Just be (a) patient

Waiting roomI was reminded of the irony of the way words have double meanings the other day, when a work colleague regaled me with a typical hospital horror.

She went for a simple endoscopy, but having changed into one of those horrible polyester gowns, then had to wait for 3 hours before the procedure went ahead – with nothing to do, but stare at a wall and avoid slightly potty old men wandering around in similarly disgusting gowns.

Anyway, my point is that she ended up being a ‘patient’ in more ways than one. Sure, the word’s derivation means ‘to undergo’ or ‘endure’ something, but that’s meant to be actual complaint, not the waiting time on top.

OK, so the NHS is underfunded and understaffed, but almost everyone I know who has been for some hospital appointment, whether it’s a scan or something more serious such as chemotherapy, ends up having to endure a wait that would test the ‘patience’ of a saint.

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