I’ve never been a patient person. Waiting is not my strong point, no matter what I happen to be waiting for. If I’m looking forward to something good, then I want it to happen right now, this very second. Even if I’m dreading something, I’d much rather just hurry up and get it over with, sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, there are times in my life where I don’t really have a choice, and I find myself having to wait with as much patience as I possibly can.
A few weeks ago, my husband had a scheduled surgery that was supposed to result in a three to five-day hospital stay. The surgery went well, but his recovery didn’t, and he ended up spending over ten days in the hospital due to minor complications. I wish I could say that I always handled the situation with patience and grace, but that would be a lie. What I actually did was worry a lot, feel sorry for myself and even sorrier for my husband, and in general wake up each morning thinking, “PLEASE let today be the day that he finally gets to come home.”
It was a long ten days, but I did learn a few things about myself in the process, not the least of which is that I would make a truly awful nurse. I’ve always been a bit of a klutz, but repeatedly tripping over various tubes that are actually connected to a patient is never a good thing, and neither is forgetting to unhook the IV pole before helping him go for a walk in the hallway. Also, it’s a good idea to wind the chord of the nurse call button around the bed railings, because otherwise it falls off the bed every time you adjust the blankets…and then you have to keep telling the nurse station that you didn’t really mean to call them.
Luckily, I also learned some more useful lessons during my husband’s recovery, and the main one was that when I have no choice, I really can manage to wait patiently for things to get better. Although I’ve always been nervous in hospitals (I never even like visiting a patient), I actually became accustomed to the routine and stopped having to look away from any procedure that involved blood or other body fluids. I spent hours sitting quietly in the corner, reading a book while my husband slept, and actually became quite friendly with some of the nurses. It’s amazing what we can endure when we have to, and I do think it helps to be reminded of that from time to time.
Of course I would have much rather my husband’s hospital stay hadn’t lasted quite so long, and to have spared him that trauma and both of us that worry. But I like to think that the next time I’m waiting for something I desperately want right now, that I’ll remember there’s a reserve of strength and patience in each of us, just waiting for us to tap into it. And that when we do, we’ll have everything we we need to tide us over until the hard times are over….