So Here’s The Deal.

I’m starting in the ICU tomorrow. I’ll be there for a month. Then I got onto two ward months. I’ll pop up to gasp for air at the beginning of March, when I’ll have two glorious, blessed weeks of vacation.

I’ve known this was coming.

I had a plan for this.

During this past month, I was going to write twelve delicious, meaty posts all about the delightful uses of medicine in fiction, schedule them to pop up one per week, and supplement with little observations and witticisms and stuff from my day-to-day life.

That was the plan.

How many posts did you write?



Exactly right! Except completely wrong!

I’m assuming you’re at the other end of the scale, then.

::Sigh:: Good assumption.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wrote no posts for this blog in the past month. None. My archive is empty except for fragments that really aren’t readable yet.

I have no excuse. I had the time. I had the subjects to write about.

I Just Didn’t Do It.

Instead, I played my guitar and watched Stargate SG1 and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

I also wrote some more on my novel, but not as much as I could have, given the fact that I wasn’t putting any wordcount into the blog.

My friends tell me intake mode is just as important as output mode. I think they’re probably right.

But that doesn’t make for a very good blog that’s worthy of people’s time and attention.

And here we are. I’m looking at a three-month free-time desert.


Here’s the deal.

For the next couple of months, the posts are going to be shorter. Like they have been recently. But I’m going to try to make them at least a little more content-y than they have been. More musing about writing, more info about organs and cool things like that. And probably the odd musing about life as an intern.

When I get back into the whole “free time” thing, I’ll get back into the longer posts. Because I do have a good amount of stuff to explain to you still, and I love doing it.

So, if you’ll bear with me, hopefully we can overcome the fact that I was Just Lazy this month.

I appreciate your patience.

And you have no idea how thrilled and flattered I am that you all think my blog is worth your time.


(Picture from iStockPhoto)

Published in: on November 30, 2010 at 10:11 pm  Comments (11)  

Happy Thanksgiving!

…you know. And stuff….

My one wish for you is that you have as much to be grateful for in your life as I do in mine.

…you know……

…..n’ stuff……….

Okay, way too sappy. Read this now to make up for it.

……………n’ stuff…………………………..

Published in: on November 25, 2010 at 4:05 pm  Comments (3)  

Bloody Vikings!

You know….I’m getting an awful lot of spam these days.

……..Does that mean that as a blogger, I’ve “arrived”?


Published in: on November 21, 2010 at 3:32 am  Comments (8)  

Doctors’re funnee.

My friend Karl:

“Put THAT on your list and round on it!”

(Sung to the tune of: “Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!”)

Published in: on November 18, 2010 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bad Blogger. No Cookie. (eh? see what I did there? eh? eh?)

We’re to the halfway point of my relatively-easy-month-before-I-dive-back-into-three-months-of-crazy, and I still haven’t added much to my backlog of Actual Interesting Informative Posts to carry us through December-through-February.

I’m a bad blogger.

However, I HAVE been writing on my novel! I’m at 31,000 words! And I’m going to continue to be a bad blogger today and write even more of the novel.

I just wanted to let you know. So you can make sad-puppy faces at me.

How’s your writing going?

Published in: on November 14, 2010 at 5:56 pm  Comments (10)  

Rage. RAGE!

(Warning: profanity utilized to convey extreme emotion. Mom, you might want to skip this one.)

Dear Merck:

A word on your drug rep’s presentation about All Of The Excellent And Wonderful And Useful Resources That Merck Has Lovingly Produced Just For Residents!(tm) (With Donuts!)(tm)

You know what would be an Excellent And Wonderful And Useful Resource?

Antibiotics geared toward gram-negative infections.

You know, so I don’t have to stand by helplessly and watch my patients suffer and die from gram-negative infections.

Shouldn’t your rep’s salary and donut allowance be going to that goal, instead of spending it to hypocritically try and convince me that Merck gives a damn about my medical practice?

One of my patients is dying of said gram-negative infection at this moment, just down the hall from your rep’s smarmy presentation.

And I’ll have to watch it happen.

You won’t, though. You’re going to sit there safe in your corporate headquarters and count the green you save by not putting it into “low-yield” R&D.

And then you’re going to use it to send me yet another drug rep in a sex-sells wardrobe, who will smile in my face and tell me all about How That’s Just Good Business Practice.(tm) (With Donuts!)(tm)

Fuck you, Merck.

Fuck. You.

— Doctor Grasshopper

Published in: on November 12, 2010 at 3:07 am  Comments (20)  

Another Change (for the better?)

So, I think I’ve set it up now so you can more easily share my blog posts with the rest of the interwebzes. There’s a whole mess of buttons at the bottom of the posts, now.

Or at least there should be.

And they should work.

I think.

(ETA: It looks like you can only see them if you actually enter the post itself, rather than reading it on the home page.)

Published in: on November 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm  Comments (1)  

Book Plugs! With Initials!

I rarely have time to read novels anymore.

I know! Isn’t it awful! Doesn’t that just fill your heart with sadness unending, down to the soulless depths of the universe?

can't....contain.....the sadness......

Oh, please don’t cry.

You know, there’s actually something you can do about it!

There is?

There absolutely is!

You can read FOR me!!!

Hooray! Hooray!

But Doctor Grasshopper, what ever shall I read?

Funny you should ask, random southern belle who just happened to be passing by!

I have two fantastic suggestions for you!

N. K. Jemisin already blew me away with her debut novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Epic and personal and complex and powerful…it’s no wonder it made both the Borderlands bestseller list and the Publishers Weekly “Best Books Of 2010.’

And now, (joyful, joyful!) there’s a sequel!

I’ll bet you’ve noticed by now that sequels are tricky things. They’re rarely ever as good as the first book. But Jemisin has absolutely found the cure for the common sequel.

Though Book Two of the Inheritance Trilogy is set in the same world, at the same point in the story where Book One left off, Jemisin made the genius move of relegating most of the major players from Book One to the background. They’re still there, and still players, but you see them from a COMPLETELY new perspective. The main character becomes a distant and mysterious entity. Characters you’ve fallen in love with turn cold and terrifying. Characters you hated down to the seed of your soul start to stir the first feelings of sympathy. And there are new characters to love, and discover, and hate. It’s an unbelievable feat of storytelling, and a brilliant choice for Book Two.

As if that wasn’t enough, The Broken Kingdoms treats you to yet another shift in perspective as well. Book Two is set outside of the palace of Sky. And that means we get to see the effects of the second Gods’ War on the world that Jemisin has created. We get to see day-to-day people adapting to the sudden shift in their palpable theology (it’s not like they could ignore it), and resignedly rearranging their cities and their lives around the new order.

This is a series for people who like their gods powerful and unpredictable, their stories complex and chewy, their worlds beyond rich, and their romances steamy.

Look for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms on the ballot for Best Debut Novel (you KNOW it’s going to be there!), and look for The Broken Kingdoms in your bookstores and on your friendly local interwebz.

M. K. Hobson is one of my absolute favorite short story authors. I can’t remember reading anything by her that didn’t blow me away.

For an example, go listen to The Hotel Astarte on Podcastle. Seriously. Do it.

I’ll wait.

Wasn’t that amazing?

Holy cow.

So, imagine my delight when I found out she was debuting her own first novel!

I haven’t read Native Star yet, but I heard Hobson read an excerpt recently, and it promises to be fascinating and delightful. I can’t wait to read it!


Some day I’ll manage to get back to the whole reading thing. I hear attending physicians actually have lives or something, at least occasionally.

But even though I have to wait, the good news is that you don’t!

Go grab a copy of both of these, and send me some vicarious reading-generated happy vibes!

THIS happy.


Published in: on November 9, 2010 at 2:58 am  Comments (4)  

Tricks of the Trade: Neurology

This cracked me up:

So, one of the parts of a neurological assessment (making sure people’s brains and nerves are working right) is getting people to move their eyes in certain ways, because different eye muscles are controlled by different cranial nerves.

(If they have a problem moving their eyes in a certain way, you can deduce from the pattern of movement which nerves are having problems, and use that information even to help determine the location of a lesion in a person’s brain!)

To do this part of the assessment, usually you just tell the person to watch your finger as you move it around in a particular pattern.

But some patients are hard to assess in this way, if they’re demented (medical definition, people!) or have some kind of altered mental status or whatever.

So how do you get a patient to move their eyes in a particular pattern if they can’t follow directions? Fingers aren’t inherently interesting, and even someone who initially follows the movement of your hand just because it’s moving will get bored and look away before you’re done with the full assessment.

But interestingly, it turns out that there’s something that even patients with altered mental status pay close attention to….


Yes, that’s right.

To get a person who doesn’t understand that they’re supposed to be looking at your hand to actually look at your hand, just pull out a twenty. And then move the twenty in the appropriate pattern. They’ll track it. And they’ll track it until the end of the exam. Even when they wouldn’t track anything else.

I just used this trick yesterday, immediately after my resident told me about it, on my own minimally-interactive dementia patient. Why? Equal parts disbelief and delight. I had to try it out.

And guess what?

It works!!!


Published in: on November 7, 2010 at 3:46 am  Comments (4)  

I Have An Announcement To Make

I am actually Judith Griggs.

How To Kill Your Imaginary Friends: Brought to you by Cooks Source Magazine.

Published in: on November 5, 2010 at 4:14 am  Comments (5)  
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