NOUN: an person awaiting or under medical care and treatment
ADJECTIVE 1: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
2: manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
3: not hasty or impetuous
4: steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity
Being a patient (noun) often requires having patience (a virtue and an adjective.)
Noun or adjective, no one really wants to go through what it takes to be one or have some.
Receiving treatment for a serious medical condition, especially in a hospital, can’t be defined as fun, enjoyable, or easy. Sometimes there’s relief involved, medications administered that temporarily ease some pain or discomfort. But mostly healing takes time and requires enduring unease and pain. The patient waits.
Then there are those other people in the hospital waiting areas, the non-patients, the family members, the friends, the support team. They hope and wait and pray and wait and ask questions. They wait and wait and wait. Sure, they visit and express love and optimism. They wait and cry. They wait and remember. They wait and think positive. They wait for the day the patient can come home and life can return to normal.
My favorite patient is my Mom. She is the ultimate patient person, putting up with all of us kids over the years. You’d have thought once we reached adulthood she could have let out a big sigh and said, “Finally, I’m done with that.” But no, she’s continued to love and support, suffer and endure, give and share, laugh and cry. She’s continued to mother all of us long past the expiration date of our childhood. Surely she has learned, and earned, patience.
Now that she is a patient in a situation that will require lots of patience and endurance and frustration, all of our “training” of her patience will pay off. She’ll be jumping hoops and running circles around all those therapists’ treatments and regimes.
Interesting that the origin of both the noun and verb form of patient is the same.
Old French and Latin and even Greek shed some light, where the root of patient means “to suffer.” Indo-European roots imply that the word patient began in the concept “to endure.”
To suffer, to endure.
When we want to be more patient, I’m pretty certain we aren’t wanting to suffer or endure. Yet, our ability to endure things that require patience gains strength as we suffer or endure. Or at least it can, if we let it. Patience requires practice, at least that’s been my experience. But who wants to practice patience? Not me.
I learned the hard way many years ago, NEVER, EVER pray for patience!
What happens? Oh, you get to practice, a bunch. More than you ever dreamed possible. Just don’t go there. Take my word for it. Please.
I wish I could just walk down the grocery aisle and pull a bottle of patience off the shelf and pay for it. Actually, it’d probably be something we’d have to ask the pharmacist for, like Sudafed.
“Have you used this stuff before?” he’d ask.
“Yeah, I’ve had lots of experience with it,” I’d reply with a wink.
“Two teaspoons administered twice daily, don’t take more or you’ll drop right off to sleep in the middle of something worrisome,” he’d remind me anyway.
I’d be a new woman by middle of the afternoon the next day.
I can dream can’t I?