Monday 30 March 2015


Stupid doctors.  Stupid lawyers.  Stupid patients.  Stupid paramedics.  Stupid nurses.  Stupid me.  There aren't many people I haven't appropriately abused here, but unfortunately there is one group that has been badly overlooked.  That, however, is about to change.

I'm referring to stupid hospital administrators.

If you think doctors and nurses run hospitals, you'd be sadly mistaken; we have almost no input into the day-to-day workings of the hospital.  Those details are left up to businessmen and businesswomen who supposedly know how these massive undertakings are supposed to work so that the people who actually treat patients can do their jobs.  That said, having been in this business for several decades, I've seen exactly ZERO hospitals that I could say are well-run.  Well, I could say it, but I would be lying my ass off.

Why, you ask?  Well sit back and let me tell you a tale of woe.

Other than my family, one of my few pleasures in life is sitting down and enjoying an ice-cold Coca Cola.  Although I know there are better options (YES I FUCKING KNOW COKE IS BAD FOR ME), every now and then I still treat myself.  There's nothing quite so satisfying as the sharp, cold bubbles tickling my tongue as the phosphoric acid erodes my tooth enamel and guarantees me a retirement of dentures.  Yes, I've tried the lite/diet options, to no avail.  Sure there's less sugar, but the artificial sweeteners leave a noxious (almost metallic) aftertaste in my mouth that completely defeats the purpose.

As an aside, I can't stand purposeful misspellings like "lite".  And if "lite" isn't bad enough, "Xtreme" and "kwik" make me irritated enough to want to kick a hole in the wall.  I find these intentional misspellings as disagreeable as the aspartame aftertaste and almost as awful as Iggy Azalea's "music".

As I was saying, fortunately both of my hospitals have Coke in their respective doctors' lounges.  Every so often I will indulge, though somehow drinking an artificially-coloured carbonated drink makes me feel guilty, like I'm breaking the law.

Now I don't know exactly what's going on in my two hospital, but though they are miles/kilometers apart and share no hospital administrators in common, they seem to be engaged in a vast anti-soda (and thus an anti-Doc) conspiracy.

As I was enjoying a rare Coke between treating idiots trauma patients several months ago, one of my colleagues approached me and laughed, "You better enjoy that while you can, Doc (not your real name©)."

"Why?  Are they getting rid of it?" I asked jokingly.

"Oh, didn't you hear?", he replied.  "They are doing away with the sugary drinks and replacing them with flavoured water."

Wh . . . wh . . . wh . . . what?  Can they even do that?

I checked into it, and indeed, apparently in an effort to make the staff healthier, the hospital administrators thought it would be a wonderful idea to get rid of all the regular soda.  For all intents and purposes they are telling us doctors, who are all grown adults last I checked, what we can (and more to the point can't) drink.  And somehow they feel that flavoured water (with various artificial sweeteners like sucralose) would be a better option for us. 

I sat there silently fuming and mourning at the same time while finishing what likely would be one of my last Cokes ever at that hospital.  Then I realised I was acting like a spoiled brat, so I put on my big boy underpants and made my way to my other hospital to make rounds.  Still fuming.

Oh, and before anyone mentions it, yes I realise this falls directly under the category of "First World Problems", but I think working 100 hours a week entitles me to a free soda every now and then.  So shut it.

Anyway, where was I?  Oh right, on my way to Hospital #2.  When I got there, I decided to spite the first hospital's administrators by having a second soda.  Ha!  Two in one day!  Take that, assholes!

I went directly to the doctor's lounge and walked straight to the refrigerator, seeking my spoils.  And what greeted me was . . . this:

Wha . . . wha . . . 

It was a tiny can of Coke.  A tiny can!  What the fucking fuck?  And as small as it actually was (about 2/3 the size of a normal can), what my mind saw was this:

I didn't even know this crap existed!  It's just like Coke, only . . . less!  Who the hell buys this?  And why?  Who wants less of something?

My ire arose once again, but this time I didn't let it get the better of me.  I fumed again for a brief moment as I considered my worsening First World Problem, and then I came up with a perfect solution.

I drank two of them.

Fuck you, administrators.


  1. 3 cokes in one day? What a rebel! :)
    Seriously, I'm with you on the delicious beauty of an ice-cold coca cola (especially on a hot summer day, for me). Ours keep messing with the food in the cafeteria, like it's their business what I decide to eat. You would think their priority would be to make the food at least somewhat edible...


  2. The facility I work at just flipped the staff cafeteria prices to make water cheaper and everything sugary/caffeinated twice as expense (right after moving everyone onto 12 hour shifts). Can't help but notice the employee gym is still $90 a month though :)

    1. This makes me happy that soda (out of the fountain) and coffee are free for employees where I work. At least on night shift, I have heard rumors that day shift has to pay for that stuff.

  3. I too once enjoyed the luxury of free sodas. Then they decided it would be better to put them in a vending machine. I suppose it worked out better anyway, if I was going to pay for a delicious serving of diabetes, I'd just walk across the street and get Starbucks. Which is exactly what I did.

    Did you know they sell extra large cans?


  4. I had a really bad day today. I read this article 3 times. Maybe 4 i laughed so hard. I needed that. Thankyou doc

  5. This happened at my hospital as well, only they got rid of every drink with more than 20 grams of sugar per serving. I usually treat myself to a sweet tea every now again, normally, I only drink water. My ire was severe when everything was replaced with artificial sweetener varieties. That aftertaste is awful!

  6. Haven't there been tons of studies that show diet sodas are less healthy for you than regular?

    1. Yeah. Your body doesn't understand how to digest artificial sweeteners and it gets stored as fat. But ignoring that, it spikes your blood sugar, and causes it to crash to low blood sugar, so you get hungry to raise it back up. Meaning, you eat more on diet drinks because they make you hungry quicker.

      Just like low fat and diet foods are worse than the regular kind. Sugar might be bad for you, but at least your body knows how to digest and store it as fat that's easier to get rid of.

      I could be talking out my ass, so someone correct me if I'm wrong on this.

    2. I've also been told the artificial sweeteners don't fool the brain into thinking they're sugar, and the brain craves sugar as a result.

  7. Coke IS flavored water. (though I am one of those people who jumped ship to Pepsi during the New Coke debacle)

  8. When I switched from regular Pepsi to Diet, it took a while to adjust to the aftertaste. Now, though, regular Pepsi feels heavy/thick when I drink it.

    Oddly, at one point when I'd been drinking diet pepsi for a few years already, a change of medication (I think it was an anti-depressant a doctor was trying on me, possibly welbutrin) reset my taste buds somehow and the aftertaste came back, requiring a new adjustment period.

  9. My doc told me soda was bad for me. I told her I drink caffeine-free diet coke. (I'm diabetic with easily-provoked insomnia.)
    But, she said, the artificial colors and chemicals are still bad for you. Drink bottled water. And put in those sugar-free flavorings.
    I asked, Aren't those (Mio, etc.) full of the same artificial colors and chemicals???
    Her response: Sodas are bad for you.
    And that's one of the reasons she's not my GP any more.

  10. Hahaha, it's an absolutely universal chant at every goddam hospital in the world, I think it echoes across the galaxies :"FUCK YOU ADMINISTRATORS". Death by clipboard, I'd rather have the plague...

  11. My prediction for 20 years time: Artificial sweeteners will be banned and sugar will be back in.

    It's not that I think that sugar is good for you but, as a commenter above said, your body is perfectly adapted to handle it. Indeed your body will break down protein to make sugar if you don't have any carbohydrate to work on.

    Artificial sweeteners, however, provoke responses that your body is not adapted for - they are essentially a sweetness drug and, much as I believe modern pharmaceuticals are amazing, they all have side-effects of one sort or another. For a drug this is necessary and you generally take them for a short while to provide a benefit which has been studied to be greater than the side-effects. With sweeteners there is no benefit (save perhaps eating less sugar, which is debatable and only an issue if you eat too much in the first place) and you are eating them every day for years on end. The side effects will add up and people are starting to notice.

    Sugar is the butter of the 2010's - 30 years ago we were all told that the sat-fat in butter would give us high cholesterol & heart disease and nice gently hydrogenated vegetable oil (margarine) was much better. We now learn that the evidence for this was very slim and the trans-fats in hydrogenated oils are actually much worse than the saturated fat was originally.

    It's not that excessive butter is good for you - just that the artificial substitutes are actually worse.

    Give it 20 years (although 10 may be enough) and the same will be found of sugar. Moderate sugar consumption (especially glucose*) will be back in and sweeteners will be out.

    I heard a TV chef once say "Never eat anything invented in the last 100 years" and while I don't entirely believe in setting food policy on the saying of celebrity chefs, I think he may have a point - it takes a while to compile evidence on the small effects of eating new foods for years on end.

    I just wonder what will be next on the food policy merry-go-round.


    * Fructose (which makes up half of table sugar and lots of high-fructose syrup) is perhaps more debatable than glucose. There seems to be some evidence that it's processed by the liver into visceral fat, which we think is bad. Personally I think humans are too well adapted for eating fruit for this to be a major issue but that's only speculation.

    1. the best health advice is to tame your sweet tooth. an occasional treat does little to no harm, and is more appreciated than a steady diet of sugar. our biggest issue with sugar is that for many people, it is treated like a food group.

    2. I might perhaps maintain that the best health advice is "don't juggle cobras", but I agree; "eat less sweet stuff" is a much better plan than "switch sweetener for sugar".

    3. The problem is people don't want to be told that health is a complete lifestyle change. They want a magic quick fix. You can't just switch your soda for diet and continue living a sedentary lifestyle and eating the same junk food if you want to be healthy.

      Granted I'm in no position to judge, I love being lazy and eating junk food. But switching out my cookies for "gluten free" ones isn't going to do a damn thing for me.

      (Actually, I'm healthy not by choice now. I have to walk my toddler to the park or I'll be up all night, and I have to cook healthy meals for a proper diet, and it's either eat the same stuff as my kid or make a separate junk meal for me. I'm not that dedicated to eating crap. I suspect I'll be "stuck" living a better lifestyle to set a good example.)

  12. I didn't even know this crap existed! It's just like Coke, only . . . less! Who the hell buys this? And why? Who wants less of something?

    Coke shareholder:

    310ml can of coke at the local store, 1.29$

    355ml can of pepsi at the local store, 1.29$

    Price of canning machines at coke inc. / number of 310ml can sold === laughing all the way to the bank.



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