I have heard time and time again how much people hate waiting, from the line at the supermarket to the package from the postal carrier, even "waiting" for e-mail to download, people expect instant gratification. True patience is rarer than an albino grizzly bear, more precious than the rarest gem.
And I will admit, I am hardly innocent - I get impatient, I feel my issues/needs/concerns should be the most important thing in everyone's life... not only my own.
I think of it as the Veruca Salt Phenomenon... Or if Willy Wonka doesn't suit you - let's call it the Freddie Mercury Effect... "I Want it All, and I Want it Now".
Sure, patience is a virtue, we all know that. We have heard the old platitude "good things come to those who wait", but really... what good is waiting anyhow?
Well... Picture this. Your 4 year old has an ear infection, it is 11pm and you want to make them feel better NOW, because between the late hour, the incessant whining, and your parental instinct to fix the boo-boos, you can't imagine waiting until morning - so you take him to the ER. Needless to say, you are not the only parent who has resorted to this avenue of care, and are ushered to the waiting room to mingle with all manner of running, coughing, dripping, hacking pestilence (what, this surprises you?).
You sit, and wait, and wait, and wait... and try to guess who arrived before you and in what order by the stress level of the parents. You figure that you must have been waiting hours, but because of the odd force fields that surround ER waiting rooms, your watch has only moved forward 15 minutes. You start to get antsy, then irritated - can't these people see that your child is suffering terribly, over there giggling and playing with those toys?
Let's take a quick peek at what is going on behind the closed doors in the innER sanctum.
Look to your left. That is an 8 year old boy whose appendix may or may not have ruptured. He is waiting to be taken to the OR and would be terrified if he wasn't so sick.
Beside him is a child who had an accident at school and they are still putting him back together hours later.
In the corner, behind the closed door, is a toddler undergoing chemotherapy who spiked a fever. She is waiting, too, but because her treatment has robbed her of her immune system, she has to wait behind closed doors, without the toys or books that your child has access to, because even they can make her sick.
That kid in the back, he has been here over a day, alone. He is the victim of abuse and has been taken from his parents. He must have his injuries tended to before he can be transferred into the foster care system.
What is the sound behind us? That, my friend, is the sound of a scared young mother who just discovered her week-old infant has a severe heart defect and requires immediate surgery. A woman who has barely had the chance to try on the cowl of motherhood and she is terrified it'll be snatched from her grasp.
Back in the waiting room, another child has come in, and is immediately ushered into the back for a bed. This is another example of triage - this child is in need of immediate assessment and care - and of why you should be thrilled that you have to wait.
My child is the child hurried in - the child who has the professionals hovering within moments of arrival, or waiting for us to get her there. I miss the days we waited, the days when I was bored in the waiting room, considering maybe even going home and toughing it out overnight to get in to the regular doc in the morning.
When you moan about how long you have waited, or how slow everything was, be thankful you had to wait.
True crisis tends to move a whole lot faster.
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