Monday, June 18, 2018


Dr. Grumpy: "Any side effects with the new pill?"

Mr. P: "Only one, it makes my urine smell like something terrible."

Dr. Grumpy: "Okay and what about..."

Mr. P: "I brought some, in case you want to smell it."

Pulls Tupperware container out of bag.

Monday, May 28, 2018

That's a wrap, folks

With the school year down to it's final 2 weeks, I'm shutting down the blog until the shouting here is over. Too much band stuff, year-end competitions, parties, and other stuff to deal with, besides my day job.

See you in a few weeks!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Texting with Frank

Mrs. Grumpy asked me to deal with dinner. Not knowing what the food status was at home, I made the mistake of asking Frank for help.

Some days... Sigh.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Mrs. Whiney was not happy.

She'd shown up 45 minutes late for her new patient appointment with no other explanation than "I have other things to do too, you know!"

Now she was not accepting that I wasn't going to see her and she'd have to reschedule for the next available slot, 2 weeks from now (and I thought I was being nice by letting her do that).

She'd berated Pissy's staff, who'd gotten Mary.

She'd been chewing out Mary, who'd finally walked away from the window and called me out from a patient room.

She was absolutely stunned when I told her I agreed with Mary, and she wasn't going to be seen today.

In an attempt to get me to give in she menacingly said "I. Want. You. To. Know. That. I'm. Calling. Dr. Stevens. And. Telling. Him. You. Treat. His. Patients. Like. This."

I smiled and wished her a good day. She pulled out her phone, knocked on the window, and asked if we could give her Dr. Steven's phone number. We ignored her.

Now it was time for her to make a scene for the rest of the lobby. And she made the critical mistake of getting her phone involved.

Mrs. Whiney: "Siri! Call Dr. Stevens!”

Siri: “There is no Dr. Stevens in your contact list.”


Siri: “Now playing 'Right Here Right Now' by Jesus Jones." (music starts)

Some elderly guy in my lobby and the drug rep he's never met before next to him start holding each other to keep from cracking up.


Siri: “There is a chiropractor 1/2 mile north of you. Would you like directions?"

Drug rep starts snorting loudly and runs out of office, mumbling something about allergies.

Mrs. Whiney: “SIRI! CALL DR. STEVENS!”

Siri: “I found 3 pharmacies within two miles. Would you like me to call one of them?"

Mrs. Whiney throws her phone on the ground, picks it up, shoves it in her purse and yells "IT"S NOT FUNNY!" She storms out.

A few seconds passed before everyone in the office and lobby completely lost it and became hysterical. Including the patient who'd wandered out of my office to see why I hadn't returned.

Monday, May 21, 2018


Dr. Grumpy: "How's the new medication working out for you?"

Mr. Pill: "Terrible! I'm nauseous all the time, have headaches, and throw up a lot!"

Dr. Grumpy: "Then let's stop it and..."

Mr. Pill: "I don't want to do that! I just bought a 90 day supply!"

Thursday, May 17, 2018


As the school year begins wrapping up, we're moving into the next phase of the Wingnut High School marching band schedule: preparing for next season's football halftime show.

Yeah, you read that right. The next high school football season starts in 3-4 months, and so the twins and their friends are already working on the show.

So yesterday a flyer was sent home with the twins, listing all the stuff. Band camp dates. Meetings over the summer to start working on props. The theme of the show. Where to find the music to practice. Marching formations. Color guard maneuvers. Incoming freshmen orientation. Yadda yadda yadda.

About halfway down the page Mrs. Grumpy and I were surprised to find a paragraph that said “Practice marching sessions for the new steps and formations will be June 19, 25, and 29, July 7, 14, and 22, and August 12, 18, and 22. These will be held at Craig Grumpy’s house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring your own water bottle. Lunch will be provided.”


Monday, May 14, 2018


Dr. Grumpy: "Are you much of a drinker?"

Mr. Collins: "Nope. Not at all. Just coffee, but I admit I'm a caffeine junkie. I drink it all day."

Mrs. Collins: "What are you talking about? You put Baileys in your coffee all day! You even keep it in that little thermos you sneak to work!"

Mr. Collins: "That doesn't count!"

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Seen in a chart

Remember medical students: taking a good family history now includes covering test conclusions, free text, and practice management, but fortunately not retardation or cancer.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Random pictures

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

First, taken in a subway, is this opportunity that could end unemployment:


Here's this headline, which is just begging for someone to snicker at it.

Then there's this refrigerator drawer in a reader's recent appliance purchase, which sounds somewhat obscene:

 Here's a coffee pot seen early one morning at a hospital nurses station:

That's an interesting name for your iPhone:

And, finally, this box label. Which seems awfully pretentious for a freakin' cantaloupe.

Friday, May 4, 2018


Guy comes in, stands at counter.

Mary: "Can I help you, sir?"

Guy: "Uh, I think I'm early for my visit."

Mary: "Okay. What time is your appointment?"

Guy: "I don't have one."

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Great moments with Amazon

From the "now they definitely won't fall out" department.

Thank you, T!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Monday Reruns

Okay, everybody, let's take the Way-Back Machine to the early 1990's, when 4th year medical student Dr. Grumpy is interviewing for residency.

After medical school, young docklings go off to residency in our chosen fields.

But before we get into residency (through a mysterious process called "the match") we go off on interviews. Just like any other job.

I did my share of these interviews, traveling to 7 neurology programs in the early 90's to peddle my wares. These aren't quite as stressful as medical school interviews (for those you're begging them to take you, while for residency they need you & you need them, so both sides are trying in impress each other).

And this is the story of my least impressive interview:

I'd flown into the city the night before, and spent a relaxing night at a Motel 6.

The interview instructions said I was to begin by attending the Shitzenfuk Hospital Neurology conference at 7:30 a.m. This was several miles from the residency program's main hospital. And they actually told me to "ask around when you get there, and find a doctor willing to drive you back to our offices after the meeting".

So I took a cab from my motel to the hospital, and found the auditorium. Here I am, in a strange city, dragging my overnight bag around, with a bunch of docs who I don't know and who don't know me, and I'm walking around trying to bum a ride. Finally, after several looked at me like I was a sexual predator, one finally said. "Okay, I'm heading that way. I guess I can give you a ride."

Guess what? He turned out to be the freakin' chairman of the program I was interviewing at! He'd signed the letter telling me to bum a ride. You'd think he could have offered initially, since he knew I'd be there, but no.

So we walk out to his car. Mind you, I'm not a car snob. I don't expect doctors to be driving expensive things (my own car is a 2000 Nissan), but nothing could have prepared me for Dr. Chairman's mean set of wheels.

It was an early 70's Japanese something. Missing the right front fender. The trunk was half open, held down by a bungee cord threaded through a rust-hole.

I opened the passenger door. And a pile of empty soda cans, newspapers, fast food containers, orange peels, and heaven knows what else, fell out. Dr. Chairman said "sorry, let me clear that off" and began chucking the pile of garbage into the back seat (which was already covered with trash).

And off we went. It was December, and cold. My window was open. I tried rolling it up, but he said, "there's no window there, it broke years ago." The heat didn't work, either. So I was shivering away, with my overnight bag on my lap (no space for it anywhere else in the car). I hoped his driving skills were better than his car-care talents, because my seatbelt didn't work.

So we got to Neurology HQ. Where Ms. Bitchy at the desk (Dr. Chairman abandoned me as soon as we walked in) claimed I hadn't been invited for an interview, even when I showed her my letter. Eventually she realized she was looking at the previous week's schedule, and blamed me for having handed her the wrong schedule (which she'd actually pulled out of her desk).

Then it was time for my tour of the esteemed facilities. Ms. Bitchy directed me down a hall, and told me someone would meet me there.

Fortunately, one did. It was a nice guy named Pete, who (allegedly) was the chief resident. We talked for a minute in the middle of the building's lobby, which had white pillars everywhere, and halls leading in different directions.

After giving me a brief summary of the areas we'd be going to, Pete said, "It's a beautiful hospital. Follow me." He then turned around and walked straight into a pillar, breaking his glasses.

I helped Pete up, while some other guys in white coats ran over to try and stop the blood now pouring out of his nose.

As they led him away, Pete told me to wait in the lobby. A few minutes later Ms. Bitchy showed up, leading a girl in scrubs who'd apparently been on call the night before, and looked (understandably) less then enthusiastic about showing me around. It was a pretty quick tour.

Afterwards I had an interview with a doctor, who used most of our interview time to return patient calls. He also called Mastercard to argue about some charges, which he blamed on his ex-wife.

Then it was (per the schedule) lunch with the residents. None showed up. It was me and 3 attending physicians. Ms. Bitchy, the secretary-from-hell, had only ordered 3 lunches. She gave one to each of the doctors, and told me where I could find the hospital cafeteria.

I just went hungry, and spoke to the doctors. One of them told me he thought the newfangled MRA technology was a passing fad.

Then it was another interview. This time with Dr. Chairman of the crappy car. Who'd inexplicably left for the day. No one knew where he'd gone, or why.

Thus ended the interview. Ms. Bitchy told me she'd arrange a ride for me back to the airport, but given her remarkable organizational skills displayed thus far, I declined. She wouldn't let me use the phone on her desk, so I found a pay phone and called a cab.

I ranked them last. I have no idea where they ranked me. And no, I didn't go there.

Thursday, April 26, 2018


In the early 80's my family went on a generic “American Family Goes on a Bus Tour of Europe” trip. My sister and I (both teens) shared a hotel room.

My mom, for some reason I don’t remember (perhaps I never knew) had packed a bunch of off-brand blueberry Pop-Tarts. They weren’t even the real thing, some cheap store generic. Maybe she thought they didn’t have food in Europe. So this box of suckish store-brand pop-tarts was tossed in a suitcase, flown across the Atlantic on a 747, dragged over land in a tour bus, and taken across the channel in a hovercraft (yeah, there was no Chunnel, youngsters). For the record I think it was stale long before we even left. Possibly before she bought it. Why it made the trip I still don't know.

Anyway, late one night in Paris, while watching the crappy hotel room TV and trying to guess what they were saying, my sister and I had a big fight over something. I don’t remember what. It escalated from shouting to throwing things... and the nearest things at hand were the pop-tarts.

As we hurled them back & forth the silver packages tore and opened, sending chunks of pop-tarts  flying everywhere. If a piece was big enough to throw, it was thrown. I think we also threw some rock-hard raisin buns leftover from breakfast, hotel stationary, pens, and anything else lying around.

When it was over there were stale crumbs, frosting, and streaks of nasty artificial blueberry filling EVERYWHERE. Walls, blankets, sheets, curtains, TV, mirror, me, sister, door, carpet.

We checked out in the morning to move on to whatever the next country was. I have no idea what the place's cleaning crew thought of the bizarre mess.

My sister and I were terrified Dad would chew us out about extra charges for damages, but it never happened.

Monday, April 23, 2018


Got this inquiry in a research email:

Not sure what sort of range they're really looking for, but curious where they came up with the higher end. If you're seeing 100,000 patients with ANYTHING in a 31 day month, it means you're spending 27 seconds with each of them. Provided, of course, that you don't stop to eat, sleep, or hit the bathroom.

"Hello, I'm your doctor. Have a nice day."

Friday, April 20, 2018

Seen in a chart

- Thank you, KC!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Turing test

Guy in suit comes in and stands at the front. Mary was tied up on the phone, and Pissy's staff had run out to pick up lunch. So I walked over to deal with him.

Dr. Grumpy: "Hi, can I help you?"

Suit guy: "HI! I'm your rep for the all-new Ginsu surgery center! Are YOU" (points finger at me) "Dr. Grumpy?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, yeah, but I don't do..."

Suit guy: "I'm here to get YOU, Dr. Grumpy" (points finger at me) "to start doing YOUR outpatient procedures at the all-new Ginsu surgery center! What kind of outpatient surgical procedures do you do that we can help YOU, Dr. Grumpy" (points finger at me) "with?"

Dr. Grumpy: "None, actually, I'm a neurologist and..."

Suit guy: "Of course you do! ALL doctors have procedures! Which ones do YOU, Dr. Grumpy" (points finger at me) "do?"

(I look around. I'm alone. I hear Mary, with Pissy's returned secretary, out in the hall trying not to crack up in hysterics)

Dr. Grumpy: "EEG's. But those aren't..."

Suit guy: "We don't do THOSE at the all-new Ginsu surgery center, but we can help YOU, Dr. Grumpy" (points finger at me) "achieve better results on your outpatient laparoscopic appendectomies, gall bladder removals, and orthopedic arthroscopies. Why don't YOU, Dr. Grumpy" (points finger at me) "give the all-new Ginsu surgery center a try? I bet YOU, Dr. Grumpy" (points finger at me) "would be pleasantly surprised at what we can do for YOU, Dr. Grumpy" (points finger at me) "and your patients!"

Dr. Grumpy: "Look, I'm sorry. I don't mean to be rude, but you're wasting your time here. I'm a neurologist. I don't do surgery of any kind."

Long pause

Suit guy: "None at all?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Zero. Nada. Zilch."

Suit guy: "Okay, so what do you, um, Dr. Grumpy" (sort-of points finger at me) "as a, uh neurologist doctor do, exactly?"

Dr. Grumpy: "I sit at a desk all day and try to look smart."

Longer pause

Suit guy: "Um, I mean... uh..."

He left.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Breaking news!

From around the globe, Dr. Grumpy's crack team of reporters brings you the stories that shape your world.

DATELINE: FLORIDA: Xavier Moran was in a car accident, and told police that his dashboard camera could prove he was cut off by another driver. To prove it he turned the camera over to police and signed a waiver allowing them to search the data file.

Unfortunately, the same camera also had footage of Mr. Moran using a baseball bat to burglarize a beauty supply store a few hours prior to his accident.

He was arrested for the burglary. No word yet on whether someone really did cut him off in traffic.

DATELINE: NEW YORK: Police were mobilized last Thursday after someone reported an escaped tiger running loose in Manhattan.

Investigating officers found it was actually a racoon.

A local news reporter suggested the caller visit a zoo to learn the difference.

The racoon has been turned over to the ASPCA.

DATELINE: not sure, somewhere in the U.S.

A reader sent in this pic of an, uh, innovative way to replace a broken rear window:

Friday, April 13, 2018


Now I really feel valued. Thanks, Medscape!

Thank you, CU!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Teenage boys

Craig texted me after his zoology/botany class.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Mary's desk

Lady comes in, stands at counter.

Mary: "Hi, can I help you?"

Lady: "I'm here for my blood draw."

Mary: "We don't do labs draws here... Are you one of Dr. Grumpy's patients?"

Lady: "No, I'm enrolled in the research study, and was told I needed to have my blood drawn."

Mary: "Oh, okay. You're looking for the research center. They're 2 doors down the hall. Just go out  and take a left."

Lady: "You know, you people don't make it very easy to participate in your studies. I mean, I drove all the way here from south Grumpyville, and now you're refusing to draw my labs."

Mary: "You're not in the right office for that, ma'am. It's 2 doors down the hall, on your left. They have a big sign that says "Medical Research."

Lady: "Who is in charge here?"

Mary: "Uh, Dr. Grumpy."

Lady: "I want you to know I'm reporting your unhelpful attitude to him. Getting here on time wasn't easy."

Mary: "But..."

Lady: "Have a nice day."

Walks out.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Majority rules

Dr. Grumpy: "Any other questions?"

Mrs. Kroger: "I just can't believe you don't think I have Parkinson's disease! They all said I did!"

Dr. Grumpy: "Who's 'they?' Your other doctors?"

Mrs. Kroger: "No, the cashiers over at Grocery World."

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


Seen on an office intake form.

Monday, April 2, 2018

House hunting

Mr. Patient and his wife come in. She's staring intently at something on her phone.

Dr. Grumpy: "Hi, folks. Have a seat.  How you been doing, sir?"

Mr. Patient: "Better, that medicine has really helped a lot and..."

Mrs. Patient "Mike, what do you think of the kitchen?" (shows him phone)

Mr. Patient: "Looks fine to me."

Mrs. Patient "I think it's too small."

Voice from phone: "Ma, you'll get used to it. You guys go out for dinner every night, anyway."

Dr. Grumpy: "Um, what's going on?"

Mrs. Patient: "We're thinking of moving to San Diego, and our son is showing us places he's looking at for us on Facetime."

Dr. Grumpy: "So about the new medication, have you had any side effects?"

Mr. Patient: "No, actually I've been... Steven, is that the garage? I need more space than that for my woodworking stuff."

Mrs. Patient: "It's not like you ever use it. I was going to donate it to charity rather than drag it cross country."

Mr. Patient: "The hell you will! I use it more than you use the kitchen."

Voice from phone: "Dad, be reasonable."

Mrs. Patient: "Your father is never reasonable. Haven't you learned that? Mike, answer the doctor's question."

Mr. Patient: "I forgot what it was."

Dr. Grumpy: "Any side effects?"

Mr. Patient: "No. Steven, is there a community pool?"

Monday, March 26, 2018

Spring break

My kids are off from school this week, so heading west to visit family and avoid snow.

In the interim, I leave you this thought.

When all we see in the news is the capacity of the human brain at it's worst (insane politicians, terrorists, and people with machine guns massacring school kids), it's easy to forget that same brain is also capable of things that are good, innovative, and entertaining.

Here's the Brazilian comedy team Barbixas. No knowledge of Portuguese is required.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Breaking news!

From around the globe, Dr. Grumpy's crack reporters bring you the stories that shape our world.


A teenage girl failed her driving test in spectacular fashion this week.

Photo: Buffalo, MN Police Department.

At the beginning of her driver's license behind-the-wheel exam, she put the test car into drive instead of reverse, jumping onto the sidewalk and plowing through the front of the building.

The same building where the office to take the driving exam was located.

No one, fortunately, was seriously injured.


Christopher McDowell walked into the local police headquarters and asked if someone could give him a ride home.

Police officers quickly noticed that Mr. McDowell was:

1. Drunk (at least he wasn't driving, though. Good boy!)
2. The guy who was wanted for shoplifting and fraudulent returns at Kohl's.

He was taken into custody, charged with shoplifting, and released on bond.

Afterwards he was allowed to call for a ride home, and contacted his friend April Wright.

When she arrived to pick him up, police noticed Ms. Wright was the other person wanted for the same shoplifting crime at Kohl's.

She was then also arrested, charged with shoplifting, and released on bond.

The article doesn't say if she got to drive them both home afterwards.


Visitors to The Dinosaur Experience got more than their money's worth when the attraction's animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex suddenly burst into flames.

Photo: Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience.

When the fire, caused by an electrical short, started it appeared Mr. Rex had suddenly become Godzilla and was breathing fire. It quickly became apparent that something more was afoot.

The blaze was safely contained, and no one was injured. The owners report that a new Tyrannosaurus should be ready by summer.


Two men were arrested following the burglary of a home. They tried to cover up the crime by burning down the house with Ragu-brand tomato sauce.

The owner of the home received a text that his alarm had gone off while he was at work, and called police.

Officers arrested the two men at the scene. They'd left a pot of the pasta sauce on the stove with a washcloth, hoping to burn down the house and make it look like an accidental fire.

Besides stolen items, the men also had an empty jar of Ragu in their car.

For unknown reasons, one of the suspects was wearing a bull-costume onesie when arrested.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wednesday re-runs

Lunch today was from a new drug rep, pushing a sleeping pill.

She made the MAJOR mistake of rudely talking down to the office staff, letting them know they are peons, and that she only deals with doctors. This pisses me off, and even worse, it pisses them off.

Anyway, her sleeping pill's claim to fame is that patients who take it get an average of 7.8 hours of sleep. As a result, they have little pamphlets with this fact, and the rep had a big button on her jacket that said "Are your patients getting 7.8 hours every night?"

During lunch she left her jacket over the back of a chair outside our break room. While she was talking I noticed 2 of the office ladies disappear for a few minutes.

When Ms. Drugrep was leaving she put her jacket back on, and brought me an iPad to sign for samples. As I scribbled I noticed that the button on her jacket had been altered, and now said "Are your patients getting 7.8 inches every night?"

She has no clue, either. And I'll probably never find out what happens.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Annie's desk

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

Mr. Car: "Hi, I see Dr. Grumpy, and I just got a letter from the MVD that they're going to revoke my driver's license unless my neurologist fills out a form."

Annie: "Okay, why don't you make an appointment and bring it in. Let me transfer you to Mary... You know, it looks like you were last here about 7 years ago, and sent us a letter to release your records to a doctor across the country?"

Mr. Car: "Yeah, I moved here 7 years ago."

Annie: "So are you back now?"

Mr. Car: "No, I still live here in Faraway state. It's their MVD that sent me this form."

Annie: "Well, Dr. Grumpy can't fill out forms on someone he hasn't seen in 7 years. For that matter, I'm not even sure if he can do them for a state he doesn't have a medical license in. Did you ever see a neurologist there?"

Mr. Car: "Of course. But the copay to see him is $40, and I haven't seen him in about a year, and he wanted me to come in to get it done and get my refills and all, so I thought Dr. Grumpy would do it for free."

Annie: "No, he'd have to see you in person after this much time, and if you're on the other side of the country you'd be better off..."

Mr. Car: "But I don't want to pay the $40 for some bullshit paperwork! Can't Dr. Grumpy call my doctor here and ask him to waive the copay?"

Annie: "No, he's not going to do that. Unless you're going to come back and see Dr. Grumpy, this is between you and your neurologist there."

Mr. Car: "Can you call around Faraway and see if you can find someone who'll see me for free? I really don't have time to waste on this."

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Artisinal mailbag

All right, here's some more artisanal bullshit you guys have sent in.

If you feed your cow artisanal grass, what comes out the other end?

Very few chains are as ubiquitous and generic in America as Walgreen's, and yet they apparently carry artisanal stuff. Which I'm pretty sure was "handmade" by a machine in southeast Asia.

"How stylish can you get?"

Making toast is right up there with boiling water and putting chips in a bowl as far as culinary skills go, but apparently you can now take your "putting bread in a toaster and pushing down in the handle" skills to a whole new level for only $24.95 with...

Even videogames are now into it:

At this point I'm ready for a drink

Butt you just knew someone would sell this:

Order it with the toast book and make Scotch Woodcock!

Monday, March 12, 2018


I have a pretty good rapport with my patients, tossing jokes and mild insults back and forth during a visit. It's just part of the way I practice. Most of them like it, since it flies both ways. Patients that don't gravitate elsewhere.

But sometimes it has its consequences.

One of them, Ted, is an older fellow who works weekends at Costco, running sample stations. When he shows up they tell him where he'll be working that day. He briefly reads up on the product and sets up a table.

Yesterday, as I picked up some items to feed the teenage horde, I saw him at a table over by the pharmacy and waved.


And he waved a free sample in the air at me.

My kids (and everyone else nearby) cracked up.

I yelled back "Ted, you're a dead man!"

Friday, March 9, 2018

Breaking news!

From around the globe, Dr. Grumpy's crack reporters bring you the stories that shape our world.


A man and woman fleeing police officers attempted to escape by climbing a fence into a parking lot.

Unfortunately for them, the lot they chose was the secure one for the local police station, where several officers were conducting a training exercise.

Video surveillance shows the subjects somehow missing a large sign on the fence that said "POLICE DEPARTMENT."

Both were taken into custody.


From the "Bitcoin is so 2017" files...

In a sticky situation involving political donations, a local candidate has received several donations in... deer semen.

Yeah, you read that right. Frozen straws of deer jizz are worth big bucks, and are being sold and auctioned off at fundraisers. How you might explain coming home with frozen deer cum, as opposed to a cap with a political slogan on it, to your spouse is beyond me.

An attorney they interviewed for the story is named, I swear, Buck Wood.

Regrettably, the recipient of the donations isn't named Jane Doe, or even Bambi.

And here are some other interesting things seen in the news recently:

From the "who wrote the headline?" department:

Next, from the "I failed zoology" office:

And finally, we can only say, "I bet he did."

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mary's desk

Mary: "Hi, can I help you?"

Mrs. Lost: "Hi, I have an appointment with Dr. Grumpy, but I think I'm in the wrong suite."

Mary: "No, you're in the right place. Let me get you some forms..."

Mrs. Lost: "But Dr. Grumpy is in suite 608."

Mary: "This is suite 608. You found us! So if you can fill out..."

Mrs. Lost: "This isn't suite 608. It's 407."

Mary: "No, it's 608. You can see it on the door there."

Mrs. Lost: "When did you move to 407?"

Mary: "We didn't. Can I get a copy of your insurance card?"

Mrs. Lost: "Coming to the doctor is so confusing."

Monday, March 5, 2018

Skool Nerse Time

This is Mrs. Grumpy

This past weekend I somehow got dragged into chaperoning a school band competition, which involved a long school bus ride each way. The heavy snow didn't help, slowing the drive down to about twice what was expected.

I kept asking the band director if we could give up and go back, but she just laughed and said "the show must go on." As I stared at passing snow drifts out the window I wanted to throw her in them and let her walk.

Anyway, due to the unusually long drive we made an unplanned stop on the way home so everyone could use a restroom and get something to eat. Fortunately, America is full of generic shopping malls with a wide variety of stores and fast food places. So all of you disappeared for 20 minutes, which was fine with me, as I got some peace and quiet until you returned for the last 2-3 hours of the drive.

You guys were pretty quiet for the last leg, no doubt because of the effects of cheeseburgers and fries hurriedly crammed down at McWhatever's. Because of the silence I began to doze off myself. The band director, wired on her 28th cup of coffee of the day, was on her iPad maniacally working on next weekend's competition.

It was actually pretty relaxing until the screaming began in the back of the bus, and rapidly spread. I thought perhaps Freddy Krueger had climbed in through a window and was attacking the clarinet section. The bus driver almost crashed as he hurriedly pulled off the road and we all frantically piled out into the snow, terrified of, well, whatever had happened to set you all shrieking hysterically.

After the bus had been abandoned we got a clearer idea of the emergency.

Apparently a few creative souls, whose names we don't know at this time, had wandered over to House O' Reptiles and bought a paper bag FULL of crickets meant to be used for feeding lizards, and released them in the back of the school bus. This resulted in the mass panic.

A kindly police officer pulled over to see what the problem was. When told he climbed on the bus himself to see, and then began laughing hysterically. Our driver channeled his best Samuel L. Jackson and yelled "I've had it with all these.... crickets on this... bus!" (not quite in Mr. Jackson's original creative words).

With the snow coming down, and temperatures below freezing, and being 2 hours from home... we didn't have many choices. We all got back on the bus.

Usually there are a few couples in the back of the bus trying to make out, and I'm supposed to keep an eye on you. I must say, having a large numbers of arthropods crawling all over certainly put the kibosh on your hormones during the ride back.

Fortunately, that was my last chaperone job of the year.

Craig and Marie have asked me to buy them each a can of Raid to take on the next road trip.

The district has charged the band boosters an extra $75 for fumigation services.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Seen in a chart

Monday, February 26, 2018


Over the course of a career you see a lot of patients. I'd guess, based on looking through my charts, roughly 30,000-40,000 to date.

Most, especially the ones from the very beginning, are long forgotten. Sometimes I'll request old hospital records on someone from a place where I did a rotation and am surprised to see a note from a younger version of myself. And I have no recollection of them at all.

But a handful never leave you. Some because you learned a lot from them. Others because of a shared interest you chatted with them about. And a few because they struck a chord that's never gone away.

I was at the tail end of my intern year, doing a mandatory ICU rotation, when they brought him in. I don't remember his name now, mainly because I never knew it then, either.

He was a homeless man, who'd fallen asleep in a trash dumpster. In the dark early morning no one saw him fall into the back of a garbage truck when the container was emptied. With the noise of the engine no one heard his screaming as he was mashed by the machinery. When the truck was emptied a few hours later sanitation employees called 911.

He was still alive - barely - when we got him. Massive blood loss and multi-system trauma. Broken bones, ruptured viscera, missing pieces of limbs. Teams of doctors paraded in & out of the room trying to save him. As an intern I was one of them, but on the periphery of the internal medicine group.

What was left of his clothes had no ID, and he was never conscious. Social workers tried to find family, a name, anything. They combed missing person databases and made endless phone calls all over the country. Nothing really to go on, not even a tattoo. Just a 50-ish white male. Police spoke to other homeless who lived in the area. A few remembered him, but none knew his name or anything about him.

For a week in the never-ending daylight of the ICU an army of doctors, nurses, RT's, lab techs, and others did their best to keep him alive. Although his prognosis was grim, we all thought that, sooner or later, the social workers would turn up a friend, or relative, or find some lead to them. He was, after all, somebody's son. Or brother. Or father. If there was someone out there who might be able to tell us what he'd want, or even who just wanted to say goodbye to him, we'd give them that chance.

But it never happened. Roughly a week after he came in the attending doctors felt there was no hope and nothing further to be done. The machines were turned off one by one and he died quickly. Someone on the trauma service signed a brief death note and reached for the next chart. The body was taken away to an unmarked grave. I couldn't find it today if I tried.

I'm sure somewhere out there is an argument about how much money was spent on his case, and how many vaccines or school lunches or police or teacher salaries it could have paid for. Given how many cases there probably are like his, and multiply by that number... I'm sure it's a lot of dollars. But, while it has some points, that debate didn't occur to me at the time, isn't why I still remember him, and I'll leave it to other blogs to discuss.

Regardless of the circumstances of his life - I admit I'd have ignored him on the street if he'd asked me for change the day before - he died alone. Did he have any living family? Do any of them wonder what happened to him, then or now? Were they sick of whatever issues he had again and again, and had long pushed him out of their minds? Did he have a good childhood or was he always on the streets? Did he serve his country? Was he hoping to die in the dumpster or just looking for a little more shelter than the sidewalk offered that night?


25-30 years later I can still see him as they brought him to ICU, the different teams of doctors yelling orders. For a week I'd sometimes sit at the nurses station and stare at him, wondering. Did anyone else working on the case find themselves as bothered as I was? Maybe we just all covered it up, afraid that to admit he was anything but a badly injured homeless guy would be a sign of weakness. I may be the only person today who even remembers him at all.


The case still keeps me up at night. Thinking of him, and behind that the abject terror of the thought of someday myself, or my wife, or kids, or other loved ones or friends, being in the same situation. Alone. Impoverished with nothing. Unloved. A life and existence forgotten.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday reruns

Saturday morning.

Dr. Grumpy: "This is Dr. Grumpy, returning a page."

Miss Myelin: "Yeah, I see Dr. Cortex for my MS, and I woke up today with blurry vision, and I can barely walk."

Dr. Grumpy: "Have you had this before?"

Miss Myelin: "No, it's new. When my MS acts up Dr. Cortex usually admits me to the hospital for IV steroids."

Dr. Grumpy: "That's standard. I think you need to go to ER, and I'll likely admit you."

Miss Myelin: "Are you kidding? I don't have time for that shit."

Dr. Grumpy: "Excuse me?"

Miss Myelin "I don't have time for that. Can I schedule them for next week, like Wednesday or Thursday?"

Dr. Grumpy: "I suppose, but you'll have to call Dr. Cortex on Monday and... Look, if you're not going to let me help you, why did you even call on the weekend, anyway?"

Miss Myelin: "Because I thought it might need urgent treatment."

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Dr. Grumpy: "So let's see what the tests show. Any other questions?"

Mrs. Cephalgia: "Doctor, how will I know if I'm having a headache?"


Dr. Grumpy: "Um, because your head, uh, hurts."

Mrs. Cephalgia: "Oh, okay... that makes sense."

Monday, February 19, 2018

Breaking news!

From around the globe, Dr. Grumpy's crack team of reporters bring you the stories that shape your world.


Pastor George Gregory, of the Waterfront Community Christian Church, claimed that he was "counseling" a man found naked and tied up with rope in a parked car with him.

When police arrived the naked & bound man was in the front seat and Pastor Gregory was in the back "adjusting his clothes."

The good pastor states that he "did nothing" and was helping the man work through a drug problem. He also added that they “were just playing” and would “meet up from time to time to play with each other.”


Police were summoned to an apartment where cries for help were reported.

Upon breaking in, officers found 2 men "hopelessly locked together" with a mannequin dressed in a knight's costume and a remote-control toy car.

Both men were too drunk to explain exactly how this had happened, though, after being freed, one of them was charged with insulting the officers.

Inquiring minds want to know, but mercifully no pictures were taken.


A study found that epilepsy patients who developed impaired consciousness while driving were more likely to have car accidents than epilepsy patients who retained normal consciousness behind the wheel. (Neurology Reviews, January, 2017, page 8).

Friday, February 16, 2018

"Make mine a double."

This CME course title can be interpreted in more than one way...

Thank you Dr. A!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The answer

Thank you all for a great selection of serious, hysterical, and entertaining answers.

The correct one (as several guessed) is...

A guinea pig, viewed from above, with the owner drawing in areas where hair had fallen out (alopecia).

Congratulations to the winners! You've just won a brand new Chrysler Cordoba and you can pick it up at Morty's office!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Webhill, over at Veterinarians Behaving Badly, submitted this picture. It was drawn for her by a pet's owner.

Let's have your guesses. Answer will be listed tomorrow.

Hint: It is not a turd.

Monday, February 12, 2018


I now present Mary’s list of issues that always seem to plague the last patient seen each day (especially on a Friday).

The last patient of the day:

1. Shows up late, and wants to tell you the 10 minute story of why they're late.

2. Wants to read the HIPAA privacy form word-for-word and ask questions, even though it's identical to the one every other doctor and hospital in the country use.

3. Has a new insurance card and left it at home.

4. Forgot to bring the insurance authorization for the visit, and the doctor who issued it closed early that day.

5. Left their MRI reports/lab reports/small child in the car, has to go back to get them, and has no idea where they parked.

6. Refuses to start the appointment until their spouse/child/parent arrives, and has no idea where they are.

7. Has a new address, needs to fill out the forms for it, and has to call someone to verify what it is.

8. Needs a bunch of prescriptions written, with both 30-day and 90-day scripts written for every one.

9. Shows up late, checks in, then leaves to find a bathroom and is gone another 15 minutes.

10. Somehow manages to lose their phone/sunglasses/corgi in the lobby or exam room and needs you to help them look for it.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Local insanity

Due to some unanticipated craziness here I didn't have time to write last night, so am just going to share one of my favorite TV bits:

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Breaking news!

From around the globe, Dr. Grumpy's crack team of reporters bring you the stories that shape your world.


From the "hold my beer and watch this" department.

An unidentified man was injured attempting to jump a rocket-powered bike off his roof.

According to police, he'd taken a bicycle and attached skis to it, then added a motorcycle tail pipe modified into a rocket. The rocket fuel he was using in his heroic endeavor to confirm Darwinism was Heet, an antifreeze product for fuel lines.

He apparently flew off the roof, then fell 13 feet down and plowed into a fence.

When paramedics arrived he was lying on his back on a sled, pushing himself around the driveway and cursing loudly about how much pain he was in.


Robert Meilhammer and friends were out hunting birds, and, when a flock of Canadian geese went by, one of them raised his rifle and brought a fowl down.

The dying goose, however, decided to take some primates with him, and on the way down hit Mr. Meilhammer on the head, conking him out cold, causing "head and facial injuries," and knocking out 2 teeth.

With his goose nearly cooked, paramedics took Mr. Meilhammer to an airport, where he was airlifted to a trauma center. Upon waking, he reportedly didn't remember much of the incident.

One of the goose's family members told our reporter that he hopes Mr. Meilhammer gets a large bill.


In a sporting scandal to rival Riyadh's camel-Botoxgate, the Brainerd, Minnesota Jaycees are investigating claims of cheating at an ice-fishing tournament.

In the cut-throat, ultra-competitive, anything-goes world of ice-fishing contests, the prizes which are currently being held pending investigation are a pick-up truck, $1,000 cash, and a certificate for a free ice auger.

With over 12,000 entrants packed onto the lake like sardines, officials said screening them for fair play is enough to give anyone a haddock. Methods of cheating listed include (I swear) sneaking a live fish in with your gear or digging a shallow hole in the ice the night before, putting a live fish in it, and hoping it's still there and alive the next day.

Apparently some contestants take this quite seriously, though most were participating just for the halibut and had a whale of a time.

Thank you, Kip Addotta.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Feelings. Nothing more than...

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

Mrs. Visit: "Hi, I have an appointment at 2:00 today, and was wondering if I could come in at 1:30 instead."

Mary: "Sure. The slot opened up this morning, so it's all yours."

1 hour later

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

Mrs. Visit: "Hi, this is Mrs. Visit. I changed my appointment from 2:00 to 1:30, but have run into trouble. Can I still come in at 2:00?"

Mary: "Sure. It's still open. We'll see you then!"

2:15 p.m.

Mrs. Visit: "Hello?"

Mary: "Hi, this is Mary at Dr. Grumpy's office. We were expecting you at 2:00, but it's 2:15. Is everything okay?"

Mrs. Visit: "Yeah, but I have to work all day. They told me this morning that I wouldn't be able to leave at all, I guess I knew that all along. Sorry."

Mary: "Then why didn't you just cancel earlier? We can reschedule you."

Mrs. Visit: "I didn't want to hurt your feelings."

Friday, February 2, 2018

2:54 a.m.

Voice: "Hello?"

Dr. Grumpy: "This is Dr. Grumpy, returning a page."

Voice: "Hi, this is Candy Furuncle, I see you for epilepsy? I'm on Fluximoo, I think 400mg each night?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Yes?"

Voice: "Anyway, I've got this huge boil on my left butt cheek. What am I supposed to do about it?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Call your internist. This isn't my field."

Voice: "Can you give me a hint? Like dig it out with a nail clippers or something?"

Dr. Grumpy: "No. Call your internist."

Voice: "What if he's sleeping?"

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Dr. Grumpy: "Hi, I'm Dr. Grumpy. Have a seat. So..."

Mr. Query: "Just to make sure, you went to medical school?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Yes."

Mr. Query: "And residency?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Yes. I also did a fellowship."

Mr. Query: "Okay, thank you. My internist did medical training, so I always want to make sure the doctors she sends me to did, too."

Monday, January 29, 2018

Seen in the chart

Apparently there's a new type of cancer out there:

"Pink, some brown, reddish, too."

Oddly specific time frames:

"It's been such a long time, I think I should be going."

And, from the "you never know who you'll run into" files:

Friday, January 26, 2018

Breaking news

From around the globe, Dr. Grumpy's crack team of reporters bring you the stories that shape your world.


Unless you live under a rock, you've heard of the recent false alarm where residents of the 50th state erroneously received a civil defense warning that there was an incoming ballistic missile.

What you probably didn't know is that the dirty movie website Pornhub, in looking at Hawaiian stats, noticed that as soon as the alert went out their online traffic suddenly dropped 77%. One can only imagine viewers frantically zipping up their pants and knocking a Kleenex box over as they try to find a place to hide from a nuclear bomb (there isn't one by the way, so just finish what you're doing).

Even more impressively, as soon as the message went out that it was a false alarm, Pornhub's traffic suddenly stiffened up, shooting to 48% over their normal traffic level. Presumably people were trying to calm down with a different type of excitement.


In the largest scandal of its type in world history, the Kingdom's beauty competition was rocked this week when it was revealed several contestants had used Botox and plastic surgery to alter their appearances.

The annual dromedary beauty competition at the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival was forced to disqualify 12 camels after it was revealed they'd undergone cosmetic surgeries and Botox treatment to make their ears, lips, noses, and jaws look more attractive. I am not making this up.

None of the disqualified camels would speak to reporters, though one did spit.


Douglas Francisco pulled into a bank's drive-thru teller window, then promptly passed out with his car running.

Concerned bank employees knocked on his window for a while before he woke, at which time he apparently didn't know the kind of drive-thru he was in and ordered a burrito.

After being told he was at a bank, and not a Taco Bell, Mr. Francisco made a run for the border but only got a short distance across the parking lot before he passed out again.

He subsequently failed police-administered sobriety tests and was arrested. Officers noted he "made several statements that were differing with reality."


From the "where are they now" files...

David Joyner, who played Barney the Dinosaur on the long-running (and amazingly irritating) children's show, is now running a tantric sex business in L.A.

Mr. Joyner, for a modest $350, provides 3-4 hour sessions to female clients which consist of ritual bathing, chakra balancing, and serious humping.

This leaves many of us wondering a few things: What's REALLY purple? What was going on under the costume? And does he yell "STOOOOOOPENDOUS!" during the throes of ecstacy?

"And when he's tall that's what we call a dinosaur sensation!"

And that's the way it is.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Old Bastard

His name was John. Granted, I never called him that. I always called him "doctor."

Every residency program has one on staff. An old, semi-retired physician who's rumored to have trained under Osler or Charcot. Brusque, rude, and brilliant.

John was all of that. Came to work in a suit and tie every day. He always sat in the same seat in every meeting and lecture. One of the few docs old enough to have literally seen every neurological disease. He'd started in the era where top-of-the-line brain imaging was the pneumoencephalogram and ventriculogram. The number on his American Academy of Neurology certificate was 2 digits long.

We were terrified of him. He wasn't mean, but intimidating none the less. If you were answering a question, you knew you were on the wrong track if you heard him starting to chuckle softly in the back of the room, and when he took his unlit pipe out of his pocket and began puffing on it... you'd really screwed up.

At the same time, you'd go to him for help. Due to his long experience he could explain things sometimes no one else could. Occasionally you'd get invited into his office (it had been his for over 30 years) which reeked of tobacco. The hospital was no-smoking everywhere, but he didn't care. He smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, and a pipe on top of that. The little room was packed with bookcases, creaking under the weight of neurological tomes going back to the 1930's. Although it was a chaotic mess to everyone else, John would always go to a specific spot in the room, pull out and blow the dust off a book, and open it to exactly where the answer was.

John was a widower, and his only son and he had a tenuous relationship at best. He was a workaholic, and the neurology department was his life. He'd come in on weekend mornings to read the paper and have his pipe and coffee in his office. For dinner each night he dined alone at the same table in the same Michelin 3 star restaurant. Only once did I know him to have a dinner companion, when an old acquaintance of his was in town: Sir Roger Bannister, the world's fastest neurologist.

Shortly after I completed residency, John was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. He didn't even bother with treatment. Nor did he miss a day of work. Once he told others about it, it was no longer to be discussed. No one was to bring it up with him. He and his pipe continued to teach and lecture and glare at us until he no longer could. I, and many others, including his son, visited him in his last days.

His office was still locked and untouched when I left the area a few months later. No one dared go in or move his books or pictures. They were, for better or worse, all that was left of him.

A friend of mine from the department and I were talking about John's solitary life, with nothing but his work left. He commented that "it's a lesson in how not to live."

But... John never really died.

He's at my office every day, and follows me to the hospital. When writing a note I'll sometimes hear his chuckle and realize I'm not thinking the patient through correctly. He sits across my desk from me and argues about cases. When doing an EMG/NCV he'll chew me out if I do the wrong muscle, or tell me to do it over if it didn't sound right. If I forgot to check something on exam he'll make me go back and do it over.

There are many lessons to be drawn from John, both good and bad. I'll try to learn from all of them.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Random pictures

Time to hit the mail bag for stuff you guys have sent in.

First, this picture pretty much speaks for itself:

"You can park by the trash can, Phil, unless there's a shopping cart in the way."

Here's a restaurant's hours from their department of redundancy department:

Then there's this ad for a "spinal reset." Apparently the key to spinal health is growing a series of spikes on your back so you vaguely resemble a stegosaurus. Or Godzilla. Or look like you've been repeatedly impaled by a unicorn. Or narwhal. Or were attacked by a badly malfunctioning ice-cream-cone-baking machine.

Then there's this sign, for those who've been afflicted by a bootie cootie (thank you, ER's Mom, for that awesome phrase):

And finally... I don't understand this at all:

Friday, January 19, 2018

Seen in a chart

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Mr. Snow: "Boy it's freezing out there."

Dr. Grumpy: "Yeah, even just walking from my car to the elevator was bone-chilling."

Mr. Snow: "How does he handle it?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Who? Dr. Pissy? His space is closer to the elevator."

Mr. Snow: "No, your fish. Ed, or whatever his name is."

Dr. Grumpy: "Ed doesn't go outside. He's been in that same spot for almost 20 years."*

Mr. Snow: "Yeah, but I imagine the winter must bother him somehow, like seeing snow out the window. He must get cold in here."

Dr. Grumpy: "Nah, he's fine. The indoor temp here is pretty much the same year-round."

Mr. Snow: "That's weird. I mean, my dog can't stand to go outside when it's this cold. I figured your fish would be the same."

* Ed is not a Betta of unusual longevity. It's just been easier over time to name all of them Ed.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Breaking news

From around the planet, Dr. Grumpy's crack team of reporters bring you the stories that shape our world.


An unidentified fellow, trying to save money by not paying his subway fare, attempted to jump the barrier at the Covent Garden Tube station.

His plan went horribly wrong when he somehow got his penis caught in the metal gate mid-leap.

Police officers and transportation workers were finally able to free his winkie, but not before he was filmed by bystanders.

Whatever money he was trying to save probably wasn't worth it.


A Russian man, who was "bored," stole a combat vehicle from a military tank-driving school and went for a ride.

During his outing he smashed a car, then lost control of the armored vehicle and crashed through the front of a grocery store. At that point he got out of the car, pilfered a bottle of wine, and ran away.

Police arrested him shortly afterwards, still carrying the bottle of wine.


Local butcher Chris McCabe was trapped inside his store's walk-in freezer when wind blew the door shut behind him. Fortunately, the freezer had an emergency release safety button. Unfortunately, it had frozen solid and couldn't be moved.

Attempts to kick the button loose were unsuccessful.

Keeping a cool head, Mr. McCabe grabbed a frozen, 3 lbs. black pudding and used it to repeatedly smash the button until it loosened enough to allow him to open the door.

He told reporters that “black pudding saved my life, without a doubt.”

Friday, January 12, 2018

11:25 p.m.

Mr. Lung: "Hello?"

Dr. Grumpy (trying to wake up): "This is Dr. Grumpy, returning a page."

Mr. Lung: "Hi, I'm calling to find out what my PET scan showed?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Um... I didn't order a PET scan on you. In fact, I don't think I've ordered any tests on you for some time."

Mr. Lung: "I know. My lung doctor ordered it, to follow-up on a nodule. But my appointment with him isn't until the morning."

Dr. Grumpy: "Well, I don't have the results, and not sure I'd know what they mean."

Mr. Lung: "But I don't want to wait until morning!"

Dr. Grumpy: "Then you'll have to call his office and see if he'll tell you."

Mr. Lung: "It's late. I don't want to wake him up."

Thursday, January 11, 2018

No comment

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Seen in a chart

"Gee, how flattering, doc."

Monday, January 8, 2018

January 2, 2018

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

Mrs. Mycelium: "Hi, I have to cancel my appointment for this afternoon. I'm having an emergency!"

Mary: "Okay, do you..."

Mrs. Mycelium: "We went to take our Christmas tree out, and discovered THERE WAS MOLD ON IT!"

Mary: "I'm sorry to hear that. Would you like to reschedule now or..."

Mrs. Mycelium: "You act like this is nothing! THIS IS MOLD! I already called 911, and the girl there had the nerve to tell me mold wasn't an emergency!"

Mary: "Why don't you call me back when..."

Mrs. Mycelium: "I put the tree outside, but the mold may already be taking over my house! Do you know the number for a HAZMAT emergency? I can't find one!"

Mary: "No, I..."

Mrs. Mycelium: "Then can you call 911 for me? I bet they'd take this a lot more seriously if the call came from a doctor's office."

Mary: "I can't..."

Mrs. Mycelium: "OH MY GOD MY DOG IS OVER BY THE TREE! FLUFFY GET IN HERE! I need to go to the vet now!"

The line went dead.
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