Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mom: 1. Annoying Daughter: 0.

This afternoon I saw a great little old lady, sharp as a tack, who got dragged in by her overprotective daughter, and was NOT happy about it.

The daughter was one of those huffy types who tried to answer every damn question for her mom, even though the old lady was clearly fine, independent, and a hell of a lot brighter then her offspring. Mom tried to talk around her, but the daughter just wouldn't let her answer my questions, even when asked directly of the patient.

Finally, when her daughter interrupted her for the millionth time, Mom looked at me and said, "You'll have to forgive my daughter, Doctor. Normally she wouldn't be accompanying me to doctor visits, but 52 years ago my diaphragm broke."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Drug Company Wierdness

So, on the side I make a few bucks participating in market research for various companies, reviewing ad campaigns, drug data, etc. I had one of these meetings last night.

There is currently a drug (let's call it Trepiac) on the market for a particular neurological disease. Trepiac is given once a day, is very expensive, and is of only mild benefit at best. But it's a big seller because there ain't much else out there.

Trepiac is going generic in a few years. So what is it's parent company doing? Inventing a new drug to help cure this horrible disease? F--K NO! The meeting was to consider marketing concepts for Trepiac-XR, a NEW, ONCE DAILY form of Trepiac, which is already taken once a day as is!

Sound stupid? I think so too. And this is where research dollars are being spent.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Where Do We Find These People?

My last patient yesterday was an elderly lady with back pain. I'd ordered on MRI of her low back, and the radiologist had commented "Incidental note is made of a previous hysterectomy". So the patient, of course, brought it up.

Mrs. Lumbarpain: "Doctor, the radiologist mentioned he could see I'd had a hysterectomy, how does that relate to my back pain?"

Dr. Grumpy: "It doesn't, some radiologists just comment on anything they notice, even if it's not related to the study".

Mrs. Lumbarpain: "Okay, but my hysterectomy was 40 years ago. Wouldn't it have grown back by now?"

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dr. Grumpy's Guide to Life, Chapter 1

(As a public service I have written the following, for you to print off and use before your next Pump-It-Up party. For those of you who don't have small children, or simply live in a box, Pump-It-Up is a national chain with indoor giant inflatable bouncers to hold kid's birthday parties at).

Congratulations! You've decided to host your child's party at Pump-It-Up. They and their friends will enjoy it a great deal.

Key things to remember:

1. Going into the giant inflatable bouncing arena to fight your kids with oversized boxing gloves and paddles looks easy. Because of your higher center of gravity, however, you'll quickly find out that you're at a distinct disadvantage. In fact, you will likely get your ass kicked fairly easily by the swarm of 1st graders who will line up for a chance to beat you. Fighting on your knees does not improve the situation, and makes it easier for one of their partners to sneak up and jump on your back.

2. Although adults are welcome to go on all the giant bouncers, they are not adult friendly. In particular, the inflatable obstacle course is a good way to get yourself killed. When a kid claws up the inflatable steps and ladder to both of the slides involved, they have plenty of space to reposition themselves at the top to go down the slide feet first. YOU WON'T, and may find yourself pulling yourself to the top of the ladder, then as you are amazed you made it that far, you'll suddenly pitch forward uncontrollably, going down the slide head first and wrenching your neck at the bottom (which I did). While you're lying there, trying to figure out if you can still move your legs, a friendly teenage attendant will come over to remind you that head-first isn't allowed, and to please not do it again.

The steps in the obstacle course ladders are designed for kids and adult pygmies. You will be lucky to be able to use them as toeholds. Trying to climb them with your feet sideways only helps somewhat.

As you struggle through the obstacle course, you can expect to be passed by several kindergartners, who will wonder why their friend's Dad is so slow.

3. You WILL be injured. At present my neck is still stiff and my left ankle is killing me. I also have multiple bruises from falls and being stepped on, and several knee and elbow scrapes. When you first enter the facility and fill out the forms about how many kids you have with you and how many pizzas and bottles of pop you want, I recommend you give them a card listing your insurance coverage, hospital preference, and blood type.

4. Do not feed yourself or your kids a large meal before going unless you wish to spend some of the bouncer time you paid for watching a friendly teenage attendant clean Taco Bell out of a bouncer.

5. If one of the fun-loving kids traps you inside something by turning off the air compressor, don't panic. Before you asphyxiate from vinyl a friendly teenage attendant will turn it back on again, then lecture you not to do it again.

Enjoy! You just paid a fortune for your injuries!

If you follow these simple precautions, you will likely live to see your child's next birthday party - which will also be held at Pump-it-Up.

Friday, April 24, 2009

This Ain't Hallmark

Today I had my twins at the office before school, because my wife had an early appointment.

Since one of my wife's aunts is sick, I kept them busy by having them make her cards.

Craig wrote one that said "I hope you feel better soon".

Marie's card said "I hope you don't die".

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Maybe I Shouldn't Have Used My First Name.....

Okay, fans. I had a busy day at the office, so didn't get a chance to return calls until I got home. I had to call a 20-something patient to give her (normal) MRI results. Here was the conversation:

Miss Suzy Singlefemale: "Hello?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Hi Suzy, This is Ibee Grumpy."

Miss Singlefemale: "Oh! I am SO glad you called. I've been meaning to call you back, but I've been sick for 2 days, and have been running errands, but I didn't want you to think I was blowing you off. I had the most INCREDIBLE time with you on Saturday night!"

I was speechless. Finally I said:

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, I just called to discuss your MRI results."

LONG pause.

Miss Singlefemale: "Is this Dr. Grumpy? Oh, I thought you were someone else. How
are you this evening?"

Monday, April 20, 2009

Today Part 2

I thought the lady in the gown couldn't be beat in one day, but boy, was I wrong.

My 3:00 was a lady who had numbness in her feet, so I asked her to take off her shoes. She had a HUGE popped blister on her big toe. With blood all over it.

So what does this prize do? She sticks her finger in it and says "this looks like blood." Then she F--K--G LICKED THE BLOOD OFF HER FINGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Today, Part 1

Okay, today just sucked the big weenie. A remarkable collection of visits and phone calls from fruitcakes and nuts and lots of less friendly creatures.

My 1:00 was a lady in her 40's who went into my exam room, put on a paper gown, THEN wandered out to use the bathroom. She walked through the lobby (smiling at stunned patients) to the john.

After a few minutes she emerged, with the lower front half of the paper gown all wet. As she went back through the lobby she loudly said "That sink sure splashes you, huh?"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

McD Bozos

Okay, Grumpy fans. Last night Mrs. Grumpy asked me to get a bag of ice on the way home. Since there's a McDonald's on the way, I stopped there (yes, you can get a bag of ice at McD's. It's a little known secret).

So I went in and asked for a bag of ice. The McBimbo got it out of the freezer and brought it to the counter, then asked me (Really!) "Is this to go, or are you gonna it eat it here?"

I was so stunned I didn't answer, so she said "I'll just give it to ya for here." So she put the bag on a plastic tray with some napkins, and rang me up. She even charged me the 8-cent tax for eating it on the premises.

(click to enlarge)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Talking Too Fast (I Hope)

So, Grumpyites, this afternoon I was reading a recent note from another doctor on a patient I'm seeing tomorrow. I can only assume the other doc was either talking too fast, or needs a better transcriptionist, or is just an idiot.

"Past medical history is notable for a successful suicide attempt in 2004."

Lunch With a Drug Rep

Yesterday a drug rep marketing an antidepressant brought lunch in, and offered this great quote:

"Doctor, the research staff at our company has recently found there are 2 major population groups: People who are taking anti-depressants, and people who aren't."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Just Shoot Me

I had a hospital consult this afternoon, the reason for which was unrelated to the cause of admission.

When I opened the chart, this is the paragraph that greeted me. I present it without further comment, as nothing could be added to make it better (or worse, depending on your point of view).

"History of present illness: This is a 78 year old male who was transferred from Big City Hospital for insurance reasons, due to a vibrating foreign object that has been impacted in his rectum causing anal obstruction. The patient states that he was using the vibrator to 'scratch an itch' around his anus and 'lost control' of it. He states that his internist was unable to remove it, and so he then went to Local Urgent Care Center. They were unable to remove it either, and he left there and went to Big City Hospital. For insurance reasons Big City Hospital has now transferred him here to get it removed."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Insurance Company Idiocy

Last week I saw a lady in her 40's, who'd had a small stroke. She had no good reasons to have had a stroke, so I ordered a bunch of routine tests, including an MRA. This is not experimental. We do these for stroke all the damn time.

So her insurance company of course refused it. They asked to see my notes (we faxed them), and the reason why I wanted it (we told them). They still refused to cover it, but told me I could appeal by calling one of their "physician reviewers". So I called him a minute ago.

He asked me why I wanted the MRA. I told him because the patient had a stroke.

His response: "Oh, why didn't you just tell us that in the first place? We'll cover that".

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What a deal!

I ordered a game for one of my kids off Amazon, and stumbled across this great pricing (bottom lines of the image):

New game: $34.48

Used game: $94.98.

(click to enlarge)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hello? Hello? Who am I?

I got dragged into the hospital this morning to see a guy for Alzheimer's disease. He was in one of the 2-patient rooms, with them separated by a curtain. And both of the guys were old and demented.

So while I"m talking to the guy in bed 1, he moves his arm, and immediately his IV pump says "downstream occlusion" and starts beeping annoyingly, a series of repeating chimes "beep-beep-boop-bop-bop".

So the guy in bed 2 thinks it's his phone ringing, and starts answering it! "Hello! Hello! Who is this?" slams it down. "Those damn kids"

And it keeps going! Every 30 seconds the pump chimes, and the other guy does the same thing "Hello! Hello!" I was in the room for 15 minutes, and he answered the phone 12 times.

It was still going on when I left the room.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


So this morning I had a couple in their late 20’s in the office. I'm working-up Mr. Youngcouple for some oddball symptoms, and his labs turned up a positive syphilis test.

So we discussed this at length. He was horrified. Kept insisting “there’s no way I can have syphilis! Ever! My wife is the only person I’ve ever been with!”

Once I said “syphilis” Mrs. Youngcouple stopped making eye contact with either of us. She just became very fixated on playing Tetris on her cell phone and occasionally staring intently at something on the floor.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

You're a Freakin' Bozo, Sir.

This afternoon I'm seeing this guy. He has cancer, and is getting chemotherapy with a drug known to cause headaches.

So he's going into tearful detail on how he gets his chemotherapy on Wednesdays, and then on the Thursdays after he has a horrible headache that sends him to ER.

I reviewed different options (besides stopping cancer treatment): medications to get rid of his headaches, medications to prevent his headaches, etc. He then asks me this:

"Doctor, I'm not sure I want to take more medications. Wouldn't it be easier to just move my chemotherapy to Mondays, instead?"

Monday, April 6, 2009

Torturing Your Child

So, Grumpy fans, a catalog of various medical supplies showed up in today's mail (addressed to "Physician Occupant" no less).

It included this remarkable device. According to the caption, the purpose of this thing is to "comfortably help children sleep" who have breathing problems when lying on their backs.

I don't know about you guys, but I can't see how any of my kids would "comfortably" lie face down in this thing for more then, say, 5 seconds, unless I used duct tape to hold them there.

(click to enlarge)

Why are my prescriptions so expensive?

There are a lot reasons drugs are so damn expensive, gang. I'm sure research & development are most of it, but some of it is because of sheer stupidity and waste on the pharmaceutical company's part.

Case in point: If you remember, I spent a February weekend in LA at a drug company meeting, and they asked me to bill them for my expenses. So I sent them my receipt ($32) for airport parking.

I got my $32 check today. It was sent by FedEx priority overnight delivery from Philadelphia.

The cost of sending me the check was $10.55.

For the record, I didn't ask for emergency delivery. I would have been happy with a 42 cent stamp.

More Stupidity

Ok, gang, I just had to post this link. This is amazing. A woman who called 911 because she couldn't figure out how to open her own car FROM THE INSIDE!!!

Check it out!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ride 'em Cowboy!

One of my back pain patients came in today. Showed me the new massage device he's been using for his pain, with great success.

It was HUGE. The size of 2 car batteries side-by-side. And heavy. And when he plugged it in and turned it on it sounded like a freaking lawnmower.

I asked him where he got it, and he said he saw it being used at this year's Arabian horse show. It's made to massage horses. He bought it from a trainer.

It actually had a label on it that said "NOT FOR HUMAN USE".

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Idiots Among Us

I got the greatest call from a pharmacist today. Here's the story:

On September 15, 2004 I saw a lady for low back pain and gave her a script for Percocet.

For whatever reason, she never had the script filled, just shoved it in a drawer at home. She never followed up with me.

Yesterday she apparently found the script buried in the drawer, and decided she should get it filled. She figured (correctly) that the pharmacy wouldn't fill anything that was written 5 years ago.

So she changed the date on it to September 15, 2009, and took it to Walgreens.

The pharmacist who called me was laughing so hard he was crying.
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