Monday, January 27, 2020

Mary's desk

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

Mrs. Call: "Hello, I was referred by Dr. Unka to see Dr. Grumpy."

Mary: "Sure. What insurance do you have?"

Mrs. Call: "Sikazchit PPO."

Mary: "Oh... I'm sorry. We don't take that insurance. Let me give you the names of some other neurologists you can try..."

Mrs. Call: "Dr. Unka wanted me to see Dr. Grumpy."

Mary: "He probably doesn't know we're not contracted with Sikazchit PPO. There's Dr. Brain, who..."

Mrs. Call: "I. Don't. Think. You. Understand. This is Dr. Unka who referred me. He wants me to see Dr. Grumpy. So make me an appointment."

Mary: "But we don't take your insurance. Do you mean you want to do this as cash pay?"

Mrs. Call: "Don't be ridiculous. Since Dr. Unka referred me you should be seeing me as a courtesy to him."

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Losing my religion

Dr. Grumpy: "Let me fill out the MRI form... Are you claustrophobic, sir?"

Mr. Lumbar: "No, I'm Episcopalian."

Monday, January 20, 2020

Aged out

Dr. Grumpy: "Okay, we should have the test results later today, so I'll check back afterwards to discuss them. Who's your regular internist?"

Mrs. Fainting: "It's Dr. Olde."

Dr. Grumpy: "He's still practicing? Wow. Okay, I'll call and let him know you're here and what's going on."

Mrs. Fainting: "You don't need to. He was in ER across from me. They were putting him on life support."

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Can you narrow that down a bit?

Seen in a chart:

Monday, January 13, 2020

New Year's Eve

This is Craig Grumpy. Dad asked me to write about my New Year's Eve.

Marie and I had an out-of-state college band competition on December 31st, with an 8 hour bus ride home afterwards. Since the competition ended around 7:00 p.m... It was going to be a long night.

When we boarded the bus (which was not some luxury tour bus, think more Partridge Family) to go home, we found our band director had hung a "Happy 2019!" banner over the back seats. There was a piece of lined notebook paper with "2020" written in Sharpie stapled over the "2019." She excitedly told us that this way we could take pictures in front of it for our Instagram accounts so people would think we were at a real NYE party, instead of, say, on an aging repurposed school bus driving all night through the frozen wastelands of the American Midwest.

A few of us took pictures, but with the pile of musical instruments in the back of the bus, and the broken "occupied" sign on its bathroom behind the banner, I'm pretty sure we didn't fool anybody. One of Marie's classmates saw her post and wrote "Where are you? That looks like an old bus!"

We'd only been on the road for an hour when the heater broke.

Starting around 10:00 the bus driver and band director began hinting at a New Year's "surprise" they'd planned, leaving us all breathless with excitement. We were hoping it involved food and a slightly less disgusting bathroom.

Approaching midnight they let us in on the big secret: we were going to be stopping at a large gas-station that was locally famous for it's NYE celebration for truckers, with fireworks and a special take-out menu. At this point anything was starting to sound good, as the only food anyone had brought was 2 boxes of Ding-Dongs and a Costco package of Goldfish.

Right on time, at 11:55 we pulled into the place's parking lot...

To find it was closed. And I don't mean "closed for the night." I mean "closed down, abandoned, with broken windows and graffiti." The only other living thing there was a coyote slinking off behind the empty drive-through.

The bus driver wished us all a happy new year and got off the bus to smoke, but warned the rest of us to stay on board for safety.

Then it was midnight. As the calendar turned to 2020, I was standing in line to use a bus' bathroom in the parking lot of a post-apocalyptic truck stop, watching our driver smoking outside as the snow came down. The closest thing we had to fireworks was the tuba players having a belching contest.

After all that excitement, to settle down Marie and I played pool on our phones until we started to doze off.

We were woken up by screaming about 30 minutes later when the bus' toilet finally gave up the ghost and backed-up into the aisle to cap off the party. So we drove the last few hours back to school with the windows open, preferring death by hypothermia to that of asphyxiation.

And to all a good night and happy new year.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

That wraps it up

Shutting down for the next 3 weeks. See you in 2020!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

For those who didn't see it

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Phone rings.

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

Mrs. Latrodectus: "Hello, I need to make an appointment with Dr. Grumpy."

Mary: "Let me put you on hold for a sec, I'm scheduling another patient right now."

Mary finishes scheduling the other patient in < 1 minute, goes back to Mrs. Lactrodectus, finds she hung up.

Phone rings.

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

Mrs. Latrodectus: "How DARE you put me on hold. I'm a VERY busy woman!"

Mary: "Sorry, but there's always a lot going on here. Okay... We have an opening next Wednesday afternoon... what are you going to be seeing Dr. Grumpy for?"

Mrs. Latrodectus: "Excuse me? Are you the doctor?"

Mary: "No, I'm his secretary."

Mrs. Latrodectus: "Well, I don't have to tell underlings why I'm coming in. Unless he's willing to get on the phone right now, I have no plans to discuss this on this call."

Mary: "The only reason I ask is because there are several disorders he doesn't handle, and so I don't want to waste your time, or his, if you come in and he doesn't see your condition."

Mrs. Latrodectus: "I'm a very busy woman and don't have time for this nonsense. Why don't you just tell me all the things he doesn't treat and I'll decide if this is worthwhile."

Mary: "I'm not going to do that. Do you want to make an appointment or not?"

Mrs. Lactrodectus: "You have some nerve!"


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Seen in a chart

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Day at the Races

Early last Friday morning Mr. Party, a heavy-drinking patient of Dr. Smith (an internist downstairs in my building) wasn't feeling well. He'd quit drinking 2 days before, and decided to go to his doctor's office and wait for it to open.

While standing in the hall, Mr. Party was passed by a drug rep (yes, this one) coming to bring breakfast to me and Pissy's office. She markets anti-seizure medications, and her company has been promoting a campaign to make its reps more aware of the special needs of epilepsy patients.

Anyway, just as she was walking by Mr. Party, he suddenly collapsed and had a generalized seizure, wetting himself and lacerating his forehead on the doorknob as he fell. She then showed her newfound awareness of the special needs of seizure patients by running screaming through the building yelling "Help! Someone call 911!" repeatedly. The whole time she had a cell phone in her hand (Richard Dreyfuss did something similar in "Down & Out in Beverly Hills" for those who remember the flick).

Her meeting with me forgotten, she ran out to her car and decided to, um, I'm really not sure. As she was getting into it she suddenly realized she had a phone in her hand and called 911 herself. She then sat there for 15 minutes, trying to work up the courage to go back and look for her sample case and the tray of bagels she'd dropped in the excitement.

In the meantime, Dr. Smith had arrived at work to be greeted by one of his patients lying unconscious in a pool of blood and urine in front of his office door. At about the same time the police, firemen, and paramedics all arrived. They'd been summoned by the somewhat nonspecific nature of people in the building calling 911 when they heard the rep yelling, but not knowing what was going on.

Mr. Party was admitted to the hospital and is suspected of having had an alcohol-withdrawal seizure.

Dr. Smith waited until they loaded Mr. Party into the ambulance, then called building maintenance to shampoo the carpet in front of his office.

The drug rep found her sample case and bagels, and rescheduled her meeting with Pissy and I to later in the morning. During it she mentioned that she's considering a career change.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Midnight. Not a sound from the pavement.

Dr. Grumpy: "So that was 2 weeks ago that you were in the hospital... How have you been doing?"

Mr. Percheron: "I'm fine, I mean, I don't remember much about that day, but everything else has come back. What was that called?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Transient Global Amnesia. It's uncommon, and fortunately generally benign. You'll probably never remember the day it happened, but that's not a big deal."

Mr. Percheron: "Maybe you can help me with this?" (hands me a folded paper).

Dr. Grumpy: "What is it?"

Mr. Percheron: "It's from the hospital. They sent me a satisfaction questionnaire about my stay. But I don't remember anything about it."

Monday, December 2, 2019

"That's not my specialty."

Seen in a chart:

Monday, November 25, 2019


I think we'd all agree that going through alcohol withdrawal is a bad thing.

I think even more of us would say that having a stroke is also pretty serious.

So you definitely don't want to do BOTH at the same time.

Of course, someone had to actually study this. So they did.

In a landmark piece of research, it was discovered that people who have a stroke AND go through alcohol withdrawal during their admission have more complications, poorer outcomes, and tend to be in the hospital longer than stroke patients who don't withdraw and see pink elephants.


This creates an all new research path: think of other conditions that are worsened by alcohol withdrawal. It's just like Mad Libs! Write a series of articles where you fill in the blank:

“Alcohol withdrawal is associated with worsened outcomes in  _______.”

If you play your cards right, this kind of research could get you an academic appointment! Let me throw out some suggestions, and you guys can take it from there:

"heart attacks"



Have fun! And keep me in mind when you become chairman!

Thank you, SMOD!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

"Play with me, kids"

There's a pediatrics office down the hall from me. Yesterday a letter for them accidentally ended up at my place, so I took it over there. I noticed this on the waiting room toy shelf:

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