Yes, folks, Christmakuh, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and Solstice are fast approaching, and it's time for
The Dr. Grumpy Guide to Holiday Shopping!
I'd like to thank the catalog companies who have inundated my home with their wares, and the readers who have sent in ideas, to help me guide you.
This tradition started last year because patients routinely call my office asking if we have any gift ideas (NO! I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHY THEY CALL ME!!!), so I figure many of you are dying to do the same.
So I'm here to help you, my loyal readers, find some of the best gifts out there, and will present them over the next few weeks.
So, to kick off your holiday shopping, I'm starting with 2 exquisite items, both from the same site.
Artist Leah Piepgras (who I don't know at all) apparently felt the world needed a set of dishes displaying the human digestive tract. Each place setting features 5 dishes, with individual pictures of various organs "from mouth to anus". Her site lists them as an "exercise in mindfulness", though I personally see it as a way to encourage dieting.
This, for example, is the dinner plate featuring intestines.
To see the rest of these awesome plates, or even to order your own set, you can visit her site. Move your cursor over the plates to see the different anatomy pics.
Not into dinnerware? Well, Ms. Piepgras also has a lovely silver necklace available. Namely this:
Yes, I know you're wondering "What the heck is that?"
Well, according to her site, it's "an accurate representation of semen" (REALLY!) in case you enjoy looking like someone just ejaculated on your sternal notch. She has 2 different blob-o-semen shapes available. Both can be viewed here.
When I was 5, my family lived in Massachusetts. My dad was a graduate student at the time, my mother was raising 3 kids. Dad worked 2 jobs, AND was an amateur boxer, to support us.
That winter we ran out of money. I didn't have a coat for school, and my parents couldn't afford one. My mom would dress me in multiple layers of her shirts to send me to school.
Somehow, through our church, word got out that there was a little girl who needed a coat. A family out there bought me a brand new one in my size, and donated it through the church.
I still don't know who they are, or how they heard about me. But it was warm, and fit me perfectly, and was my favorite coat EVER. It was still in good shape when I gave it to another family in need. By that time we weren't living in Massachusetts anymore.
Whoever you are who bought me that coat so long ago, thank you. It made all the difference in the world to me. And still does.
"Hi, Dr. Grumpy. It's good to see you. Thank you for signing for samples. I hope you've been doing okay. How are your kids? My son is getting divorced. But that's fine, because I never liked her. Is this going to be enough samples for you? I wish the company would give us more. We also have the new 50mg pills, I don't have any here, but will send you some info. Are you ready for the holidays? My company is doing layoffs. I have no idea if I'll have this job in a month. I'm bringing lunch next week. Do you like turkey? I thought about getting some, but I think that would be overkill. Don't you? My daughter hates turkey, but she has all kinds of food allergies. I bet she got them from my ex, because there isn't anything right about him. She's interested in going into medicine, too. Do you have any advice for her? I can bring sandwiches instead. I found a new place I like, but they toast the bread, and not everyone likes that. I'll ask if they can leave some plain. This drug, by the way, is now on first tier with all major insurance plans. Which plans do you take? A friend of mine should probably see you, I'll have to find out what insurance she's on. Thank you for your time, and I'll see you next week."
Ghost ships are the stuff of legends and Halloween stories. But some ghosts are real...
The S.S. Baychimo
The Baychimo was a small, sturdy, freighter owned by the Hudson Bay Company. Her job was to travel the coast of Victoria Island in the Canadian arctic, trading supplies with the local Inuit people for valuable fur pelts. She worked during the area's brief open water season (July to September) spending the rest of the year in Vancouver.
The winter of 1931 came early, and Baychimo was frozen in ice several times while returning home. By mid-October she was stuck fast near Point Barrow, Alaska. Most of her crew were evacuated by aircraft (the first time a long-range air rescue was accomplished).
The Baychimo trapped in ice, November, 1931.
A group of hardy souls decided to stay with her until the spring thaw, as they'd collected a particularly valuable fur cargo that year. They built a shelter ashore, and settled in for several months of night.
On November 24 an exceptionally violent blizzard struck, surprising even the arctic veterans with its ferocity. In the morning, mountains of ice 70 feet high were piled where the ship had been. The Baychimo was gone, crushed under tons of ice and snow and sent to the bottom.
Or so they thought...
The men radioed for rescue, but it would take a few days. As they waited a passing Inupiat told them the ship was adrift several miles down the coast. They set out on foot, finding her again trapped in ice. They took as many pelts as they could before returning to the shelter. Another violent storm was coming, and they assumed it would sink her.
The Baychimo had other ideas.
The second storm pushed her out of the ice and into the open sea, free to wander the icy north alone.
Over the next several years she was infrequently seen, and rarely boarded. Some of the valuable furs were even removed. But no one was able to bring her in. Attempts to restart her engines failed, and storms (which some claimed the ship had summoned) always drove would-be salvagers away. In one harrowing case a group of Inupiat boarded her, only to have a sudden storm trap them on the derelict for 10 days.
She was seen every few years, and each time the assumption was made that it would be the last. Only to have her show up again. Scientists, hunters, and fishermen. Inupiat tribe members. Russian, American, & Canadian ships and planes. All reported her at one time or another as she wandered the Arctic waters.
She was last seen in the Beaufort Sea in 1969, having survived 38 years afloat and alone in one of the world's harshest environments.
Today it's assumed she's at the bottom, and I suspect they're right. But who knows? Alaska has begun trying to catalog the estimated 4000 wrecks along the state's shores, and maybe she'll be found.
I'm busy with all kinds of junk today, so thought I'd re-post this one. It was from the days when I was my only reader.
First, let me say that I'm an experienced hiker. When I was in residency I'd hike all over, regardless of time of year. I've hiked pretty much all terrain short of tundra. I've hiked to mountaintops in temperatures of 110 degress. I'm well aware of what precautions have to be taken, supplies carried, amount of water, and other emergency precautions.
So I recently took Craig on a Boy Scout hike. I'm not a member of the den or any of that stuff. I'm just a parent who went on the hike with my kid. They told us to bring water, so I grabbed 2 of my old hiking bottles and we each took one, and some other junk, and took off.
The hike in total was a 2 mile round trip in a well maintained, ranger-patrolled, trail area.
We got to the meeting place, and I was AMAZED at what people were carrying for this pissy little hike on a surprisingly nice day. Water by the truckload. Cases of granola. Two people had backpacks with tents in them (no, rain was NOT forecast, or even suspected). Another guy was carrying a little coleman stove with a gas container (but no food to cook on it). There was a lady dragging a cooler with wheels on it, loaded with water (even though everyone had their own water bottle). Another bozo was even packing a BB gun, assumedly in case we ran into some dangerous, aggressive fauna, like a rabbit.
The leader was a guy in his late 50's with a beer belly, wearing a boy scout uniform. I have to say that nothing could possibly look more dorky on an adult male (not to mention a paunchy one). They say women love a man in uniform, but I don't think that's the uniform they mean.
So the leader introduces himself, and says he'll take the front of the line, and his grandson, who had been an Eagle scout, will be the back of the line. At that point he gestured to his grandson, who was a sullen, glaring, teenager with multiple piercings, a few tatoos, and a pack of cigarettes in his pocket. He was mumbling into a cell phone and exuded a sense that he would rather be having his nuts chopped off than following his dorky looking grandfather around on a hike.
And off we went. 40 people and enough supplies to survive a nuclear war, for a 2 mile hike (NOT a "3 hour tour"). It was scenic and fun, and took about an hour. The only unexpected happening was when we wandered out of the grandson's cell phone range and he began screaming bloody murder. The lady with the cooler offered him a bottle of water to cheer him up.
I was walking ahead of 2 dentists, who spent the time discussing different drilling techniques, the most pus they've ever seen in a dental abscess, and other interesting topics.
And so, at the end of this, we had to fill out a form for my son to get his hiking badge. As I've learned in the last year, the Boy Scouts award badges for the most mediocre of accomplishments, such as a 2 mile hike, attending a rodeo, or breathing. I think the badges would be more meaningful if they were for more challenging things, such as swimming the Amazon, kayaking over waterfalls, and hand-to-hand grizzly combat.
I apologize for the misunderstanding concerning your medication.
When I wrote: "Take 1 each morning after you wake up", I meant to take it when you wake up, first thing in the morning, and are getting up for the day.
I DID NOT mean for you to take it when you get up to pee at 3:00 a.m., and are going back to bed. Or when you nod off after breakfast for 5 minutes, then wake up again. Or if you lie down for a nap after lunch and then wake up at 2:00 p.m. (which isn't in the morning anyway).
I'm writing and faxing you this expedited letter, and also left a message with your secretary, as I want to explain what happened yesterday. I'm sure you'll be hearing Mrs. Panik's side of the story soon enough.
My secretary, Mary, has a daughter who is a few years younger then mine. As a result, we give Mary our hand-me-downs when our kids outgrow them. This has been a satisfactory arrangement on all sides for several years (my kids get their hand-me-downs from my sister's kids).
So yesterday I brought in some things for Mary, but due to a busy day forgot to give them to her.
During my appointment with Mrs. Panik I went to get a blood pressure cuff. In doing so I accidentally knocked over the bag of clothes, spilling little girl Disney Princess undies all over the floor.
As I picked them up, Mrs. Panik suddenly stood up and accused me of being a pedophile. She wouldn't listen to my explanation, and said she didn't want to continue the appointment.
So far we haven't received any calls from the local police, but I wanted to alert you of this misunderstanding in case Mrs. Panik calls you.
I'd like to thank PJ for bringing this important research to my attention.
In an effort to settle the question of whether or not laptop computers contribute to infertility, a research group attached temperature sensors to volunteers' scrotums and recorded how they changed when using a laptop. They did this with & without lap pads, and in various sitting positions.
How come these articles never say how much they paid the volunteers? Here's the link.
Mr. Sprint: "I'd just climbed down the ladder when..." (cell phone rings) "Sorry, Doc, hang on."
(answers phone) "Yeah? Oh, hi Pete. Uh-huh. I have no idea. I mean, I've got $4,000 in that account and need to transfer it. Yeah. Hold on, Pete, let me get some advice. Hey, Doc, for retirement what are you recommending right now? Roth IRA's? And what mutual funds are you telling people to invest in right now?"
This is my Grandfather. His name was Martin. He died in 2001, and I was fortunate to know him.
He was born in Poland, but his family was living in Austria when Hitler came to power. As Jews, the family knew they had to leave, and pooled their money to send the smartest child (his name was Irving) to America, with instructions to find a way to make a living in America, FAST, and then bring them all over one by one. Irving was 19 years old at the time, and only knew 1 distant cousin in the U.S.
Somehow he did it. That's a story in itself.
World War II was only a few month away when it was Marty's turn. He remembered being on an immigrant ship when it was stopped and searched by a Danish warship, and the passenger's fear that it might be a German ship coming to turn them back if war had broken out.
Many family members didn't get out, and vanished from history. Lost anonymously in a death camp, with millions of others.
Marty joined the family in Chicago. To gain citizenship quickly he volunteered for the Army, and served through the war. Because of his German background he wasn't allowed at the front, as there was concern about loyalty. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, in California, guarding against a Japanese invasion that never came.
After the military he went through the struggles of returning to normalcy, at different times working as a fur salesman, a door-to-door vacuum salesman, and finally finding his career at a clock factory. He had 2 children, one of which is my mother (Hi, Mom!).
Blackdog doesn't seem to mind doing so, but I personally don't think it sounds healthy.
A scientific poll of the office staff, and a few drug reps and patients, found that 100% of people I saw today agreed that toilets should not, except under extreme circumstances, be considered a source of drinking refreshment.
Apparently, though, this isn't as common a belief as I'd like to think it is.
The city of Chandler, Arizona, has unveiled their new city hall building, which (I SWEAR!) includes signs in the bathrooms specifically telling people NOT TO DRINK FROM THE TOILET!!!
I. M. Pissy, M.D. 7291 N. Headache St. Grumpyville, CX 34611
RE: Legal Action of Grumpy vs. Pissy
Dear Dr. Pissy,
Our firm has been retained by Dr. Grumpy in a legal action against you pursuant to the events of November 1, 2010.
On that date a canine possession of yours ("Fancy") pooped in Dr. Grumpy's exam room. This is in violation of federal regulations #1, #7, and #3,748,425-A, and caused Dr. Grumpy severe emotional denoberation, mental discombobulation, oderiferous substance exposure, fulminant social embarrassment, and a bunch of other polysyllabic words.
After careful consideration of legal options, including a $10 billion lawsuit for emotional damages, we've decided on the following out-of-court settlement:
"Blackdog", a 65 lbs. canine possession of Dr. Grumpy's of undetermined genetic nature (i.e. a "mutt"), shall be allowed into YOUR exam room to poop on the floor following lunch on November 10, 2010. Laxatives will be used to ensure the settlement is equitable.
If this settlement is acceptable to you, please have your attorney call their attorney who will then call our attorney who will then notify us, and we will make the necessary arrangements to transport Blackdog.
We hope this resolves the issue. Please contact us for any questions.
Oksana "Oksi" Kontin Legal Assistant to Mr. Klutz.
This blog is entirely for entertainment purposes. All posts about patients may be fictional, or be my experience, or were submitted by a reader, or any combination of the above. Factual statements may or may not be accurate.
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Dr. Grumpy is for hire! Need an article written (humorous, medical, or otherwise) or want to commission a genuine Grumpy piece for your newspaper/magazine/toilet paper roll? Contact me to discuss subjects. You can reach me at the email address below, or through my Linked-In profile.
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Cast of Characters:
Annie: My Phenomenal MA Mary: My Awesome Secretary Ed: The office fish Dr. Pissy: The guy I share an office with Mrs. Grumpy:My Boss (also the world's greatest school nurse) Frank, Craig, and Marie:The Grumpy Tribe Snowball & Mello: The Grumpy Dogs
Questions? Comments? Biting sarcasm? Write to: pagingdrgrumpy [at] gmail [dot] com
Note: I do not answer medical questions. If you are having a medical issue, see your own doctor. For all you know I'm really a Mongolian yak herder and have no medical training at all except in issues regarding the care and feeding of Mongolian yaks.