Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Say that again?

This is a gem. From a new patient today, that I was getting some family background on:

Dr. Grumpy: "Any history of miscarriages in your family?"

Mrs. Notsobright: "My Mom had one, with me."

Monday, March 30, 2009

No, You Idiots. I Treat Dead Patients, Too.

Check this out, Grumpyites. This is a form I have to fill out every few months for patients to continue receiving a drug called Tysabri.

I direct you to question #1: Is the patient still under your care?

IF I answer "yes" to that question, THEN (in question #2) I'm asked if the patient is alive!

How much do you think they paid the bozo who wrote this form?

(click to enlarge)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

True Love in the ICU

Hi, grumpy fans. Your hero was on call this weekend.

This morning I was called to evaluate a 23 year-old female who was found
floating face down in her pool. Probable suicide attempt, with brain damage.

While I was writing my chart note a nurse came over to tell me that the
patient's fiancé was on the phone, and wanted to talk to a doctor about
what was going on. I picked up the phone and had the following

Dr. Grumpy: "Hello?."

Mr. Fiancé: "Yeah, are you the doctor taking care of my fiancé, Jane Doe?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Yes sir, what can I do for you?"

Mr. Fiancé: "Are her car keys there? 'Cause it's my car, and I need it back."

Dr. Grumpy: (astounded) "No sir, there aren't any car keys here."

Mr. Fiancé: "Well, did she leave a note saying where the car keys were, or where she left my car parked? I need it, because I have stuff to do today."

Dr. Grumpy: "No, sir, nothing like that"

Mr. Fiancé: "Well, you're no help to me" (hung up the phone).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

You people drive me nuts!

So the Friday before leaving on the cruise I saw this guy for back pain. Since I manage my own patients no matter where I am, I had to deal with him all week on my trip.

He wanted an urgent MRI (his request, I didn't feel it was medically urgent). So the weekend after his Friday appointment he called my closed office 5 times to see if we'd scheduled it yet (sorry, sir, your crappy HMO hasn't opened their authorization department on a weekend just to accommodate you). But on Monday, my nurse, who can work miracles, somehow got an authorization expedited just to shut him up.

So we got the MRI mid-week. I personally called him Friday afternoon from the cruise to go over his benign results. He demanded that I do "Something! Anything! Just fix me!" (for the record, sir, doing so is beyond the skills of the best psychiatrists). So I told him I'd order physical therapy.

So this past weekend, apparently forgetting that Crappy HMO, Inc., isn't open on weekends, he called 3 times to see if his physical therapy had been set up yet.

My secretary called him Monday morning to schedule his physical therapy. He told her that he'd decided at the last minute to go on a 3 week trip to visit some old college buddies in Idaho, and would call us when he got back.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Back to the Salt Mines

So within 48 hours of me getting home, I got dragged in to the hospital. One of my office patients had a stroke on a weekend. Can you believe the nerve? They should schedule this sort of thing in advance.

Anyway, I wandered into the doctor's lounge, where the TV was off. This is a remarkable event. The TV in there is ALWAYS on, usually turned to CNN or ESPN or MSNBC.

So the giant TV is quiet, with a little sign taped to it that says "The cable box will be fixed on 3-23."

In spite of this, there were 3 (count 'em! 3!) docs sprawled across chairs in front of the electronic deity, just as if it were on! Staring at the blank screen, and occasionally mumbling to each other how they wish it would be fixed today!

Does this seem odd to anyone else out there?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cruising with Dr. Grumpy, #6

(It’s Spring Break! We are taking advantage of recession rates to take our brood on a Mexican cruise. So you guys can now enjoy a week of relatively medical-free posts, with me blogging from the ship).


At sea, going in slow loops back toward LA. Today was our last day on the S.S. Buffet.

After breakfast I entered a trivia contest (I won). It was run by the activities director, who kept misplacing things and forgetting questions. At one point I jokingly said, "I'm a neurologist, let me give you my card", and the crowd laughed. After the contest she cornered me. Said she had epilepsy, wanted to know what I thought of Depakote. That will teach me to keep my mouth shut.

You know it's time to go home because the amount of water you displace getting into the hot tub is a lot more than it was on day 1 of the trip. And those hot college babes in tight thong bikinis? After 7 days of nonstop meals they don't fit into their bikinis very well, and are now the size of shipping hazards.

A phenomenon you see on the last day are these forlorn 16 year old couples wandering around, holding hands, or staring into each other's eyes over a Diet Coke on the Promenade deck. They never knew each other until a few days ago, and now they feel like here, on a cruise ship, they've met their soulmate, and can't bear the thought of going back home to their respective home towns of Slotmachine, Nevada and Los Taquitos, California. And in 2 weeks they'll have a vague memory of each other, "oh yeah, this is a picture of whathisname, that guy I met on the cruise"

Why does every issue of the daily newsletter "Cruiseline Capers" list the captain's name on it? It's not like it should be changing from day to day. Is this to reassure you that there was no mutiny overnight? If there was, would they put the new captain's name on the newsletter ?

After a round of mini-golf Marie and I went up front to look over the bow. Occasionally you'd see a dolphin leap up, or rarely a whale surface and blow air. She, unfortunately, has now decided that EVERY whitecap on the ocean is a dolphin or whale. So when she sees whitecaps (which is often) she begins screaming that she sees a whale or dolphin. Mrs. Grumpy and I have learned to ignore her, but when she does this so many other passengers drop what they are doing and rush over to look that you expect the ship to tilt.

To wrap up our last day, we went to a comedy show in the main theater, where they were just finishing a round of Bingo. They were trying to get 5 numbers in a row. We all know how to play bingo. Apparently, it's simplicity is beyond the IQ of a lot. We would see people jump up and yell "Bingo" and start screaming wildly. So the person in charge would wander back to find they only had 2 or 3 out of 5 numbers in a row. This actually happened quite often. How stupid can you be? Or were they hoping the director would say, "hey, you only got 3 of the 5 numbers, but since you were willing to jump up and make an ass out of yourself we'll give it to you, anyway."

The day concluded with an excellent dinner, but by this point we were getting tired of food. You find yourself looking at the menu of prime rib and lobster and want to ask for a big bowl of Kellogg's Colon-Blow cereal instead.

So, from somewhere off Baja Calfornia: Merry Spring Break to all, and to all a good night.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cruising with Dr. Grumpy, #5

(It’s Spring Break! We are taking advantage of recession rates to take our brood on a Mexican cruise. So you guys can now enjoy a week of relatively medical-free posts, with me blogging from the ship).


Today the S.S. Buffet was in Cabo. Our last 2 excursions off the ship (see last few posts) were just so much @#$%!!! fun that we decided to just stay on board.

On the way to breakfast this morning I passed a cabin with a sock over the door handle. I had no idea guys still did that. It was quite nostalgic. Last time I saw that signal was when I lived in a dorm at BSU (Big State University) in 1985. In this day and age I guess I'd figured guys had developed a more technologically advanced way of saying "do not enter, I am scoring" (or at least trying to make others think you are).

It was comical, especially when 9 year-old Frank asked me why there was a sock on the door (I told him they needed laundry done). I briefly toyed with the ideas of exchanging it with the "maid service please" sign on another door, or even going to the ship's store and buying a whole package of socks to put on every door along that hall to make it look like some sort of humpfest was in progress.

There is actually a lady, I swear, who brought a FUCKING SCALE on the ship. She weighs herself BY THE POOL every morning, and loudly announces her current state of chubbiness. Since the numbers keep going up, I can only assume she is looking for a sympathetic response. But no one else responds. I think they're all afraid she'll offer to weigh anyone who speaks up.

In the afternoon I started playing cards with Craig and Marie by the pool. They became indignant, feeling that since they'd seen a room labeled "card room" downstairs, we shouldn't be playing cards anywhere else. In fact, both were concerned security would haul us away for even having possession of a deck of cards anywhere but a designated card room.

So we went to the card room. There was one family playing bridge, and a group of blue haired elderly ladies playing Mahjong. Craig immediately went over to inform the grandma club that it was the card room, and they could get in trouble for playing non-card games.

I hurriedly grabbed an empty table, dragging Craig away from theirs. I sat down to play steal the bundle with them. I had my back to the wall, and the twins were facing me. Unfortunately, in my hurry I hadn't noticed I'd sat down beneath some 17th century painting of the roman god Mercury, wearing nothing but a hat. So Marie suddenly shrieked "Look! You can see his penis!" Then they both began cackling hysterically.

At this point I began getting some icy glares. So I gathered up the cards and kids, mumbled an apology to the Mahjong League of Death, and ran out.

The day wrapped up with a party for past guests, which involved free drinks, so I had several. There were also hors d'ouvres. A pleasant young wattress kept coming by our seat with a tray of things (it was too dark in there to see what). When queried she said "They’re chili fish". I had no interest at all in them, and said no. So she put one on my plate. As soon as she left I quickly moved the plate to an empty table, so she immediately came back to offer me another chili fish. This time I apparently managed to communicate my complete lack of interest, and she pleasantly wandered off, only to return 1 minute later to ask me if I'd like a chili fish.

At this point the orchestra announced they were opening up the floor for dancing, so again Marie dislocated my shoulder to drag me onstage. Muttering a silent prayer that none of my patients were watching, I went up again. So we danced in front of 500 or so past guests. At one point Marie lost her balance and grabbed my shorts for support. Unfortunately, I was wearing shorts with an elastic waistband and no belt. Miraculously, I grabbed them just before they were lowered too much, sparing the past guests a view of my undies and possibly reasons to try another cruise line.

So we went back to our seat, and a cruise photographer (his name is Whackjob, I swear) immediately came over to get a picture of Marie and I. He fired a trillion megawatt flash at me from point blank range, blinding me for several seconds. All I could see was a bright light surrounding me, and briefly wondered if I'd died. I quickly realized I'd done no such thing when a voice through the blinding light suddenly said "Chili Fish?"

I really like cruising. Too bad the lines aren't interested in having the services of a neurologist on board. Maybe they could have a stroke-themed cruise ("you're planning on having a stroke, sir? Well, on Cruiseship Lines we have a special ‘stroke at sea’ cruise, featuring an on-board neurologist and MRI").

Any interested cruise lines please email me.

And that's the way it is.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cruising with Dr. Grumpy, #4

(It’s Spring Break! We are taking advantage of recession rates to take our brood on a Mexican cruise. So you guys can now enjoy a week of relatively medical-free posts, with me blogging from the ship).


Today we were in Mazatlan.

The view from our cabin, surprisingly, was different today. Instead of looking straight down into water (which we'd been doing since boarding the ship) we were looking straight down onto concrete. I could only assume we were in port or had had a serious navigational mishap.

My first view of Mazatlan, out the window of the dining room at breakfast, was a giant cement dock covered with such attractive things as mountains of rotting rubber tires, rusting freight containers, and billboards that said "eat at Senior Frog's"

As we ate, a band of about 20 musicians showed up to play at the gangway. Most were obviously hung over. They were pleasantly off key and unsynchronized, and at one point a trombone player tried to do some sort of spinning dance move and fell over, knocking over 2 other musicians in the process. This only improved their playing.

There were a few small shops inside the port area, to allow tourists the pleasure of buying cheap marionettes without having to travel into the city. Mrs. Grumpy and I decided to incarcerate the kids in Camp Cruiseship, and go out there. At some point, for unclear reasons, she decided we would take an “air-conditioned comfort trolley tour” of the city. The guide said it was a 2 hour drive of the city's highlights (which turned out to be quite a lie, sort of like Gilligan's 3 hour tour).

They wanted $25 per person, so she paid the guy cash, and he said he'd come back with our tickets. He then disappeared, and I assumed that was the last we'd see of him and our $50. Surprisingly, he showed up again a few minutes later, and gave us our tickets. He also told us the tour included all the beer, pop, bottled water, and margaritas we could want. So off we went.

The "air-conditioned comfort" trolley turned out to be a diesel bus without working air conditioning. It was 97 degrees outside with 98% humidity. The comical part was how the driver and tour guide (Fernando) both kept insisting the air conditioning was working fine, in spite of remarkably obvious evidence to the contrary (like the fact it was a frigid 99 degrees inside the bus). In fact, they insisted on keeping the windows closed to help improve the efficiency of the nonexistent air conditioning.

The free drinks, as it turned out, were NOT on the bus. The bus dropped us off to "explore the local culture" (which consisted of several large diamond and silver stores), where they offered bottled water from a local municipal source, thimblefulls of beer, and margaritas made with Fresca & Tequila (I swear!). One place had Diet Coke, which I asked for. I discovered that Mexican Diet Coke has a unique flavor enhancer, namely aluminum foil, added. I left the can on the counter. I went to take a leak (I considered drinking my urine as a survival tactic, since I at least know where it came from), only to discover that the toilets were of the robust kind that can't handle toilet paper. So there's a big wastebasket full of used TP next to the potty.

Outside the store was a cart selling ice cream, with a sign listing the flavors in English. They included "cheese" and "burned milk" ice creams. Mmmmmmm.

As I'm writing this by the pool, the ship's calypso band has just started a reggae version of "Sweet Caroline". These cruise lines REALLY need a policy limiting the number of times the pool band can play "Red, Red, Wine". And perhaps banning reggae versions of ANYTHING by Juice Newton.

Anyway, then we were driven along a beach, where the locals have built monuments to all things of importance in Mazatlan. I am not joking. There was a large statue of a shrimp, another of a taxicab (I swear!), and even one of a beer-brewing tank. All they needed was a memorial to the unknown tourist, who died in a van without functioning air conditioning.

At one point we drove past a decrepit building, which looked like an earthquake trashed it, with a sign over the door "Dr. Gonzales. Neurologico". I will never criticize my tiny office again. We also saw several realty signs, advertising homes for sale by Jesus. I won't say anything more.

Oddly, there is only 1 Senor Frogs restaurant there, but 8 stores selling "eat at Senor Frogs" merchandise. WTF?

The drive back to the ship was somewhat comical, as the guide announced that while we were in the last diamond shop the van's air conditioning had suddenly broken. I am not joking. He was sorry, but not sorry enough to refund money, or even admit it had been broken all day (or possibly since 1987). To help keep us cool he opened the windows AND the large folding doors he was standing next to. So we were speeding down the highway with Fernando leaning against the open door frame and talking into the microphone. I'm sure if we hit a bump we would have heard some interesting, though brief, Spanish phrases on the intercom. From what I can tell of local driving, a traffic accident doesn't qualify unless a minimum of 1 limb is severed.

Seeing the S.S. Buffet in the distance, dwarfing all the buildings in Mazatlan, was a beautiful sight at this point. After getting off the bus Mrs. Grumpy had to restrain me from causing an international incident with the tour company. We were glad to get back to sea.

I took Marie and Frank up to mini-golf. We were in a crowded elevator, and I asked them if they wanted to stop for ice cream on the way to the course. Marie said, "no, I have a stomach ache. But it's not as bad as when I was camping with Grandma and got diarrhea." Then, trying to be helpful, she turned to the middle-aged lady behind her and explained "diarrhea is when you have to poop a lot."

Playing miniature golf with Marie is difficult, because she usually hits the ball off the course, and occasionally the ship. She often hits other passengers. I then reprimand her for hitting the ball too hard and striking someone. So she starts crying so pitiously that the wounded person will come over (still holding an ice bag on their head) and say "It's okay, honey, it didn't hurt that much" or "I'd broken that ankle before, anyway".

And that's the way it is.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cruising with Dr. Grumpy, #3

(It’s Spring Break! We are taking advantage of recession rates to take our brood on a Mexican cruise. So you guys can now enjoy a week of relatively medical-free posts, with me blogging from the ship).


Okay, we were in Puerto Vallarta today. It's an improvement over Ensenada, as it doesn't have a large wreck half-sunken in the harbor (for those who care, the wreck in question is the S.S. Catalina. Due to financial mismanagement it somehow ended floating in Ensenada harbor a ways back. I first saw it, afloat but obviously rusty and abandoned, on my first cruise in 1993. On my 2nd cruise in 2003 it had partially sunk, and on my most recent cruise there in 2007 it was on the harbor bottom, though most of it was still above water, rusting away, and harboring a large colony of sea lions and their bodily wastes).

So we had a great view of the harbor. On one side of the ship is a beautiful view of boats and beaches. And on the other a Costco, Wal-Mart, and Sam's Club.

We watched as tourists jumped off the ship in droves, some hardly waiting for the gangplank. They looked like they were ready to use knotted sheets to get out of their portholes if need be. And where did they go? To the special sale at the Tanzanite Jewelry company? To the amazing deals on one-of-a-kind jewelry at the Diamond Import Wholesale Company? To the swim-with-dolphins tour? Fuck no. They all went to Costco, Wal-Mart, and Sam's Club.

This is a peculiar feature of Americans, the desire for the familiar after we've payed a fortune to get away from it all. We’ll go to some exotic locale halfway around the world to dine at a McDonald's or Starbuck's.

We were going to stay on the boat. Unfortunately, the cheap walkie-talkies we'd bought at Big Lots years ago no longer worked (if they ever did), and so we needed some. They don’t sell them on the ship. So I went to Costco, too.

It was sweltering. 95 degrees and 98% humidity. And through this muck I walked to Costco. Fortunately, due to the ease of my membership card and a credit card I bought the walkie-talkies easily, with no Spanish required. I was somewhat taken aback to notice they were $798, but then realized this was in pesos. I have no idea what the exchange rate was. The $2.50 hot dog special at home was $19 here, so I tried to convert that roughly, and am guessing I payed roughly $70-$90, but it's not like I was in a position to do comparison shopping, either. I just hope like hell I don't get my credit card statement in a month and find I really DID pay $798.

The "walk" signals on the streets are interesting. They feature a moving graphic of a man running, and the longer the signal is on, the faster he runs. I was hoping to see if a truck mowed him down when the light turned red, but was running through the intersection myself at this point.

A local brand of bread is Bimbo. I swear. So you see billboards and other signs with a picture of a pretty young woman holding a loaf of bread, and under that it says "Senorita Bimbo!"

So I got back to the ship. After lunch we lounged by the pool, had another lunch, and while the kids swam I futzed with the walkie-talkies. Several times male voices speaking Spanish cut in on our frequency. After a few minutes of this I summoned my vague knowledge of the language and said "Yo no tengo las enchiladas". Mrs. Grumpy was horrified, and threatened to kill me if I did it again.

The walkie-talkies opened up an interesting new world. There are only a finite number of frequencies, but a lot of people on board use them. So you end up unintentionally eavesdropping, like with a police radio. Odd snippets of conversation that drifted by as I read my book included, "Bill, did you pack the pliers?", "Jim was asked to leave the library, again" (no other details given, either), and "Suzy, I'm going to go change my tampon". Thank you all for sharing.

The kids have been attending the onboard Camp Cruiseline, and love it. One of the registration form's questions is whether or not they can swim and are allowed in the pools. In spite of this, they don't actually ever take them swimming! So why do they want to know, anyway? In case they fall overboard? "Hey Natasha, I think it was the Grumpy kid who fell off the railing. Go get their file to see if they can swim."

In the afternoon, after mini-golfing with the twins (they gave up on trying to watch Pokemon cartoons in Spanish in the room) I went to the shore excursion desk to ask about the swim with dolphin stuff. At that point the twins began loudly fighting over something, and so I asked the guy if they had any sort of "swim with sharks" excursion for children. He politely looked through a sheet of papers, then said no. Sheeesh.

At dinner tonight Frank ordered the chocolate melt cake. This is basically a partially baked chocolate cake with a gooey liquid center, surrounded in melting ice cream. When I glanced over I was horrified to see that here, in the main formal dining room, my child was eating it WITH A STRAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I stopped him, and explained about manners, and told him not to eat his chocolate cake by sucking it through a straw. So instead he picked up the whole bowl and drank it.

It was getting about 9:30, and the S.S. Buffet was getting to leave dock. At this point one of the more puzzling announcements was made over the ship's PA system: "Attention, Mrs. John Smith, in cabin #1234. Please notify the purser's desk immediately if you have not yet returned aboard".

Why on Earth do the men’s rooms in the public areas have "do not put sanitary napkins in the toilet" signs in the stalls?

The night ended with Marie having so much free pop, juice, ice cream, and fun in evening Camp Cruiseship that she forgot to pee before bed. So while writing this I was startled by her sleep walking and urinating on the floor of our cabin. That was the only pair of her PJ's that we brought, too.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cruising with Dr. Grumpy, #2

(We are taking advantage of recession rates to take our brood on a Mexican cruise. So you Grumpy fans can enjoy a week of relatively medical-free posts, with me blogging from the ship).

Monday. Still going in circles on the S.S. Buffet.

Apropos of absolutely nothing: 2 days ago we left our house for the drive to the airport. I was in charge of setting up the navigation gadget in the car. Our GPS system has a bad power cord connection which results in it randomly turning off. Mrs. Grumpy somehow discovered this was easily corrected by licking the connection head before hooking it into the doodad.

So I was pissing and moaning about the lack of enough Diet Coke for me to wake up, and was hooking up the GPS thing at the same time. In doing so I licked the power cable, unfortunately AFTER I'd already plugged it into the car and started the engine. So I took the voltage from a running car battery across my tongue. This definitely woke me up.

So anyway, we are still meandering aimlessly off Mexico, with several other floating hotels. Occasionally a freighter wanders by. I can only assume that the sight of cruise ships going in circles is (at least to freighter crews) a sign that you have almost reached the end of Mexico or the U.S. territorial waters, sort of like passing Ellis Island on the way to New York.

Tonight was the formal night to meet the captain. This is some odd tradition I've never understood, and I suspect it's not the highlight of the trip for him, either. Will Turner, one of Cunard's more legendary captains in the last century, once referred to the passengers as "a bunch of bloody monkeys". But my son Craig loved the idea of getting dressed up, and I learned it's the only time on the ship where the drinks are free. So we went, and I kept our waitress busy.

So the captain stands at the door, smiling, shaking the hand of everyone who wanders by, then moving on to the next person. Just behind him is an attendant with a large bottle of Purell.

Anyway, the captain then got on stage and gave his little speech ("Thank you for choosing Cruiseship Lines, good night"). Then the band began playing dance music, and invited anyone to come up and dance. I was working my way through yet another free drink when my right arm was torn from it's socket by 8 year old Marie, who just LOVES dancing.

So I got dragged on stage, and Marie went wild. The ship was rocking, the rum was kicking in, and we were at the front of a 2000 seat theater. Marie has an interesting dance style, which basically consists of jumping wildly about regardless of the music being played. And she wanted to dance every number. So half the audience thought I was a drunk Dad with a daughter who was either hyper, tone deaf, or seizing. The other half probably thought I was one of Warren Jeff's cousins on my honeymoon.

Afterwards we took the kids to tonight’s lounge show. They had warnings all over that parents should know the costumes would be "revealing". For the record, their definition of revealing was about as revealing as a 1957 woman's 1 piece swimsuit.

Gotta love it. The ship is covered with pictures and statues of nude men & women, you hang out by the pool watching college girls in thong bikinis made of dental floss, and they still want to warn you about the costumes at the musical show.

Marie also has developed a habit of looking out our cabin window with the partial view several times each day and solemnly announcing "we're moving". As long as the direction is horizontal and not vertical, I guess this is good.

And that's the way it is.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cruising with Dr. Grumpy, #1

Hello Grumpy fans. It’s Spring Break! We are taking advantage of recession rates to take our brood on a Mexican cruise. So you guys can now enjoy a week of relatively medical-free posts, with me blogging from the ship.


Okay, we are somewhere off the coast of Mexico on the S.S. Buffet. At sea day. Was woken-up by my iPod alarm, which I’d forgotten to turn off. In a dubious sign, the shuffle feature randomly picked the theme from “Titanic” to wake me with.

The ship has a "fine art" theme. Copies of famous paintings and statues everywhere. Obviously, this includes some 16th-17th century nudes. So everywhere we went for the first few hours on board the kids would giggle and say "look! boobies!".

Dining room has a copy of Michelangelo's sculpture "David", so all 3 kids had to point out that you could see his winkie.

Our cabin has a "partial view". This means we have an excellent view of the side of an orange and white lifeboat. If you look downwards, though, you can see the ocean going by, but that's all you can see, no matter where you are. Even in port.

At one point Marie used the toilet, then wandered over to the window and told her brother Craig she could see her pee going away in the ocean. I swear.

Last night Camp Cruiseship had their welcome party in the single’s disco, which was closed to adults until 9. So me and the kids danced the Hoki-Poki and other popular numbers. Highlight was the occasional 20-something males and females who came by in their best "I came on this cruise to get LAID!" outfits, who hadn't read the door sign about the kids party. They seemed pretty damn horrified to see a bunch of parents and small children doing the Hoki-Poki in what they thought was the hot pick-up spot.

The singles' lounge, oddly, is decorated in a theme of famous torso's, like the statue of Venus de Milo. So every 10 feet on the wall are headless, armless, legless, male and female torsos, in bright pastel colors. And every table is held up on the neck of a headless torso, too. At one point we saw our oldest, Frank, fondling our table. Anyway, it looks odd. Like a room designed by an ax murderer.

(click to enlarge)

Is there some kind of law that requires cruise lines to always book 1 semi-demented toothless old guy who's been out in the sun way too long and has a remarkably bad collection of baseball caps? You know, ones that say "I got married for better or worse. I couldn't do better, and she couldn't do worse", or that have plastic dog poop on the brim. This is my 5th cruise, and he's on this one, too.

During dinner tonight the wait staff broke into a singing number, in which they twirled napkins over their head. So Marie did the same, knocking over a glass of water and hitting the girl next to her with a greasy napkin. I suspect that family will ask for better tablemates tomorrow.

Tonight I was lying in bed leafing through the nightstand book about Cruiseline, Inc., it lists brief profiles of all their top executives and captains. A number of the entries end with phrases like "he is married to Anna, a dancer he met while serving on the S.S. Overeat." After a while, I wondered if this is a corporate perk. "You did a great job, Lars. Here's your dancer".

Another odd feature of the book was the paid ads in it for places like Newport News Shipbuilding "where we perform maintenance and repair on all large vessels. Call us to schedule your’s" or some company that advertises "we're the world leaders in anti-fouling paint for ocean liners". If I owned my own cruise ship WTF would I be doing on this one, you bozos?

That's all for now.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Let the Buyer Beware

One of my afternoon patients today was a guy who had a seizure after he started taking "Chinese Weight Loss" pills he bought online.

So, trying to figure out what was in them, I asked him if I could see the bottle. Of course, the label is almost entirely in Chinese characters, so I couldn't read it. There was, however, a website in English, so I looked it up.

The site, however, wasn't any more helpful at finding out the ingredients. It was written in badly broken English (I can't believe people are being suckered into giving this site their credit card numbers).

Highlights from the site:

"Ingredientts: herBs that are good for yu."

"Side efects: If pills make yu sick, no take."

Modern Medical Miracles

Hi, Grumpy fans. Today's post concerns cutting-edge medical research, submitted by our Science Marches On Department in North Carolina.

Researchers have discovered that the gas that makes rotten eggs stink can also give you a woodie!

I am not making this up. They did studies involving rats and (I swear!) winkies removed from guys who had sex-change surgery.

In addition to the above, the last paragraph of the article includes a commentary by a Dr. Wang.

So, ladies, next time your man is underperforming, think about livening things up by filling the bedroom with rotten eggs!

This is a real article. Check it out!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Why am I here?

Okay, I just want to state that Alzheimer's is one of the more awful diseases I deal with, and the following post is not in any way trying to make fun of it. But sometimes the best you can do is see the humor in a bad situation.

So, last week: Mr. X is an elderly fellow who came in for the first time with his wife (who wasn't all there herself). Our conversation went round and round:

Dr. Grumpy: "What medications do you take?"
Mr. X: "The ones the doctor gives me."
Mrs. X: "We have them written down."
Dr. Grumpy: " Can I see the list?"
Mrs. X: "It's at home. I didn't know you'd need it."
Mr. X: "What list?"


Dr. Grumpy: "Do you still drive?"
Mrs. X: "Yes, he does. He drove us here today"
Mr. X: "I did?"
Mrs. X: "Yes."
Mr. X: "I thought you said we'd taken the bus."


Mr. X: "Which doctor are you?"
Dr. Grumpy: "I'm doctor Grumpy."
Mr. X: "Oh. (pause) I know that name. I think I have an appointment with Dr. Grumpy today. Is his office in this building?"


Dr. Grumpy: "What do you see Dr. Smith for?"
Mrs. X: "What kind of a doctor is he?"
Dr. Grumpy: "He's a cancer doctor."
Mr. X: "I have cancer?"

Thursday, March 5, 2009


From my first patient today. Unfortunately, he didn't give me any details beyond what I have here:

Dr. Grumpy: "What were you doing when you slipped off the ladder?"

Mr. X: "Trying to get my waterbed off the roof".

Inquiring minds want to know...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hiding in Plain Sight, Apparently

One of my elderly dementia patients, who's a bit on the paranoid side, left this message on my office voice mail over lunch today:

“Hello? This is Mr. Jones. Is the doctor there? The police and my kids are chasing me, so I'm on the run and have gone into hiding. They'll never find me now, but I need help. Could Dr. Grumpy please call me back? I'll be at my house all day.”

Sunday, March 1, 2009

No, That Isn't My Kid

Hi, gang. It's been a Girl Scout weekend.

Yesterday was my daughter's turn to hawk $4 boxes of cookies in front of a local grocery store. So your hero accompanied her, as Marie assaulted innocent, but cookie-less, people on their way into the place.

Some nice guy came over and said he didn't want any cookies, but gave us $20 and told us to give a box to the next 5 senior citizens who came out of the store. It was a kind thing to do. So I called Marie over, and explained it to her.

A minute later an elderly lady came out, and Marie attacked. She handed the woman a box of Thin Mints, and loudly said "Here! You win these cookies free, because you're really old!"

I tried to pretend I didn't know her, and wasn't successful.
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