A Glossary of Personalities, Places, Terms and Acronyms Found in the World of Dr. Cranky

If you have been following the adventures of your intrepid author, you have probably noticed that certain words appear underlined and in a boldface font like this.  Why on earth, you might ask, has Dr. Cranky done this?  Has he stopped taking his psychotropic medications again?  Maybe he has worked one too many night shifts in a row?  Perhaps it’s a metaphor for the boldness of spirit he once possessed as a young man, which has since been crushed into dust by the realities of modern medical practice?  No, I’m afraid the answer is much more mundane.

You see, the world of Dr. Cranky is a complicated and cluttered place.  It’s quite untidy, really.  So it was the idea of Mrs. Cranky (who is not at all cranky herself) that you, dear reader, might benefit by having a program.  The world of Dr. Cranky is like a demented sports event, and you can’t tell the players from each other without a program.  So, as a public service, Dr. Cranky has put together the following glossary of personalities, places, terms and acronyms of people and things which are found in his world.  As he chronicles his adventures throughout time and space he shall return to this post and update the glossary. He will also try to link the emboldened words to return back here so that you, gentle reader, might know just who or what he is talking about.  He’ll link the words, that is, if he can ever figure out the intricacies of HTML.

The Big C:  Dr. Cranky’s former Emergency Medicine Residency Program Director.  He is the source of much of Dr. Cranky’s medical knowledge, which is both good and true.  A giant of a man in body and spirit, The Big C took pity on a young Dr. Cranky after he had been horribly abused in a prior residency program by Gilda, The Wicked Bi*ch of the East and granted him admittance to the hallowed halls of Emergency Medicine.  During arduous training which would have made Yoda himself proud, a process that  included the performance of numerous sacred rituals, The Big C passed on to Dr. Cranky many of the great secrets of medical practice both common and arcane. Even after twenty years Dr. Cranky thinks of the Big C often and with great affection. Wherever he may be, rest assured that your host is always there, even if only in spirit.

Big City, USA:   A large metropolitan area located somewhere within the boundaries of the continental United States.  Dr. Cranky will give no other details concerning its location, size or characteristics because, as Number 2 would always say to Number 6 at the beginning of the 1960’s British TV show The Prisoner, “that would be telling.”

BCMC :  Big City Miracle Center. A large teaching hospital located in Big City, USABCMC is a nationally recognized and well-respected institution of medical care which has pulled Dr. Cranky’s fanny out of the fire on more than one occasion.  This is the place where the Pros from Dover perform their medical magic.

Mrs. Cranky (who is not at all cranky herself):   Long-suffering spouse of Dr. Cranky and the source of what little mental stability he has left.  A woman of infinite patience, she must endure Dr. Cranky’s rants on a daily basis.  She has specifically requested of Dr. Cranky that he remind his readers she is of a good disposition and not at all cranky herself.

The Cranky Daughter:   The apple of Dr. Cranky’s eye.  Currently a medical student, she appears to have inherited an excessive amount of Dr. Cranky’s genetic material and has developed a similar taste in food.  She is also in possession of Dr. Cranky’s dry wit and twisted sense of humor.  If you should examine her little finger carefully, you will find your host wrapped tightly around it.  One of her great goals in life is to someday own two wiener dogs, who she intends to name Lenny and Briscoe.

The Cranky Son:  Strapping young scion and worthy bearer of the Cranky family name. This impressive stripling has demonstrated evidence that he too has inherited the Cranky Gene.  The Cranky Son is quite bright and is of sterling character.  Your earnest author is of the belief that this progeny may very well be smarter than he could ever hope to be.  It is necessary to keep this a secret, however, because if it ever became known the Cranky Son might never clean up his room.

The Cranky Dog (Sparky the Wonder Lab):   Aging perpetual motion machine and official protector of the Cranky Estate.  The Cranky Dog is always at the door to greet Dr. Cranky after a hard shift’s work, even at 2:30 AM.  Although it is unlikely he could scare away any burglars who might approach stately Cranky Manor, he would most certainly sniff them to death or beat them senseless with his continuously wagging tail.

The Devil’s Henchmen:   Various purveyors of the legal dark arts.  There many names for these weevils:  shysters, ambulance-chasers, pettifoggers and a host of other appellations which Dr. Cranky doesn’t believe to be appropriate for his blog.  Your host realizes there are many fine and honest solicitors and he admires them greatly.  A Devil’s Henchman is different in that he a venal creature who feeds off human suffering for his own profit.  He is the sort of person everyone claims to despise.  Until, that is, they want something and think a henchman is just the person to go and get it for them.

Dr. G:  A diminutive and follicly-challenged man, Dr. G was an attending physician at Hot Sh*t Medical Center, the internationally renowned institution where Dr. Cranky performed his non-emergency medical internship.  A humorless and malicious martinet, he is notorious among those who have had to endure him during their training.  It is said that Satan himself has a special place reserved for him in the ninth circle of Hell, as his assistant.

FTD:   Fixin’ To Die.  Describes a patient who is about to do his best to try and shuffle off this mortal coil, depart this veil of tears, and go to meet his Maker.

F*cking Frank Flannigan:  Dr. Cranky’s Chief Resident during his Emergency Medicine Residency.  By the tender age of twenty-eight, Frank had already forgotten more medical knowledge than your humble servant could ever hope to learn.  A brilliant clinician, he achieved his moniker when dealing with an especially unruly patient who had not received the narcotics prescription she desired.  Without pause, and in front of the entire Department, Frank looked this patient square in the eye and calmly uttered the immortal words “Lady, this ain’t f*cking Burger King. You can’t have it your way.”

Gilda, The Wicked Bi*ch of the East :  The Residency Program Director who abused Dr. Cranky and his fellow interns during a prior, non-Emergency Medicine Residency. A wizened crone with no sense of human compassion or understanding, her actions almost pushed the young Dr. Cranky to the depths of depression, despair and divorce from Mrs. Cranky (who is not at all cranky herself).  She is the antithesis of The Big C.  No further details shall be forthcoming as the memories of this harpy are too painful for Dr. Cranky to contemplate.

Harvest Time:   See Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff

Hot Sh*t Medical Center:  The internationally renowned institution where Dr. Cranky performed his non-emergency medical internship.  It was a miserable place, rife with abuse, arrogance and antipathy from the attending staff.  Although he managed to survive its malignant clutches, your earnest host still bears the psychological scars this so-called institution of higher learning inflicted on him.  Home of the notorious Dr. G and Gilda, the Wicked B*tch of the East.

Magnus:   The Cranky Daughter’s boyfriend.  Dr. Cranky thanks God each night that his daughter has chosen this fine young man to have a relationship with.  A graduate student of exceptional ability, Magnus is an intelligent, studious, hard-working and ambitious fellow with a good head on his shoulders.  That, and the fact that he is not Stig, lead drummer for that indie band The Scum Monkeys.

Pros from Dover:   Men and women of American medicine who staff BCMC and other institutions of higher medical practice.  These are academic physicians of great skill in their practice of the medical and surgical arts.  Dr. Cranky stands in awe of these Zen Masters and hopes to be just like them once he decides to grow up.  This will take place after he realizes his childhood dream of becoming Adam Bricker, the doctor on The Love Boat.

Sacred Rituals:  A generic term used to describe various procedures which Dr. Cranky must perform on people who may, or may not be, FTD.  Such procedures may include (but are not limited to) rapid-sequence intubation, moderate sedation, central line placement, thoracentesis, lumbar punctures and so on.  Knowledge of the sacred rituals was passed on to Dr. Cranky by none other than The Big C himself.

Sweet Sandra:  A nurse of African-American heritage and one of Dr. Cranky’s favorite people to work with.  Sandra has been known on rare occasions to, in her own words, “get ghetto” on abusive people in the Department.  In one famous example, an argumentative patient punched this young firecracker in the face and was promptly “taken to ground.”  Dr. Cranky would have paid good money to see this.

Shadow Doctors:  Also known in medical circles as Radiologists.  These are physicians who live in dark cubbyholes deep within the bowels of every hospital across America and make their livelihoods by introducing patients to various forms of hazardous radiant energy. They then interpret the pretty pictures which result from the interaction this energy makes with human flesh.  Sometimes they will play with a patient’s molecular structure via a process known as Magnetic Resonance Imaging.  These are men and women with whom Dr. Cranky has a love/hate relationship because shadow doctors, although essential to modern medical practice, are known to equivocate greatly in the interpretation of their pretty pictures.  When speaking with these doctors of the dark, never forget that, “clinical correlation is advised.”

Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff (also known as Harvest Time):  This is the almost impossible task of trying to differentiate a patient’s worries from symptoms of actual disease and is a sad reality of modern medical practice.  Many patients are worried about some horrible malady they saw on the news, a television show or read about on the internet and, like, you know, they have all those horrible symptoms and they just KNOW they have that horrible disease and will die a horrible death and EVERYTHING!!!  These patients are also known as The Worried Well.

The Worried Well:  A person from whom Dr. Cranky must sometimes sort the wheat from the chaff.  The worried well are people who are young and healthy, but overly concerned about some vague physical sensation they had at some time in their lives.  In this modern information age such people will inevitably go on the internet to read all about it.  Alternatively, they may engage some “designated medical expert” of their family.  In either case they will be advised that, even though such symptoms happened two years ago, they must go to the Emergency Department immediately or they might drop dead right then and there – especially at 3 o’clock in the morning!

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