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Unintentional Eavesdropping

January 13, 2016

Guys, I had a WEIRD experience while taking Fox to the doctor today. (He’s fine BTW, just a little virus.) I keep running over this scenario in my head wondering if I did the right or wrong thing.

Basically, we walk into the doctor’s office which is a massive facility split rigidly between departments. We were in pediatrics which is nowhere near any other department. The waiting room was empty except for one woman sitting silent in a chair. We went and sat down in the same area but about 10 seats away from her. She immediately stood up and sat directly behind me (close enough where her hair was brushing into mine). She then answers a phone call and a heartbreaking dialogue begins:

Hi doctor.
I’m fine.
So I will need brain surgery?
I’m okay, I was just hoping I wouldn’t need it. I’m just waiting for the doctor to see me. My husband will be here soon.
How long will I need to be in the hospital? Three weeks? Oh my God.
*Begins to sniffle*
So what’s my life expectancy after the surgery? One year? Is it even worth it for me to go through with this?
No I’m fine. We’ll talk later. Thank you.

So at this point there are a million things playing out in my head. Do I comfort her? Do I go get a nurse? Do I ignore it and let her have her moment?

As all those thoughts ran through my head the nurse called us back. I took a glance back and the woman who would be sitting back to the door we went through and she craned her neck to make eye contact with me.

I grappled with whether or not to tell the nurse until something dawned on me. Was this woman faking it?

Before you think I’m a total jerk hear me out:

  • Why is she waiting in a sick kids pediatrics office for a brain surgeon?
  • Why were we seen before her when we showed up after and there’s no one else there?
  • Why did she intentionally move to have this exceptionally loud, awkward conversation directly next to us?
  • Why didn’t her phone ring or vibrate? And why couldn’t I hear the voice on the other end?
  • Why did she repeat the answer to every single question she asked?
  • Why would a doctor give her life expectancy over the phone?
  • Why did she make sure to make eye contact with me after the fact?

Well it got even more weird. The doctor’s visit lasted roughly 20 minutes. Fox had some broken capillaries in his face and the doctor mentioned that she was a bit concerned that it may be caused by low red blood cell count so off we went to have his blood taken. Another 20 minutes and we’re back with the pediatrician. Still in the waiting room. Another 15 minutes and we’re released. And every time we went through the waiting room she was still there waiting on a doctor, swapping seats to sit near another person and have this loud conversation!

I feel bad even thinking that she was being dishonest about something so huge, but I just can’t make sense of it all.

What would you do in my situation? Would you have talked to her, talked to a nurse, or ignored it altogether? Are you suspicious of this behavior? I’m so curious what everyone else thinks.

P.S. Adding a random cute photo of little Fox to the header because why not?


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  • Reply Rachelle Waldon January 13, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Yikes! There’s a lot about this that just doesn’t sound right. Plus, I feel like if your gut told you something might be off about the situation it probably was correct. What a strange experience, and what a weird thing to fake if that’s what she was doing.

    • Reply Sarabeth McElhaney January 13, 2016 at 8:08 pm

      I know! The major thing I focused on was that she would reposition her place in the waiting room every time we went through and have the exact same phone call. Regardless of her situation, the woman needs someone to talk to and I feel badly that I didn’t speak up.
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  • Reply Samantha Jo January 14, 2016 at 5:56 am

    How odd.. I don’t know what I would have done! If she’s not faking it, it definitely seems like she was waiting for someone to talk to about it, but why choose a pediatrician’s waiting room? It’s so sad that you can’t trust people these days. But no worries – I don’t think anyone would blame you for not saying anything! Hopefully she’ll get the help she needs and won’t be there the next time you take Fox for a check-up! (How cute is he, by the way!?)

  • Reply wholehealedandhappy January 15, 2016 at 12:42 am

    This is such a strange situation. I probably would have done the same thing. It sounds like she is either faking or in desperate need of counselling… for which a stranger in a waiting room with a baby is not a the best option. It does seem strange that staff didn’t notice her seat jumping and confront her though. Poppy xx
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  • Reply Dominique January 16, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Very weird. I’m no help, though, I would have just stayed quiet too! If she is sick, I hope she gets the correct treatment to help her!
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