Mrs. G. has been seeing the same psychiatrist for nearly ten years. He doesn't do psychoanalysis or cognitive therapy; he does drugs. He's a psycho-pharmacologist, his specialty is doling out the necessary drugs to keep people off the crazy train. Mrs. G. goes and sees him every three months for a no frills, expeditious fifteen minute appointment.

Mrs. G's Doctor knows his stuff. He's helpful and matter of fact. He's a nice guy and Mrs. G. likes him fine.

But he talks too much. About himself. And himself.

Their appointments generally go like this:

Mrs. G. walks into his office and sits down in an upholstered chair. He asks her how she is doing, and she says she is fine. This usually takes about 22 seconds. He sits down in his leather chair and spends the next thirteen minutes talking about anything remarkable that is going on in his life. During the last minute and 38 seconds of the appointment he writes out Mrs. G's prescriptions and tells her that he will see her in another three months. Then Mrs. G. walks to her car.

And this is how it's gone year after year— for a decade.

Here are some things Mrs. G. knows about her doctor:


Her are some things her doctor knows about her:


At least, at the very least, he knows her name. She'll take that

Oh the hoops she will jump throught to stay on an even keel.

Mrs. G. went in yesterday morning for her quarterly appointment. As per usual, Mrs. G. went into her doctor's office, listened to him rattle on about his upcoming trip to Whistler and all the places he likes to eat when he is there and got her prescription. As he was walking her to the door, he patted her on the back and said, Merry Christmas Helen.

Hold up. Who's Helen?


For some reason this tickled her. She shook her head all the way to her car.

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Reader Comments (121)

call me ...crazy.... but I say so long as "Helen" can get "Heather's" Stuff.... heck.... Shirley, Helen, Madge.... so long as the train keeps a rollin, am i right?!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterarwen

Have you considered charging him for the 13 minutes of listening therapy you give each quarter? You could make a mint!
Glad you saw the funny side!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGaynor

No no nonono! Really? Nooo. This made me laugh so much in an appalled way.

But the sweet, delicious meds are worth it, aren't they. I put up with all sorts of indignity (waiting room of doom, naggings about getting smear test, and even weighing) to get my happy pills. And mine makes me come every two months. Cruel!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJaywalker

LOL! Oh no! too funny... agree with Gaynor - charge him!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterParul

Happy happy joy joy.

Merry Christmas Mrs. G!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStrange Pilgram

He sounds lovely. :)

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterelliesmadre

You don't even look like a Helen. Don't feel too bad, my therapist, who actually does listen to me talk, called me Laurie last week. Maybe it's the holidays.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary Alice

I just hope the pills he gave you were for Heather, not Helen. Because Helen may be on some serious Hallucinogenic stuff.

Could be fun.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterM

Oh Mrs. G, I think it's time for a new doctor...

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTara

LOL... I think he may be over dipping into the meds himself!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Not to sound harsh, HELEN, but it might be time to seek out another psychiatrist! Strikes me that your name is kind of the absolute minimum that he should be required to know, ya know?

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjenn

Dear Helen,
Don't you love it when life hands you a reality check?
I have a friend who father has not been able to get my name right for 26 years- I will always be Marilyn to him.
And at almost 90- why should I try to tell him different?
Then again he is not giving me meds......keep laughing it's what gets you through the day.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercookingwithgas

HEATHER!!!!!!!! Oh yay, your name is Heather.
If I was your doctor? I would keep my stinking mouth shut when it comes to bragging about doing rich people stuff like blowing money on Stones tickets or ski vacations. Sorry, in my book that qualifies as sh!thead.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGary Rith Pottery Blog

Obviously there will be strong views on the quality of the care you are getting.

All I know is that time and time again this year you have made me laugh.

I am so grateful for that - Merry Christmas dear Mrs G and a wonderful 2009...

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBlue Mountains Mary

I think I would find a doctor who could give me the meds AND who gave enough of a crap about me to get my name right after nearly ten years. I agree with everyone else who says send the jerk a bill for the 13 minutes. Merry Christmas Heather:>)

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen Grace

I guess that's why I happily drive over 45 minutes each way to see our family doctor, instead of looking for a new one who is closer. She know our names, all kinds of things about us, knows my sister and her family (who are also patients) and she never makes us feel rushed. But hey, as long as you got what you needed!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBadness Jones

*much laughter here in Jenworld*

Happy Friday Helen.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJen on the Edge

heh heh... whatever it takes to get the goods I guess.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Blue Ridge Gal

Call me crazy, but as long as YOUR name is on the Rx....

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine Aucoin

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJacque

Yikes! Somehow I find this slightly disturbing. But then again, I am the one who considered changing doctors over a lost urine specimen... Love the "exposé" on the Doc!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter~annie

Hell my Doc could call me Derfwad for all I care. Just give me my pills!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

If I could find a doctor that could give me some happy pills right now, he could call me Sally, Bob, Mary, Larry, whatever.

But yeah, if he's going to bore you with his life story, he could at least have the curtesy to know your name!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKelley

Maybe you could start sending stand-ins. Mix people up. Pay them to say "really doctor, it's me, Helen"!

I would pay to see that!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAG

My pet peeve is that I have to REMIND my primary doctor about the medications they put me on and the pertinent facts of my medical history each time I visit. Why can't doctors glance through a patient's records before they start the visit? At the very least it might remind them of the patient's NAME.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGigi

My pshrink was like that. I stopped seeing her after two years because I got very tired of paying $125 out of pocket to hear about her life.

Now my OB/GYN prescribes, and I only have to show up once a year.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterhokgardner

I'm going to go out on a limb here...I'll bet cold hard cash your Doc has told you some of those stories more than once in the last ten years.

Am I right? Helen? Am I?

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commentereurolush

Ok Dr. Helen, how does it feel to be your shrinks shrink? At least you got your script and if it works, I guess it's worth listening to one more person's dribble. He should get a blog! Then maybe he'd have less words and be able to listen to his patients.


December 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthedomesticfringe

ha ha tooo funny

My therapist looks EXACTLY like Reese Witherspoon. They could be identical twins. She says everyone tells her that, all the time. So I call her Reese, and come to think of it, now I've forgotten her real name. LOL

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShelby

People who are as self-absorbed as your doctor have too much going on to remember something as trivial as a name. :) Glad you got your pills anyway.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterapathy lounge

I just got nervous that maybe he gave you a prescription for another patient named Helen.

Glad you got a chuckle out of it!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStarshine

Aaaah, Mrs G, you deserve a much needed trip to Mexico, where the drugs are over the counter with a "prescription"... I think you'd actually spend less money on the trip and the drugs than what you've spent in the last 10 years on that cheese weenie- in my humble opinion =o)

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLaDue & Crew

This reminds me of the gynecologist who used to compliment me on my shoes every time I came in for an appointment. I suppose after looking at hoo-hoo's all day that a nice pair of shoes was a refreshing change of pace..

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLee

My experience states that most people who go into the field of psychiatry do it for a reason.

Who does he write the script to anyway?

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterManic Mommy

Well, I'm glad you saw the humor. Cuz I would have been TICKED!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTracey

There was a funny story in one of the Cynthia Kaplan books about her therapist - you'd enjoy it.

I think if I couldn't find a way to laugh about things, I would have to die. Do the pills work better than laughing, or are they for when you can't laugh?

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSuburbanCorrespondent

M's comment - "I just hope the pills he gave you were for Heather, not Helen. Because Helen may be on some serious Hallucinogenic stuff."

Was the BEST!

Regarless of who he thinks you are, it's who you really are that counts...

How deep is THAT?!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTL

LOL! I think illegal drug dealers know more about their customers.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBalou

Sounds like that "Better living through chemistry." thing works both ways.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbrightside-susan

So, launch a few ships.
You know, you may be lucky at that. My prescription writing MD keeps trying new stuff out on me and taking away the drug I am used to and do well with. He's a pain.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary G

That's funny, but only because of your sense of humor about things. I don't think I could have put up with the man for 10 matter what pills he gave me.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteronebrick

Well, since you could laugh it off I'd say the meds are doing their job.

(Seriously, Helen, have you been to Whistler? It's fabulous. I wonder if The Savage Beagle is still open...)

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKCB

Maybe I could sneak in pretending to be you and get some meds for myself! He'd never notice. Except that my gyno keeps me off the crazy train (mostly) by writing me a Zoloft and Xanax prescription every year.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAll Adither

I think I would have replied, "Thank you, MR. _____." (Docs get a little fussy about being called Mister.)

I had an employer who mispronounced my name for three years even after numerous attempts at correction. My current employer only learned to spell my name a few years ago. I've worked for him for ten.

I don't take it personally. And I love the name Helen.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShe She

That's awesome. Helen. Merry Christmas!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKeetha

That's perfect. But that's how I always felt with my psych, like just give me the pills and let me out of here already! We don't need to chat at all!

(I think she knew my name, though).

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

Oh Helen, I hope he at least gives you good pills.

I'm glad you could find the humor in it.

(My first therapist - many moons ago - used to doze off during our sessions. Very therapeutic, indeed.)

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Milton

Whatever it takes to get you through the day...My doctor could call me Adolf as long as I get my pills;)

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMental P Mama

You go, Helen!

I highly recommend group therapy. Everything in your life will look so *easy* by comparison.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDeirdre

I read some study a while back about the emormous percentage of time that doctors spend talking about themselves during patients' appointments....I don't remember the exact percentage, but it's huge! As a former clinical pyschotherapist i could have been written up on some ethics violations if I talked too much about me personal life!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

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