Friday, April 28, 2017


Seen in a chart:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


My office parking is okay. Not great, not horrible. Generally anyone can find a space, but they may have to park farther than they like (we do have plenty of handicapped spots).

I have one patient, Mr. Thuesen-Hale, who perennially complains about it. It's almost Seinfeldian, were it not for him being so enraged. Mary even gave him a list of neurologists who might have a better office lot than I do, to no avail.

So at his appointment last week, he showed up with a bunch of papers. They looked like forms for work.

Dr. Grumpy: "Any other questions?"

Mr. Thuesen-Hale: "Yes, I have this for you."

Dr. Grumpy: "Is it for your job?"

Mr. Thuesen-Hale: "No, it's a parking ticket."

Dr. Grumpy: "A parking ticket?"

Mr. Thuesen-Hale: "Yes. Because of your crappy parking here I got a ticket last time for being on the street. So it's your responsibility to pay it." (shoves papers at me)

Dr. Grumpy: (not reaching for them) "I'm sorry you got a ticket, but I'm not going to pay it."

Mr. Thuesen-Hale: "That's unacceptable. You chose to rent in this building, so it's your problem. PAY IT!"

Dr. Grumpy: "I'm not going to do that."

Mr. Thuesen-Hale: "Look, if you don't pay it I'm not coming back!"

It's funny how some people think that's a threat.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Random pictures

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

First we have this doctor's office:

"How's the weather down there?"

From the "but don't do it right now" department of driving safety:

"Gee, this sounds like a great place to live"

"I guess the gardens are by the rear entrance."

From the music store (for those of you who remember what one was).

"Better not look in the other bin" department:

People who can't spell are watching you:

And, lastly, a reminder of those good old days of pharmacy:

Friday, April 21, 2017

Modern medicine

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

Ms. Thirst: "Yes, I need to make an appointment with Dr. Grumpy."

Mary: "Okay, our next available is on Thursday, at..."

Ms. Thirst: "Wait, first of all, do you offer a beverage service in your lobby?"

Mary: "Uh, no. There's a water fountain down the hall, by the... Hello? Hello?"

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday reruns

Mrs. Powder: "Sorry I'm a few minutes late, I had to drop my husband off at the ER."

Dr. Grumpy: "Is he okay?"

Mrs. Powder: "Oh he's fine. He was cleaning his gun and shot himself, again."

Dr. Grumpy: "Oh my..."

Mrs. Powder: "You'd think he'd get over being such a baby about it. I made him wait in the car until I'd finished the laundry. Anyway, at the last visit you had me try Nomig for headaches, and I like it. Do you have any more samples?"

Monday, April 17, 2017


Last week I got a letter from an insurance company about a patient's medication. No biggie. Happens a lot.

The letter said my patient's prescription authorization was expiring next month, and that I needed to fill out and resubmit the forms to get it covered for another year. Okay, I do that a lot, too.

But this letter, in the interest of protecting patient privacy, didn't give me their name. Or the medication. Or their diagnosis. Not even an ID number or birthday. Zilch. Zip. Nada.

In fact, across the top of the letter it said:

And I must admit they were right. The only name on the letter was my own.

So what am I supposed to do? I want to help the patient, but a quick look at my computer says I currently have 1,043 active patients. At least 278 of them are on a medication that requires me to re-authorize once a year. I can't start calling all of them, either. Ones who are coming due in the next 2 months? 44 per my machine. That's still too many for a random guess.

No easy answer here.

Sadly, the way these things usually play out is I'll only know who it is because they go for a refill and are told the medication is no longer covered because uncaring Dr. Grumpy never bothered to do the authorization. So they call and yell at me because they're not going to get their medication "AND IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!" (my kids love that line, too).

I'm a big believer in patient privacy. I work hard to protect it. But when information about a patient, and a potentially life-saving medication for them, is kept secret from the very doctor who's prescribing it... We've reached a new level of insanity.

Franz Kafka (not my patient)

Friday, April 14, 2017


Seen in a chart:

Of course, there's only one medicine that treats it all.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


One night, just after starting my internship, I got called to pronounce a patient dead.

How hard can that be?

They paged me just after midnight. As I took the elevator to that floor I realized that... I had no idea how to pronounce someone dead.

My medical school had covered all kinds of stuff about diagnosis and treatment of the living, and, in retrospect, zilch about how to tell if someone is dead.

My stomach sank as I realized I'd be learning on the fly. I buttoned my brand-new white coat and made sure I had my stethoscope.

I got to the room. Mercifully, the family had gone home for the night and there were just 2 nurses straightening things up.

The ex-patient's eyes were wide open. He stared straight ahead, pining for the fjords.

Trying to look like I knew what I was doing, I strode confidently over to the bed... then stopped as I realized I had no idea where to start.

Finally, I waved my hand in front of his eyes.

He didn't blink.

The nurses began laughing. I began sweating.

Realizing I was hopelessly lost, and blanking, one took pity on me and suggested checking his pulse and perhaps use my stethoscope. At that point I began remembering things like vital signs (or the absence thereof) and other basic proof/disproof of life.

"He's dead, um, what's your name?"

I lay in my call room the rest of the night, waiting for a page from the morgue that the guy had woken up and was wondering what kind of idiot had pronounced him dead.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sunday morning, 12:37 a.m.

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

Mr. Phone: "Yeah, I see Dr. Nerve for my headaches, and when I had one last month he called in some Migroblast, and it was really effective. Do you know if he'll call it in next time I have a headache?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Are you having a headache, sir?"

Mr. Phone: "No, I'm fine, I haven't had one since then. I only get a few each year. But if I have one, will he call in the Migroblast again?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Why don't you call his office on Monday and ask?"

Mr. Phone: "Oh, I guess I can do that. Hey, have a good night!"

Friday, April 7, 2017


Mrs. Worry: "I'm concerned about Alzheimer's Disease, because I have a family history of it."

Dr. Grumpy: "Who had it?"

Mrs. Worry: "My ex-husband."

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Mary's desk

Mr. Stand: "Hello?"

Mary: "Hi, this is Mary at..."

Mr. Stand: "Um, are you the girl I met last Saturday at Pick-Up Charlie's? Hey, the reason I haven't called yet is because..."

Mary: "Uh, no, I work at Dr. Grumpy's."

Mr. Stand: "I don't remember a bar called Dr. Grumpy's. Where is it? I must have been blitzed. Anyway, I'm glad you called because..."

Mary: "Dr. Grumpy is a neurologist. You have an appointment here at 10:00 tomorrow morning. I'm calling to remind you of that."

Mr. Stand: "Wait, you work at my neurologist's AND you came home with me from Pick-Up Charlie's last weekend?"

Mary: "No. I work here. I'm married. I've never been to Pick-Up Charlie's."

Mr. Stand: "Oh... This is awkward... I guess I'll see you tomorrow at 10:00, then."

Monday, April 3, 2017

100 years to the day

This picture was taken 100 years ago today, off New York City. It's the U.S.S. Arizona, shortly after completing engine repairs and only 6 months after she was commissioned into the navy. 3 days after this picture was taken the United States entered World War I.

At the time she was the biggest, newest, and most advanced battleship in the world. And home to 2,290 young men.

This is the same ship today, after the beginning of another war. 1,177 young men are still aboard her.

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