitting this fascinating research that affects all of us. Namely, scientific data on the physics of cow-tipping.

The study suggests that cow-tipping is very difficult, if not physically impossible, for the majority of attempts.

I now feel vindicated, as I personally researched this subject in one occasion in the late 80's (Grumpy, I., et al. "Why the hell is it still standing?", Journal of Inebriated Nights Spent at a Camp in the Middle of Fucking Nowhere, 1988), with similar results.

Boffins debunk cow-tipping myth

Not possible, even when drunk

By Lester Haines
9th November 2005

Two scientists at the University of British Columbia have rather disagreeably debunked the myth that you can - when suitably refreshed after a night on the sauce - stagger into a field and tip over a sleeping cow.

According to the Times, Margo Lillie, a doctor of zoology, and her student Tracy Boechler did a few calculations pertaining to bovine bothering and concluded that it would in fact take five sozzled pranksters to tip a cow.

More specifically, "a cow of 1.45 metres in height pushed at an angle of 23.4 degrees relative to the ground would require 2,910 Newtons of force, equivalent to 4.43 people," according to Boechler.

To read the complete article, click here.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Today it POURED here in Grumpyville. But my car was running low, so on the way home I pulled into a gas station to fill-up.

It was one of those places that has an automatic car wash, where you can pay at the pump for a wash, then drive through the thing.

So guess what? In FREAKIN' POURING RAIN I saw 3-5 cars go into the car wash, get cleaned up, THEN DRIVE BACK OUT INTO THE DOWNPOUR and go on their merry way.

Seriously. WTF people?

Do you hear what I hear?

Dear CNN,

I usually skim your web page a few times a day, and noticed your health headline yesterday on "Secrets you shouldn't keep from your OB/GYN". Since I personally don't need the services of an OB/GYN, however, I didn't read it.

This, as my reader Webhill later pointed out to me, was a serious mistake.

Most of the article was fairly helpful, inoffensive, medical info. But it was the last paragraph that got Webhill's (and my) attention.

Quoting Dr. Lissa Rankin (OB/GYN): "When a woman comes into my office, we sit on two red leather chairs across from each other. I give them a hug. I offer them a cup of tea. I ask them, 'if your vagina had a voice, what would it say?' "


I've been a neurologist for quite a few years, but it's NEVER occurred to me to ask what a brain, spinal cord, or carpal tunnel would say. Maybe I'm just being remiss. I've never offered patients tea, either, and I don't have leather chairs.

Talking vaginas are nothing new. The movie "Chatterbox" (1977, starring Candy Rialson) was (I swear!) based on the premise of a woman with a talking vagina. The vagina was talented and went on to a singing career (REALLY!). It was sort of "Deep Throat" in reverse (uh, um, I mean, that's what I've heard).

But back to your topic. I took an informal poll of women I know, and posed the same question. I received several answers:

"It says it wished it hadn't pushed out four kids. C-sections are starting to look better and better as I sag."

"No more fucking pantyhose! I need some air!"

"Eat me!"

"It would say you are a whack job, please forward a copy of my records to my home address at your earliest convenience."

"Hello?!!! Why the hell are you talking to a vagina?"

Another point that a (unidentified) member of Dr. Pissy's staff made: "You know the tiny little cover-nothing-but-a-few-pubes paper things that we have to put on at the GYN? They don't cover your butt AT ALL. So if I'm sitting bare-assed on a leather chair, MY vagina is going to ask if the chair gets sanitized between patients."

I think this is also something a female doctor could get away with, that a guy couldn't (which is interesting, because you interviewed a female doc, but had a picture of a male one). Let's face it: Take away the medical atmosphere, and you've got 2 people in leather seats who've just hugged, one has bought the other a drink, and now wants to talk to the others genitals.

Obviously, I don't have a vagina. But, let's say I went to a doctor: He puts me in a comfy chair, offers me a Diet Coke, tries to hug me (I don't think that's going to happen) and then says, "So, Ibee, if your penis could talk, what would it say?" (Does that sound like a pick-up line from a gay bar?).

My mouth (not my winkie) would likely say "Get away from me!" grab my pants, and be grateful he hadn't gotten to the turn-your-head-and-cough part. Tell me this- if a male urologist asked guys that, would you feature it in an article about good medical practice?

I have nothing against Dr. Rankin. I'm sure she's an excellent physician, with far better taste in office furnishings and beverages than me (the red leather chairs, by the way can be seen on her blog. It's called "". Honest!). But I personally would be a little skittish of doctors wanting to have a conversation with my nether regions.

Yours truly,

Ibee Grumpy, M.D.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Things that make me grumpy

Dear Dr. Irritating,

I'm just writing to let you know that there is NO cure for Alzheimer's disease. There are some marginally effective treatments to slow it down a bit, but NOTHING that cures it.

I thought you knew this, but obviously you have no freaking clue. Or are just stupid. Or ignorant. Or don't care. Or believe whatever the pfarmaceutical reps tell you.

Patients and families say funny things, and sometimes hear only what they want. So if one makes an odd comment about you, I tend to ignore it. But when I start hearing it from others, and see a trend, then I think differently.

I treat patients to the best of my ability with what I have. In the case of Alzheimer's disease, it isn't much. They all get worse. I tell families that in advance, because reasonable expectations help all of us.

What doesn't help is YOU. Several families have told me that when they say the memory is getting worse, you immediately tell them to return to me "so he can do something about it."

And then, yesterday, a referral from your office showed up on my fax. You'd written: "Please refer back to Dr. Grumpy for Alzheimers. His treatment isn't working, as she keeps getting worse. Needs to change meds to get her better."

I know your handwriting. Now you can't blame your ignorance/stupidity on anyone else.

Being realistic with patients and families is the best treatment for anything. No matter how many times I see them, there are limits to what I can do. But at least I can do better than you in telling them the truth.

Yours truly,

Ibee Grumpy, M.D.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Loose associations

Dr. Grumpy: "Okay, I'd like to start you on Lyrica..."

Mr. Goofball: "Oh, no. That drug doesn't work for me."

Dr. Grumpy: "I didn't know you'd taken it before?"

Mr. Goofball: "I haven't, but it gave my cousin's buddy a stomach ache."

I prefer to check the old fashioned way, thank you

Yesterday Local Radiology Place brought lunch. I wanted to hear about their new MRI, but the sales rep was determined to give Dr. Pissy and I her complete sales pitch about everything. Of course, that covers a lot, so she was talking incredibly fast. At one point she threw out this line:

"Doctors, our new digital mammogram system is extremely accurate at determining the presence or absence of breasts, and is faster than previous methods of doing so."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Concerned children

I picked up the kids from school and headed home.

Dr. Grumpy: "Okay, gang, listen up. Mom had to go home sick from work today, and is not feeling well. So when we get home, she's probably in bed. I want you guys to be VERY quiet when we go in the house."

(long pause)

Craig: "Dad, I have a question."

Dr. Grumpy: "What's up?"

Craig: "So Mom is already at home?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Yes."

Craig: "Then can I get my potato chips out of her car?"

Lost in translation

Yesterday I saw a nice lady, who spoke reasonably good English, but her primary language was French.

So she was accompanied by her niece, who said she was here to translate.

I only speak English. And guess what? So does the niece!

Her idea of "translating" was like the old SNL "News for the Deaf" skit. Like this:

Dr. Grumpy: "Where is the pain?"

Ms. Niece: (pulling on patient's sleeve and shouting in her ear) "THE DOCTOR WANTS TO KNOW WHERE YOUR PAIN IS?!!!"

This went on for an hour. The patient spoke good English, and could hear perfectly well. By the end of the appointment I think we were both ready to strangle the niece.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sorry, dude

I hear some great excuses, and Mrs. Grumpy hears more. Some are less believable than others.

But, look dude, if you're in a car by yourself, AND the cops find a bag of cocaine crammed in your butt, it's really not going to fly to claim it ain't yours.

Like this guy.

I'd like to thank my reader Lee for submitting this.

Get down! Get funky! Get green!

I'd like to thank The Mother for sending this in.

Yes, the economy is getting better, but I think we're all looking for ways to save money. Of course, we all want to be environmentally conscious, too.

So here's a truly heartwarming (or whatever you're warming) story of how a brothel is giving clients who ride a bike there a discount. Isn't that nice?

To read the article, click here.

Nice job, ad agency

While catching up on journals this weekend I found this ad, featuring a June Cleaver (ideal American mom, circa 1950's) knock-off. To me, it seems June is unlikely (not impossible, but unlikely) to be this guy's mother. But hey, that's just me.

(click to enlarge)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The aliens have landed!

Our house has white carpet everywhere. We didn't pick it out, it was that way when we bought it. So, with 3 kids and 3 dogs, it's gradually become more of a tan color, with spots of varying origins.

But never fear, we have a Spotbot. The miracle of modern housecleaning that targets one small circular area with it's cleaning powers.

Yesterday, Mrs. Grumpy had a bunch of errands, and was gone most of the day. She asked if I'd do something about the large number of food/crayon/who-knows-what stains in one room.

So I got the Spotbot out and attacked the areas. I thought it went pretty well. It returned the stained area to their original whiteness, without too much work on my part.

Mrs. Grumpy got home, and was not as impressed with my work as I was. While she agreed that I had, indeed, done a good job of whitening the affected areas, she wasn't happy with the overall results.

I tried telling her that I took the kids to a movie, and that crop-circle making aliens had invaded and been working on a smaller scale in our home.

She didn't buy it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

2010 Ig Nobel Prizes

Okay, Grumpyites. In the interest of science, I'm devoting today to the recent Ig Nobel prizes.

For those who don't know, the Ig Nobels are awarded to real research which is, um, more unusual than that typically considered for Nobel prizes.

If you missed the 2009 Ig Nobel awards, click here. They featured studies on the solidity of beer bottles vs. skulls, the ability to make diamonds from tequila, and a bra that could convert to a gas mask in an emergency.

The 2010 Ig Nobels included research on oral sex in bats, techniques for collecting boogers from whales using a remote-controlled helicopter, and a special award to British Petroleum for disproving the long held belief that "oil and water don't mix".

To read these, and many more, click here.

Thank you to everyone who sent in links for this.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reasons I love my patients

Today a patient came in for the first time since she had a baby. We had this exchange:

Mrs. Kidz: "I've got a boy and a girl now, and I'm done."

Dr. Grumpy: "Did you get your tubes tied?"

Mrs Kidz: "That's what my OB did, but it's not exactly what I wanted. I'd specifically told him to tie my tubes, then crush and burn them, then use tractors to pull them as far apart as possible, and scatter the pieces to the 4 winds. But all he did was tie them."

I laughed VERY hard.

Did you bring a sleeping bag?

Guy comes in, stands at front desk.

Mary: "Hi, can I help you?"

Mr. Kampout: "Yeah, I have an appointment with Dr. Grumpy next week."

Mary: "Okay..."

Mr. Kampout: "Can I be seen today or tomorrow instead?"

Mary: "Let me see... No we're all filled up, but I can call you if someone cancels."

Mr. Kampout "Thank you. Can I wait here until then?"
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