While I have many skills, patience is not one of them. I can wait patiently for five minutes, ten even. I can wait if the circumstances are understandable – say your house burned down. Understandably, you might be a bit late for our coffee date. And if there is a known limit to the waiting, I fare better, as if the boundaries drawn make it more tolerable. I will say I come to this weakness honestly. I’m remembering a new years day walk with my parents where they were discussing resolutions. My father’s was ‘to have more patience’ at which point my mother exploded back – ‘more patients – you don’t work hard and long enough as it is? You want to see more patients??’ At which point my father, getting an opportunity to put his new years resolution into play responded, ‘patience…not patients’ (you idiot! I’m sure he was mumbling under his breath). So like I said, the apple doesn’t fall far.
It’s the ambiguous, extendable waiting that it my downfall. Example: ‘The doctor is running a bit late this morning and will be with you soon.’ Now, as a doctor’s daughter, I’ve long since cracked this code. ‘Running late’ can mean he’s tied up with a patient and will be with me in five minutes, or it can mean he took the day off and is sunning at the beach and will see me next Thursday. So, at the beginning of the morning I want to be the good patient, the likable one, opposed to the woman in the bed next to me who has been complaining about everything from the flimsy sheets to the inept hospital system. After half an hour, I ask again – ‘so should he be with me in the next ten minutes? Half hour?’ Quick lesson – it’s never a good sign when the nurse looks at the floor in response to this question. ‘He should be with you in the next hour, hour and a half’.
And that’s the moment that my patience snaps. I’ve been waiting quietly, but after counting the squares in the ceiling for the fourth time, pondering how tasty the sheet would be to appease my hunger, and bundling under three blankets, I’m done waiting. And yet, I’m done waiting and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it but wait a bit more. Plus, given the situation, I decide it’s not prudent to piss off the very people in charge of snaking a tube down my stomach…well done, Lauren. Patience, I repeat like a mantra…patience…patience…
And then I’m awake and it’s over and I’m ready to go, using every ounce of concentration to get the can of apple juice to my lips rather than down my shirt thanks to the effects of anesthesia. The doctor stops by with the results. Yes, the waiting has been worth it! There are results! There will be an answer!
‘So, we sent some samples to the lab and we should know something in about a week and we’ll go from there.’
My inner un-patient self glares at him while I smile sweetly. Really? More waiting? Not a happy camper over here on bed 12.
So I wait. I wait and I try to distract myself with chores and movies and writing and sunshine. But inside, my fingers are drumming and I’m just staring at the clock…just waiting for an answer, waiting for my happy ending…any time now…