Awkward Moment in Psychiatrist’s Waiting Room

So I have a funny dilemma in the psychiatrist's waiting room...what would YOU have done?  #funny #doctor #patient #kids #parenting #humor

So then…we head off to see the psychiatrist because…


because we live in CALIFORNIA

and as soon as you move to this state, you’re automatically issued a shrink, personal trainer, eyebrow waxer, and dog whisperer.

Doesn’t even matter if you have a dog – or eyebrows – these folks just show up as soon as you cross the state line.

So we’re off to see the psychiatrist because “we got issues, ya’ll!” – (and there ain’t nothin’ wrong wit’ that!)

Our appointment is at 6:00 pm, so the waiting room is deserted.

And in fact, as soon as the receptionist signs us in — she tells us the doctor will be with us in a moment, then picks up her purse and departs for the evening.

So our daughter Chloe, age 10, plops on a chair and starts doing her homework. David and I talk to our son Tucker, age 13, about this new psychiatrist we’re seeing about his ADHD.

The doctor comes out of the hallway door, greets us, then asks us to follow him. We all get up, except Chloe – who plans to stay to finish her homework, which is fine.

But just as we close the door to walk down the hall to the doctor’s office — a man walks into the waiting room and sits down.


I sorta thought we were the last patients of the day – so I assumed it would be OK for Chloe to stay in the waiting room.

So I say to the doctor in the hallway, “Um, someone just came in, so—?”

He says nonchalantly, “Oh, Ted? I’ve been seeing him for years. It’s fine.”  And he continues walking back to his office.

I’m instantly reassured since he uses that same warm tone of voice that you and I would use to describe a beloved friend – like, “Oh, Marge? We’ve been neighbors for years! Best.blueberry.muffins.ever! She’s great!”

But then it hits me.

Wait a minute, I think. You’re not a dentist. Or a barber. You’re a PSYCHIATRIST! If YOU’VE been seeing someone for YEARS, that could mean they have issues with a CAPITAL “I”!

But he’s so casually dismissive when he says that sentence about his psychiatric patient! He’s so cheerful and reassuring

It’s like:

“Oh, Ted? The sweetest arsonist you’ll ever meet. Best.bonfires.ever.


“Oh, Ted? The most skilled kleptomaniac around. You won’t even notice anything’s missing!”


“Oh, Ted? You know – for a meth addict? – very charming. You’ll love him!”

Of course I don’t mean to make light of psychiatric matters – (because, believe me, we got some of our OWN issues up in here!) – but it also doesn’t mean I’m enthusiastic about leaving my daughter with this guy for an hour!

On the other hand, I don’t want to instantly grab my daughter and flee in panic, making the poor guy think I assume he’s a maniac.

And yes, I realize most mental issues aren’t contagious!

Because believe me, when we go to the pediatrician, I have no problem steering clear of that kid who’s hacking and coughing and blowing snot bubbles halfway across the waiting room!

And we don’t sit next to the little girl vigorously scratching her lice cap (next to the mom who’s desperately pretending she has NO idea whose kid that is).

And what the hell are those spots all over that kid? Is it measles? Typhoid fever? Leprosy? The PLAGUE? Look away, look away!!

(Am I a bit neurotic? Um, YEAH – I TOLD you we had some issues up in here!)

So it’s not like I think Chloe’s going to catch some mental disorder while she’s in the waiting room with this patient of unknown diagnosis.

It’s not like: “Yeah, she was fine ‘til that day in the waiting room – but now she only eats blue-colored food and talks to an imaginary giraffe named Sparkles.”

But I don’t like to leave my 10-year-old daughter alone with ANY strangers anyway.  Even if the doctor has given his blessing. Even if I might hurt the feelings of the stranger.

So as soon as we dispense with introductions in the doc’s office, I let David handle the rest of the session with Tucker — and I go join Chloe and our mystery patient in the waiting room.

Ted is perfectly pleasant, of course –

(and if he’s Obsessive-Compulsive, maybe he can triple check Chloe’s math homework…?)

— Darcy Perdu

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(Do you ever worry your kid will get more sick at the pediatrician’s office? Meanwhile, I hope I don’t offend anyone with this story – believe me, we respect the mental health field and our fellow patients – we just find it helps us to maintain a sense of humor about it all! Feel free to share any funny doctor/nurse/patient stories in the Comments!)

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47 replies on “Awkward Moment in Psychiatrist’s Waiting Room

  1. Judy said:

    You know how they have a well baby clinic so babies can get their shots and checkups without being exposed to those who are ill? I think all doctor’s offices should have a well person day for people who have non-contagious things. Just need my prescription renewed! Just need you to prod my kneecap! Just need the old cootch swabbed!

    • Judy! You crack me up!!! When I make my next gyno appointment, I’m gonna use your line: “Just need to get the old cootch swabbed!” Ha!

  2. Of course you’re concerned about leaving your daughter alone in ANY office waiting room. You sound perfectly rational to me, but did you counsel him is the question? hahahaha
    A Pleasant House recently posted..A Union WIth The DevilMy Profile

    • Ha! you know, I SHOULD have! I’m FABULOUS at inserting myself into other people’s business and giving them my BRILLIANT (and unsolicited) advice! :o)

  3. You always make me giggle, Darcy! I didn’t think you sounded insane at all (oops, bad choice of words from me!) to want to keep her safe!-Ashley

  4. Great post because I’ve thought about this before. I’m concerned about germs and contagiousness but mostly I just don’t trust others. Ted could like little girls or boys and I am not about to be that parent that takes that risk because the warm voice says he’s cleared and has the green light. I give the green light and I alone and no one gets it that easy! There are tons of crazy people (not cool crazy like us) that you should keep on the lookout for! Have a great day! -Iva

    • And it was so strange that the psychiatrist seemed perfectly fine to give the green light!
      Not me though! :o)

  5. I would have freaked out too. Doesn’t matter who it is… all that matters is she was alone with a stranger. The psychiatrist element just makes it worse. Glad everything was ok.

    PS. Best. bonfires. ever!!! haha you totally got me with that one!
    Cara Lyn Erickson recently posted..A New BeginningMy Profile

  6. I don’t care who was in the room, I would have been a little freaked out about it. Mother Teresa? Still freaked out. I think it’s pretty normal anymore. Don’t feel bad.
    Jean recently posted..Bl-acationMy Profile

    • ha! totally agree — that Mother Teresa’s a shifty one!

      (may she rest in peace)

  7. Amy said:

    First, I have to say you’re hilarious – saw your blog linked by another I read….glad I came and read the archives – well worth it!

    When reading this one – I put ‘lives in CA’ and the nonchalant ‘I’ve been seeing him for years’…first thought was ‘seeing’…as in ‘other half’….maybe not though…could just be a guy addicted to therapy. :)

    • Ha! Omigosh, I never thought of that! You mean maybe the psychiatrist meant he’s been SEEING him for years as in DATING?

      And maybe they MET because the guy STARTED OUT as his patient! Oh my, it’s gettin’ juicy now!

      I need to write a whole back story for this guy now! Ha!

      • SarahWho? said:

        “I was born many years ago in a tattered circus tent. My mother was the bearded lady and my father had two heads…”
        That a good enough start?

  8. Yep, would have had the same hesitation, no matter what the location or office. You handled it exactly as I would have. In our pediatrician’s office there is a “sick” area and a “well” area, but there’s always some kid hacking a lung in the well area. Plus, it’s an enclosed room with no ventilation. We’re all goin’ down! so funny, as usual, Darcy!

    • oh, I like the idea of the sick area and the well area!
      I laughed at the “hacking a lung” reference! there is always that one kid, for sure!

  9. When my son was about nine months old he grabbed some leaves off a house plant and was happy munching away on them before I could get across the room to tear them hysterically from his pudgy hands. I phoned the poison control and explained that my baby had eaten the leaves of a golden pothos plant. Ingesting the leaves, they informed me, would lead first to coma, then death. You never saw a woman move so fast. My son was strapped in his car seat and driven to the hospital faster than you can say 911! Poor little guy had to have his stomach pumped. It was not a pleasant experience to say the least. Several months later, I took my son in for his one year check up. You can imagine the look on my doctor’s face when he read on the chart that my baby had eaten golden pot!!! Lol. Luckily, we’d had the same doctor for years, so he believed me when I grabbed the file and wrote in large block letters: GOLDEN POTHOS!

    • that’s funny the doc had a shock when the file said your kid ate “golden pot!”
      meanwhile — thank goodness they pumped your child’s stomach and he’s ok!

  10. AinOakPark said:

    Lucky me: my first husband was diagnosed with schizophrenia after six months of marriage. According to his mother, he was fine before he married me, but I guess that is a WHOLE OTHER STORY! Anyway, I was visiting him in the facility caring for him and had to wait in the TV room. The news was on. I am dating myself here, but the news came over the TV that the person who tried to kill President Ford went after her cell mate with a hammer. Without a thought in my head I commented to the person next to me (a patient), “Now THAT’S SICK!” and the patient just looked at me with a drug induced stare and nodded gravely.

    • sorry about your first husband; that’s a tough diagnosis. as for your encounter in the TV room I can see how that would be a little strange!

  11. Well, let me ask you this, if you were in the pediatrician’s office or the dentist’s office, and you were leaving your ten-year-old in a waiting room alone with a stranger, would you feel any more comfortable? Just because the doctor said he’s known him for years? I wouldn’t. I think those days are long gone. Of course, I got my own issues all up in here, too, trust being a super huge one.

    • yep, I’m with you on the trust issue! I’ve sometimes left a kid for a few minutes in the waiting room of the dentist’s office when the two receptionists are there, along with other moms and kids. But this was just one guy and her, so — um, no way.

  12. It’s always nice to find another mom who uses humor to get through the challenges of having a child with “issues.” As a family with a host of them ourselves, I relate. I would have been uncomfortable leaving my daughter or son in a waiting room with a man (or a woman for that matter). I also would have done exactly what you did. :)

  13. Lyn said:

    I would have done the same thing – for the same reason. I would not leave my 10 year old in a room alone with a stranger either. And I don’t live in California! (we have our own version of strange here in Indiana)

    • ha! glad to know Indiana has some “strange” too!

  14. Funniest Psych office conversation – a family member (don’t want to incriminate anyone here) was in the waiting room. In walked these two ladies who sat down and proceeded to have a very loud conversation with each other about bathing. And now I give you this little vision.

    “Yes, I know you bathed last night…but how many times do I need to tell you that you need to wash that possum every morning! You need to scrub that possum good.”

    So there you go. Enjoy.
    The Shitastrophy recently posted..Oh Snap! I Got Two Awards!!My Profile

    • just spit my water out — hilarious!

      I’m learning lots of new phrases — between Judy’s “Just need to get the old cootch swabbed” and your “Need to scrub that possum good!”

      Thanks for the visuals, ladies!!

    • Keyla said:

      HAHA, oh that is too funny.

      My grandmother “whispers” in the doctors office. The problem is that her whisper is louder than my normal speaking voice since she’s mostly deaf and refuses to wear her hearing aids. Well… a heavy-set doctor walked through the waiting room and she whispers to me “Look at that doctor, he’s so fat! How can he tell patients to stay thin and healthy when he’s SO fat? Doctor W, more like Doctor Fat-Ass”. I was mortified. Then ten minutes later we were ushered into a patient room where we were seen by Doctor Fat-Ass.
      I haven’t taken her to the doctor since then. Mortified!

      • That’s hilarious!! AND embarrassing! My favorite kind of story!

  15. What you couldn’t have known about was his diagnosis as a multiple personality patient who also had an evangelical minister, a surfer answering to the name The Dude, and a woman who likes to talk like Fran Drescher all sharing space with the dominant Ted personality in his head.
    William Kendall recently posted..A Day In The Life Of A CatMy Profile

    • Oh my! I think I could handle everything except the Fran Drescher voice! My daughter started watching Nanny reruns in teh summer and I was like — really? REALLY?

      • William Kendall said:

        Yes, an hour with her, and I’d be tearfully begging to be rendered deaf.

  16. LOL at this whole post! If I go in any doctor’s office I always try to stay away from everyone. Living in NYC I also do this on the subways. If I see one person with a cold and coughing I jump out of the car immediately! Hmmm….maybe I need a therapist!
    Phil recently posted..Let’s go ballin’ in Brooklyn! Skee Ball Mania in NYC!My Profile

    • yep — I agree with you on the subway, for sure!
      When I lived in NY, I steered clear of anyone coughing, hacking, drooling — so pretty much everyone on the subway!

  17. “Oh, Ted? You know – for a meth addict? – very charming. You’ll love him!” <<– HILARIOUS!

    I am OCD about germs. Big time. I do not let my daughter out of my arms while we're in the waiting room at the doctor's office. In fact, we were in the ER and the doctor 10 days ago, and I've been rocking a bad case of laryngitis ever since, and I'm convinced it's because I breathed in both places… :(
    Dani Ryan recently posted..Priceless Mom Moments: Just callin’ it as he sees itMy Profile

    • ha! yes, Dani, the key to surviving the germs at the doc’s office is simple: don’t breathe! :o)

  18. “Oh, Ted? The sweetest arsonist you’ll ever meet. Best.bonfires.ever.” <– I continued laughing at this throughout the entire post. HILARIOUS.
    Ashlee recently posted..Teen Mom Turns Mommy BloggerMy Profile

  19. Rather too cautious than ….. I recently took my daughters to our GP. They were both sick so I let them stay in the car and I waited in the waiting room for them. The result was that I got sick as well. Lesson learned, the sick people will from now on be the ones sitting in the waiting room.
    Vivian Pitschlitz recently posted..Asian Ya Ya sisters and other holiday stuffMy Profile

    • perhaps mini-quarantine rooms for EACH patient? :o)

    • Ted seemed like such a nice fellow… but alas…