Friday, December 22, 2017

Holiday gift guide, 2017

This brings the gift guide to a close, people, along with the year on the blog. I'm shutting down for 2 weeks and will be back on January 8, 2018. Have a great new year and whatever else you celebrate!

Thank you for reading, commenting, emailing, and giving me a reason to keep doing this! It's a lot of fun!

After years of college, medical school, and residency, most doctors are pretty used to eating ramen noodles. It's THE staple food for the student loans crowd.

But it can be so socially awkward. I mean, some people slurp when having ramen. They SLURP! That can be horribly disturbing for those nearby (I mean, in the cases of the < 1% of ramen eaters who are chowing down on it with someone else nearby).

Fortunately, for a measly $130 (the same price as about 1,000 packets of ramen), you can get this:

What is that? What does it do? Why the hell does it cost $130 dollars?

It's a special noise-cancelling fork for eating ramen noodles (really, I am not making this up). Its audio sensors detect when you're slurping your noodles. It then connects to an app on your phone to make noise to cover up the sound.

I'm still not sure why it costs $130, but assume it's all in R&D, and all the ramen noodles packs and starving students that were needed to test it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Holiday gift guide, 2017

Is the air in your house too dry? Do you enjoy old Japanese monster movies that feature Tokyo being destroyed? Are you wondering what the hell these two questions have in common?

If you answered "yes" to the first 2 questions (or even all 3), there's now the Godzilla room humidifier!

When it's dry inside, just call on the King of Monsters to remedy the situation with a sustained blast of his legendary atomic breath.

Or to defeat Mothra.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Holiday gift guide, 2017

After you're in the grave, do you still want to be in the groove?

The company Andvinyly can press your (or anyone's, or anything's) cremated ashes into a 33 rpm vinyl record!

"Mom? Is that you?"

You can include a recording of your voice (threatening to haunt them forever if they scratch, warp, or donate you to a thrift store) or any favorite music. You can also have a pet turned into an album for those nights when you miss their barking, meowing, or repeatedly asking for a cracker.

Imagine the looks on their faces when they receive such a unique gift and wonder where the hell they're supposed to find a record player in 2017!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas gift guide, 2017

Are you sick of people coming over to your place for a burger? Do you wish there was some way (short of poisoning) to convince them you really suck as a cook?

Next time you grill up an order of burgers, try using these instead of kosher dills!

Available at Walmart.  Really.

These electric-orange-reddish pickles are made by marinating them in fruit punch instead of brine. One bite of a burger topped with these and freeloaders will never darken your barbecue again!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Holiday gift guide, 2017

How many times have you said, or wanted to say, "I don't give a shit." ?

Yeah, if you're anything like me, you've lost count.

But now you CAN give a shit! A nice, big, bucket of it!

This educational product contains not 1, not 2, not 3, but 13 different replicas of shit from commonly encountered critters of the North American wilderness.

That's right, folks, you get: cougar, striped skunk, opossum, domestic dog, cottontail rabbit, gray fox, white tailed deer, turkey, black bear, bobcat, elk, and coyote.

So the next time you want to tell someone you don't give a shit, you can nicely tell them you do, and even offer them their choice.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas Gift Guide

This is just too awesome not to put up as a gift suggestion.

This delightfully cheery playset includes a narwhal, 4 tusks (which look vaguely like lightsabers, so maybe it's an EP9 character Darth Cetacean) and 3 cute little animals you can impale!

Personally I think they should throw in another impale-ee, one for each tusk.

Exactly how penguins and narwhals encounter each other in the first place, let alone koalas, isn't explained.

For those of you who hate street mimes (hey, who doesn't) there's also The Avenging Unicorn playset.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Drug ads

This is an ad for the MS drug Rebif, to help patients learn how to handle flu-like symptoms, a common side-effect.

One gets the impression that the way patients are "getting the facts" is from a kindergarten-level cartoon book with a happy fish.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Breaking news

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


Stephen Titland (really, that's his name) attempted to get into several vehicles by going down the street and seeing if any parked cars were unlocked.

He finally found one that wasn't and started to climb in, only to discover sheriff's deputies inside the unmarked vehicle. They'd arrived in the area due to multiple reports of a man (who matched Titland's description) burglarizing cars.

Mr. Titland has been charged with attempted burglary and violating his probation from a previous burglary conviction.


Residents of the village Ringaskiddy have fallen on hard times. There have been multiple solid complaints about men and dogs walking around with, uh, woodies.

Apparently they have a bone to pick with the local Pfizer plant, where Viagra is manufactured. The waste exhaust from the factory reportedly is being carried by a stiff breeze into the surrounding community.

Local barmaid Debbie O'Grady commented "one whiff and you're stiff."


An unidentified opossum broke into a liquor store and got trashed on bourbon.

The marsupial knocked a bottle of bourbon on the floor, breaking it, then drank the contents.

The animal was "disoriented" when found and taken to a local animal shelter. She was given fluids and allowed to detox, then released into the wild.

And finally, from the "do not try this at home" department, is this.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas Gift Guide, 2017

Your floors are dirty. You don't have time to clean.

You try getting your teenagers to do it, but, lets' face it, they suck. If you can even pry them out of their rooms for a few minutes, then you have to get their phones out of their hands, and then they start whining that you're ruining their lives and... it just ain't worth it.

You need a different power to clean your floors.

The power... of the dark side.

Fortunately it's not only there, but in a choice of styles, too.

"Luke, I am your vacuum."

The Samsung Powerbot home vacuum promises to not only clean your floors, but randomly play lightsaber sounds, the heavy breathing of the Sith Lord (so you can worry someone broke into your house) and snippets of movie dialogue.

You can control them with voice, the phone app, Amazon Alexa, and Google assistant to convince your technophobic friends that you, indeed, have the power. Better yet, you don't have to deal with your teenagers.

These are the droids you're looking floor.

Disclaimer: I did NOT get paid for this post, and do not own this gadget. I just thought it fit in with the other odd things I feature. I have no idea how well it works. I have a wife, 3 teenagers, and 3 dogs, all smarter than me and have no desire to have household appliances that are, too.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Christmas Gift Guide, 2017!

As the Earth's orbit once again brings December around, it's time for


Dr. Grumpy's Gift Guide!

So, without further comment, here we go!

What can you get your favorite alcoholic who thinks the germ theory is a passing fad?

How about this combination beer and wine holder toilet paper dispenser?

Now they don't have to awkwardly leave their liver toxin of choice at the dining table or on the bathroom counter. It can be immediately handy while using the facilities, letting them take a nip (or more) between wipes and helping to spread some horrible diarrheal illness amongst family and friends.

After all, the holiday are all about sharing.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

My readers write

Clover, M.D. writes in:

I had this interaction with a patient recently:

Me: "How's your pain been?"

Her: "Better, I'm controlling it with those amphetamines I buy at the store."

Me: "Um, you're buying amphetamines at the store?"

Her: "Yeah, the store-brand Tylenol stuff."

Me: "You mean acetaminophen."

Her: "Whatever."

Thank you, Clover!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Random pictures

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

First is the poorly thought out name of this veterinary product:

"Keep away from children."

This one makes you wonder who named the business

Like any proud business owner, they have a custom license plate:

A reader notes this sign "doesn't exactly inspire confidence."

Then there's this, apparently marketing to axe murderers:

This past weekend the twins and I stopped at Starbucks for a snack. They had this sign up on the door:

Craig commented that "it looks like a dancing squid going to a Halloween party dressed as the Pope."

One reader saw this at a furniture store. Since she's a nurse she said her first thought was "Do Not Intubate." Admittedly, that was mine, too, even though it's obviously a couch.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday reruns

Last run in 2011, an oldie but goodie.

People often ask me "How do I find a good doctor?"
That's a tough question, and it can be tricky. So here are a few tips to warn you that your doctor may not be real. Any one of these (not to mention ALL of them, FFS) should alert you to look for another doctor.

1. A reputable physician's sole listing will likely NOT be in a Bulgarian language newspaper in Skokie, Illinois.

2. A reputable physician generally will NOT be seeing office patients at 6:30 on a Saturday night.

3. A reputable physician will NOT wait for you, alone, in a dark, locked, building with a "CLOSED" sign in the window.

4. A reputable physician will NOT let you knock for a while before letting you in himself.

5. A reputable physician will NOT stick toothpicks in your chest.

6. A reputable physician will NOT give you a bottle of pills labeled "Prosperous Farmer" that expired in 2002 (or anything called that, no matter when it expired!)

7. A reputable physician will ALWAYS have some sort of office paperwork.

8. A reputable physician will NOT jump into his car and try to drive away when you return for a follow-up visit.

If your physician does this, and you paid $150 cash for it, then you must have been seeing this guy.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Negative risks

Patient I saw for a stroke recently. The hospitalist's note used this nonsensical template. I understand what he's saying, but it sure looks stupid.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Lost and found

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

Mrs. Lenz: "Yeah, I think I left my sunglasses there last week. Did you find them?"

Annie: "No, we haven't seen any."

Mrs. Lenz: "I think I left them in the bathroom there."

Annie: "The bathroom in our office?"

Mrs. Lenz: "No, the one in the first floor lobby, across from the elevators and water fountain."

Annie: "Oh, that's not part of our suite. I have no idea."

Mrs. Lenz: "Can you connect me to the phone in there, so I can ask someone?"

Annie: "There isn't a phone in the bathroom."

Mrs. Lenz: "Then how am I supposed to get my glasses back?"

Annie: "Let me give you the number for the building management company."

Mrs. Lenz: "That seems excessive. I don't know why you can't just call whoever is using the bathroom right now and see if they have my sunglasses."

Annie: "There isn't a phone in there. And if you left them last week it's pretty unlikely they're still there. They clean them twice a day."

Mrs. Lenz: "You aren't being very helpful."

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Marketing surveys

From the "let's see if you're paying attention" department.

Monday, November 13, 2017


Guy: "Local pharmacy. Can I help you?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Hi, this is Dr. Grumpy, returning a call about Mrs. Cranium's migraine medication."

Guy: "Yeah, you wrote a quantity of 12 pills on it, and her insurance says she's not allowed to have that many."

Dr. Grumpy: "Did that just change? She's been getting 12 every month for as long as I've been writing it."

Guy: "Well, they don't allow 12 pills in a day now, can you change it to another drug?"

Dr. Grumpy: "IN A DAY? No, she's not supposed to do that at all. That would probably kill you."

Guy: "Wait, you meant that to be 12 pills per month all along?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Absolutely. I'm looking at the script now. It doesn't say anything about 'per day'."

Guy: "That makes a lot more sense. I'll get this filled."

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Are you shitting me?

The other night, around 1:00, I took a call from the emergency room. One of Dr. Brain's patients was being admitted for a seizure and I was covering for the evening. I discussed the case with the ER physician and went back to bed.

The next day I'm seeing a patient in the office, when Mary interrupts me for a hospital call. So I pick up the phone.

Dr. Grumpy: "This is Dr. Grumpy."

Dr. Newgrad: "Hi! This is Dave Newgrad, the hospitalist seeing Rosanna Shakin. I have her ready to go, but you haven't been by to see her."

Dr. Grumpy: "I thought she was Dr. Brain's patient."

Dr. Newgrad: "She is, and he's been by and seen her and cleared her to go home. But I need you to come by."

Dr. Grumpy: "If Dr. Brain already did that, then you don't need anything from me."

Dr. Newgrad: "But the chart says the ER doctor spoke to you."

Dr. Grumpy: "She did, but I was covering for Dr. Brain."

Dr. Newgrad: "I thought that if you're the one who talks to the ER, you're legally obligated to come see the patient."

Dr. Grumpy: "Where the hell did you hear that? That's completely wrong."


Dr. Newgrad: "Nobody teaches you these things in training."

Monday, November 6, 2017

Breaking news!

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

DATELINE: Pennsylvania, USA

Mr. Steven Rago, who was out on bail for simple assault, went to court to pay his fees.

While there he noticed another person, also waiting in line to pay charges, had set his wallet on the counter. Mr. Rago quickly pocketed it. A few minutes later he used the stolen money to pay his own fees.

The entire episode was caught on camera, and Mr. Rago's bail was rescinded due to the new charges.

DATELINE: Osnabrueck, Germany

A man in a movie theater had difficulty opening the bottle of beer he'd purchased for the show. Rather than leaving the flick to use the church key at the concessions counter, he innovatively tried to pop it open with something in his pocket.

In this case, a pepper-spray canister.

The pepper cartridge exploded, flooding the theater with the noxious stuff and causing the evacuation of 200 tearing moviegoers. The cinema's manager called the police, and was able to get the theater's air cleared after about 30 minutes.

No word as to whether he got the beer open.

DATELINE: Bretten, Germany.

An 81 year old man working around his house called the police bomb squad when he discovered what appeared to be an unexploded WW2 bomb in his garden.

Responding officers identified the explosive as actually being a "particularly large" zucchini.

The zucchini was 16" (40cm) land and weighed 11 lbs (5kg).

One police officer noted it "really did look very like a bomb.”

The offending squash's fate wasn't given.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Still sick

But in looking through the national news I noticed the guys who match pictures to headlines are also apparently out today.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Out sick

Fighting off some crud my kids brought home.  Back soon.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Wednesday afternoon

Mary: "Hi, this is Mary at Dr. Grumpy's office,  just calling to confirm your appointment tomorrow, Thursday morning, at 9:30."

Ms. Remind: "Um, really? I thought it was Friday morning at 9:30?"

Mary: "Well, I have you down for Thursday, but the 9:30 slot is open on Friday, so I can change it to that if you prefer."

Ms. Remind: "No, you don't need to change it. I'm leaving town tonight, anyway, so I can't do either."

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Seen in a chart

Thank you, KL!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Off for kids' fall break

Back on October 24! See you then!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


One typo is made (at least I HOPE it's a typo), and the computer runs with it.

Thank you, S!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Saturday night

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

Mr. Plan: "Hi, sorry to call you after hours, but I need to see a neurologist and was wondering if you take Sick & Tired HMO."

Dr. Grumpy: "No, I'm sorry, I don't have a contract with them. You might try Dr. Brain, I believe he does."

Mr. Plan: "But I really wanted to see you. Can't you make an exception and take Sick & Tired just for my case?"

Dr. Grumpy: "I can't do that, and they don't allow it. I mean, you could pay cash to see me, but even then they won't pay for any tests or medications I might order. So you're best off just seeing someone in the plan."

Mr. Plan: "You can't send them a letter saying you're making an exception in my case, and that you promise not to see anyone else on their plan again?"

Dr. Grumpy: "It doesn't work that way. Let me give you Dr. Brain's number."

Mr. Plan "Thanks for nothing."


Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Dr. Grumpy: "Good morning, have a seat on the exam table. Have you ever had an EMG before?"

Mr. Acetaldehyde: "Holy crap doc, you don't need to talk so loud. I'm not deaf, I swear."

Dr. Grumpy: "Sorry, didn't realize I was. Can you take off your sunglasses?"

Mr. Acetaldehyde: "Yeah, but can you turn off the lights? They're really bright."

Dr. Grumpy: "Just keep them on, then. I can't do the test in the dark. Are you okay?"

Mr. Acetaldehyde: "I'm really hung over. I went to the Lümbær Pünkture concert last night and got totally shitfaced."

Dr. Grumpy: "Do you..."

Mr. Acetaldehyde: "Hey, can you bring that trash can over here? I think I'm..."

Monday, October 2, 2017

Pac-Man 2017

Now fighting brain tumors.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Seen in a chart

This was in the discharge instructions one of my patients was given in the emergency room:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


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

Mr. Antz: "Hi, I just got a letter from the state saying I need a form to keep my driving privileges? My last seizure was 4 years ago!"

Annie: "Yeah, sometimes they do that randomly. Just come in for an appointment within the next 30 days and we'll get it taken care of. Let me transfer you to Mary to work you in..."

Mr. Antz: "Um, actually I've moved out of state since I was last there. Can you suggest any neurologists here in Bayonne?"

Annie: "No. Have you asked your family doctor for a referral?"

Mr. Antz: "I don't have one. Do you know one here? Or can you call any and get me in ASAP, and for them to waive my co-pay? It's higher if I'm out of state."

Annie: "We can't do that, even if I did know someone."

Mr. Antz: "Okay. I'll be back in Grumpyville next week, anyway."

Monday, September 25, 2017

Random pictures

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

First we have this brand of tea:

"Hey, it's cheaper than Viagra."

One stop shopping:

"Earrings, some nice pumps, get the tumor checked out..."

More one stop shopping:

Apparently death is now one of many "things to do"

And, while we're on the subject of death, here's a great headline:

One reader sent in this badly translated set of directions from a desk clock:

And, finally, there's the name of this yoga place. It make me think the instructor is in a leather dominatrix outfit, carrying a whip.

Friday, September 22, 2017


Back in medical school, me and my roommate (Enzyme) had a classmate named Cheetah.

Cheetah lived in our apartment building, and had this phobia of being locked out of her car. Hey, we all have our issues, I get that.

Anyway, Cheetah decided she could trust us (bad mistake), so gave us an extra key to her car. That way, if she did get locked out, she could come get it from us.

So, over the next 4 years, every now and then we'd go out and move her car at night. We didn't actually take it anywhere. Just moved it a few spaces over... or into the opposite row... not very far away, but enough to make her come out and say "huh?"

We did this maybe 2-3 times a month. We'd only hear about it in passing, usually her mumbling about how tired (or drunk) she must have been when she'd gotten home the previous night.

This went on for 4 years. She asked for her key back the day after graduation, never once having been locked out of her car.

We didn't dare tell her.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bad! Bad technology!

Seen in a chart:

Thank you, JP!

Monday, September 18, 2017


Due to her hypercompetitive nature, Marie beat both her brothers to be the first with a driver's license.

Since my wife and I need our cars for work, we decided to get one for the kids. We picked-out the closest street-legal thing there is to a tank: an ancient Toyota 4Runner with 290,000 miles on it.

"Marie, are you sure this is the way to school?"

Up until recently Mrs. Grumpy or I have always ridden with her, but now school has started. It was up to Marie to drive herself and the boys to school.

In other words, she was flying solo.

She made both boys sit in the back so they wouldn't distract her.

Of course, Mrs. Grumpy and I were still worried. We decided I'd follow behind them for a few minutes, to make sure everything went fine. Marie (and especially her brothers) were okay with this.

Off we went. Fortunately, Wingnut High School is only 3 miles away. Traffic was light. What could possibly go wrong?

About 2/3 of the way there, one of the boys texted me that the 4Runner was making a funny noise.

At the same time, I noticed smoke had begun pouring out from under its hood.

"Hey, do you mind if I smoke?"

Marie soldiered on. Not stopping, continuing to school. There was no way she couldn't have noticed there was something horribly wrong. Her brothers' texts to me became increasingly frantic that she wouldn't stop the car, wasn't going to pull over, AND HOLY FUCK DAD WE'RE GOING TO DIE!

Eventually, smoking away, she pulled into the school parking lot and found a space. Even with all this going on she carefully pulled in & out of it twice and stuck her head out to make sure she was right between the lines. She didn't seem to notice that everyone in the lot was either running away or taking pictures with their phone.

Except for her brothers, who'd bailed out at a stop sign 2 blocks earlier and were walking.

Then, leaving the engine running, she got out and calmly walked over to my car, signaling me to roll down the window. With remarkable aplomb she said "Dad, what do you do when the car is on fire? They didn't cover that in driving school."

I ran over and turned off the car (fortunately, nothing too horrible turned out to be wrong with it).

A security guard appeared out of nowhere with a fire extinguisher and began randomly spraying stuff.

The boys may need therapy.

Marie, upon being reassured that all would be fine, got her backpack, rolled her eyes at her brothers trudging down the road, and headed off to class.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Winter is coming

And with it, the annual Dr. Grumpy holiday gift guide!

As always, any of you who see something horribly tasteless, useless, bizarre, or otherwise notable, please feel free to send it to me for this year's edition. I can't guarantee I'll use every entry, but will appreciate all of them!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Mrs. Semantics is a nice lady with carpal tunnel syndrome. She's trying to avoid surgery, so is wearing a pair of wrist braces.

Unfortunately, she doesn't call them braces, or splints, or supports.

She calls them cuffs.

Which leads to some entertaining quotes.

"You get odd looks wearing cuffs in public."

"I feel better when I wake up in cuffs."

"My husband put me in the cuffs last night."

Monday, September 11, 2017

Front line combat

Some random lady walks in.

Some random lady: "FINALLY!"

Mary: "Hi, can I help you?"

Some random lady: "CAN YOU HELP ME? Is that what you just said?"

Mary: "Uh, yes."

Some random lady: "I've been by your office 8 times in the last 2 weeks, and EVERY TIME the door has been locked. WHAT IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!!!"

Mary: "Um, well, it means we're closed. We're open weekdays from 7:30 to 5..."

Some random lady: "Excuse me, did you just say it means you're closed?"

Mary: "Yes, we're open from..."

Some random lady: "THAT is completely unacceptable." 

(walks out, slams door)

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Today I'd like to feature a quote from a friend, that really struck me as spot-on.

He and I were talking about the shitty reviews people leave on rate-a-doc sites, and he said:

"You know, it's really too bad that people get their pre-conceptions of something as important as their medical care from places like Google and Yelp. It's like getting your wine selection from a drunk passed-out on MD-20/20 lying next to the railroad tracks."

Thank you, OC!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Random pictures

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

First there's this restaurant's hours:

Then there's this fairly generic news item, until you get to the end of the 3rd paragraph:

Here's a mouthwash label. Because nothing sounds better than saying it tastes "acceptable:" 

 When "supreme" isn't good enough for your urethra, there's always "supremium."

"Hey, how am I supposed to take this?"


Lastly, here's an advertisement for medical lubricant. For the life of me, I have no idea what they're trying to market with this image.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Patient quote of the day

"I know that they know that she knows, but what she doesn't know is that they know I know she knows. You know?"

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Acronym FAIL

While the anti-synthetase syndrome is a serious disease, it really needs a better acronym. As this slide from an educational conference shows:

Thank you, E!

Monday, August 28, 2017


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

Mr. Clueless: "Hi, this is Sid Clueless. I saw the doctor last month, and he ordered a bunch of tests. I had them all done several weeks ago, but nobody has called me with the results."

Annie: "I'm sorry about that, sir, let me check your chart."

Mr. Clueless: "It's ridiculous that you didn't try to reach me. I've been waiting all this time, and my wife and I are both really worried."

Annie: "I understand... Sir, I'm not finding you anywhere in our system. When did you see Dr. Grumpy?"

Mr. Clueless: "On July 27, 2017."

Annie: "You're not on the schedule for that day. Maybe you saw a different doctor?"

Mr. Clueless: "No, I definitely saw Dr. Grumpy. I know your building. It's the one with an elevator."

Annie: "Sir, that describes pretty much every medical building out there."

Mr. Clueless: "It's the one on Central and 74th Street, by the Sam Gross Cartoon Museum."

Annie: "We're all the way across town from there."

Mr. Clueless: "Oh... Maybe I didn't see Dr. Grumpy then. Can you still give me my results?"

Annie: "We don't have access to other doctor's charts."

Mr. Clueless: "I thought they were all in the computers you guys use."

Annie: "No, it doesn't work like that, sir."

Mr. Clueless: "Can you at least tell me which doctor I saw?"

Annie: "We don't know that, either."

Mr. Clueless: "Crap. Now I have to wait until my wife gets back from the store."

Friday, August 25, 2017

August 25, 1950

The U.S.S. Benevolence was a full-sized hospital at sea. She had 802 beds, many operating rooms, and the most up-to-date X-ray and lab equipment upon her completion in May, 1945.

She sailed to the Pacific, serving in the closing months of World War II. The casualties of the island-hopping strategy were terrible, and she took care of many as the allies closed in on the Japanese home islands.

At the Japanese surrender she was anchored in Tokyo bay, hidden behind the American and British battleships. Although hospitals don't get the glory that fighting ships do, they're still an indispensable part of any naval force.

After the big ships were gone, the Benevolence got down to work. 1,520 allied prisoners-of-war were released to her care, with her crew nursing them back to health so they could go home. She stayed in Japan until late November, 1945, doing this vital work.

The next month she sailed for San Francisco, bringing those too wounded to leave their beds back to the U.S. for further care. She spent early 1946 running back-and-forth between there and Pearl Harbor, transporting more injured home as they were brought in.

Later that year the atomic bomb testing was planned for Bikini atoll, and the Benevolence was selected to provide medical care for the operation. She served in this capacity through the entire project, and was then sent to provide hospital services in Tsingtau, China, anchoring there in October, 1946.

In 1947 she returned home and went into reserve, but was recommissioned and modernized in 1950 to serve in the Korean war.

On August 25, 1950, she was running sea trials off San Francisco before being sent overseas. She was 4 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge, returning to harbor in a heavy fog.

A freighter, the S.S. Mary Luckenbach, was also blundering through the haze that afternoon, and just after 5:00 the two collided.

The Luckenbach was the less damaged, and anchored nearby to assess what had happened. Due to the fog her crew were initially unaware that the Benevolence was sinking rapidly, but as distress signals came in they manned their own lifeboats to go help. They saved 85 lives in the growing darkness.

The Benevolence was completely gone in just 15-20 minutes.

A makeshift rescue armada raced to the scene as night fell. Coast Guard ships, fishing boats, tugboats, pleasure craft, and merchant ships slowly moving through the murk, listening for voices, shining searchlights, and sending their own lifeboats back and forth to get swimmers. With the tide going out some survivors were miraculously found 12 miles west of the sinking, up to 6 hours later. One was floating on a wooden box of blood plasma.

As they returned to port almost every ambulance in the bay area was on the scene, taking them to hospitals and returning for more.

When it was all over 505 had survived and 23 were lost.

Both captains were faulted for excessive speed in the fog. The new radar technology on the Benevolence had somehow not seen the Luckenbach, and the Luckenbach's own set was malfunctioning and was turned off at the time.

When the sun came up and the fog cleared the next morning, the ocean off Golden Gate had an eerie sight: The 71 foot-wide Benevolence, lying on her side in 75 feet of water, with her red cross insignia clearly visible beneath the waves.

The navy surveyed the wreck for several months before deciding she was beyond salvage. She couldn't be left in the center of a busy shipping lane indefinitely, either.

In late 1951 the Benevolence was completely destroyed in a series of 3 controlled explosions to clear the area.

To this day she remains sadly forgotten, with no memorial to remember those lost that afternoon.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


“Train wreck,” for the uninitiated, is medical slang for a patient with EVERYTHING wrong.

Example: “Mr. Smith in the ICU, room 17, is a train wreck. He has metastatic cancer and advanced renal disease. He was getting dialysis yesterday when he suffered a heart attack and then went into respiratory failure. He’s on a ventilator now, and has developed sepsis.”


One day back in residency we were doing our usual morning rounds, presenting cases to the attending. My friend Zack was telling him about a guy he'd admitted the previous night.

Zack: “Okay, the next one, in ICU room 7, is a train wreck. He…”

Dr. Proper: “NEVER SAY THINGS LIKE THAT! Patients are people, and I don’t want to hear slang! Present the case to me in medical terms."

Zack: “I'm sorry, but I mean…"

Dr. Proper: “STOP! Let’s try this again. Why is the man in room 7 in the hospital?”

Zack: “Um, he was driving his car and was hit by a train."

Monday, August 21, 2017

Seen in a chart

As opposed to?

That's all the line said about it, folks. I didn't cut anything out.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

My readers write

A 2nd year internal medicine resident sent this in:

I was doing night admissions, and one was an elderly lady who'd come in for a hip fracture. The ER doctor told me the ortho surgery resident had already seen her, but there was nothing in the chart to tell me what the plans were.
So I called the ortho resident to touch base.

Dr. Dudebro: "Ortho, returning a page."

Me: "Hey, I'm the medicine resident admitting Mrs. Hip. You evaluated her in ER a few minutes ago?"

Dr. Dudebro: "Oh yeah, with a broken hip! What's up?"

Me: "What's the plan for her?"

Dr. Dudebro: "Uh...she needs surgery."

Me: "Right, but what's your plan? When are you planning to take her?"

Dr. Dudebro: "Uh...I don't know. She needs surgery."

Me: "Okay, but she's on Coumadin and is therapeutic. Are you taking her to OR tonight, and I need to reverse her ASAP? Or is this less urgent, and I can just give her vitamin K and manage her pain until you're ready for her?"

Dr. Dudebro: "Uh...she needs surgery."

Me: "Never mind. I'll figure it out."

- Thank you, R!

And for those of you who remember:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summer fun

I'm at work.

Mrs. Grumpy is out of town with the twins.

Frank is at home alone. He's 17, so should be able to survive for a few hours on his own, right?

Then, while I'm with a patient, this text from him shows up:

Friday, August 11, 2017

Breaking news!

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

DATELINE: Durango.

A bear broke into a parked Suburu SUV and took it for an early-morning spin.

The unidentified ursid, who's still on the loose, smashed a window and climbed in. From there it released the parking brake and went rolling down the street.

During its brief ride the bear drove over some utility boxes before finally going into a yard and hitting a mailbox. The homeowner, Mr. Ron Cornelius, was woken by the noise and called police. When asked about the early hour, Mr. Cornelius said "Usually, I don’t get up at 5 o’clock unless there is a bear driving a car down the street."

Apparently unhappy about its short ride, the bear destroyed the interior of the vehicle. It pulled the steering wheel off the shaft, ripped the radio out, and broke the back window.

Originally it was thought to have been the work of human vandals, but the bear's involvement was confirmed by the extensive degree of damage wrought and, more importantly, a large pile of bear shit that had been left inside the car.

So there you have it: Bears do shit in the woods, but in a pinch will use a Subaru.

DATELINE: Olympia.

A traffic jam was caused by a dead body rolling down the street.

Police said an ambulance transporting a dead body had its back door open while moving. Two gurneys, one with a recently deceased occupant, fell out and went speeding down the street.

The driver, unaware of this turn of events, continued on his way.

The gurney with a body stopped in an intersection, forcing police to re-route traffic through the area until coroner's staff could arrive to take the escapee into custody.

The empty gurney was found in a parking lot.

Neither gurney, nor the deceased, was damaged during the joyride.

DATELINE: Sioux City.

Police were called when a man attempted to deposit a fake $1 million dollar bill into his bank account.

Upon arriving to the bank, police officers interviewing the fellow asked if he had any more of the million dollar bills on him, whereupon he pulled a bag of methamphetamine out of his pocket.

Somewhat comically, he's being held on a $1,000 bond.

Police suspect drugs were involved.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"It's for the neurologist. You know how he can be."

A nurse writes that, when she arrived to work yesterday, this was the state of the galley fridge at her ICU:

Thank you, J!

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