Saturday, December 11, 2010

What are you going to do next??

I noticed the following transcription error in a dictation I was reading the other day:

Mr. Smith started having symptoms of left sided weakness and dysarthria while vacationing in Disneystroke.

Honestly, I think if you take a trip to Disneystroke and you start having left sided weakness and dysarthria, you kind of got what you deserved.

OK, your turn: what's the funniest transcription error you've ever seen?

Friday, December 10, 2010

3D Movies

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing Megamind in 3D after having already seen it in 2D. There were some very notable differences:

All joking aside, I think 3D movies suck. They basically charge you $3-5 extra for something that is barely different from the 2D version. Depending on what expensive city you live in, it can cost like $50 for a family of three to see a movie. (Not including the expensive popcorn sold by Megamind.)


Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday meal ideas

With Christmas just around the corner, I thought it might be helpful to provide a meal menu that any physician could easily relate to and enjoy.....

For a full list of delicious holiday meal ideas, see this list of Pathologies Resembling Food.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lost it down Zorro's pants

This is a rarely entry written by me in the wee hours of the morning (8:50AM, but everyone's still asleep) while I'm traveling to the in laws for Thanksgiving. This doesn't involve cartoons, medicine, guides, or any of that, but maybe it will amuse you while you're cooking your turkey. I'm determined for this story to amuse someone, because I seem to be the only one who thinks it's funny.

Background: I have been married for close to 6 years and ever since my wedding day, I have worn a simple gold wedding band. I emphasize the word simple. To emphasize the point further, I will tell you it cost $35 on Amazon. But that doesn't mean I don't treasure my $35 ring. I never take it off except to shower.

Anyway, last weekend, while I was getting in the shower, I reached to take off my wedding band and it was GONE!

At first, I thought I had done something weird and spacey, like taken it off a few minutes ago and put it on the toilet, but I didn't see it anywhere. I checked every inch of the bathroom, including going through the garbage. I then expanded my search to the bedroom, but no sign of the ring. I even checked the refrigerator, because I swear to god, I've found dirty socks in there. But no ring!

I had started doing the laundry before getting into the shower. I've lost some weight recently and the ring has been a bit loose, so I thought maybe it slipped off while shoving clothes into the washer. But when the washer finished, I didn't find the ring in there either.

I was really perplexed. I knew I had to have lost it recently because I wear it all the time, so I was sure I would have noticed it missing pretty quickly. I'd never lost my ring before, so I was really upset.

The worst part was that my husband was away on a business trip. That is the worst time to lose your ring. If I don't have my wedding ring, I at least want the person that I'm married to.

I even checked on Amazon and looked up replacement rings. It would cost $55 for a narrower, lower carat gold version of my same ring. Price of gold must have gone up. I blame the economy.

My mother was visiting and was playing with my daughter. I said to her, "I lost my wedding ring. I can't find it anywhere!"

"Oh," she said and shrugged.

"It's just lost," my daughter said. And they went back to playing.

This wasn't the sympathetic response I'd been hoping for. Finally, I text messaged my husband: "I lost my ring!"

A few minutes later, he called me back. "Did you find my ring?" he asked.

"What?" I said.

"I left my ring in the bathroom?" he asked.

I had no idea what he was talking about. Then he explained to me that he had ALSO lost his wedding ring. He thought I sent him the text message because I had found it and was teasing him that he left it behind.

I couldn't believe it. In two separate states, my husband and I had both managed to lose our wedding rings simultaneously. Sometimes I think we have some weird psychic Gift of the Magi thing going on or something. Like last month, after talking about getting our daughter a night light for the past six months, we both went out and simultaneously bought night lights on the same day.

Anyway, I'm sure you're dying to know: the story has a happy ending. When I was taking my coat out of the closet later that day, the ring fell to the floor as I was pulling my scarf out of the sleeve. My husband found his in his hotel room.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Photographic evidence

I went to get a drink of water at clinic the other day, but there was a line.

(This guy's never going to be the head of a major corporation.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Photographic evidence

This is a follow-up to my last post... here is a photo from the resident lounge, showing what I used to do when I was bored waiting for people to sign out their patients to me:

I suppose I could have, like, read about medicine or something. Whatever.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Photographic evidence

As a follow-up to this early post about doctor's handwriting, I would like to present an actual consult note from a patient's chart:

I don't know about you, but I can only make out maybe one word in that entire note. Can anyone tell me what it says? Or even what consult service wrote the note?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Join me in NaNoWriMo!

This year, I will once again be participating in National Novel Writing Month. It's this insane contest where you try to write 50,000 words of a really, really bad novel in just one month. And of course, they pick November, which is one of the shorter months.

It's a lot of fun to participate, and the best thing is that in order to "win," all you have to do is write 50,000 words. Last year I wrote 50K and I won! I didn't have to beat anyone or produce anything of quality and I still won! It's so easy!

If you plan to participate, feel free to friend me on the NaNoWriMo site. My username is Fizzy. You can follow my progress in my attempts to make it to 50K.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Photographic evidence

This is a new segment I'm doing, where I show photos I took during residency in order to prove that I'm not making shit up in my cartoons:

When I was doing clinics at the VA, usually I would come in first thing in the morning, and the examining rooms looked like they had been ransacked during the night:

(Yes, that is, in fact, a dirty pillow lying next to the computer.)

Gosh, I wonder who might be responsible for keeping things clean:

Oh, I guess it's me. Obviously, the responsibilities of a resident include not just patient care, but also some light janitorial work.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

4-D Horse

OK, granted, this isn't a cartoon and has little to nothing to do with medicine, but just in case there are any math nerds reading this blog, they may find this amusing...

So while playing Skiball (the game of champions) a bit ago, I won the most fabulous prize ever: a Horses(TM) 4D puzzle!

I was terribly excited to find out how a 4D puzzle might work. How would they incorporate Time into the puzzle? I was a little bit concerned when the insert said that it was "3D + Details". Details does NOT constitute another dimension.

Anyway, I photographed the experience:

The puzzle box. Oooh, this is exciting!

The 4D horse begins to take shape. This appears to be a head of some sort. Still only 3D, but I'm hopeful.

Ew, have you ever wondered what the inside of a horse looks like? It's all black with lots of tiny squares.

The finished product (note the horseshoe-shaped puzzle box). We gradually accelerate the horse up to 88 MPH...

And our 4D horse enters hyperspace:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


During my Spine rotation in residency, I had the joy of answering messages from patients. This was one of my favorites (click to enlarge):

In case you can't read it, it says that the patient is requesting a pain medication called Oxzydodole, which I can only imagine is pronounced "oxy-doodle". No such medication exists. (Also, the second scribble says the patient was too sick to show up to their appointment.)

I called the patient and asked them about it and they insisted that this was the spelling of the medication. Insisted. I told them there was no such thing as oxy-doodle. I finally looked in their chart and saw that last time we had given them a prescription for Mobic (an anti-inflammatory), so I called that in for them. (That's my handwriting, saying "Called in Mobic".)

(Yes, I know they probably meant oxycodone. But we specifically were not allowed to prescribe narcotics in that clinic for reasons that I don't have the energy to contemplate here. Possibly in order to enrage all the patients who came in.)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why Medical Errors Occur

This post isn't a cartoon.

But this blog is only for cartoons, you say. Isn't this blog called "A Cartoon Guide to Becoming a Doctor"? you say.

Well, screw you. It's my blog and I can post what I want.

This week I officially joined the bourgeoisie: we got a cleaning woman. I mean, what else are we supposed to do with our money? Roll around in it naked? Pay for light and heat? So yes, we got a cleaning woman.

We used a service that cleaned several apartments within our large complex. I went to the rental office and signed a release saying that they could have our keys for the purpose of cleaning. Today was the first time they were going to come clean and we were pretty excited. We spent hours pre-cleaning (lest the cleaning woman think we're slobs) and we locked away our rubies and the world's largest cubic zirconia in our safe. (Just kidding. Nothing we own is worth more than $20.)

When I got home from work, I expected to see a sparkling, shining apartment. I didn't. In fact, it was exactly how I left it.

A few minutes later, my phone rang. It was the woman who owned the cleaning service. Apparently (and I'm a little sketchy on the details of how this happened), they cleaned the wrong apartment. The rental office gave them some random wrong set of keys and they went and cleaned some random apartment.

While I'm kind of peeved that my apartment didn't get cleaned, I can't help but be amused when I picture some other family coming home to find their apartment inexplicably got cleaned while they were at work.

In trying to figure out how such a thing could have happened, it occured to me that there were two sets of checks that failed:

1) The rental office gave out the wrong set of keys.

2) The cleaning service went to the wrong apartment, even though they knew our apartment number.

This is why I maintain that despite the number of checks that occur in a hospital, errors are going to occur. Because people are dumb.... er, error prone. And plenty of times, exhausted residents and clueless med students are doing things without having ANY checks. (Despite the fact that med students can't write orders, they can still mix up A bed and B bed and take out staples from the abdominal incision of the woman who is post-op day 1, requiring her to go back to the OR. Yes, that happened.)

You might argue that errors are less likely when it's important, such as in a hospital, when life or limb are involved. Then again, tell that to the woman who just spent hours scrubbing someone's toilets for free.

Anyway, in case you were on the edge of your seat wondering, my apartment is going to get cleaned tomorrow.

Cruel Resident Stories: The ever-important post-its