Monday, January 30, 2023


As my regular readers know, I moonlight as a consultant for various medical market research companies. It's a thankless job, but somebody has to pay for the tomatoes.

So last night I had a dinner meeting with neurologists and sundry other specialists to review data on an up-and-coming product.

These are never fun, because neurologists by nature are a remarkably pathological group of personalities. Back when I worked at Humungous Neurology, Inc. the partners would argue if it was dark or light outside. I think they invite the other specialties to these as a buffer.

But I digress.

So I was seated next to Dr. Harangue, who I'd had the good fortune of not having seen in at least 5 years. In his own mind he's a giant in his field. To those outside his mind he's an obnoxious boil. He may have once been a good doc, but as they say in Hollywood "you're only as good as your last picture". And his was made before Casablanca.

Neurologists will argue over anything. The meal started with a dispute across from me over who's bread plate was who's (right or left? GET YOUR BREAD OFF MY PLATE!) followed by a fight over which fork is used for salad. Somebody actually dragged the maitre d' to the room to settle the issue (no, it wasn't me. I sit still and keep my mouth shut as much as possible).

I'm not much into the swanky places they have these meetings at. I ordered a steak. I had no idea how complex this was.

Waiter: "How would you like that cooked?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Medium."

Waiter: 'That involves a light red center. Is that okay?"

Dr. Grumpy: "As opposed to..."

Waiter: "Well, rare is a pink center."

Dr. Grumpy: "Medium is fine."

Waiter: "I can do medium rare, too. That's a pink/red combo".

Dr. Grumpy: "What's wrong with medium?"

Waiter: "I'll just do medium-rare-plus for you. That's a pinkish-red."

Whatever. I'm trying to order a steak, not pick out draperies.

Then the talk began. Every time a doc involved in the study was mentioned, Dr. Harangue felt the need to interrupt and say "I know that doctor personally. We've been close friends for over 25 years." By the end of the meeting I was hoping they'd mention a study done by Hippocrates or Woodrow Wilson to see if he knew them, too.

After 15 minutes of talking, the speaker stepped out from behind the podium to show us all that his zipper was down, with his tucked-in shirt hanging out of it. A tactful internist promptly yelled "Christ! Your fly is open!" to drop a subtle hint.

Then they brought dinner. The cardiologist next to me had ordered prime rib (no comment), and the waiter accidentally set my steak in front of him, and his prime rib in front of me. I pointed this out, and he quickly switched plates.

The cardiologist had a freakin' FIT! "I don't want that now! It was in front of him! He could have H1N1, or worse! Doesn't the heath department check you places anymore?!!!" It was, literally, in front of me for less than 5 seconds.

So I quietly started my steak, while they went to get Dr. Germaphobe a new prime rib (actually, I think they just brought him back the old one).

The next speaker showed us a seemingly endless series of graphs. After 20 minutes of this, she asked if anyone had any comments. Dr. Phlame at the end of the table immediately raised his hand. "Yes, I want to know why you chose red and blue as the main colors for the graphs. I think mauve and maybe yellow would be much more aesthetically pleasing. Also, I think some ruffles or curvy lines around the slide border would be nice."

This was immediately followed by Dr. Harangue chipping in "Dr. Phlame, do you live under a freaking rock? This company has been using those colors for years. But back to the data, did any of you people think to compare these results to a 1954 study by Longdead, et al?" The speaker (and everyone else there) had absolutely no clue what he was talking about, and Dr. Harangue chewed us out, as if it had just been published last week. When I looked it up, the study investigated a drug (that's no longer in use) for an unrelated condition.

Throughout this excitement the waiters kept refilling our glasses (ENDLESS DIET COKE HEAVEN!), so dysfunctional personalities were not improving with repeated doses of Burgundy and other wines.

In one discussion, to argue a point about a competing drug, an internist actually reached into his pocket and pulled out a product insert. I swear! He had it with him, all scrunched up. After reading from it like it was a bible he sat down and began arguing with a pulmonary doc about when daylight savings time starts.

We made it through another 15 minutes of polite discussion before Dr. Germaphobe cardiologist began tapping my shoulder. "Hey, Ibee!"

I turned around "What's up?"

"Are you gonna finish your roll?"

Stunned, I looked at the bread roll I'd absently left on my plate. It was buttered, and I'd taken a few bites out of it. "Uh, no, I'm full".

"Thanks!" And he grabbed it. So the guy who'd refused to eat an untouched steak was now chomping on my partially eaten dinner roll. Amazing what a bottomless glass of white wine will do.

As we sat through another set of slides, Dr. Harangue's cell phone rang. He answered it, speaking loudly enough to be heard in the next county (i.e., his usual volume). "What? Yeah. No, I've got another half hour of this shit. The drug company people won't shut up."

The dinner ended 20 minutes later. To make sure all points were covered, the moderator specifically asked "Dr. Harangue, are there any other comments?"

No answer. It was the only time he'd been quiet all night. He was in a burgundy stupor, slumped face down next to his creme brulee. He was still there when I collected my paycheck and left.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Seen in a chart

I have no idea what this was supposed to say.



Monday, January 16, 2023

Family Fun

Ms. Crouton: "Hello?"

Annie: "Hi, this is Annie, with Dr. Grumpy's office. I'm still working on getting your medication, Shnoodleblob, authorized, but in the meantime we do have samples you can pick up so you can get through the week."

Ms. Crouton: "You do? Oh, THANK YOU! That really helps. What time are you open to?"

Annie: "We'll be here until 4:30 today and..."

Ms. Crouton: "No... I don't get off work until 5:00 today, and I actually have to get off the phone now because my meeting is starting... can you call my mom for me? She knows I take this, and she's near your office anyway. She'll pick it up and I'll get it from her later."

Annie: "I..."

Ms. Crouton: "My meeting is starting! Please call her! 867-5309! Thank you!"



Annie sighs.


Ms. Crouton's Mom: "Hello?"

Annie: "Hi, this is Annie, calling from Dr. Grumpy's office. Your daughter, Ms. Crouton, can't get by to pick up her medication, and asked me to call you since she says you're near our office."

Ms. Crouton's Mom: "Can you please call my daughter back and tell her to go fuck herself? Thank you."



Annie sighs.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Never mind

Dr. Grumpy: "Any major illnesses run in your family?"

Ms. Dna: "Cancer, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes... wait, do you mean in my family?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, yeah."

Ms. Dna: "Oh, never mind then. They're all pretty healthy."

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Back in 2023

But, until then, I'm again sharing my favorite Christmas song.


Monday, December 12, 2022

Saluting a colleague

Today's post is written to express my admiration for another local neurologist, Dr. I. V. Leeg, for his remarkable dedication to principles.

Dr. Leeg attended a well-known college and medical school. While the majority of people I've met who attended his school act like decent human beings, Dr. Leeg realizes that being in massive educational debt up to your eyeballs is worth nothing if you don't continuously remind other docs that they're road apples compared to you.

Dr. Grumpy went to public schools all the way up until medical school, when I went to a small private medical school no one else on Earth has heard of except for the 6 of us who graduated from there. My reason for going there? It was the only medical school I got into.

When I first met Dr. Leeg I tried to make idle chatter with him for a few minutes, and asked him what had brought him to this neck of the woods. Trying to be polite, he said "to improve the crappy quality of neurological care in Grumpyville."

Last year Dr. Leeg was fired from a hospital case because the family thought he was arrogant and condescending. They then asked for me to take over. In his sign-off note, he kindly put in the chart that he'd been "dismissed in favor of a physician of lesser education."

Recently a patient transferred care from Dr. Leeg to my practice, so I sent over a routine request for records. A week later we received them in the mail. At the end of the chart notes was a phone memo that said, "the patient has transferred care to Dr. Grumpy. I personally called to warn her of the risks involved in seeing a physician who is a product of public education. She understood, and unreasonably insisted on continuing with her plan to leave my practice".

So here's a salute to Dr. Leeg, for his remarkable devotion to making sure that us lesser physicians know our place in the world.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Open mic post

Doing some reading over the weekend, and came across this pic. I'm opening up the floor for caption ideas. Mine is under it.


“Pinch me again and you’ll need dental work”



Monday, November 28, 2022

"I'll never listen to Mozart the same way again."

Found this at Goodwill. I can only assume someone in OB/GYN marketing was trying to think outside of the pens & post-it notes box.

Monday, November 14, 2022

The personal touch

 Seen in a chart:

Monday, November 7, 2022

Random pictures

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

Here we have an ad for a healthcare supply manufacturer.

Let's face it, if your most "innovative respiratory product" in the last 43 years is a cotton swab... I'm just sayin'.

Next, from the "hey, whose doesn't?" category, is this bumper sticker:

This license plate is presented without comment:

Next is this ER patient board item, which has either the wrong vowel or too many "r"'s. I'm not going to guess.


And finally we have this fortune cookie. Which probably means you've just been poisoned and need Ipecac.


Monday, October 31, 2022


Dr. Grumpy: "How are you doing?"

Ms. Random: "The morning is a complete loss so far. Truck empty. Overdoing it. Couldn't focus. Throwing things. Cats. Dogs. Crashes. Broken stuff. Shit. You ever have that kind of day?"

Monday, October 24, 2022

Modern technology

Mr. Galliform: "Annie asked me to type up my concerns and bring them in before my wife's visit."

Hands me a paper.

Dr. Grumpy: "Thank you, let me see. So sleep has been an issue?"

Mr. Galliform: "Yeah, she's often up pacing the hall and mumbling."

Dr. Grumpy: "Is she still driving?"

Mr. Galliform: "Yes, and I'd like you to discuss it with her, she's had all kinds of problems, and I think she needs to stop. I wrote some of that down towards the bottom."

Dr. Grumpy: "Oh, okay... she WHAT?"

Mr. Galliform: "Um, she's still driving, and it's causing problems."

Dr. Grumpy: "NO! Here, you wrote 'she frequently locks turkeys in the car'! When did that start? Why turkeys? That's a new one to me."

Mr. Galliform: "WHAT? Let me see... Oh, that must be autocorrect, it should say 'she frequently locks her keys in the car.'"


Mr. Galliform: "I have to admit, your version is more interesting."

Dr. Grumpy: "I bet."

Monday, October 17, 2022


Dr. Grumpy: "Are you allergic to any medications?"

Ms. Golconda: "No."

Dr. Grumpy: "What kind of work do you do? Or are you retired?"

Ms. Golconda: "I'm a kept woman. And I'm very good at it."

Monday, October 10, 2022

Somewhere, across the sea, my readers write

Reader Alan K., from Israel, says his local grocery store recently had some issues with their "translate to English" website feature:


Locations of visitors to this page