Monday, September 22, 2014

On call, Sunday morning, 2:38 a.m.

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

Mrs. Insomnia: "Hi, I'm a patient of Dr. Brain, I saw him once, about 5 years ago."

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

Mrs. Insomnia: "Well for the last year or two I've been a little forgetful. You know, losing my keys, or going into a room and forgetting why I went there."

Dr. Grumpy: "Okay..."

Mrs. Insomnia: "I had dinner with my daughter tonight, and she suggested that maybe somewhere in that time I might have had a stroke. I didn't think much of it, but now I'm really wondering, and thought I better call Dr. Brain to see if I should go to the emergency room."

Dr. Grumpy: "How long did you say this has been going on?"

Mrs. Insomnia: "At least one year, maybe two."

Dr. Grumpy: "I'd just call Dr. Brain on Monday."

(mumbled conversation in background)

Mrs. Insomnia: "My daughter thinks I should go to ER, and she should know, because she works for a dentist. Anyway, we're on our way there now."

Saturday, September 20, 2014


While browsing Google books yesterday I noticed this:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Stayin' Alive!

Seen in a hospital chart:

"She was subsequently discharged from hospice care due to failure of her symptoms to progress."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tales from the trenches

Dr. Coogie writes in:

This morning I was on the computer, reading overnight notes on my patients. These were the nursing notes on one guy:

00:23  Patient yelled at nurse for pushing Dilaudid "too slow."

01:00  Patient running up & down hall yelling for more Dilaudid.

01:25  Patient called nurse an ugly bitch because she hadn't pushed Dilaudid faster.

02:00  Patient apologized for calling nurse an ugly bitch and asked for more Dilaudid. When informed he could only have it within the schedule set by pain management, he called her an ugly bitch again.

02:10  Patient ran to another nurse's station trying to get more Dilaudid.

02:30 Patient yelled at nurse for giving Dilaudid too slow, said "It's like giving me low octane fuel instead of high octane fuel."

02:40 On call physician notified of patient's behavior.

02:49 Patient seen by on-call physician, who informed the patient he would not be getting more pain medication than the pain specialists recommended.

03:40  Pt escorted back to room by security, who found him downstairs in ER demanding Dilaudid from staff there.

I absolutely LOVE this nurse.  I ran up and gave her a high-five before shift change.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Dr. Grumpy: "So, at your last visit I prescribed Quiloxitab for the symptoms. How's that working?"

Mr. Rummage: "Actually, I never took it. I decided to try herbal Oil de Baculum instead."

Dr. Grumpy: "Has it helped?"

Mr. Rummage: "Not yet, but the guy who told me to said it can take a few months."

Dr. Grumpy: "Is he a doctor?"

Mr. Rummage: "Not sure. My wife and I were out looking for a used suitcase this weekend, and he was having a garage sale."

"Old lamps, some dishes, paperbacks, medical advice... We got it all."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

That should do it

Seen yesterday afternoon in a hospital chart:

For non-medical readers: the effective sedating dose of Valium is typically 5mg-10mg.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Red, Red, Wine

Dear Western Intermountain Neurological Organization,

A reader kindly forwarded your recent conference invitation.

I have to say, I had no idea the "intermountain" states even had their own neurology organization. Why such an organization is necessary is beyond me, as I'm not aware of groups such as "Neurological Association of States that begin with an N" or "United Neurologists of Civil War Border States" or even "Neurologists Organized in Cities with Fewer than 10 Letters in Their Names."

But, I digress.

Anyway, what caught my eye on the invite was your acronym:

Generally, a title like that doesn't bring up images of a bunch of neurologists sitting in a darkened lecture hall learning about the latest research in mitochondrial disorders. Liver transplants, maybe.

Your site name,, isn't bad, either. Sounds like an organization I'm ready to join after a crappy day at work. Or night on call. Or... Screw it, I'm ready to join now, provided your standards are above Night Train Express and Thunderbird. But I'm willing to negotiate.

I see this year's meeting is being held in Salt Lake City, generally not a place I think of for its widespread availability of alcoholic beverages. The last time I was there (2012) I saw a bleary-eyed dude standing on a street corner drinking from a bottle wrapped in a paper bag... and it was milk. I'm guessing he was an RM re-adjusting to big city life.

Your site says the meeting will "stimulate your thinking" and that my $150 registration fee includes breakfast and lunch. Will funeral potatoes be served? Fry Sauce? Green Jello? It would also be helpful if you noted what stimulants and beverage vintages are included with the meals, preferably ones I can mix with Diet Coke.

The idea of a room full of docs wearing nametags that say "WINO" is also entertaining. Especially if the featured speaker is unshaven, slurring, shabbily dressed, and tremulous.

The site also has this price list:

I have no idea which companies want to set up a booth at a WINO meeting, but I'd love to see what they're wearing. I'm imagining guys who look like they just spent the night sleeping on a bench in Temple Square (but without the black name tag) sampling beverages that can double as lighter fluid. Also, I think it would be cool to watch sales reps for Campral and Two Buck Chuck working the crowd together.

Lastly, while I don't live anywhere near a mountain, I'd still like to join your organization. Because nothing would be more impressive than to have a framed certificate that says "WINO" in big letters hanging amongst my diplomas.

It may actually improve my Yelp ratings.

Thank you, Mike!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Weekend reruns

Mrs. Grumpy had a meeting tonight, so I had to feed the kids. Fortunately for me, a Big Pharma, Inc. drug rep brought lunch to the office, and there were a lot of leftovers. So this afternoon I grabbed a bag out of the cabinet (with the Big Pharma, Inc. logo on it), tossed the leftovers in, and headed for my car.

Passing a cardiologist's office on my way to the elevator, a female rep I'd never seen before, wearing a Big Pharma, Inc. name tag, came out of his office. We made eye contact, and I nodded, smiled, and continued on my way.

Only to be stopped after another few steps by her saying loudly, "Oh MY GOD! What are you doing?"

I turned around to find Ms. Rep looking at me, horrified. "Excuse me?" I said.

Ms. Rep: "Are you taking food from a doctor's office?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Um, yeah, is that okay?"

Ms. Rep: "NO! It's rude! It's unacceptable and inappropriate! And look at the way you're dressed!" (I tend to be on the casual side) "You don't even have a name tag! What are the corporate people teaching you new reps, anyway?"

Before I could answer she went on: "I'm sorry. I suppose this isn't your fault. The training people must be slacking off." She offered me her hand. "You must be new. I'm Stacey, from our cardiology marketing division."

I shook her hand. "I'm Dr. Grumpy, from the neurology division down the hall."

Stacey, from the cardiology marketing division, somehow looked even more horrified now. After a few stuttering attempts at saying something she answered her cell phone (which hadn't rung), mumbled "nice to meet you" and ran into the stairwell.

Friday, September 12, 2014

In that case, I think you're publishable

Patient quote of the day:

"I'm allergic to all known amino acids and proteins."

Thursday, September 11, 2014


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

Mr. Beef: "Hi, I need to get in today."

Mary: "We have nothing today. But tomorrow..."

Mr. Beef: "But I want to be seen today!"

Mary: "We're completely booked."

Mr. Beef: "But don't you have secret slots? Like the secret menu at Arby's or something? Is there a password?"

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hawaiian vacation, day 11

Sigh. Today we packed up and headed back to reality, work, and jobs.

The dichotomy at the Maui airport is striking. People getting off planes, bubbly and thrilled to be on vacation, and a sullen-looking group sitting quietly at the departure gates waiting to go home. Even the relaxed restroom picture stick people seem to be mocking you.

While walking along I noticed that a local gynecologist had set up shop in the terminal:

"What on Earth is going on in there?!!!"

Better yet, it was the mens room:

"Okay, now I'm REALLY confused."

 The flight home was quiet. But it brings you back to what really makes your family whole again.

And that's the way it is. Aloha!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hawaiian vacation, day 10

My favorite memory from my first Maui trip (1973) is of a dog.

Dad was driving us down some side street while Mom looked at a map (yes, kids, that's what people did before GPS). As we rolled along, we came to a Golden Retriever lying across the middle of the road. The street was narrow, with no way around him.

So Dad drove on, figuring at some point the dog would get out of the way. No such luck. He was, apparently, quite comfortable.

As we approached, Fido raised his head off the ground to look the car over... Then put it back down.

Dad stuck his head out the window and yelled. No response.

He honked the horn several times. Fido's left ear twitched.

Finally, Mom got out of the car and went around to nudge him. He rolled over on his back with an "OH BOY! YOU'RE GOING TO RUB MY BELLY" look.

Finally, Dad gave up. He backed slowly out of the side street and turned around to find another route. My sister and I watched as a bird landed on the sidewalk and Fido took off after it.

As it turns out, this is pretty much the way dogs are on Maui. Nothing fazes them. No matter how laid back you think your dog is, a dog on Maui will make him seem high-strung. They are remarkably mellow. The scuba place we dived with had a dog named Sarge, who pretty much had the run of the strip mall.

He spent the day wandering around the parking lot and in & out shops there, and no one cared. In fact, he seemed to have a small fan club, like the postman and others, who tossed him treats as they went by.

Equally important, he also provided surrogate dog services to people whose pets were back home. And was more than happy to do so.

Marie and Sarge. He looks vicious, huh?

After scuba diving, Marie asked if we could go to Subway for lunch. Marie's favorite sandwich there (roast beef, tuna, and cheese) always raises a few eyebrows.

Counter lady: "What can I get you?"

Marie: "I'll have roast beef and tuna, with cheese."

Counter lady: "Sorry. Can't do that. It's against company policy to combine roast beef and tuna."

Marie: "But I get that at home"

Counter Lady: "Well, they should know better."

Marie: "You can't do it?"

Counter Lady: "No. It's probably a health code violation or something, too."

Marie: "Let's go, Daddy."

We ended up down the street at L&L for a plate lunch.This is a Hawaiian thing. Regardless of what you order, it always comes with 2 scoops of white rice and one of macaroni salad.

Down the street from our condo is a restaurant with the unusual name of Slappy Cakes. This immediately brings to mind an image of getting smacked by the hostess when you go in.

Curious, I looked them up online. The theme is that you cook your own pancakes. I, personally, have never understood this concept. If I'm going out to eat, I'm paying for you to make it for me. I'll stay home if I want to cook.

The setup consists of a large griddle set in the middle of each table, making me imagine someone getting 3rd degree burns while passing the syrup. Their menu, however, does list the admirable feature of serving cocktails at breakfast for those who like to watch Matt Lauer while blitzed. One is called the "Slappy Screw," which sounds like something a guy would spend $50 on in the Honolulu red-light district.

They also feature such heart-healthy fare as chicken-fried bacon and pork-belly benedict. Like every place here, they also have a Loco Moco (called the Slappy Moco). This is a pile of white rice, with a hamburger patty on top, then mushroom gravy, then a fried egg.

At the bottom of Slappy's menu is this great "We told you so, so don't sue us" legal disclaimer:

Tabletop griddles are hot! Please use carefully at your own risk. For safety reasons, children must stay seated and not reach across griddle. 

Because, you know, small children ALWAYS do exactly as they're told.

This afternoon, while hanging out in the lobby, Frank wandered over to one of those tourist brochure displays. After a few minutes he pulled one out, brought it over to me, and asked "Dad, can we go to this luau?"

Dude. I'd be staring, too.

This is part of the fun of traveling with teenage boys. Pretty much EVERYTHING gets their attention. Even ceiling lights.

And that's the lei it is.

Disclaimer - none of the above restaurants paid me to write about them. But I am, however, for sale. Someone, please, buy me.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hawaiian vacation, day 9

My pill containers are depressing, reminding me that we only have 2 more days of vacation left.

Why yes, they were given to me by a drug rep.

Today this was lying next to our rental car. Apparently someone had a wild time in the parking garage.

Yes, they're panties. There was also a used condom, but I didn't think you'd want to see that.

This morning we went to Iao Valley. This is an absolutely stunning area, with mountains covered by greenery. The area gets 386" (9.8m) of rain per year, creating several large streams that run outwards through the island to the sea. The walking path through the area is beautiful. The weather varies from misty to sunny, and often changes from one to the other at 15 minute intervals.

The area was considered sacred by the Hawaiians, with several kings being buried in unknown graves.

The central spire (Iao Needle, above) is a 1200' ridge in the center of the park. The ancient Hawaiian's believed it was the god Kanaloa's penis. This is not something you'll learn at the Enchanted Tiki Room.

In 1790 a large battle, Kepaniwai, was fought here during the wars of Kamehameha I. So many died that their bodies blocked the out-flowing streams and turned them red. The name of the battle literally means "the damming of the waters."

Like the waters of Pearl Harbor, or fields of Verdun, the area is so peaceful today that it's hard to believe what once happened there.

Driving back to the condo, we admired some of Maui's roadside scenery.

Hawaii, though far from the mainland, still has a lot in common. For example, during their recent election, not 1 but 2 of the 7 candidates running for mayor were arrested. The first, Nelson Waikiki Jr., was wanted on charges of fraud and violating bail. He'd apparently been managing to avoid the law, but, in the spirit of the race, showed up at the candidates debate. The police politely allowed him to finish speaking before hauling him away.

The second was stopped for driving without a license plate AND talking on his cell phone (both illegal in Hawaii). He told police that neither law applied to him because, well, they just didn't (why you'd want to run for office if you don't even believe in the office is beyond me). He then drove away, was later stopped again, and tried to flee on foot. Ignoring several warnings to stop, he ended up getting tased.

Just another day in paradise.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Stayin' Alive!

Leigh sent this pic in. She said she stopped to visit her parents' graves last weekend, and the cemetery had a banner up...

"We'll also be reenacting the video from 'Thriller'."
Thank you, Leigh!
Locations of visitors to this page