Thursday, March 30, 2017

Book recommendation

My newest medical lit recommendation is Nerve Damage by Tom Combs:

I really liked this one.  It was a medical thriller that hooked me immediately. The protagonist is an ER doc and it's written by an ER doc, so it's very authentic.  If you read the first chapter, you won't be able to stop reading.  Really enjoyed.

By the way, just wondering if these book recommendations are appreciated?  I was considering trying to do one a month, but I could also not do any at all if nobody is interested in my recommendations.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Worst bowl evah

A little while ago, in an attempt to get my kids to eat healthier, I decided to purchase a fruit bowl.  I figured that if the fruit was right in their faces, there was a tiny chance they might eat it.  They'd be like, "Hey! Oranges!  I'll have one of those!"

I use Amazon for most of my online purchases, so I typed "fruit bowl" into Amazon and I purchased a wooden bowl on the first page of results that looked nice.

A few days later, the bowl arrived.  It was about the size of my hand.  I could probably fit a single orange in it.  Calling it a fruit bowl would be laughable.  Well, unless "fruit" was in the singular.  So I returned it. And I wrote an angry one-star review saying that the bowl was deceptively small.

Now I've written maybe a hundred Amazon reviews in my time.  Some of been good and some have been bad.  The review of this bowl certainly wasn't my first bad review.  But it's the only review I've ever written that's ever received comments.  And in fact, it received THREE comments.  One told me that I was clueless and didn't bother to look at the bowl's dimensions (7 inches) and I should have measured my current bowls, to which I responded that I shouldn't have to get out a ruler to know that tiny bowl wasn't a fruit bowl. (The description of the bowl actually said it was "generously sized.") And then most recently, I got this comment:

"You apparently don't know what "serving" means. Serving is when you bring food to a person, to serve them a meal or food. It is not a fruit bowl. It is a bowl that can be used to serve a side of fruit or salad. You generally don't serve 5 pieces of fruit in a bowl at dinner. You shouldn't need a ruler to know what 7 inches looks like. The product isn't deceptive or misleading, you're just a moron."

Um, WTF?  This is a bowl.  Why are people getting so angry over my review of a ten-dollar bowl.  What is going on here?  Usually when I don't agree with the review of a product, I just downvote it... I don't call the person names.  Especially if it's just a bowl.

My question was: Are these people sellers of the bowl?  Are they trolls?  Or are they people who just really love bowls?

I looked at some of the other bad reviews and the majority of them were complaining that the bowl was smaller than they expected (although only one of them got a comment).  So clearly this was an issue a lot of people had, and my review probably kept people from purchasing the product who would have returned it or given it another bad review.

Anyway, in case you're curious, I bought a normal-sized fruit bowl after that.  But the kids still won't eat their fruit.  (Now it's a "fruit fly" bowl.)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why I don't wear scrubs

Some of the nurses at work were talking about a sale on scrubs.  I was listening in, because I only have one pair of scrubs that I wear on call and they're awful.  The top is so big that it could be a dress on me.

Nurse: "Actually, I've never seen you in scrubs, Dr. McFizz.  You never wear them!"

They pointed out that a few of the other doctors do sometimes wear scrubs during 9-5 business hours, but some of us don't.  Here's why I don't:

When I was an intern, I worked at a county hospital, serving a very poor population.  Intern year is hard, and I wanted nothing more than to live my life in scrubs--basically, nonstop pajamas.  But our program director said to us, "You know, these patients may be very poor and not speak English, but they should be treated with respect. And that means they deserve a doctor who is well dressed."

Some of the other interns wore scrubs every day anyway, but I didn't.  On non-call days, I wore "nice" clothes. Those words really stuck with me, even now, over ten years later.  I feel like it's more respectful to dress in nice clothes when I see patients.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Conversations with my 10-year-old with the radio on

Daughter: "Who sings this?"

Me: "Elton John."

Daughter: "Seriously?  It sounds like a woman."

Me: "No, it's a man."

Daughter: "Are you sure?"

Me: "Yes."

Younger daughter: "What's a tiny dancer?"

Me: "I have no idea."

Next song...

Daughter: "I like Pink."

Me: "Me too.  Well, I like all her songs, but I never bought any of her albums."

Daughter: "What's an album?"

Me: "!!!"

Next song...

Daughter: "Who sings this?"

Me: "Whitney Houston."

Daughter: "Is she from Texas?"

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Should you tell?

Here's a question:

If you overheard your colleague Mary saying something negative about your friend and colleague John, should you tell John?  Or if you hear from someone that Mary has been saying negative things about John, should you let him know?

My answer is no.  Always, no.

I've been in a situation like this before, where I was tempted to say something, but I always decided that it was none of my damn business.  Partially because I've been Mary before, and things I've said were misrepresented and taken completely out of context (I don't want to get into that story at the moment).  But this is my favorite example of why you shouldn't do that:

In residency, there was an attending at my program named Dr. Lee.  I worked with Dr. Lee and I liked her.  I thought it was mutual.

About a month after I came back from maternity leave, I was informed by a co-resident that some other residents had been complaining about a certain female resident (not me) who had been calling in sick a lot on Fridays and being irresponsible.  Dr. Lee quickly chimed in, "I know who you're talking about!  It's Fizzy, isn't it?"

I was so upset over the fact that Dr. Lee would think the worst of me, and assume I was the irresponsible resident when I never missed a day when she and I worked together.  For a while, I was very angry at Dr. Lee.

Several months later, I talked to one of the residents who was involved in that conversation.  He informed me that:

1) The attending involved in the conversation was not Dr. Lee at all, but was Dr. Green.

2) Dr. Green did think they were talking about me, but chimed in to *defend* me because I'd just had a baby and thought they should cut me some slack.

So basically, the story was wrong AND the person involved was wrong.  I wasted way too much energy being pissed off over that.  And all because a well-meaning person felt like he should give me a "heads up."

Monday, March 13, 2017

The three little neurologists

So I was recently talking to an inpatient about his back pain management, and trying to make sure he had outpatient follow-up.  I soon discovered that he was seeing THREE neurologists.

One neurologist was to monitor the size of a brain aneurysm.

One neurologist was for management of migraine headaches.

One neurologist was giving him his back pain medications.

Me: "Oh!  So the neurologist you're seeing for your pain meds can take over the care for your back pain!"

Patient: "No.  This neurologist only does sleep medicine, but just agreed to dispense the pain meds.  But she can't manage them."

I feel like sub-specialization may have gone too far.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Book recommendation

Every once in a while, I recommend a book to you guys.  I don't read a lot of medical thrillers these days, but one of the better ones I've read recently is The Gina Mazzio series, starting with Bone Dry.  I was looking for a female medical author whose books were suspenseful without being too technical and hard to read, and this really fit the bill.

Check it out!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Dragon makes me sound racist

I'm not sure if anyone is familiar with the dictation program Dragon.  It dictates everything you say in real time, which is good because you can correct errors as you go, but bad because the only one reading your notes to make sure they're correct is yourself.

Now I always read over my notes.  But I'm a human being and mistakes can be missed.  One of the more annoying mistakes that Dragon makes with horrifying frequency is:

Patient --> Asian

So instead of my note saying, "Patient is feeling well," the note says, "Asian is feeling well."  Which is a mistake that I really don't appreciate.  Especially if the patient is Asian.

It also sometimes dictates "patient" as "Haitian."

Sunday, March 5, 2017

beta reader request

I've mentioned a couple of times that in spite of swearing I'd never write another book, I wrote another book.  Proving that I'm obviously full of it.

This book is a sequel to The Devil Wears Scrubs.  It takes place about 12 years after the original, when a married-with-kids Jane reconnects with Sexy Surgeon. Just as the original was autobiographical of my life in residency, this is more autobiographical of my life now-ish.

I've been having some struggles with the book, and I would love to get an opinion of someone who is a fan of my books and would be interested in reading a book like I described.

If you are interested in reading a beta version of the book, and giving me your honest opinion and suggestions, please email me at  However:

1) You must be able to read the book quickly.... like within a few days to a week tops.

2) I want more of an opinion than "I like it" or "I didn't like it but I don't know why."  I want someone who is able to read somewhat critically and express their thoughts.  I can take criticism, but the above just frustrates me.

3) If I email you a follow-up question, you can't have disappeared from the internet forever.  That has happened to me so many times. Please be willing to have a brief discussion with me.

Would love to get one or two people's opinions!  But don't feel pressured to do this just because you like my blog.  Only do it if it's something you truly feel that you want to do and can do well.

Thanks in advance!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

By any other name

I don't feel comfortable with patients calling me by my first name.

I'm fine with nursing, therapy, or other staff calling me whatever they want.  But when it comes to patients, I think they should call me Dr. McFizz out of respect.  After all, I would never consider calling them by their first name without being invited.  And sometimes I even have to be reminded several times by patients to call them by their first name, because I usually default to the last name.

I was discussing this with a physician colleague recently:

Me: "One thing that bugs me is when patients call me by my first name."

Him: "Patient call you by your first name?  Really?"

Me: "Yeah!  It happens all the time.  That never happens to you?"

Him: "No.  Never."

Me: "Wow."

Him: "Well, I always introduce myself when I walk into the room as Dr. Soandso."

Me: "So do I."

Him: "How do they know your first name then?"

Me: "They read it off my badge."

Him: "Well, maybe that's the problem.  You shouldn't have your first name on your badge."

Me: "YOUR first name is on your badge."

Him: "Maybe it's because I wear a tie."

Hmm. Or maybe it's the Y chromosome?

One of my hypotheses was that patients forget that I'm a doctor during the course of our conversation, and assume I must be a nurse or therapist.  But right after this, I was with a patient's family member where I had a long conversation about medical care, and she said she was so appreciative to get information from a doctor.  Then when I left, she said, "Bye, Fizzy!"