Sunday, August 15, 2010

Video killed the blog star

So I'm trying something about a video recap of Saturday's patients?  Let me know what you think!


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Laudate Dominae

Hello!  Just wanted to write a short entry today to let you all know that I'm still around.  Heading back to residency has made me realize how little time there really is in a day, so if I get a free moment here and there, I'll try and post something.  Speaking of residency, I love my job.  This program is so much nicer than my past one, and I couldn't be happier with my decision to return for training.  It's a little slower paced, although July 1st was a trial by fire, with the Labor and Delivery board full the entire day.  That said, I felt that (aside from a few dictation mistakes), I was able to handle the increased patient load fairly well.  Anyway, that's pretty much it for the day, I hope everyone has a safe and happy July 4th. 

Until next time,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Well, as of tomorrow, I will officially be on vacation until July 1st. My wife and I haven’t been anywhere in the last four years, so we’re taking some time off before residency starts up again, and are going to tour around and live a little before I get back to the grind. As a benediction, I thought I would give you all some quotes to tide you over until July comes around. To the quotes!

Patient’s written response to the question, “What did you do before you became disabled?”
“I used to take care of my pets, but my precious little friend (Brewster the pug) died.”

Patient’s written response to the question, “How has your disability changed your lifestyle?”
“I used to be an amateur gourmet chef -according to mom- but now I can’t be one.”

Patient’s written response to the question, “Are you able to manage your finances?”
“If I had money I could. I had money, but my stupid ex-wife took it all.”

That same patient’s written response to the question, “How did you become disabled?”
“My wife torpedoed me with my doctor.”
If someone could explain that to me, I would much appreciate it

Me: “How does your diabetes keep you from working?”
Man: “After I got laid off, I figured the only thing I could do was porn…but now I can’t even do that.”
Me: “…”

Have a good rest of your week, I’ll be back soon!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday Quotes

Good morning! Sorry for no post yesterday – we had a full day in the office, and amazingly everyone showed up. I’m going to try and make Tuesday the new quote day, so it’ll hopefully offset some of the more serious entries I’ve put up in the past week. That said, on to the blog!

Me: “So tell me why you can’t work.”
Witch-looking lady: “My back hurts too much.”
Me: “What caused it to start hurting?”
Lady: “Well, I was attending the local Renaissance fair, and I was hit by a runaway horse.”

Me: “Do you see or hear things others don’t?”
Man: “Sometimes I see Charlie Brown…or at least I think it’s Charlie Brown, it could just be some crazy white kid.”

Me: “So what caused to you become depressed?”
Older lady: “My cat was eaten by a cougar.”
Me: “A cougar? Do you live out in the country?”
Lady: “No, I live in an apartment.”
Me: “So how do you know it was a cougar?”
Lady: “What else could’ve happened? One day my Kitty was there, the next day she wasn’t.”
Me: “…Well, ok then.”
Lady: “I mean, it could’ve been a Lynx or something…maybe a wolf.”
Me: “…”

Patient’s written response to the question “How does your condition limit your ability to work?”
“My head hurts so I smoke pot. When I smoke pot I can’t concentrate. So I can’t work.”
Have a good rest of your week!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Do you read me?

Good morning! Seeing as I don’t work on Fridays during the month of June, this will be my last entry until next Monday. If you’re new to the blog, this gives you some time to go back and read some of the old entries, if you just can’t enough Disillusioned Doctor. Otherwise, have a good and restful weekend. On a side note, I’d like to thrown in a little plug for an old friend from my theatre days. She and another gal have formed a Bio-pop group known as Suspicious Package, and you can see their newest video, Hummingbird, on So if you’ve got a minute, go check it out. That said, onwards!

Within the last month I’ve noticed a spike in the number of claimants reporting that their main reason for applying for disability is a problem with reading and reading comprehension. I’ve seen six patients so far this AM, and two of them have listed “Learning problems – can’t read” as their number one complaint. Both of the claimants stated that they dropped out of high school, and both also admitted that they received special reading tutoring throughout their secondary school career. When asked if they knew their “reading level,” one reported that he read at a 5th grade level, and the other reported that he read at a 7th grade level. After their exams, I thought about what I was reading at 5th and 7th grade - The Lord of the Rings, The Giver, Lord of the Flies, stuff like that. Now, I’ll throw out a caveat before I continue. I’m a self-professed Bibliophile, and always viewed language arts as one of my strong suits. Math, not so much, but I could at least read the textbook. I’ve done some research, and listed below is a smattering of books that are nationally listed as “Acceptable at a 5th grade reading level.”
1.) Old Yeller
2.) Harry Potter series
3.) Pippi Longstocking
4.) To Kill a Mockingbird

Likewise, here are some books that are a 7th grade reading level.
1.) Ann of Green Gables
2.) Cyrano de Bergerac
3.) The Jungle Book
4.) The Wizard of Oz

Now, while I’m definitely not an English teach, I know that if you can read at a level to understand Ann of Green Gables, or To Kill a Mockingbird, you should be able to understand simple written instructions for most jobs. The question arises, then, as to whether our school systems are actually teaching, in this case, reading at a level that would allow students to enjoy the above books. One could make an argument that the majority of schools simply pass kids along, regardless of their actual educational level, although I would like to think that someone, somewhere, would pick up on the kids that are still reading “Dick and Jane” in 9th grade.

President Bush passed a bill a few years back entitled the “No Child Left Behind Act,” which was supposed to make sure that situations like the ones listed above didn’t happen anymore. According to my family members who are educators (and that’s most of them), all it really did was dumb down the material for the kids that were doing well, thereby leading to boredom and thus increased classroom problems. I don’t’ know enough about the educational system to say who’s right and who’s wrong, but I do know this; if you try and add more milk to everyone’s milkshake just because one kid said his was too thick, everyone ends up with a milky mess and nobody’s happy.

It really is a sticky situation. Do you lower the expectations for everyone so nobody fails? Or do you let the folks at the bottom get washed away? I don’t know the answer, heck, maybe there isn’t an answer. What we need to consider, however, is what do we are going to do about the above people if we let them drift away. As it stands now, it looks like we’ll be handing them a check every month for the rest of their lives instead of spending that money to prevent the above situation, and to give them chance to be productive members of society. A quick fix usually doesn’t help things in the long run. The little Dutch boy can only keep his finger in the dyke so long before he has to pee.

And now for the disability quote of the day:

Manic lady: “I just hallucinated about a cake in your lobby. I was really good, you should try it.”
Me: “…What type of cake was it?”
Lady: [incredulously] “A crazy cake!”
Me: “…sounds yummy.”

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chimney Time

Good morning. I hope you all enjoyed the quotes from yesterday, with all the crazies coming in recently it was rather difficult to pick which ones to feature. That said, I’ll try to keep up the Quote Boat tradition, at least until July. Speaking of, as of July 1st, I’ll be returning to residency, so the vibe of the blog might change a little. Although I’m planning to still see disability patients for a little extra cheddar, I’ll begin introducing a lot more OB/GYN related stories and insights – so stick around, a little change will do you good.

Yesterday was a rather frustrating day. Being a taxonomist at heart, I always try and break down the claimants into groups and subgroups of conditions – for what reason, I don’t know, I think it just satisfies a small part of me that’s a little OCD. Anyway, there were a good number of “self inflictors” yesterday; people who decide to hurt their bodies, be that by drug use, overeating or whatever, and then when their body fails on them, attempt to receive Disability to help continue their habit. The second patient of the day was one such claimant.
She was a tall, thin, leathery lady who walked into the office, midriff showing and carrying a Coach purse. She sat in the waiting room while I reviewed her chart, and I noticed that while she was waiting, she took a couple of calls on her iPhone. Not your usual claimant, at least by economic terms, but whatever. Anyway, I called her back, and she handed me a list of what was wrong with her. Lovely. For your viewing pleasure, here is the list.
1.) Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
2.) COPD
3.) Angina
4.) Chest pain
5.) Emphysema
6.) Chronic back pain
7.) Pain in back

Pretty impressive, right? I mean, it’s not like there are repeated conditions on that list or anything…Anyway, after talking for a little bit, it turns out that she only has chest pain (otherwise known as angina) if she starts coughing too much, and if she keeps coughing, she’ll eventually develop pain in her back from bending over. Makes sense…but here’s the kicker. She was diagnosed 10 years prior with COPD, and told at that time if she wanted to live to see her 60th birthday, she needed to quit smoking her pack of cigarettes a day. I asked her if she still smoked and she responded yes, “Two packs a day.” Ok, so not only did she not quit smoking, she decided to smoke more! I asked her, “Why did you decide to smoke more if your lungs were so bad then?” She responded, “Oh, I figured that doctor didn’t know what he was talking about, but I guess he did.” Yep, he did. We moved on to the physical exam, and her lungs were atrocious, it’s amazing any air was moving through those brochi at all. When I asked her to “take a deep breath,” she immediately burst into a coughing fit, and proceeded to cough up a huge amount of junk. I handed her a Kleenex, she spit it out and showed the resultant lung butter to me, of course, saying “this is what causes me to hurt so bad.” I mumbled something, and tried to purge that image from my mind. For some reason, phlegm really bothers me…I can deal with other excretions, no problem. But lung junk, no thank you. She left the office, and I guess as a treat, left the Kleenex for me to clean up. Thank you very much.

I know I harp on smoking a lot on this blog, I know, but it see people in here every day that can’t breathe because they’ve been puffing on cigarettes all their lives. I could go into the same diatribe about over eating, drug use or tanning – the moral of the story is the same. Your bad habits can really hurt your body. Most of us, however, know that what we’re doing is not good – it might feel good at the time, but we know in the long run it’ll catch up with us. Live and let live, right? This lady stands out in my mind, however, because she not only kept smoking, but increased her pack per day intake. Well, I guess tobacco executive’s kids have to go to college, too, and if she does get disability, it’s not like she’ll be around much longer to receive her checks.

And now for the disability quote of the day:

Man: “It’s like there’s a party in my head, and everyone’s invited – Mike Tyson, Russell Simmons, Andre 3000 – but they sent me out to buy beer.”

Claimants written response to the question, “Why did you stop working?”
“I flashed too many people and got fired.”

Until tomorrow,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Quote Boat, toot toot

Good morning! As I said yesterday, today’s entry will be a revenant of the Friday Night Quotes series that existed when I worked on Fridays (I like that, ‘when I worked on Fridays’). One quick side note before we begin. If you have any questions about what I’m writing, be it medical or otherwise, please leave a comment – I enjoy knowing what you all are thinking about the blog. So, without further ado…raise anchor, it’s time for the Quote Boat to set sail!

Me: “So you wrote ‘special issues’ in the space describing why you can’t work. What does that mean?”
Man: “Well, it’s sensitive…I’ve got this problem…with my balls.”
Me: “Ok…what type of problem?”
Man: “Well, to put it mildly, I’ve got donkey balls.”
Me: “Donkey balls?”
Man: “Yeah man, have you ever seen a donkey’s balls? They’re huge. Mine are too. Like, too big.”
Me: “…”
Man: “Do you want to see them?”
Me: “No, no, that’s ok. I’ll take your word. So…how do your testicles prevent you from working?”
Man: “They just hurt and bang things all the time. It’s really painful.”
Me: “I bet…well, let me ask you some other questions.”
[As it turns out, the gentleman above had a GIANT hernia into his scrotum, thereby giving the appearance of said “donkey balls,” but in reality, what he perceived were his testicles were really his intestines…yuck]

Me: “So do you hear or see things other people don’t?”
Girl: “Well, sometimes I hear my own voice, but only if I’m speaking and nobody’s around.”
Me: “…”

Me: “How does your knee pain keep you from working?”
Younger woman: “If I try and run backwards really fast, they really hurt.”
Me: “What about if you walk forwards slowly?”
Woman: “Oh, they’re ok then.”

Man: “I’ve got this condition that keeps me from swallowing well…and it makes me really depressed.”
Me: “You’re depressed because you can’t swallow?”
Man: “No, I’m depressed because I can only swallow if I turn my head to the left, and there’s nothing to look at in that direction.”
Me: “Have you considered moving your chair?”
Man: “Oh, I couldn’t do that. I always sit at the head of the table, I’m the man, after all.”

Hope you enjoyed those, have a good rest of your day!