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 increasing 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!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Annie's desk

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

Lisa: "Hi, this, is Lisa, referral person for Deathtrap HMO."

Annie: "Hello."

Lisa: "Dr. Grumpy referred Mr. Axon to Dr. Needlemeister for an EMG? I thought Dr. Grumpy does these himself."

Annie: "He does, but Mr. Axon has a number of issues that make the test more complicated. So Dr. Grumpy prefers that an EMG specialist do it in this case."

Lisa: "Okay, but if Dr. Grumpy has another doctor do it, I want to make it clear that we will not pay Dr. Grumpy for the test. We'll pay that doctor instead."

Annie: "Of course. We wouldn't expect you to pay us for it."

Lisa: "You people are so weird."

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Covering all the bases

Seen in a chart:

Thank you, C!

Monday, July 31, 2017


It's Saturday afternoon. As I'm heading home from the hospital, Mrs. Grumpy texts me to get some tomatoes at the grocers and to pick up my Sarcasma at the pharmacy before she has to kill me.

I'd been at Marie's basketball game when the hospital called, and so was wearing an old Motörhead T-shirt. While waiting in line at the grocery store some guy came over.

Some Guy: "Hey, I like that T-shirt."

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, thank you."

I'm generally not one for small talk, so stared at my iPhone and began checking email. Unfortunately, this didn't stop him.

Some Guy: "I'm a big Motörhead fan. I saw them in person back in the day."

Dr. Grumpy: "Cool."

Some Guy: "I love their stuff. I was busted up when Lemmy died. You know, I don't think I've ever seen that particular T-shirt. Where'd you get it?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, don't remember." (Actually, I'm pretty sure I got it at the charity thrift store for $1)

(I texted Mary asking her to call me so I can answer my phone)

Some Guy: "How much do you want for it?"

(He didn't really say that, did he? I'll just keep staring at my phone.)

Some Guy: "I like it. How much do you want for it?"

(For a fleeting second I think about it. I paid $1 for it... Ask him for $40 and see what he says.)

Dr. Grumpy: "No, thank you. Then I'd have nothing to wear home, and I still have errands to run."

Some Guy: "That's easy. I'll give you mine."

I look at him. He's wearing a white wife-beater undershirt with food stains and probably more antibiotic-resistant organisms than an uncleaned colonoscopy tube.

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, no thanks."

(Mary texts me back, asking how much a call is worth to me)

Some Guy: "Your loss, dude."

He walks off. I got the tomatoes and headed over to the pharmacy. While in line there...

Some Guy: "Hey! It's you again. Did you change your mind? I came by to get some condoms. I'm still willing to switch shirts."

Dr. Grumpy: "No, thank you. I'll keep this one."

(The other people in line are looking at both of us like we're street performers)

Some Guy: "I've got a sort-of cleaner T-shirt in my car, I'll throw that one in, too."

Pharmacist: "Next in line, please."

It's my turn. Thank heavens.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Back next week!

We're still dragging kids around (and vice versa).

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Off, again

Heading out for our big trip of the summer.

3 kids, lots of relatives, and our credit cards.

See you in a few weeks!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Back in residency, I occasionally had to round with Dr. Levodopa on weekends.

Dr. Levodopa, in a field of pathological personalities, had more odd mannerisms than I could count. But his strangest was that he carried a cup of black coffee... in his white coat pocket.

Not a travel mug, or even a generic cup with a plastic lid on it. But an open styrofoam cup. He'd fill it about 3/4 to the top at the nurses station, take a few sips, shove it in one of the coat's lower pockets, and start rounds.

So he had a large collection of white coats, all with dark coffee stains running from the right front pocket to the hem. As he'd walk, or move, or cough, coffee would slosh out, running down his white coat, pant leg, and to the floor. He never seemed to notice.

He was, though,  clearly aware of it, because he'd change into a clean coat as soon as he got to his clinic.

Like in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," the resident on rounds with him would carry around a large towel (we kept several old ones in the call room for this purpose) to keep the floor from being slippery and wet as Dr. Levodopa wandered to and fro. He was, as best we could tell, completely oblivious to our efforts. Or, more likely, just didn't care.

25 years later... and I still don't understand why he did this.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Not particularly helpful

Seen in a chart. Apparently, death is a diagnosis, and it has a 100% chance of running in families.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Breaking news

Dr. Grumpy's crack team of reporters, bringing you the stories that shape your world.

Dateline: Shanghai, China. A flight from Shanghai to Guangzhou was delayed for 5 hours when an 80 year-old woman threw a handful of coins into one of the plane's engines. She apparently did this to ensure good luck on the flight.

A team of airplane mechanics had to disassemble and inspect the Airbus's engine to make sure none of the turbines were damaged and to remove all coins.

The total value of the coins involved was roughly 20 U.S. pennies.

Dateline: Tulsa, Oklahoma. A dead body was found inside a Walmart bathroom. It had apparently been there for 3 days.

A security camera recorded the 29-year-old woman entering the bathroom on Friday. At some point over the weekend an employee couldn't get the bathroom door open, and hung up an "Out of Order" sign. A repair crew found the body on Monday.

Police captain Todd Enzbrenner commented "It’s not every day you find this sort of thing in a business."

Dateline: Allyn, Washington. A man found a dead roadkill raccoon on the road, and decided to use it as bait to catch crabs. Like most dead things, it smelled awful, so he tied a rope to it to drag it about 15 feet behind him as he walked home.

Two drivers pulled over and confronted him, believing he was dragging a dead dog down the street. One of them shot the raccoon-dragging guy in the leg and drove away. He is expected to recover (the guy, not the raccoon). Police are searching for suspects.

Sheriff's department Lt. Travis Adams told reporters "I've been doing this for 21-plus years, and I've never quite heard the 'raccoon being dragged down the road' story before, so it's a new one for all of us."

Dateline: Modesto, California. A 45 year man was arrested for starting a fire in a Walgreen's bathroom.

The man told police that he'd had "an accident," and soiled his underwear. He went into the bathroom to take them off and, for unclear reasons, felt the best way to do so was to light them on fire - while still in them.

This got the underwear off, and the man tossed them in the toilet to extinguish the blaze. While no damage was done to the store (or, amazingly, him), this set off the fire alarm and they had to evacuate the building.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bow wow wow yippie yo yippie yay

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

Mrs. Woof: "I need to get into Dr. Grumpy right away! I was bitten by a dog, and may have suffered nerve damage!"

Mary: "Okay, we don't have anything until next week, are..."

Mrs. Woof: "But this needs to be done urgently. I think I need stitches!"

Mary: "Um, when did this occur?'

Mrs. Woof: "Five, maybe ten minutes ago. It's bleeding all over the place!"

Mary: "You need to go to ER. Dr. Grumpy doesn't handle injuries like this."

Mrs. Woof: "But there might be nerve damage! He's a nerve doctor!"

Mary: "Yes, but he's not going to put stitches in it, or know what else to do. You need to go to ER, and let them see what's going on."

Mrs. Woof: "You people are a waste of time!"


Friday, June 23, 2017

Don't piss him off

Seen in a chart:
"Well, that's not so big, works out to only 563 meters."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Mrs. Pesce: "That's not the same fish you had at my last visit, is it? I thought it was a different color."

Dr. Grumpy: "Yeah. It's a new fish. Ed, uh, retired.”

Mrs. Pesce : "So what's this one's name?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Ed. I name them all Ed. Makes life easier."

Mrs. Pesce: "You know, I didn't like the last fish. Every time I came in he looked at me, really angry. Like he thought I was faking everything. I hate to say it, but I'm glad he's dead, because I'd been thinking about changing neurologists because of him and his attitude."

Monday, June 19, 2017

No shit, Sherlock

These are the kinds of warnings that modern, technologically advanced, highly sophisticated computer prescribing systems give us dumb ol' doctors when we're trying to refill your medication. Because even if we're just refilling it, the computer wants us to know that IT'S DANGEROUS TO DO SO because apparently you're already on it (which is the whole point of a refill, isn't it?).

And what's with the weird capital / lower case scheme on some of these?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Breaking news

Dr. Grumpy's crack team of reporters continue to bring you the stories that shape your world.

The summer amusement park season is upon us, and unfortunately tragedy has already struck at America's most legendary one.

This past Friday night 17 people, including 6 innocent children, were enjoying an up-till-then fun day at Disneyland. They were standing near Sleeping Beauty's castle when they were horrifically splattered with a large volume of bird poop from a passing flock of geese.

An unidentified bystander, who apparently doesn't know shit, called 911 to report that someone was throwing human turds at people.

This resulted in a city HazMat team being dispatched to the scene, hopefully in those bright yellow suits so people would think they were re-enacting a child alert from Monsters, Inc.

The crappy situation was resolved by taking the victims to a "private restroom" (what does that mean, anyway? No one has used it since Walt died, like the room over the fire station?). There they were provided with clean clothes ("Birds shit on me at Disneyland and all I got was this crappy T-shirt").

At press time the geese were unavailable for comment.

Monday, June 12, 2017


Dr. Grumpy is no stranger to not-particularly-worthwhile research, having published some myself.

I get it. You didn't want to do it, but you're in training, and your chairman made you write up something embarrassingly bad in order to graduate. BTDT.

Last week, some of the biggest names in Parkinson's disease (besides James Parkinson) gathered in Vancouver, BC, for a conference.

One of my colleagues there noticed this poster hanging in the meeting's research hall:

To summarize:

Earthquakes are bad. Having Parkinson's disease, AND being in an earthquake, is worse.

The bigger the earthquake, the greater the effect will be on a Parkinson's patient.

Their symptoms will get worse in the immediate aftermath of the quake, but gradually return to baseline as things settle down.

Thank you, SMOD!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Holiday road

All right, with the kids' band stuff, school getting out next week, the kids' band stuff, visiting relatives who have given us short notice, all sorts of school-year-end craziness, and the kids' band stuff, I'm going to have to take 2 weeks off from the blog to deal with the insanity.

And I need to pick up beer.

Lots of beer.

See you in 2 weeks!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday reruns

One of my all-time favorite chart excerpts:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Ms. Auth: "Major Illness Insurance."

Dr. Grumpy: "This is Dr. Grumpy. I'm calling to get a medication authorized on a patient."

Ms. Auth: "Okay, what is their 10 digit ID number"

Dr. Grumpy: "It's... The only number on her card is 7-digits, 8675309."

Ms. Auth: "No, I need the 10 digit one"

Dr. Grumpy: "There isn't another number on here."

Ms. Auth: "Well, I can only work with the 10 digit one."

Dr. Grumpy: "What about her name and birthday? Or Social Security number?"

Ms. Auth: "We don't use those. The only thing I can work with is her 10 digit number."

Dr. Grumpy: "How do I get that?"

Ms. Auth: "Call back and press option 5. Then enter her 10 digit number in order to get it."

Dr. Grumpy: "But I don't have the 10 digit number!"

Ms. Auth: "Then we can't help you, can we? Have a nice day."

Monday, May 22, 2017


Dr. Grumpy: "That's odd for you to have a seizure. Did you miss a medication dose?"

Ms. Rummage: "Yeah... Actually I haven't taken it for almost a week."

Dr. Grumpy: "Did you run out?"

Ms. Rummage: "No, I've just been really stressed out over having a garage sale."

Friday, May 19, 2017

May 20, 1937

80 years ago tomorrow, one of the finest moments in BBC history occurred.

Lt.-Cmdr. Thomas Woodrooffe was a retired Royal Navy office who covered the navy for BBC news. He’d previously served on the battleship HMS Nelson.

In 1937 the fleet held a large review at Spithead, which included the visiting battleship USS New York. The plan was for him to broadcast that evening from aboard HMS Nelson, when all the ships would have lights strung in their rigging.

Unfortunately, after he boarded Nelson he ran into many of his old shipmates, and they decided to have a drink... then another... then a few more... With the end result being that when Woodrooffe took the microphone that night he was completely smashed drunk.

To the horror of his bosses, his live BBC news broadcast consisted of his slurred, inebriated voice, repeatedly saying the fleet was “all lit up, like fairyland” (obviously, the fleet wasn't the only thing lit up) and rambling into the microphone. In that era the technology to cut him off and switch to something else wasn’t readily available, so he was able to go on for several minutes before they finally pulled the plug.

For those who want to listen, this is the actual recording.

If you want to read it, here's a transcript:


This is the Regional Program. The Illumination of the Fleet. Once again, we're taking you on board HMS Nelson for a description of the scene at Spithead tonight by Lieutenant-Commander Thomas Woodrooffe.


"At the present moment, the whole fleet is lit up. When I say 'lit up', I mean lit up by fairy lamps.

"We've forgotten the whole Royal Review... we've forgotten the Royal Review... the whole thing is lit up by fairy lamps. It's fantastic, it isn't the fleet at all. It's just... it's fairyland, the whole fleet is in fairyland.

"Now, if you'll follow me through... if you don't mind... the next few moments... you'll find the fleet doing odd things. At the present moment, the New York, obviously, is lit up ... and when I say the fleet is lit up ... in lamps... I mean, she's outlined. The whole ship's outlined. In little lamps.

"I'm sorry, I was telling some people to shut up talking.

"Umm... what I mean is this. The whole fleet is lit up. In fairy lamps, and... each ship is outlined.

"Now, as far as I can see is about... I suppose I can see down about five or six miles ... ships are all lit up.

"They're outlined, the whole lot. Even destroyers are outlined. In the old days, you know, destroyers used to be outlined by a little kind of pyramid of lights. And nowadays... destroyers are lit up by... they outline themselves.

"In a second or two, we're going to fire rockets, um, we're going to fire all sorts of things, and... you can't possibly see them, but you'll hear them going off, and you may hear my reaction when I see them go off. Because, uh, I'm going to try and tell you what they look like as they go off. But at the moment there's a whole huge fleet here. The thing we saw this afternoon, this colossal fleet, lit up... by lights... and the whole fleet is in fairyland! It isn't true, it isn't here!

"And as I say it ...

"It's gone! It's gone! There's no fleet! It's, uh, it's disappeared! No magician who ever could have waved his wand could have waved it with more acumen than he has now at the present moment. The fleet's gone. It's disappeared.

"I'm trying to give you, ladies and gentlemen... the fleet's gone. It's disappeared. I was talking to you... in the middle of this damn (cough), in the middle of this fleet... and what's happened is the fleet's gone, disappeared and gone. We had a hundred, two hundred warships around us a second ago, and now they've gone, at a signal by the Morse code, at a signal by the fleet flagship which I'm in now, they've gone, they've disappeared.

"There's nothing between us and heaven. There's nothing at all."

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday reruns

Last night I was at a dinner meeting for a research company. These things are always held at some swanky overpriced steakhouse.

Dr. Duffel is a local neurologist who drags around the biggest damn purse in the world. It's HUGE, and goes everywhere with her. For years many of us have wondered what's in it: a complete set of every neurology journal ever written? Jimmy Hoffa? an iPhone 87s+?

So last night she came in late to the dinner, and sat down next to me. She put el monstro humungo purse on the floor next to me, so I had to move over a bit.

The meeting dragged on. One slide after another. The occasional cell phone ringing. The speaker droning. Food courses.

At some point I wandered out to stretch and empty myself of biologically-filtered Diet Coke. When I came back and sat down I stepped in a puddle on the floor. I figured someone must have spilled water or something while I was out of the room, and refocused my attention on the speaker.

A minute later a waitress came by to refill my Diet Coke, and stumbled over the giant purse.

And the purse started barking.

The waitress screamed and leaped back, dropping the pitcher on the purse, which only got it snarling at her.

Dr. Duffel jumped up, grabbed her cell phone (which hadn't rung), mumbled "I have to answer this outside" and dragged her growling purse out of the room. I'm pretty sure it wasn't her ringtone.

She never came back.

I rinsed off my shoes when I got home.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sunday night

It's 11:18 p.m. I'm fast asleep, and my phone rings.

Dr. Grumpy: "Hello?"

Dr. Brain: "Hi, Ibee? It's me."

Dr. Grumpy: "What's up?"

Dr. Brain: "I couldn't sleep, so I'm reading the new issue of 'Journal of Obscure Neurological Diseases of Burkina Faso.' Have you looked at this months?"
Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, it's 11:30 at night and I was..."

Dr. Brain: "They're COMPLETELY changing the diagnostic criteria for Fleaglehart's Syndrome! I disagree with the entire thing. I mean, now they're considering visual changes to be helpful, but not diagnostic, of the disorder. They're increasing the importance of mental status changes, and now there are more than the 2-3 standard MRI findings we're used to."

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh..."

Dr. Brain: "This is RIDICULOUS! I mean, how many cases of Fleaglehart's Syndrome have you seen that would fit this new criteria?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Look. It's 11:30 at night, you woke me up, and honestly I've never seen a case of it."

Dr. Brain. "Really? Neither have I. Okay. Have a good night."

Friday, May 12, 2017

The visitor

I'm in my office looking through MRI reports.

Mary: "Hey doc, there's a drug rep up front, says he needs to talk to you. Says it's not a sales call."

Dr. Grumpy: "Okay, just send him back."

(drug rep comes in)

Dr. Grumpy: "Hi, Matt. What's up?"

Drug rep Matt: "Sorry to bother you, but I was told to come talk to you about a weird request my company got."

Dr. Grumpy: "About..."

Drug rep Matt: "A patient of yours called my company, and said you'd authorize her to get 4 replacement injector pens and we just had to contact your office. I thought I'd come by myself, since we hadn't heard anything about this from you guys."

Dr. Grumpy: "Did you hear what happened to the pens?"

Drug rep Matt: "That's the weird part. She contacted 3 service reps, told one the pens were stolen, another that they were never delivered, and another that her boyfriend backed over them with his car."

Long pause

Dr. Grumpy: "Actually, she and some friends got drunk and then tried using them to pierce their ears."

Long pause 2 

Drug rep Matt: "Are you shittin' me?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Nope."

Drug rep Matt: "I'm going to assume your story is the correct one?"

Dr. Grumpy: "That's the one she called me with Saturday morning."

Drug rep Matt: "I'm pretty sure we don't have a program to replace pens lost through, um, misadventure."

Dr. Grumpy: "Believe me. I understand. We've been dealing with her all week."

Long pause 3.

Drug rep Matt: "Thanks. I'll let you go. Wow. This sounds like something you'd read on a med-blog."

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Annie's desk

Ms. Myelin: "Hello?"

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

Ms. Myelin: "Oh, good. Did you order my new MS pens?"

Annie: "No, I just got off the phone with your insurance, and they won't replace pens that are damaged that way."

Ms. Myelin: "That's what they told me, too!"

Annie: "You called them yourself?"

Ms. Myelin: "Yes, I figured you'd just ignore me. Do you have any idea how long they made me sit on hold?"

Annie: "Um, yeah."

Ms. Myelin: "This is ridiculous. I need this medication, and my insurance company won't give it to me, even though it's been authorized and I've paid all my premiums."

Annie: "Well, you get a limited number of pens a year, and that's what they've given you. You broke 4 of them using them for something they weren't designed for."

Ms. Myelin: "Like it's my fault they put such a cheapshit needle on that it broke."

 Annie: "I..."

Ms. Myelin: "Can't you tell them that they were defective? Or that I broke them defending myself from a burglar or something?"

Annie: "I need to point out here that you called them before me, and told them the real story."

Ms. Myelin: "I didn't think they'd be such uncaring assholes. Whatever happened to 'honesty is the best policy'? I'm pretty sure the insurance phone bitch was laughing at me."

Annie: "Well, at this point the only way you can get them replaced is to pay cash."

Ms. Myelin: "WHAT? Do you have any idea how much this costs? It's $1200 for each of their crappy pens."

Annie: "There's really nothing else I can do"

Ms. Myelin: "Can Dr. Grumpy pay for them? He's the one who prescribed it, after all. I just took his advice."

Annie: "No. Maybe you should ask Ashley and Amy for help?"

Ms. Myelin: "I'd never ask my friends to do that for me."

Monday, May 8, 2017


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

Ms. Myelin: "Hi, I see you for Multiple Sclerosis, and I'm on that drug you inject with a special pen?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Yes?"

Ms. Myelin: "I need to get 4 new pens ordered for the month. The ones I have are all broken, so I'm going to run out."

Dr. Grumpy: "A month's worth of injector pens were all broken?"

Ms. Myelin: "No. I mean yes. I mean, they are now."

Dr. Grumpy: "Did they get shipped to you broken?"

Ms. Myelin: "I don't think so."

Dr. Grumpy: "So how are they all broken?"

Ms. Myelin: "Well, for Cinco de Mayo me and my girlfriends were at the Smashed Iguana. They were having tequila shot specials, and they do that thing where they pour margaritas right in your mouth? Anyway, we came back to my place to crash, and while we were sitting around Ashley said she'd been meaning to get her ears pierced in new places. Amy volunteered, cause she once did her own when she was in high school and said she'd been meaning to do the same. But I didn't have anything that would really work, then remembered I had my MS drug injector pens and they have pretty sharp needles, so we..."

Dr. Grumpy: "You used MS injector pens to pierce your ears?"

Ms. Myelin: "Well, yes. I mean, on a Friday night at 11:30 it's not like the place at the mall was open."

Dr. Grumpy: "I'll talk to Annie and get back to you on Monday."

Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday reruns

Dr. Grumpy: "So at what point did you call 911?"

Mr. Young: "When I realized she was having a seizure."

Dr. Grumpy: "How long after the seizure started was that?"

Mr. Young: (looks at Mrs. Young, both blush, look at floor) "Well, I didn't call right away, because we were, um, having sex at the time, and when she started shaking I just thought she..."

Dr. Grumpy: "Got it. So how long did the seizure last?"

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Mary: "Let me give you these forms... Here's a pen... can I get a copy of your insurance card?"

Mrs. Card: "No."

Mary: "Do you have it with you?"

Mrs. Card: "Yes, but I don't know Dr. Grumpy yet. Can I give it to you after the visit, if I think he deserves to get paid?"

Monday, May 1, 2017


Dr. Grumpy: "At your last visit we started Flingase, how's that been going?"

Mrs. Scalp: "It's helped my migraines, but causing a lot of hair loss! I feel like I'm going bald!"

Dr. Grumpy: "Yeah, like we'd talked about, that can be a side effect."

Mrs. Scalp: "The trade-off just isn't worth it. I want to try something else."

Dr. Grumpy: "That's fine. Let me..."

Mrs. Scalp: "Here's this."

(puts a Ziploc bag on my desk)

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh... what's that?"

Mrs. Scalp: "It's all the hair that's fallen out. I've been saving it for today."

Dr. Grumpy: "I, um, see."

Mrs. Scalp: "Since you were familiar with the drug I figured you'd know a way to put it back on. Isn't there a Flingase antidote?"

Dr. Grumpy: "No, but it'll grow back with stopping the drug."

Mrs. Scalp: "Will it all be back by this weekend? I have a wedding to go to."

Dr. Grumpy: "No..."

Mrs. Scalp: "Well, this is a lot of hair." (picks up bag) "Do you have glue or something?"

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:

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