The same nightmare haunted me. A patient was being pushed into an operating room, when the gurney came to an abrupt halt. The patient was told they would have to wait there, right in the middle of the hall, until the Director of Medical Staff Administration completed their physician’s temporary privileges.
That Director used to be me and temporary privileges were what kept me up at night. Even though there were 568 physicians on staff, there were times when an unusual or complicated procedure called for the expertise of an outside physician. Since the physician was not on our medical staff and therefore, was not credentialed, there was a protocol to be followed that involved license verifications and a criminal background check.
The problem was that everything was always last minute and I was in the middle; between the impatient inpatient, the guest doctor at our facility who wanted to get in and out quickly and the lengthy internal process that required accuracy. Frustrated, I would wonder to myself: wouldn’t you want to know if the doctor operating on you last practiced in the back room of a hookah lounge off the New Jersey Turnpike in downtown Secaucus? Apparently not.
Everyone involved in this scenario could be diagnosed with having no patience, which is defined as “the capacity and endurance to accept or tolerate difficult circumstances calmly without complaint.” When I think about it, do I even know anyone who is patient?
Except for the Dalai Lama (whom I do not know personally), it is hard to envision someone that goes through life grateful for the extra time for internal thought that standing on a line brings, that is thankful for the ability to view new surroundings when a detour takes them out of their way and that is appreciative of the new relationships made when having to call their cellphone provider every month to ask them to refund the same amount that is constantly being overbilled.
What choices do we have? We can either let patience get the better of us or we can realize that in this big world, patience will always be the slow boat to China while we are all be clamoring to board the Orient Express. Maybe we can meet patience somewhere in the middle?
Lately, I’ve tried to do just that. I’ve hoodwinked patience into thinking that the outcome was what I really wanted all along. I’ve resisted getting angry or upset when life zigs rather than zags and when I look back, those zigs made for some interesting experiences.
I’m not ready to go cold turkey and throw open the doors of my local motor vehicle department for the ultimate challenge, but somewhere in between there is the new me that can look a harried customer service representative right in the eyes, smile and say “…Oh, is it my turn already?..”