If being ill teaches you anything, it teaches you patience.
You wait for tests to be scheduled, you wait for late appointments, you wait for a nurse or doctor to come with your meds, you wait to see if a treatment works, you wait for surgical dates, you wait for someone to bring you a drink, you wait for drugs to work and you wait and you wait.
I'm a fairly impatient person at the best of times and I've often wondered if my lesson here on earth is to learn patients.
It's not unusual for me to sit for two or even three hours, staring into space, waiting for an overbooked consultant or for a porter to take me back to the ward. I don't really get bored any more, I learnt years ago to fall into a kind of daydream. The more you fret and stress, the longer the wait seems.
At around midday, the doctor came to see me at my bed and suggested that as I had to wait so long for an MRI, they would be willing to send me home for a few days. As long as I had the right painkillers and anti-sickness medication, I would be much more comfortable waiting in my own bed at home, than I would waiting here.
I would need to be discharged and that would mean getting enough of all my meds up from pharmacy to last me over the weekend. In true NHS style, no-one even thought to send the chart down until 3pm!!! When they did send it they forgot the accompanying letter, so that took pharmacy another hour or two to sort out. Then, when the prescription came up, they'd given me tablets instead of injections, so that took another hour or so to change, then they realised they hadn't included any needles or syringes - I had a bag full of injections and no way to administer them.
Now, its 7.45 and I've just got everything sorted out. 7.45pm!!
A patient feels almost permanent frustration, but agonisingly, we can't get cross or rude, however much we might want to take them by the arms and shake some sense into them. I'm not telling this story because it's remarkable in any way - it isn't, it happens to all patients, every day. I'm telling it in the hope that someone, somewhere thinks "Hey, yes, that's a silly system, let's change it"