Friday, February 27, 2015

Quote du jour

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

Mr. Fleming: "I can only take penicillin to use as an antibiotic. If I take it for any other reason I get a rash."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bartender, make that a double

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

Mrs. Chromatic: "I need refills on my Skizadrine."

Annie: "Okay... Actually it looks like the doctor gave you a year's worth of refills just last month."

Mrs. Chromatic: "It doesn't say that anywhere."

Annie: "It should be right on the bottle."

Mrs. Chromatic: "Oh, I put the medication in an old bottle from another store."


Annie: "Why?"

Mrs. Chromatic: "I like the color better."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Today's quiz

These people are:

A. The way people usually look when told they need to see me.

B. Americans watching soccer.

C. Waiting for cronuts.

D. Iowans preparing for the 2016 election cycle.

E. KISS without their make-up.

F. The Village People - 2015.

G: Uber drivers.

H: Taxidermied.

I: Folks you can meet with Tinder.

J: All currently in my waiting room, and sick of reading People.

K. In a drug company ad for a stimulant.

- Thank you, Brick Man!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Crunch time

Dr. Grumpy: "What can I do for you?"

Mr. Scrum: "I'm having memory problems that keep getting worse. I'm concerned they're related to all my head injuries."

Dr. Grumpy: "How many head injuries have you had?"

Mr. Scrum (pulls out paper): "Uh, 24 in the last 15 years, where I've lost consciousness, and a few more where I've only seen stars. My memory seems to get worse with each one."

Dr. Grumpy: "That's a lot of head injuries. How did you get them?"

Mr. Scrum: "I play rugby every weekend. What can I do to stop having head injuries?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Have you considered quitting rugby?"

Mr. Scrum: "Do you think that would help?"

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday morning call check-out

Dr. Grumpy: "Then, in room 834, is a 71 year old lady who came in yesterday with left-sided weakness. I put her on Strokebegone and ordered an MRI..."

Dr. Nerve: "What did the MRI show?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Don't know. It was scheduled for late last night. You'll have to check it."

Dr. Nerve: "I did. It showed her old strokes, but nothing new. It was dictated at 2:18 a.m. this morning."

Dr. Grumpy: "Then why the fuck did you ask me what it showed?"

Dr. Nerve: "I wanted to see if you were following the patients."

Dr. Grumpy: "I am, but I'm not getting up in the middle of the night and logging in to see if results are up. The radiologist pages me if it's urgent."

Dr. Nerve: "You should be more thorough."

Friday, February 20, 2015


These were the lenses I got Frank. I love the back of the box:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Valentine's Day

My wife and I are beyond the stage of trying to do something pricey for Valentine's Day, and figured we'd just grab dinner at a small Italian place that's under the radar. Of course, even that didn't happen. As we got ready to go out last Saturday, we realized Frank's coughing and hacking was starting to look like strep throat. So much for dinner.

Since it was Saturday night I took him over to Local Hospital's urgent care. Yep, his throat looked bad. Yep, the rapid screen was positive. The doctor called in Streptokill, and I stopped at 24-Hour Pharmacy to pick it up. Frank stayed in the car to post Instagram photos of his gross-looking pharynx (in retrospect buying him that zoom lens set wasn't a great idea).

The pharmacy is one of the generic box ones you see on every street corner in America. And, I have to say, it's probably the most depressing place in the world to be at 8:45 p.m. on Valentine's day.

In my brief time there I watched as bored employees marked down chocolates to get rid of them (they probably knew my Mom was coming in the morning). A guy ran in, frantically grabbed whatever teddy bear was left in a display, threw money at the cashier, and headed out again.

Another glanced over the few residual sad-looking roses, pulled out the one with the most remaining petals, checked out, and started to leave. In a sudden burst of optimism, he turned around and walked back to get condoms, too.

The pregnant cashier (who'd just returned from her smoking break) was mumbling on her cell phone "he's such an asshole. I'm fucking working tonight so he can stay home and watch TV. No, maybe tomorrow. I have to pick something up at McGrease for him to eat when I get home."

The pharmacist and I knew each other from multiple shared patients, and her area was quiet at the moment. We chatted for a few minutes as she filled Frank's script, commiserating about junkies, crazies, and other denizens of our lives. Then she said she had to get ready for post-Valentine's morning, and went to make sure she had enough Flagyl and Plan B in stock.

On the way out I watched a few more desperate-looking guys run in to buy marked-down chocolates and cards. And, with perfect timing, the generic 80's overhead pop soundtrack played the J. Geils Band's "Love Stinks."

When I got back to the car, Frank had barfed in the back seat.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Every few years my hospital requires its staff, including doctors, to take "sensitivity training." This is to make us learn from a 20-minute computer-generated quiz anything that we didn't learn while growing up.

So, to show you how valuable this is, I thought I'd post examples of the questions we get:

The rest of the questions are similarly obvious shit, to ensure no one fails. But, in case you do, you're allowed to re-take it as many times as needed. This way, if someone snaps and assaults a co-worker, the hospital can say "Hey, it's not our fault, they passed a test."

And people wonder why health care costs are so high. This (and 7 figure CEO bonuses) are some of the crap that your insurance premiums are going towards.

So there you go, people. This is how your nurses and doctors learn to behave. I hope you feel more confident in us now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


This message was left on Annie's voicemail yesterday during lunch.

"Hello, this is Michael from CareLess Insurance, calling about an MRI request we received on William Gilbert. We've authorized the MRI. The reimbursement code is 4Q2, and it's good for 60 days. Thank you. What were you saying? Is that an evil eye, or are you coming on to me again? That's priceless, maybe I should get it tattooed on my ass. Really? I can get that, tattooed, too. Imagine the look your dad would give me at the pool. Are you serious? Well, I mean, I'd have to see what it costs. Does he even know what we're up to? Oh, shit. I forgot to..."


Monday, February 16, 2015

Skool Nerse Time

This is Mrs. Grumpy.

I think these newfangled SMART Boards the school has are great. So much neater and easier then the black boards and clouds from screeching chalk when I was a kid. It's nice for a teacher to be able to work on something at the computer and have it right up in front of the class as she talks. It's also great that there's a free app to let them control the board with their iPhone (provided the Bluetooth works properly).

But obviously, these have their limitations, as Ms. Steele and her social studies class learned last week.

Apparently, while the kids were supposed to be working on papers, an enterprising young fellow named Albert used the app on his iPhone to take control of the class board. It was turned off, but he switched it on.

As we all know now, the default setting is to show whatever happens to be on the teacher's desktop screen. Normally, this wouldn't have been a big deal, except Ms. Steele was actively exchanging steamy emails with her boyfriend about their Valentine's Day plans.

Her class was controlled enough to not break out giggling when this started, leading other students to join in the fun. Specifically Nathan, who saw she was using her official school email account.

So he used his phone to google up some pictures of couples in compromising BDSM activities and sent them to her, resulting in them showing up on the SMART Board within a few seconds.

When Ms. Steele gasped (you'd think she'd never seen such things before), then realized what was happening on the screen behind her, she was obviously shocked. She jumped up and started to yell, but apparently stopped when she hit her head on the shelf behind her. Then fell back onto the desk. Which is how I ended up involved.

Ms. Steele required 7 stitches at local ER. From her emails, it wouldn't surprise me if she was back there over the weekend for other issues.

Nathan and Albert have each been suspended for a few days.

A district memo was sent out asking teachers to not use their work emails to plan "50 Shades of Buck Naked" escapades. More importantly, it STRONGLY reminded staff not to use the default "1111" password for SMART Board Bluetooth remotes.

I think there's a lesson somewhere in all of that for each of us.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Random pictures

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

First, there's this great letter which somehow brings together those 2 sadly inevitable parts of life: death and (even more frightening) having to go to Walmart:

Next is this great memory from World War I, or World War II, or some war, somewhere

"Do pick-ups include my Chevy truck?"

Here we have a coat hanger, featuring an important safety tip:

Next is an Amazon ad for a tri-wing screwdriver to repair Nintendos. Though, from the picture, only the "screw" part is accurate.

"Well, it does say 'hand tools'.

And... I guess we're done.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Happy now?

A few weeks ago, the paper towel dispenser in the doctors' lounge bathroom broke.

Now, we're not talking broke as in "crank came off and they put extra towels on top to use." I mean broke as in "fell off the fucking wall and shattered, leaving a gaping hole in the drywall" broke.

How this happened, I have no idea. The general consensus is that a surgeon was somehow involved.

Anyway, I digress.

So, naturally, several of us complained about it to maintenance (drying our hands on our shirts seems unsanitary). After 2 weeks of us pissing and moaning, one of them finally promised it would be repaired this week.

So, yesterday morning, this is what greeted us:

Thanks, guys.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Once, twice, three times a lady

Dr. Grumpy: "Are you taking the new medication on schedule?"

Mrs. Bidtid: "Yes, three times a day, just like the bottle says."

Dr. Grumpy: "How far apart are you spacing them?"

Mrs. Bidtid: "Every 12 hours."

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Real Genius

Like many other iPhone owners, Mrs. Grumpy has been having Bluetooth problems since the introduction of iOS 8. I personally haven't been affected by this, because my car is so old that its highest tech feature is an AM radio (I passed on the 8-track option).

Anyway, due to this driving her nuts, I tested it with my phone and couldn't get it to work either.

So I made an appointment and took both phones to the Apple Genius Bar this weekend (I'd like to have taken the car, too, but driving through the Grumpyville Mall is frowned upon). There I waited patiently with other pissed-off iPhone users and listened to the soothing sound of Journey's Greatest Hits being played overhead.

The "Genius" there (who wasn't able to help, BTW, Tim) decided to make sure my phone's Bluetooth connection worked. So he said "do you have any music on this?" When I said "yes" he turned on my music app (which is set for random shuffle) and went to get a Bluetooth speaker. He set it down next to my phone, called up my Bluetooth menu, and looked over the list that appeared. Mumbling "I think the speaker is this one" he tapped a selection.

To his horror, he'd actually just linked my phone to the store's overhead speaker system. Suddenly Journey's "Any Way You Want It" stopped, to be replaced by a random selection from my iTunes...

Which was "The Internet is for Porn" from Avenue Q.

He hurriedly turned it off and muttered "It looks like your Bluetooth is working."

Monday, February 9, 2015

Let it go, let it go...

Seen in the Costco catalog. Really.

"Wait'll you see our ads for the new Tampax™ Icicles."

Althought, admittedly, there have been stranger product marketing tie-ins.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Patient quote of the day

"I know this seizure wasn't as bad as others, because I was able to post about it on Face Book."

Thursday, February 5, 2015

February 5, 1938

Hans Litten

A German man died on this day in 1938. A very good one.

His name was Hans Litten. His father was a lawyer, and was a decorated WWI veteran.

Hans grew up in the difficult years of WWI and postwar Germany. Although his family was wealthy, from the start he had great sympathy for the less fortunate. In an episode that greatly upset his father, Hans took food from their kitchen to give to a beggar... and addressed the beggar as "sir." As he grew older he became increasingly involved in issues affecting workers and the disenfranchised.

Although he wanted to study art history, his father pressured him to become a lawyer. While reluctant, Hans threw himself into his studies and quickly moved to the top of his class. Upon graduation he was offered 2 good jobs, one with the German Ministry of Justice, the other with a renowned law firm. He declined both, going into private practice with a friend.

In the late 1920's he was alarmed by the increasingly nationalistic tide in Germany, seeing right-wing thugs get away with increasing violence against Jews, immigrants, and manual laborers. He took cases representing those who'd been attacked or discriminated against, and was successful.

He worked closely with charitable organizations that supported the needs of ordinary workers in the difficult post-war year, providing them financial and legal assistance.

As a person, he was brilliant. He spoke fluent German, English, Italian, Hebrew, and Sanskrit, and had a tremendous knowledge of art, classical music, and poetry. He particularly enjoyed music, spending many evenings at the symphony.

In 1929 a traditional May Day rally in Berlin turned violent, with the police firing randomly into the crowd (killing 33) and beating many more with truncheons. Several workers were charged with inciting the demonstrations, and Litten defended them. He took many similar cases, trying to bring to light the increasingly heavy-handed tactics of the German government.

On the night of November 22, 1930, a small paramilitary group, secretly working for the nascent Nazi party, attacked the Tanzpalast Eden, a dance hall that was popular with immigrants. They killed 3 and injured 20... and the subsequent police investigation was intentionally slow and fruitless.

Litten accepted the case on behalf of 4 injured plaintiffs, trying to secure criminal convictions against the attackers and show that the attack was intended to further destabilize German society in favor of the Nazis. Although their later history is well known, at this point the Nazi party was publicly distancing themselves from their secret armed squads in order to appeal to moderate Germans.

And, to help his case, Litten had the court summon Adolf Hitler to the stand.

In what (in retrospect) must have been a truly remarkable day, Litten aggressively cross-examined Hitler for 3 hours, forcing him into several contradictions. Under oath, Hitler defended the brown shirts as being devoted to non-violent "intellectual enlightenment." It also included this exchange:

Litten: You said that there will be no violent acts on the part of the National Socialist Party. Didn't Goebbels create the slogan, "one must pound the adversary to a pulp?"

Hitler: This is to be understood as "one must dispatch and destroy opposing organizations".

Litten Since you've named Goebbels as Reich Minister of Propaganda, are you aware of the passage from his book where he declares that fear of the coup d'├ętat cannot be permitted, that parliament should be blown up and the government hunted to hell, and where the call to revolution was made again?

Hitler: I can no longer testify under oath, if I knew Goebbels' book at the time. The theme is absolutely of no account to the Party, as the book doesn't bear the Party emblem and is also not officially sanctioned by my Party


Litten: Is it correct that Goebbels' revolutionary journal, The Commitment to Illegality, has now been taken over by the Party and has reached a circulation of 120,000? The journal is sanctioned by the Party.

Presiding judge: Herr Hitler, in point of fact, you testified this morning, that Goebbels' work is not official Party material.

Hitler: And it isn't, either. A publication is an official Party organ only when it bears the emblem of the Party.

Litten: Then, how is it possible that the Party publishing house takes over a journal that stands in stark contrast to the Party line?

Hitler (shouting, red-faced): How dare you say, Herr Attorney, that is an invitation to illegality? That is a statement without proof!

Hitler was badly rattled when he left the stand, and forbid others from ever saying "Litten" in his presence again. When the name was mentioned he became irate. He was subsequently investigated for perjury, though managed to evade charges.

As Hitler rose to power, it was obvious that Litten's time was running out. Family and friends told him to flee Germany, but he refused because clients still needed him. On the night of February 28, 1933 he was arrested at his apartment, and would never be seen in public again.

Over the next 5 years he was moved from prison to prison and repeatedly beaten and tortured. He lost the sight in one eye and hearing in one ear. Most of his teeth were knocked out, and one leg was broken so many times it became useless. His jaw was broken in multiple places. Often he was so battered that fellow prisoners weren't allowed to see him.

In 1935, during a rare interaction with other inmates, he recited one of his favorite childhood songs, "Thoughts are Free." Their guards failed to realize the significance of the words.

In 1937, although baptized and raised as a Christian, Litten was classified as Jewish on the grounds that his paternal grandparents were Jews. He was moved to Dachau concentration camp, where, on the early morning of February 5, 1938, he hung himself in the bathroom.

He was 35 years old.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Forces of nature

Mrs. Frost: "A lot of this is just the weather... my migraines always get worse in winter. I wish I had the money to travel. Is there anything else that can be done for them?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Well, I could try adding a medication when the season starts to change that..."

Mrs. Frost: "No, I mean, something that I could do about keeping the weather more stable. Can I take a doctor's note to a government weather department or something?"

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mary's Desk

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

Ms. Chatter: "I need to see Dr. Grumpy. My last neurologist moved away, and I'm trying to get my records from them so that (ramble, ramble, ramble)."

Mary: "Okay, let me see... We have an opening next Tuesday, at 3:45."

Ms. Chatter: "That won't work for me because Tuesday afternoon is when I watch my grandkids because my daughter works and her boss is an asshole because (ramble, ramble, ramble)."

Mary: "All right, what about... How's Thursday morning, at 8:00?"

Ms. Chatter: "Perfect. Mornings are always good for me because my husband walks over to the city pool to swim laps at the indoor one and I can have the car. They just opened the pool again last month, it was closed for almost a year, because I guess it had fallen behind all these state health codes and they had to set aside money to do the project, and (ramble, ramble, ramble)."

Mary: "Okay, I have that down. What insurance do you have?"

Ms. Chatter: "I'm with Sickness & Wealth HMO."

Mary: "Oh... I'm sorry. We aren't contracted with S&W."



Monday, February 2, 2015

Cough drops

Last week I was sick (I'm fine now, thanks). It was just another nameless viral crud that my pet fomites kids brought home from school.

Anyway, to get through work (I'm in solo practice, where we aren't allowed to take sick days. Only dead days are acceptable) I invited over my usual friends: Sudafed, Tylenol, Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, and Halls. When I'm sick, this gang and I know how to party.

To my horror, my old friend Halls has apparently been put on Prozac. In a bizarre move taken from fortune cookies, the company decided that infectious diseases should be made even more miserable by putting happy inspirational ditties on the wrapping.

So, this is where we are. It's no longer good enough to make a decent product for the snotty & hacking, but to provide ersatz emotional support with "a pep talk in every drop." Better yet, they even trademarked that statement.

Not that the comments help, either. When I'm sick my "game face" looks more like a death mask, and my "battle cry" has pulmonologists drooling. And I sure as hell wouldn't bet on myself.

Here's some others:

The last one I find particularly odd. "Hi-five yourself" sounds like a euphemism for, well, other things besides illness that require Kleenex.
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