Patiently Waiting

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….

105 thoughts on “Patiently Waiting

  1. I am glad your husband is back home, a place where he is meant to be and in an environment more in your control. I wish him an expeditious recovery. Hospital stays are always bothersome, not to speak of gnawing worries related to health, and it has never been my forte. What you have said about your impatience, particularly with testing events scheduled ahead, is so true about my own disposition. But like you have said, one eventually reconciles with things beyond one’s control even if the degrees of coming to terms with the circumstances vary form person to person. So I’d say the overstay at the hospital has mellowed your impatience and you have managed to pass that lesson to me too.

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    • You are so right, the hardest part was not being able to control the situation at all! Eventually, I just had to accept that the medical professionals knew what they were doing and were acting in his best interests, and after that, being patient became much easier. I think it’s impossible not to worry when it comes to medical issues, but all we can do is try our best. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

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  2. Ann, I think it’s perfectly normal to worry and to want our loved ones home with us. But sounds like you handled the whole hospital situation well, it’s never easy in any circumstance. Glad your hubby’s home again and I hope he continues to recover. Amazing isn’t it how much we take for granted. Warmest wishes to you both. xx

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  3. Ann i’m sure the nurses and staff loved you and and your husband! It’s always a pleasure to take care of kind people like you guys! I hope it was a pleasant stay even thou it was long and worrisome!! Hope everything is going well! Better days ahead!!😎

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    • Thank so much, Beth! You have no idea how much good nurses are appreciated when you’re injured or sick, and even more so when your loved one is in that condition. They made the whole experience so much easier to bear!

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    • I’m so sorry you had to go through that for months! Yes, you do learn how to take care of someone, but it’s still so hard, and just drains you. The worst was when my father was in the hospital just before he died, because he became completely irrational and so agitated. It was almost impossible to keep him calm. Thankfully, my husband was his normal self mentally and emotionally, so that made this stay easier to cope with.

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  4. Ann, I’m so glad your husband is back home. Even happier to hear you could sit by his bedside while you waited. Waiting is very hard! We always try to fill the time with something else. I’m glad to hear something good came out of it all!

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    • I was very glad that hospitals now allow patients to have one visitor. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been for him if I hadn’t been able to be there with him (even if I did keep tripping over everything…) And yes, there were definitely some silver linings in the whole experience.

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  5. It’s always an anxious time when someone has to go into hospital, especially for surgery. Just past a difficult year, it would be the last thing anyone wants. I can just imagine your relief that your husband is safely home now. Birdsong will be louder and even the tiniest flowers lovelier than ever in the face of happy relief.

    Ann, take comfort also in the fact that whatever you did (or didn’t do), I’m sure there’s no one else your husband would have wanted by his side all those days in the hospital. We’re not all Florence Nightingales. I think most of us have at least 1 place or situation where we’re like fish out of water. Like you, for me that place is the hospital too. I cannot bear to know someone is hurting so I want to be as helpful as possible. So, I really, really get you when you write about tripping and dragging wires and so on. For some reason too, in a hospital, I feel as if I have to be there for others as well – for the nurses, no less. When my son was ill in hospital, he was attended to by a young nurse. She was 7 months pregnant and exhausted, her feet all swollen from long hours of standing, yet doing her best. I felt so sorry for her and so offered to give her a good shoulder massage. She was clearly taken aback and politely declined but here I am, 14 years later wondering, Was I nuts?

    That’s the effect of hospitals on some of us, I guess.

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    • Yes, I know he was happy to have me there, even with my klutzy antics. And I don’t think you were nuts at all to try to help your son’s nurse…that showed remarkable compassion, especially when you must have been so worried about your son. Hospitals may not be the natural environment for either of us, but you’re right-they do bring out the desire to help others, and that’s a good thing!

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  6. Anything that involves a hospital involves waiting. I understand why you don’t like to wait, but I also admire you for gaining some insight into who you are thanks to this experience. Glad to know you both are back home again. Stay healthy, ok?

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    • Yeah, I was “overblessed” in the worry department too, which makes being patient harder because I tend to worry until I know everything will be okay. So this experience definitely taught me the value of patience!

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  7. I remember someone telling me once to deal with a difficult situation one day at a time. Then, she added this: “If a day seems too much, focus on the next hour. In really hard circumstances, taking it one minute at a time will do.” I honestly think that advice has helped me in my work. If I have sixty board feet of wood to sand, looking at the end can make it feel as though it’s going to take ‘forever.’ If I just look at the few inches in front of me, it’s far less bothersome.

    At any rate: that hospital stay is over now, and I’m hoping that the continued recovery is going well for you both! Hospitals never are fun, and when complications lengthen the stay, it’s even worse, but I’d say you coped marvelously well!

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    • Thank you so much! And yes, “one step at a time” is often the best way to cope with difficult things. And when we break them down that way, they don’t really seem so bad or overwhelming. Even while he was in the hospital, we sometimes found things to joke and laugh about, and I felt grateful knowing he was getting good medical care. That helped, enormously!

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  8. Sometimes, when we have no choice, we are forced to be patient. While you were at the hospital by your husband’s bedside, you learned to appreciate the work that the nurses are doing for their patients. And while we are on the topic of patience during the time of Covid, let us learn to be even more patient and focus on the positive things in life. The nurses overburdened with the pandemic cases are our heroes. Thank you, Ann, for this thought-provoking post today.

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    • You are absolutely right, Peter! Thankfully, the hospital wasn’t overwhelmed when my husband was there, but I know those nurses have been working extra hard since the pandemic started, and to see them often going the extra mile to take care of their patients was inspiring. They truly are the heroes of the day!

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  9. Congratulations on developing those insights and having the ability to practice newfound skills. I’m in a similar situation at the moment. It is not easy at all. I can empathize.

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  10. Oh My, I am sorry your husband (and you!) had to go through that. Glad that he is back home now and I hope all is well now. I am always so glad that there are different kinds of people in the world with different skills and interests, because I sure would not want to do any of those hospital jobs. I do get a lot of knitting done when visiting with a person in the hospital.

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    • Thanks, Meg! He is home and doing much better now. I almost wish I did knit, as that would be a good thing to do while waiting in a hospital room. Reading helped, but it’s something that is harder to do with all the interruptions…which is why I also did crossword puzzles!

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  11. I’m so sorry about your husband’s extended hospital stay, Ann. I always appreciate how you write with such honesty.
    I understand about patience. I have been dealt situations over and over – I figure that eventually I will get better with it. Certainly, I think the pandemic was really one of the ultimate tests of my patience!
    Ironically, when I accepted it, I actually didn’t seem to mind it. The struggle to accept is really the hardest part!

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    • That’s what I found too, Judy! Once I quite fighting against the situation and simply accepted it, coping was so much easier, and patience felt much more natural. The truth is that all of us have to deal with things we’d much rather avoid now and then, but all we can do is get through those times with as much grace as possible. And yeah, the pandemic has taught me that too…. one of the very few silver linings of the Covid situation!

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  12. Good to hear that ‘ordeal’ is over for you both!
    I know exactly what you mean by adjusting to hospital procedures! My youngest spent quite a bit of time in hospital for leukemia and I quickly learned what I could do that I thought I would never be able to do!

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    • Oh, I’m so sorry! But I bet you did learn how to do things for your child that you never would have thought you could handle. The truth is that we rise to the occasion when we have to, and discover that we’re actually much stronger than we had ever realized!

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  13. Hospital stays are hard on everyone – the stayer and the waiter – but your husband is so lucky to have someone to visit him and provide care for him once he got home. I’ve spent more days in hospitals than I’d like, but I always had visits and care at home. I met many fellow patients who didn’t. Best wishes for your husband’s speedy and complete recovery!

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    • I honestly think one of the worst parts of Covid was when hospitals didn’t allow any visitors for any of their patients. Patients really need someone there to advocate for them, comfort them, and just do the little things that the medical staff is too busy to do. I was so grateful to be allowed to stay with him all day, every day. I’m sorry you’ve had to endure long hospital stays as well…they are challenging for sure. And thanks for your kind words!

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  14. I love how you use every challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow, Anne. You’re a marvel in that way. I hope your husband is home now and recovering nicely. I’m sure he’s as happy to be home as you are to have him. ❤

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    • Thank you so much! I try to use challenges as a growing opportunity, but sometimes I’m more successful than others. But I believe that when we can do that, then we get some good out of bad situations, and that we emerge stronger and wiser than when we began. And yes, we’re both thrilled that he’s feeling better and at home!!!

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  15. I’m so sorry about your husband’s hospitalization and the stress that must have caused you and your family. Not a good way to be reminded of the need for patience but I suppose there is no good way. I hope he continues to recover well. Thank you for your reminders of simple yet important truths. Take care!

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    • Thanks, Brenda! He is doing so much better now, and that’s such a relief. It’s hard to have so much out of our control, but that does teach us patience, and also trust…I had to just trust that the medical professionals knew what they were doing, and it turned out that they did. They really are heroes!!

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    • Thanks, Alan! I think enduring is hard for so many of us, and it sure doesn’t come naturally to me. But sometimes we have no choice, and then we learn that we can do it when we have to. Blessings and peace to you!

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    • Ha! Trust me, you would have laughed if you saw me in that hospital room. Even my husband did, and trust me, he didn’t feel much like laughing during his hospital stay! All in all, I feel very good about my choice not to pursue a career in the medical field!

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  16. I’ve found over the years that anticipation of an event is often much more stressful than the event itself. Odd, how that works out. I’m glad to hear that the health issues are under control.

    And I’d be a lousy nurse too.

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  17. Hi Ann – I’m glad I saw your post here. I’m also glad your husband is home and recovering. Hospitals are hard. I’ve spent a lot of time in them the last 5 years and you do get into the rhythm. It’s also hard waiting, but you discovered a strength and reserve in yourself. That’s great. Take care. 🧡

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  18. You always manage to add a bit of humor to even the bleakest situations! Your husband is so lucky to have you! (I know he knows that.) It does seem that in the darkest hours, we muster our courage as best we can. With prayer, and hope in our hearts, we carry on. I think these moments teach us a lot about ourselves…we are stronger than we think. I believe that deep within you is a patient heart…one that would do almost anything to help her loved ones. You many not feel patience welling up inside you, but it is there all the same…a little flame of perseverance and love.

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    • Thanks, Linda! I think we all have a reserve of patience in us, and faith helps bring that out in times of need. I wasn’t happy my husband had to spend so long in the hospital, but I did learn some things about myself when he did, and I hope those lessons stick with me.

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        • May be some problem is there. I will check that later. Also i did not post anything since January. Yeah I am doing great so not to worry. I have involved myself with housework that I am not giving time to my diary. Also when I want to type something laptop ia not there for me. My husband and son also need the laptop . We have only one laptop. Schools are closed here and husband is also at home. So……….. hope this invisible demon end soon. I will share whenever I post.. till then take care

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          • I am so glad that you are okay! I have no idea why I suddenly have problems accessing your blog, so I’m actually glad that you haven’t updated since January. I would hate to think I’m missing your posts! I hope that this invisible demon is gone soon….it is so hard on so very many people. Take care, and thanks for taking the time to keep me updated, my friend!

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