THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Now I understand patients’ frustrations better

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The change can be instant.

One moment I was walking quickly into the kitchen – the next I was on the floor with my arm throbbing. Somehow I ended up with one arm taking all the impact of a fall and a fracture of a bit of my shoulder I had never heard of before (my greater tuberosity).

Such events are frightening at the best of times – pain is never pleasant and a sudden onslaught of pain can leave you struggling. Perhaps even worse are the anxious thoughts about whether you have done something really serious.

You can change in a moment from being an active person to someone who has to be patient – the word “patient” is from the Latin for “someone suffering” which also gives us “passive”. We no longer do things, people do them to us.

It was helpful to me in a way – as a hospital chaplain, I often find myself talking to patients who are frustrated and desperate to get home “if only I could walk”. Now I understand their frustrations better. As a Christian, I believe Jesus became a “patient” (a sufferer) like us – and was willing to go through great pain and death. I hope like him I can become a good patient!