1 day ago
Thursday, October 23, 2014
I'm glad to see the AMA is still living in some sort of fairytale land where doctors have money trees growing in their yards. This sort of stereotype only fuels the already crappy image the public has of us.
Here's the reality: In 2013 (my worst year ever, due to several factors) Dr. Grumpy's solo practice salary came out to $99,354. That's working 60-70 hours per week, with 4 weeks of vacation.
Now, I'm NOT (emphasize NOT) complaining or bragging. I'm just stating this as a fact, to make a point. I know there are MANY people who'd be grateful to be able to make that. I'm thrilled to have a job I like that allows me to support my family.
But the reality is this: I drive a 14 year-old Nissan Maxima with the passenger door smashed in. Sending me a booklet telling me that, as a "qualified physician," I can save $1000 off a $92,000 S-Class sedan, $3000 off a $72,100 CLS-Class coupe, $4000 off a $116,000 CL-Class coupe, $3000 off a $114,200 G-Class SUV, or $3000 off a $106,700 SL-Class roadster... just shows me how fucking incredibly out-of-touch you guys are with the reality facing today's doctors.
Granted, I'm not a member of your organization. Honestly, I'd rather spend the $420 annual fee on my kids. To the best of my knowledge, an AMA membership gets me a journal I don't have time to read, discounted admission to an annual meeting I won't go to, and, obviously, a token discount on a car I can't afford. In fact, if I was a member, I'd be pretty pissed to find out this is what you were spending my annual fees on: getting me a deal on an imported car that costs more than I made last year.
American medicine is in a serious crisis right now. I'm not going to take political sides, as there are plenty of blogs for that. But my point here is that you guys are obviously clueless as to how much docs are really making.
Not to mention medical students. The next generation of docs are coming out of school $200,000 in debt. Residency pays maybe $40,000 a year, and they're at the ages where they're starting families, buying first homes, etc. Then they get to go earn practice salaries that (like mine) are dropping each year. So realistically the only "luxury automobile" they'll get to ride in... is a hearse.
Note to medical students- if you're doing this thinking you're going to get rich, just stop now and cut your losses. In fact, I'd get out regardless of why you're doing this.
But, I'm glad to see you AMA guys are on the ball. I'm sure there are SOME doctors out there who can blow that kind of money on a car (likely all on your board of directors) and it's reassuring to know you're doing something to benefit them.
The rest of us hard-working docs trying to practice ethical front-line medicine will stick with our old cars with the sides smashed in.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Dr. Grumpy: "I agree with getting one, but your insurance requires a pre-authorization. I'll have my staff get started on that, but it takes a few days and..."
Mrs. Eword: "I don't think you heard me. I want it NOW. While I'm here."
Dr. Grumpy: "Well, it has to be scheduled with an MRI facility and your insurance. I don't do them here."
Mrs. Eword: "What do you mean you don't do them here? You're a neurologist, aren't you?"
Dr. Grumpy: "Yes, and I order MRI's, but don't have the machine in my office. We use Local MRI, across the street and..."
Mrs. Eword: "I cannot believe this. What's that room I passed with the door closed down the hall here? There was a lot of noise. Isn't that your MRI?"
Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, that's the bathroom. They're replacing the sink's pipes today."
Mrs. Eword: "So you've been wasting my time this morning. Doesn't other peoples time mean anything to you? This is incredibly inconsiderate."
Dr. Grumpy: "I..."
Mrs. Eword: "I'll go elsewhere." (gets up, leaves)
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
Mary: "Dr. Schnozz is on the phone, says he needs to talk to you ASAP."
Dr. Grumpy: "Excuse me..." grabs phone "This is Dr. Grumpy."
Dr. Schnozz: "Hi, we have a mutual patient, Mr. Platelet, and he was here with his wife a short while ago for his sinuses. Anyway, I'm concerned he needs you to work him in urgently."
Dr. Grumpy: "What's up? I mean, he was just here this morning at 9:00."
Dr. Schnozz: "Really? They didn't mention that. Anyway, he's weak on his left side, and I'm worried he had a stroke."
Dr. Grumpy: "He DID have a stroke. I had him in the hospital last week for it, and I saw him today in follow-up. He's weak on the left, and I ordered physical therapy."
Dr. Schnozz: "They didn't tell me that either. Never mind."
Friday, October 17, 2014
Which, as it turned out, was my apartment.
So, 3 of us went to his place to haul crap he needed for a few weeks to survive, like some clothes and CD's, over to my abode.
As he waited in the car, he suddenly realized he'd forgotten to tell us to get something else he needed: his comic book collection. So, grabbing his crutches, he got out and hobbled over to the staircase. Since we didn't respond to his yelling, he decided to try ascending a few stairs... and fell. Landing on his recently broken leg.
The leg, fortunately, was covered in such a huge cast that it was indestructible. But it still hurt like hell. We ran down the stairs to help him back up.
He was pale and looked quite uncomfortable. Without saying a word he reached into a pocket and pulled out the newly-filled bottle of Percocet we'd just picked up. He poured several into his mouth, chewed them up and swallowed, then hobbled back to the car.
All he said then was "Wake me when we get to your place."
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Even worse (from his view) was that they wouldn't let him smoke.
Recovery from this sort of thing is not painless. After surgery he was put on a morphine PCA pump. For those of you not in medicine, this is a gadget that delivers IV narcotics controlled by the hospital patient. You need more morphine? Press a button and it gives you some. The pump is programmed with a maximum amount and frequency you can receive, and is locked out with a security code.
20 years ago, however, the security codes were only 4 digits, and Dr. Tallahatchie had a photographic memory. After watching the nurse set it up, it took him only a few tries to hack it. Due to ongoing pain, he increased his morphine dose. This made him much more comfortable.
Nursing found him still breathing, but unable to be woken. The internal medicine service, comically, called for a neurology consult, and my colleague, Dr. Violet, told them exactly what the problem was.
So they took his PCA pump away. Since his vital signs were okay Violet didn't have the heart to use Narcan.
As a result of the overdose, the good doctor was now unable to pee, and so a foley catheter was ordered. His nurse started the procedure, only to be stopped when Dr. Tallahatchie suddenly became wide awake, sat-up, and yelled "HEY! THAT'S MY WINKIE!!!"
Although now more alert, he still couldn't run the water. And when the nurse came at him with the foley again, he asked her to give him a few minutes to "prepare himself."
She stepped out, and he frantically paged me, asking me to bring him a pair of sterile size 7 gloves. He didn't say why, but I realized what was up when I got there. He took the gloves and told me to distract the nurse for 5 more minutes. He wasn't going to let anyone touch his winkie.
When the nurse came back, she was stunned to see he'd put it in himself. Correctly.
Note: As of yesterday, Dr. Tallahatchie confirmed that (20 years later) he still smokes and drinks. He has not, however, attempted climbing a tree again.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
This went well. Until the last day.
After the kids' bus had left, we learned the van coming for us had a mechanical issue, and would be delayed 4-5 hours.
So, with nothing better to do, we walked a mile to the nearest town, bought a shitload of cheap beer to carry back to camp, and got drunk. For those of you who are horrified, this is pretty standard. Medical residents are basically college students, but with more letters after their names.
This went well until our chief resident (Dr. Tallahatchie), the one in charge of showing us younger residents the proper way to do things and to lead by example... Decided to climb a large tree. This kind of decision (and the inevitable "Hey, everybody, watch this!") always seems to follow alcohol consumption. Especially when the person involved grew up in rural Mississippi.
In a bold display of intoxicated coordination, Dr. Tallahatchie climbed a tree about 15-20 feet up, then tried to swing across to a branch on it's neighbor. Which broke.
When we got to him, our chief resident was awake, still drunk, and had a broken bone sticking out of his right leg. The excessive alcohol probably helped, as he absently commented "boy, I sure fucked that up." He then pulled out a pack of cigarettes, began smoking, and pulled my beer out of my hand and finished it.
So we had several highly-trained medical people standing around, with no clue what to do for a compound fracture. I mean, if he'd had a stroke, or seizure, we might have had an idea. But we're neurologists, and don't know a damn thing about bones. None of us had a phone, either (this was the mid-90's) and the camp's office was locked. So, we threw some T-shirts on to absorb the blood, and Dr. Linn (who ran marathons often) bolted back to town to call an ambulance.
She also bought more beer.
When the paramedics arrived, they asked Dr. Tallahatchie to stop smoking for the ride back to Big City Hospital. He refused, and said he knew he'd be in the hospital for the next week and wouldn't be allowed to smoke there, so was going to keep puffing until they rolled him into ER. The sympathetic medic said "okay" and offered him a light. His partner went into the back of the truck to make sure their oxygen tank was closed and secured.
Our van didn't show up for another hour. We took Dr, Tallahatchie's suitcase with us. It was mostly full of comic books, which we read to pass the time.
To be continued...
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Last week I had a sick 7 year old girl in my office. While she was waiting for her aunt to come get her, I was reading some reports and swearing at them.
Nurse Grumpy: "Oh, Jeez! What's does this mean?"
Daisy Mae: "NURSE GRUMPY! You shouldn't swear like that!"
Nurse Grumpy: "Huh?"
Daisy Mae: "You said part of a word you're not supposed to say!"
Nurse Grumpy: "Oh, sorry, Daisy Mae."
Daisy Mae: "Nurse Grumpy?"
Nurse Grumpy: "Yes?"
Daisy Mae: "I guess it could have been worse."
Nurse Grumpy: "I'm sure."
Daisy Mae: "I know the 'F' word."
Monday, October 13, 2014
Mrs. Cephalgia: "Hi, I'm a patient of Dr. Grumpy's, and want to go off my migraine medication. I haven't had a migraine since I reached menopause, and don't think I need it anymore."
Annie: "Okay, let me open your chart... When did you become menopausal?"
Mrs. Cephalgia: "Tuesday."
Sunday, October 12, 2014
He's never referred to me. I'm polite. I've tried to talk to him in the elevator. When I started out years ago I went by his office asking for referrals. He coldly informed me that he doesn't trust, or refer to, physicians under 60 years old. Whatever. He's entitled to his opinion.
Anyway, Mary interrupted me today to say that Dr. Dickweed was on the phone. This was a first, so I picked up the phone.
Dr. Grumpy: "This is Dr. Grumpy."
Dr. Dickweed: "Grumpy, this is Dickweed. I just want you to know that I'm out of Grizzitor samples, and one of my patients needs some. I told her to come by your office to get them. Your staff doesn't need to schedule her for an appointment, and you don't need to see her. Just give her whatever Grizzitor samples you have."
Dr. Grumpy (somewhat taken aback by this kind request): "Dickweed, I'm out of Grizzitor samples. They stopped sampling it years ago."
Dr. Dickweed: "You young doctors are so fucking worthless." (click).
Friday, October 10, 2014
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Mr. Molosser: "YEAH! You saw my daughter last week, she's in college up there, and I CAN'T BELIEVE WHAT YOU PRESCRIBED FOR HER MIGRAINES!!!"
Dr. Grumpy: "Um, sir, Migragone is a common treatment for migraines. It's been around for almost 20 years, and is pretty standard."
Mr. Molosser: "DON'T TELL ME THAT! I know medications! It's dangerous! It's experimental! I told her not to take it!"
Dr. Grumpy: "Are you a doctor?"
Mr. Molosser: "No, I manage a White Castle. And I'm having her find another neurologist. NOBODY treats my beautiful daughter like a guinea pig!"