Monday, December 28, 2020


Early last week I received a text from Local Hospital, saying that my name had come up in the hospital's mysterious vaccination hierarchy, and gave me a date and time to get my COVID-19 shot.

 It was in a part of Grumpyville that, quite literally, I didn't know existed. I assumed there was going to be a secret password or knock, but it wasn't included in the text.

So, at the appointed time, I drove to the secret site, which turned out to be the parking lot of an abandoned strip mall. The building itself, long-devoid of dollar stores, drive-thru liquor emporiums, porn shops, landscaping companies, and crematoriums, was apparently chosen for its massive parking lot, rather than the building itself.


"Are you shitting me?"

Local Hospital had set up a bizarre array of tents, traffic cones, folding tables & chairs, and outdoor heaters. Realizing that putting up a sign that said "COVID VACCINES HERE!" would bring in hordes of people who'd found it after taking the wrong freeway exit, they simply had signs that said "PRIVATE EVENT." This had the intended effect of making passersby think it was simply a large outdoor wedding, the kind that are commonly held in snow at an empty strip mall in the freezing Midwestern winter.

In fact, it fooled me (and most everyone else) judging by the number of confused people who pulled in and asked the heavily-swathed security guard (I'm pretty sure he had a flask of brandy somewhere on him) if this was where the COVID shots were .

 It was.


"No, it's not a cartel meeting, why do you ask?"


So I pulled up to the first table. At this point there was a sign saying to roll down the driver's side window and leave it down. I suppose this wouldn't matter back in my ancestral home of San Diego, but here in Grumpyville it was a balmy 28°F (-2 C) and there was a mild snowfall. And I'm sitting in this, with my car window open.

I pulled up to the table where another unidentifiable person/biped/android checked my hospital ID, driver's license, and appointment time, asked me if I had an elevated temperature (which really wasn't possible at that point), ran through a list of Coronavirus, SARS, and Ebola symptoms to make sure I didn't have any, then waved me on to the next table. It was kind of like being in the line of boats at the beginning or end of Small World, but without the music. And a lot colder.

At the next table they checked my temperature, pulse, and blood pressure. Like wearing masks, having someone point a gun-shaped thing at my forehead to check my temperature to go anywhere would have seemed entirely bizarre and creepy a year ago, and is now normal.

Finally I pulled up into the vaccine tent itself and stuck my left arm outside the car window. They asked me to put the car in park, as understandably a sudden lurch forward with sharp objects involved was undesirable. It was also the closest I'd been to one of the giant propane heaters, for which I was grateful.

After a minute, a person in some sort of giant Hazmat suit came over with a syringe and asked to verify my name.



"Ibee Grumpy."

"Hey, Ibee! Good to see you, it's me, Kim McBoob, under all this. Haven't seen you in a while."


Kim and I had gone to medical school together a LONG time ago. She went into radiology, then specialized in reading mammograms, and somehow we'd both ended up at the same hospital in Grumpyville.


Dr. Grumpy: "Kim, what are you doing out here?"

Dr. McBoob: "I was bored, no one has been coming in for mammos between the pandemic and holidays, so I volunteered to give shots."

Dr. Grumpy: "When was the last time you gave shots?"

Dr. McBoob: "Before today? Same time you did, back at the Big City VA."


At this point I was more terrified I was going to lose my arm than have a reaction to the vaccine. Dr. McBoob tried to make me feel better by saying...


Dr. McBoob: "Don't worry, they had us watch some Youtube videos on giving injections this morning. Hold on, this will sting a bit..."

Dr. Grumpy: "Aren't you  supposed to swab the site with alcohol first?"

Dr. McBoob: "Oh yeah, you distracted me. Hang on... There ya go! Now you can pull over to area 51, there, where the guy with the blue flag is."

I pulled over to the largest part of the parking lot. The wind had picked up and it had started to snow more. There a fellow gave me, literally, the following instructions:

"You doing okay? Good. Pull into space 27 there, where the lady with the yellow flag is. You'll need to wait 15 minutes. If you feel like you're having a serious allergic reaction, or you're, like, about to stop breathing, please honk your horn and turn on your hazard lights so we can come help you. Also, remember to leave your driver's side window down and the doors unlocked so we can reach you if needed."

Really, he did.

I pulled into space 27, by the lady with the yellow flag. She handed me a paper with the Lot number of my shot and the sentence "If you develop anaphylactic shock please remember to honk your horn and turn on your hazard lights."


"Pardon me, may I borrow your Epipen?"


So there I was. I've received a remarkable scientific breakthrough, and all I can think about is that my arm hurts, it's freezing cold, and snow is blowing into my car through the window I have to keep open. I was wondering, if I did call for help, would a rescuing nurse, doctor, or St. Bernard be more appropriate?



"You the guy who honked? Hello? Hello?"


Maybe I could ask the security guard to borrow his flask. After all, I'd now been vaccinated.

Faced with my bleak prospects for the next 15 minutes, I did what countless previous generations of Americans did in difficult circumstances: I played Toon Blast. Although my fingers were, admittedly, starting to get numb with frostbite.

After about 10 minutes yellow-flag-lady came over and asked me if I was having any trouble breathing. When I said no, she told me I could leave because they needed the parking space for the next person. I was more than happy to be able to roll up my car window and crank the heater up, 

For those of you who are curious, it hurt for about 2 days, longer than the flu shot, but not nearly as bad as the shingles shot.

And I'm still pretty pissed that it hasn't, to date, caused me to develop cool superpowers.



Also, is anyone else pissed off that Cyborg replaced the Martian Manhunter in the JLA reboot?


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Legal adults

Craig: "What's that?"

Marie: "It's a box of mini-quiches Dad got from Costco. I'm making some for breakfast."

Craig: "Is there more than one kind?"

Marie: "Uh, it says some are spinach and cheese, and some are bacon and cheese."

Craig: "Can you make extras and I'll have some?"

Marie: "Sure."

Craig: "What kind do you want?"

Marie: "I'll just make the whole tray, and I'll eat whatever ones you don't want."


Fifteen minutes later

Marie: "Hey, how came all the bacon ones are gone?"

Craig: "I ate them."


Craig: "You said I should eat whatever ones I wanted, and you'd eat the rest."

Marie: "So you only left me spinach ones?"

Craig: "I hate spinach."

Marie: "You still should have saved me some bacon!"

Craig: "That's not what you said!"

Marie: "But they're my favorite, you dickhead!"

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, I have to go to Costco today, I'll just get another box."

Marie: "And I get all the bacon ones."

Craig: "I'm not visiting your island in Animal Crossing if you're going to be this way."

Monday, December 14, 2020


It's been about 9 years since BlackDog died, so here's the whole story.

She'd been in declining health for some time. Not visibly suffering, but obviously going downhill bit by bit.

Toward the end she'd gotten increasingly lethargic, and at work one day I suddenly realized she'd died at home just then (don't ask me how I knew, I just did).

So I went home before the kids got there, and sure enough she was gone. She was in her usual sleeping place by the couch, looking pretty peaceful. I got a stethoscope out of my hospital bag to check (I'm a neurologist, so it was the first time in years I'd actually used one).

Obviously, getting rid of a decent-sized (60 lbs) dog isn't something easy to do. She was too big to quickly dig a hole for, I wasn't going to toss my longtime friend in a dumpster, and other things just didn't seem like a good idea:

So I carried her out to the car and called our vet to warn them I was bringing in a dead dog.

When I pulled into the lot the office manager was waiting out there for me, to get me in through the back door. She didn't feel, somewhat understandably, that a guy carrying a large dead animal in through a crowded waiting room would be good for business.

So she led me in through the back and had me set BlackDog down in a room while she went to get some paperwork.

At this point Dr. Hypervet wandered by and glanced in the room. Apparently no one had told her that a dead dog was coming in.

She ran in and began yelling "TECH! I NEED A TECH IN HERE! THIS DOG ISN'T BREATHING!"

Some tech ran in. Dr. Hypervet started listening with her stethoscope. I calmly tried to tell her the dog was dead, but every time I opened my mouth she'd "SHUSH!" me, like she was a possessed librarian.

Finally, I yelled "STOP!"

She looked up at me like I'd just climbed out of the air vent.

"Look. She's dead. I brought her in for cremation, that's all."

Dr. Hypervet looked from me to the office manager, who'd just come back.

"SHE IS? Oh, I mean, of course, uh, yes, she is. Why didn't anyone tell me in advance?"

I said "I tried to."

The office manager said: "I did, but you said you were busy."

Dr. Hypervet carefully put her stethoscope back on and firmly said, "Well, I absolutely agree with you," and walked out of the room.

I think even BlackDog was laughing.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Seen in a chart


Monday, November 30, 2020

Medical inventions

Several years ago I posted about Local Hospital's bizarre "washing your hands entertainment system," where the soap dispenser has a screen that shows you seemingly random items while you lather up. This is on a par with the TV screen that provides apolitical bubblegum news while you're pumping gas.

Anyway, over time you guys have sent some of your own pics of this "keeping-your-mind-busy-while-getting-an-ATV-rider's-cortex-off-your-hands" distraction, so I thought it was time to share them.

First we have this, which may come in handy if you ever hear yourself saying "I'll take 'marsupials' for $400."


Then there's this one, which I'm guessing sent people back to their phone wondering "who?" and looking it up before they rejoined the code-in-progress:


Bizarrely, this next one is incorrect. That number is per day, NOT per hour:


One can only hope no one was injured when the ICU doc came back from washing his hands, called the respiratory tech over, and said "the hand-washing machine says we're doing this wrong, turn her rate up to 384 breaths per minute." 



 Here's this one, which gets back to the childhood "whoever smelt it, dealt it" game.





Finally, there's this pick-me-up, in case you need a reason to feel grateful after cleaning up an unhelmeted motorcyclist who attempted riding between 2 semis.



Monday, November 16, 2020

Today's quiz

 This picture is:


A. The new ad campaign for Dove "it's 1/4 moisturizing cream" soap.

B. "Phantom of the Opera II- The Return."

C. A really weird update on the milk mustache ad campaign.

D. A public service announcement about casual use of quick lime.

E. An advertisement for an unreleased Alzheimer's treatment still in development.


(Yes, it's E. Though I'm not sure that makes any more sense than the others)

Monday, November 9, 2020

Sunday, 3:47 p.m. voicemail

"Hi, this is Mr. Foggy. I need to cancel my appointment with Dr. Grumpy for this week. It's, uh, one of the days this week. Actually, maybe it's next week, or the week after that... I'm sure it's sometime this month. Anyway, can someone please call me back and tell me when my appointment is so I can cancel it?"

Monday, November 2, 2020

It's been such a long time

One of my longstanding patients, Mrs. Laugh, came in this week.

Dr. Grumpy: "How are you doing?"

Mrs. Laugh: "Fine. You know, I've been meaning to tell you how great you look for your age!"

Dr. Grumpy: "Thanks. I had no idea that looking great in middle-aged now meant pudgy and balding."

Mrs. Laugh: "Oh, I think you're beyond middle-age!"

Dr. Grumpy: "All right... Where are you going with this?"

Mrs. Laugh: "Well, I was looking up your profile on and found this:" (holds up iPhone)


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Skool Nerse Tyme

This is Mrs. Grumpy.

So many of you have returned to Douglas C. Kenney Elementary School these days. It certainly keeps me busier, as your friends who are taking Zoom classes don't get sent to the nurse for itches, life-threatening pencil pokes, and sundry ailments that just happen to coincide with a math test.

I'd like to thank all the parents who filled out your information cards with such helpful items as "he's allergic to something, don't let him have any," a reminder not to give your child "stuff that might not be organic," and (my favorite) "do NOT allow her to get COVID!!!" Please keep in mind that I'm not the one who voluntarily sent your kid back to what is basically a 95,000 square foot fomite.

I'd also like to make a public service announcement: As you know, me and a handful of teachers have been assigned to screen you little darlings for fevers each morning, pointing that laser scanner at your forehead before you go inside.

It certainly alarmed us when we found large numbers of you were running fevers when you got off the bus. Not just fevers, actually, but temperatures in the 120 degree range. Which are, quite frankly, incompatible with human life.

Fortunately, Maxine, the lady who's been driving school buses since they were pulled by horses, called me onto the bus to see the discarded hand warmers from the camping supply store, which you frauds adorable children had been pressing to your foreheads and passing around.

As always, nice try. Now go to class.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Medical news

Journal headline writers apparently are now paid by the word:

Monday, October 19, 2020


 Logging into the pharmacy prescription portal to do refills this morning, I was greeted by this:


So, being the kind of doctor (I hope) who wants to make sure his patients are getting their medications, I click on the warning. It immediately brought up this helpful box:


That's all folks. No name, birthday, medication, anything.

Monday, October 12, 2020


I recently didst endorse myself for an online continueth education lecture series, and amongst the linguistic choices there wast thine following:

Verily, I wouldst be most delighted to conduct such endeavor in the tongue of Geoffrey Chaucer, as I still have a copy of The Canterbury Tales from my salad days stored in the dusty lofts of my dwelling.
Though, if it would suit Ra and Anubis, I could also attempt to do it in Ancient Egyptian, provided I could find an appropriate app.


Monday, October 5, 2020




Back in the old days, before every phone had a GPS system and Siri to boss you around, we used an aging GPS gadget we named Bib (for "bitch in the box") that we'd bought secondhand.

Bib at the time was about 7 years old. She had an electrical short in her end of the connection that plugged into the car. For a few months we got her to work by (I swear) licking the leads before plugging them into her. Doing these steps in order was critical, as getting them reversed once caused me to take the charge from the car battery through my tongue. Which hurt.

Anyway, as it worsened, any bump we'd hit would turn her off and then she'd have to reboot, and find satellites, and we'd have to re-enter directions... you get the idea.

Of course, this happened once in a city we were entirely unfamiliar with, and were already having trouble finding our way around.

Bib, however, wasn't going to reboot this time. We pulled into a Target lot, and futzed around. But Bib was gone. Putting water, saliva, Diet Coke, whatever, on the contacts worked for about 10 seconds before she shut down again.

Since we were outside the store I figured I'd go in and see what they had for new GPS systems, when I had an idea.

I bought a small tube of K-Y jelly, and went back. Mrs. Grumpy was laughing hysterically at me, but I put a glop of it on Bib's electrical connection AND IT WORKED. Bib got us back to the hotel, and worked fine for the rest of the trip.

So, for the rest of the time we had her we kept a little tube of K-Y in the GPS gadget's bag, carefully applying some before attaching the cord.

At some point we left Bib, in her bag, with the K-Y, either at a Goodwill or E-waste collection. Someone out there opened the bag and is probably still wondering about it.

Monday, September 28, 2020


My regular readers know that I'm not a member of any organizations, nor do I have a particularly high opinion of them.

It was Groucho Marx who said "I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member" and I'll agree with that.

So recently, my reader SMOD (who belongs to the American Academy of Neurology) showed me this survey they sent him:



To comment on a few:

"Ability to network with other neurology professionals."

This is DEFINITELY not an enticement. If I really wanted to do this I could go to drug-company sponsored dinners or hospital meetings. There's a reason I don't: neurologists are, in general, social freaks. You could write a textbook about all the personality pathology that occurs in this field. We fight over reflex hammers, FFS. You think I want to hang out with other members of this tribe? There's a reason I'm in solo practice.

"Free or reduced rates on AAN products, services, or conferences."

The last time I went to a conference was when my job paid for it, which was 1998. If I'm going to blow a mortgage payment (or two) on plane tickets and hotel rooms, I'd rather have it be something I can do for fun with my family, and not to drag my ass to a darkened conference room to hear about possible breakthroughs using chupacabra urine-derived proteins for the treatment of MS. In 1998 I went to a bunch of those sessions, many standing room only, and I don't think any of the research I heard actually bore fruit in the long run. I'll take a beach chair and umbrella drink, thanks.

As far as AAN products go... at my last meeting (admittedly, this was a long time ago, so maybe you don't do this now) there was a booth selling AAN-themed T-shirts, baseball caps, coffee mugs, and reflex hammers. I'll pass, even with a discount.

"Distinction, prestige, and/or added credibility of being an AAN member."

This is, far and away, my favorite item that you've asked people to rate. I'd be checking the box under "was not aware of." I mean, to me this is like saying you belong to the Gilligan's Island Fan Club for the effect it has on the general public. People either aren't aware there was such a thing or they pity you for being so proud that you belong to it. There are a lot of ways to earn respect, like being a good doctor, citizen, or parent. Giving back to your community. Helping the less fortunate. But hanging a sign in your office that says you're an AAN member is only going to matter to drug reps, who will use the info to cull favor for you to prescribe their latest and greatest.

One could also point out that being an AAN member isn't something that's visibly obvious, like some sort of aura, that makes people take notice so you get a better table or they clear a path as you come through. Perhaps that's why you might purchase an AAN T-shirt or baseball cap, but not sure that's going to help. Out in public people could take it to mean anything, like Anal Aficionados of Nebraska.

"Distinction, prestige, and/or added credibility" in medicine, as in life, are earned by actions, not by paying a $495 annual fee. If you think otherwise, then you probably wouldn't want me as a member, either.

- Thank you, SMOD!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

I guess I won't send him a letter.

 Seen on a new patient information form:

Monday, September 21, 2020


Dr. Grumpy: "Have you had any surgeries?"

Mr. Chole: "I had my gallbladder out."

Mrs. Chole: "Wait, I thought I was the one that had my gallbladder out?"

Mr. Chole: "No, it was definitely me. Remember? I had to miss your sister's wedding?"

Mrs. Chole: "Like you regretted that, anyway. But I thought that was for a business trip, and I had my gallbladder out at Christmas that year because your mother cooked that horribly greasy turkey and made me sick."

Mr. Chole: "At least she could cook. I'm pretty sure I'm the one that had it out, though."

Mrs. Chole: "No, it was me. I have the scar to prove it. See?"

(pulls up her shirt)

Mr. Chole: "Let's ask the doctor. Dr. Grumpy, which of us had our gallbladder out?" 

(pulls up his shirt)

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, I'd say you both did. Can you please put your shirts down?"

(they both pull their shirts down)

Mr. Chole: "Anyway, besides that, I didn't have any other surgeries."

Mrs. Chole: "Your mother still couldn't cook."

Monday, September 14, 2020

Seen in a chart


Tuesday, September 8, 2020


Hi, it's Frank, reporting from Local Grocery.

Since my dorm is closed and I'm doing college online, I've kept my job bagging groceries and collecting carts for the time being.

One of the things we do are the occasional grocery carry-outs, where we lug stuff out and load bags into cars. Generally the only people who need this are the older customers or those with disabilities, though we offer it to all.

It's not a hard part of the job, and certainly we don't ask for tips (in fact, there are signs telling customers not to tip us) but if the rare person hands us a dollar or two, we thank them.

I spent the Labor Day weekend working all 3 days, and Monday afternoon I was assigned to the parking lot. It was roughly 100 degrees, and Grumpyville's usual late-summer mosquito-laden humidity. While I was collecting carts from a corral in the back of the lot, some guy pulled up and asked me to help him swap out a few of the big white propane tanks.

He had 4 of them in his trunk, and as anyone who's had to carry them knows, they're heavy. It took me 2 trips, carrying a pair of them each time, to get them up to the exchange rack at the side of the store. He went inside and paid for 4 more, so I got the keys from the manager and rolled out 4 full ones for him. Then I carried those back to his car (which he had near the back of the lot for whatever reason). This took another 2 trips, and the full ones are, obviously, heavier.

After I put them in his trunk I asked if there was anything else I could help him with. He said no, so I wished him a good day and went back to the cart corral to pick up where I'd left off. A minute later he came over and said "Hey, kid, thank you for doing that, I know they're heavy" and handed me a folded $20 bill. I was gratefully surprised, and said "thank you" as I shoved it in my pocket.

I pushed a line of carts back into the store and the rest of my shift was uneventful. I wasn't expecting the extra money, but it would certainly come in handy since I need some new parts for my computer.

When I got home I went to transfer it to my wallet.

Upon unfolding it, it was a fake $20 bill, with a picture of Yogi Bear on it.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Civil servants

An NPI, for those of you unfamiliar with medical billing, is a government-issued magic number that registers doctors and practices with health insurers.

Occasionally my billing agency has to make a change in payment settings, which requires me to call Medicare to authorize it because only the actual NPI holder can do that. Fortunately, it's only every few years I have to deal with such because it usually involves long hold times. In fact, I plan it for when I have a lot of reading or writing to do, so I can work while listening to endless repeats of "your call is very important to us, please continue to hold" mixed with generic synth-pop music.

Last week was one of those times, so after being on hold for a while...

Music: "bee-bop-shooby-do" CLICK

Fred: "Thank you for calling Medicare. This is Fred. How can I help you?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Hi, this is Ibee Grumpy, I'm calling to verify my NPI for case number 8675309."

Fred: "What is your NPI number, please?"

Dr. Grumpy: "6EQUJ5."

Fred: "Thank you, one moment please... That number isn't in our system, can you repeat it?"

Dr. Grumpy: "6EQUJ5."

Fred: "Thank you... I'm still not able to find it. What state are you calling from?"

Dr. Grumpy: "I'm in Ohio."

Fred: "I'm sorry, you've called the wrong number. Ohio is in the Midwest region, and you've called the number for the Southeast region."

Dr. Grumpy: "Oh, are you able to transfer me?"

Fred: "No. You'll need to call 1-800-MID-WEST for Ohio practices."

Dr. Grumpy (sighs): "Okay, thank you."

Fred: "Thank you  for calling Medicare, have a nice day."

I get another Diet Coke to brace myself for more hold time, which this time was a surprisingly short 15 minutes.

Music: "bee-bop-shooby-do" CLICK

Fred: "Thank you for calling Medicare. This is Fred. How can I help you?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Hi, this is Ibee Grumpy, I'm calling to verify my NPI for case number 8675309."

Fred: "What is your NPI number, please?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Um, didn't I just talk to you about 15 minutes ago?"

Fred: "Yes. I'm answering phones for both Midwest and Southeast regions today."

Dr. Grumpy: "Then why didn't you check my number in the Midwest system when I called earlier?"

Fred: "Because you called in on the wrong line."

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Thank you, I'll be here all week

Dr. Grumpy: "Have you had any problems walking?"

Mrs. Brady: "Well, a few months ago I felt like my feet were sticking to the floor, but that's better now."

Dr.  Grumpy: "Did it get better after you started Sinemet?"

Mrs. Brady: "No, it got better after I cleaned the floor."

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Seen in a chart


Stupid mistakes are nothing new. But they've really increased in the world of EHR. It's funny... But at the same time it's not.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Random pictures

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


First, from the "Those are definitely changing looks, Billie" department we have this headline-photo mismatch:


Next, in the "this way, suckers" category we have a pool product that claims to - I swear - make water moister.


For novel methods of self-defense we have this brass knuckles - iPhone case combo.



From the "No wonder the bison was mad" file:


Here's the mysterious, yet oddly prevalent, use of quotation marks to make you wonder what's REALLY going to be served.


Of course, sometimes even without the quotation marks you know there's something wrong.

At other times you Just. Don't. Want. To. Know.



Monday, August 10, 2020

Sixteen Tons

Hi, this is Craig.

So, while Frank has been bagging groceries for the summer, I've been working for Tiffin Deliveries, picking up food from various restaurants and dropping it off at a variety of houses, businesses, apartments, and the occasional parked car (really!).

Basically, I'm the messenger. So I get blamed when things go wrong. Restaurant burned your food? Hey, I didn't cook it. You didn't get enough ketchup? Again, that's not me. During this viral summer restaurants are stapling delivery bags closed and leaving them on a table outside, so I can't eat your stuff, sneeze in it, or toss in the extra 3 packets of pickle relish you wanted - especially since many of you seem to think of the extra mustard needed AFTER I've left the restaurant.

To get this job I had to go through an extensive background check, which consisted of me emailing my name to a guy on the other side of the planet. He responded within 30 seconds that I'd been cleared, so I'm pretty sure all he did was type "Craig Grumpy mass murderer" into Google to see if it returned any hits.

Of course, this job has its highlights, which explains why Dad told me I should put it on his blog.

The best part of the company's app is for special instructions, where people get to type in pretty much whatever. This has included requests for me to pick up laundry while I'm getting your lunch, asking if I happen to know a good roofing service, and if Local Grocery has hand sanitizer in stock (I texted Frank for that one).

I think my favorite set of instructions so far was this:

Orders like that make me wonder if I'm on Candid Camera. Then I have to go to the place's counter and put in the order, knowing how ridiculous I'll look, since this specific dive won't accept them from the app. I felt like Jack Nicholson ordering toast.

Another great order was this one:

Fortunately, that order was pretty easy to fill, though I have to wonder where this lady previously got her tacos from.

I also got an order from a guy who lives across the street (literally) from a McDonald's to get him a Big Mac and fries (simple, huh?). BUT he wanted it from a specific McDonald's that was a 20 minute drive from his apartment.

Lastly, I got an order to run to Blazing Ketchup. They got the order right, and I made it to this guy's office within 10 minutes of picking it up. So I'd like to thank him for recognizing my effort:

Friday, August 7, 2020

Diary of an ER doctor

I have no idea who wrote this. I wish I could take credit for it, but I can't. But, since it's awesome, I'm sharing it. Thank you, Webhill, for sending it to me.

So guys, this is what my typical day at the hospital looks like now:

6am - Wake up. Roll off of my pile of money that Big Pharma gave me. Softly weep as it doesn’t put a dent in my medical school loans.

6:30am - Make breakfast, using only foods from the diet that gives me everlasting life by avoiding all fats, sugars, carbs, and proteins. For details buy my book and check out my shop.

7am - Get to work, load up my syringes with coronavirus before rounds.

8am - See my patients for the day. Administer the medications that the government tells me to. Covertly rub essential oils on the ones I want to get better. Flush down the toilet all the hydroxychloroquine tablets patients were to receive for the day. 

9:30am - Call Bill Gates to check how 5G tower construction is going, hoping for more coronavirus soon. He tells me they’re delayed due to repairs on the towers used to spread the Black Plague. Curse the fact that this is the most efficient way to spread infectious diseases.

10am - One patient tells me he knows “the truth” about coronavirus. I give him a Tdap booster. He becomes autistic in front of my eyes. He’ll never conspire against me again.

11am - Tend to the secret hospital garden of St. John’s wort and ginkgo leaves that we save for rich patients and donors. 

12:30pm - Pick up my briefcase of money from payroll, my gift from Pfizer for the incomprehensible profits we make off of the free influenza vaccine given every year. 

1pm - Conference call with Dr. Fauci and the lab in Wuhan responsible for manufacturing viruses. Tell them my idea about how an apocalypse-style zombie virus would be a cool one to try for the next batch.

2pm - A patient starts asking me about getting rid of toxins. I ask her if she has a liver and kidneys. She tells me she knows “the truth” about Big Anatomy and that the only way to detoxify herself is to eat nothing but lemon wedges and mayonnaise for weeks. I give her a Tdap booster.

2:45pm - Help the FBI, CIA, and CDC silence the masses. Lament the fact that I can only infringe on one or two of their rights. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.

4pm - One of my rich patients begins to crash. I laugh as I realize I’ve mismatched her spirit animal and zodiac moon sign. I switch out the Purple Amethyst above her bed for a Tiger’s Eye geode. She stabilizes. I throw some ginkgo leaves on her for good measure.

6pm - Go onto YouTube and see coronavirus conspiracy videos everywhere. Curse my all-powerful government for how inept they are at keeping people from spreading “the truth”

6:10pm - Go onto Amazon and see that a book about “the truth” is the #1 seller this week. Question the power of my all powerful government. Make a reminder to myself to get more Tdap boosters from the Surgeon General next time we talk. 

7pm - Time to go home. Before I leave, sacrifice a goat to Dr. Fauci and say three Hippocratic Oaths.

9pm - Take a contented sigh as I snuggle under the covers made of the tinfoil hats of my enemies, realizing that my 4 years of medical school and 3 years of residency training have been put to good use today.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Seen in a chart

"I feel SO relaxed right now."

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Social distancing

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

Mr. Zoom: "Hi, this is Mr. Zoom. My wife is a patient of Dr. Grumpy's. She's having all kinds of new neurological issues and needs a video appointment ASAP."

Mary: "Let me see... Your wife hasn't been here in over 3 years... You said she's having new problems?"

Mr. Zoom: "Yes! They just started a few days ago and..."

Mary: "I'm sorry, but after 3 years, and especially with her having new symptoms, she'll need to be seen in person."

Mr. Zoom: "Uh, there's a pandemic going on! It's not safe for us to leave our house!"

Mary puts him on hold, checks with me, I absolutely agree with her.

Mary: "I just double-checked with Dr. Grumpy. Because she's having new issues this really isn't something he's comfortable handling over the phone or on camera. He needs to be able to examine her in person, check reflexes, and all that other stuff he does, to get an idea of what's going on and what should be done. He wears a mask, and takes lots of precautions to minimize..."

Mr. Zoom: "This is criminal. It's unethical. Dr. Grumpy is needlessly endangering our lives by making us come to see him. We're both in our 80's and are a high risk group. He should be able to do this sort of thing over the phone. Can't he just order a bunch of tests and see what he finds?"

Mary: "He doesn't work that way, sir. You can certainly try to find another doctor to see her, or go to ER, or..."

Mr. Zoom: "No other doctor will be able to get her in before the weekend. She needs to be seen and have all the tests done before then."

Mary: "Why is this so urgent?"

Mr. Zoom: "We're flying to Miami on Friday night for a big family reunion."

Monday, July 27, 2020


Dr. Grumpy: "Your MRI was entirely normal, which is very reassuring, so the next step..."

Mrs. Scan: "Oh, thank heavens. I was so worried I had a brain tumor."

Mr. Scan: "That is reassuring."

Mrs. Scan: "Isn't that wonderful news, Phil?"

Mr. Scan: "Yes."

Mrs. Scan: "What? You don't think it's good news?"

Mr. Scan: "I said I did. I said it was reassuring."

Mrs. Scan: "You could try to look a little more enthusiastic. Or happy. Or something."

Mr. Scan: "I am, what should I be doing?"

Mrs. Scan: "Why can't you ever be happy for me?"

Mr. Scan: "Why does this have to be a production?"

Mrs. Scan: "Dr. Grumpy, don't you think he should look happier about the news?"

Mr. Scan: "Dr. Grumpy, do you..."

Dr. Grumpy: "I'm staying out of this."

Thursday, July 23, 2020

That narrows it down

I'd like to thank my E-prescribing service for this helpful message to let me know which patient's script didn't go through.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Don't remind me

Dr. Grumpy: "What color is my hair?"

Mr. Curmudgeon: "There's not enough left to tell."

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Seen in a chart

Monday, July 13, 2020

Weekend on call

Dr. Grumpy: "Hi, I'm Dr. Grumpy. What's going on that landed you here?"

Mr. Paganica: "Well, Doc, me and the boys were playing golf. On the 6th hole I noticed my left leg was weak, and by the 8th hole my left arm wasn't working, either. It got better for a bit, but came back on the 12th hole, and on the 14th hole my buddy said my speech was slurred, too. It hadn't gotten better by the end of the 18th hole, so we decided to skip the drinks and they brought me to the hospital to get it checked out."

Monday, July 6, 2020

Clinical conundrum

Dr. Grumpy: "Wow, you look great for 94! Well, what can I do for you?"

Mrs. Methuselah: "Thank you! My daughter asked me to come see you, she was concerned I had a neck injury.

Dr. Grumpy: "What's going on?"

Mrs. Methuselah: "Well, I moved into a new place over the winter. Now that it's summer the air conditioner turns on, and if it blows on the back of my neck it gets cold there and I get a chill down my spine."

Pause. I'm waiting, figuring there has to be more than that.

Dr. Grumpy: "Is there, uh, more than that?"

Mrs. Methuselah: "Nope. That's it. My daughter insisted I come in because she thinks I need an MRI of my neck. I think she's nuts."

Dr. Grumpy: "Does, uh, does anything make this better?"

Mrs. Methuselah: "Yeah, I don't sit near vents. If I have to, like in my reading chair, I wear a scarf.

Dr. Grumpy: "Does that work?"

Mrs. Methuselah: "It works fine. I told you. I think my daughter is nuts."

Dr. Grumpy (sets down pen): "I think you can tell your daughter that I said you're fine."

Monday, June 29, 2020

Random pictures

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

First, from the "nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more" department:

As Jake and Elwood would say, "Baby clothes... This place has got everything."

In a furniture store ad, one of these things is not like the other: 

"What would you like for the new digs, Mr. Scaramanga?"

In the "it's our name, so let's see if the DMV notices it" file:

And finally, from the "Gee, I'd never have guessed" department:

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Take me home, country roads

Dr. Grumpy: "How was your father's day?"

Mr. Mountaineer: "It was fine, I went back to West Virginia to see my Dad."

Dr. Grumpy: "Was it a good visit?"

Mr. Mountaineer: "Yeah. They live out in the boondocks, and the only restaurant is a Denny's. He wanted to go there for breakfast, so I took him."

Dr. Grumpy: "It's nice you got to spend time with him."

Mr. Mountaineer: "The guy in the booth next to us began filing down his teeth while we were eating.  That's when I realized I was home again."

Monday, June 22, 2020

Seen in a chart

Thursday, June 18, 2020


Dr. Grumpy: "Any other questions?"

Mr. Patient: "Yeah, do you have any idea what this means?"

He took out a small piece of paper with "WANGLES SLAGLON" written on it and held it up.

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, no. I have no idea what that means."

Mr. Patient: "Neither do I. Okay, doc, see you next month."

He threw the paper in the trash and left.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Department of Redundancy Department

This is on a form I have to fill out to get a patient's migraine drug covered:

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Texting with Frank

As my longtime readers know, texting with Frank is an exercise in tapping keys on the phone while simultaneously slitting my wrists.

Of course, Frank is now in his 3rd year of college. During non-pandemic times he lives in a dorm. He has a job bagging groceries and collecting carts at the store. So you'd think this kind of insanity would wane, right?

Oh, hell no.

The other night I texted to remind him that I'd be picking him up at the store when his shift ended at 8:00. This is what came back:

Like Mary says: "I can always tell when Frank texts you because you suddenly start swearing."

Monday, June 8, 2020


While dealing with the myriad of stuff she does - answering phones, copying insurance cards, scheduling appointments, telling people to put their damn masks on, asking drug reps what samples they have - Mary occasionally isn't able to grab a call as it comes in.

So last week someone left this on her voicemail at 8:34 a.m.:

"My name is Perry Thesia, and I need to get into Dr. Grumpy ASAP! Please call me back! My right arm is numb and tingling and feels weird!"

So Mary was able to grab a moment to return the call at 8:46 a.m., 12 minutes later.

Mary: "Hi, this is Mary at Dr. Grumpy's office, I got your message. We had a cancellation later today, and an opening tomorrow, too at..."

Mr. Thesia: "Oh, never mind. Sorry, just ignore my message. I'm fine now."

Mary: "So you don't need an appointment?"

Mr. Thesia: "No, I must have slept on it funny. It was numb when my alarm went off at 8:30, but I shook it out after calling your office and it's fine now."

Monday, June 1, 2020

Phone calls

I'm with a patient when Mary knocks on the door. My call partner, Dr. Nerve, is on the phone for me.

Dr. Grumpy: "This is Grumpy, what's up?"

Dr. Nerve: "Hi, do you know that new guy, the one who's doing locum tenens for Dr. Outforbacksurgery?"

Dr. Grumpy: "I've heard the name, but don't know much else. It's not like we've ever shared call with that practice."

Dr. Nerve: "Are we covering his hospital patients this weekend?"

Dr. Grumpy: "I'm pretty sure he doesn't even have hospital privileges, but let me check the system... no he doesn't have any privileges."

Dr. Nerve: "I know he doesn't have privileges. I'd already checked."

Dr. Grumpy: "Then there's no way he's going to have patients, either. So why are you asking me if we'd be covering for him?"

Dr. Nerve: "I'm trying to be thorough."

Thursday, May 28, 2020


To try and stay afloat busy during the pandemic, I've been doing more market research surveys. As usual, these have some interesting questions.

This example is from the "I failed geography" department:

Next up is this one, apparently hoping that I'm a good guesser:

This one, I can only assume, was written by a person practicing the Jedi mind-trick:

The next question apparently wanted to see how much I could nitpick, or be indecisive, or have a fetish for capitalization:

And last was this, from the "so what happens if I do?" department:

For the record, nothing happened. It was actually kind of disappointing.
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