An Impatient Patient

An Impatient Patient

“Patience” has been strangely following me around. I keep coming across quotes in books and things mentioning it, one of my students was wearing a necklace recently that said “patience” on it, I heard the song “Patience” in the cafe where I had lunch the other day. What’s going on? Is someone trying to tell me something–like stop being so impatient? I don’t know, maybe. It certainly seems to be a recurring thread in my life lately, and literally flashing before my eyes on an almost daily basis. Perhaps I need to pay attention and acknowledge the role that patience, or the lack of it, has in my life right now. Here’s one of the quotes I accidentally stumbled upon a few weeks ago–a really beautiful passage written by German theologian and writer Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten. It wants to break open the ripe fruit when it has hardly finished planting the shoot…Whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting–that is, of hopefully doing without–will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment. Those who do not know how it feels to struggle anxiously with the deepest questions of life, of their life, and to patiently look forward with anticipation until the truth is revealed, cannot even dream of the splendor of the moment in which clarity is illuminated for them…For the greatest, most profound, tenderest things in the world, we must wait. It happens not here in a storm but according to the divine laws of sprouting, growing, becoming.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1906-1945

Being patient: A struggle

Learning to have more patience, or any patience at all, I think, has always been a struggle for me, and more so during the last few years for some reason. I often wonder if having RA for so long has made me more of an impatient person? Living with such an unpredictable disease like RA can easily wear your patience thin in several ways.

Example:  I’m having a pretty bad flare-up right now with both of my feet and ankles–especially the right foot and ankle, which are extremely swollen. Grudgingly, I’m taking prednisone again, which doesn’t seem to be helping very much yet. Wasting time icing my foot and ankle, lying on the couch, limping around the house–it’s all driving me crazy because I have things I need to do and get done. Places I need to go. Energy and motivation I need to sustain to work on my stuff: freelance jobs, photo projects, job applications, family obligations, living my life.

Pain and disability, a recipe for impatience

But, the pain and disability are here again and my energy and motivation have been replaced by fatigue, frustration, anger, depression, anxiety, and IMPATIENCE. When will this flare be over? When can I start to taper off the prednisone? When will my foot mysteriously shrink back down again to its “normal” size? Will it even go away this time? I want the flare to be gone and my feet back to normal right now. But, unfortunately, RA has a clock and time schedule of its own and I can’t do much about it except wait around and try not to lose my sanity in the meantime.

Another example:  Dealing with clinics and doctors and nurses, and getting put on hold on the phone constantly and then having to wait for someone to call you back–all of this can require an enormous amount of patience. Also maddening is waiting all day (or more than a day) to see if you can get the prescription refill you need and then never receiving the promised call-back or refill. Or having to explain yourself and your situation over and over to several different people at the clinic who don’t really seem to be listening or care–this also calls for much patience. Frankly, I’m sick of it. I’m sick of all of it. But what can I do? Nothing much except persevere, continue being an advocate for my own health care, and, well, get used to waiting a lot.

Learning that waiting is not bad

Waiting isn’t always a bad thing though, and I need to accept that and learn how to calm down and not get so anxious about things. This is easier said than done. And it’s not just my RA that I get impatient about, of course, but other things, such as relationships, career/job stuff, family, the future–those “deepest questions of life.”

So how does one learn to be more patient? What’s the best way to deal with the unpredictable frustrations of living with RA? With RA and everything else in life, how do you know when to wait and when to take action? I don’t know exactly, but I’m trying to learn and get better at it. And to remember that it’s okay to wait sometimes and that it can even be good for you.

“For the greatest, most profound, tenderest things in the world, we must wait.”

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (11)
  • Ann B Wall
    4 years ago

    great article . I also can be impatient with myself and others, the problem is like the anger and frustration its inflammatory and detrimental to my health.I find that I am trying to learn from my RA to appreciate my own and others limitations. Affirmations and breathing help.being human I do frequently feel frustrated and exactly how you feel. thnks for a great article and FEEL BETTER SOON

  • judy york
    4 years ago

    For me, I dealt with terrible symptoms with my RA for three months, from April 2013 to July 2013. I was on Methotrexate injections and Prednisone during this time. I found Plexus Fast Relief Pain products and decided to put them to the test, with their 60 day money back guarantee. I saw positive results in nine days! I stopped the pharmaceutical medications on this 9th day, and I have never looked back. I have been pain free for 19 months now, and I became a Patient Patient from Impatient Patient! I have been truly blessed with the choice of changing to all natural methods.

  • Davida Jones
    4 years ago

    I understand how you feel Angela, patience is not one of my strong suits either. What I have found since being diagnosed 18 months ago, that being on so much medication especially when you are taking prednisone will make something that you normally would not react so impatiently to, suddenly, you do. Since it is a steroid, the research that I have done has shown me that the higher the dose, the more aggressive you are, how hot tempered and impatient. It will drive you nuts. I also take a biologic and I take neurontin. This is just for the RA. I also have Fibromyalgia, psoriasis, hypothyroidism and diabetes. So if you combine all of that together, and all the medications that I have to take, it is so easy to go postal, if I allowed myself to do so. I am ashamed to say that I have gotten rude with some people that have been rude to me, or disrespected me, which is something I am not proud of. I try and pride myself on being an even tempered, understanding and patient women, but this has all become so much to bear. Right now, as I am typing this, there is sweat rolling off my face and my entire head is wet. Something I experience all the time. And why, medication. I am a researcher by nature anyway, so I have to understand the reason behind things. I mean, yes, I live in Florida where it is naturally warm and humid most of the time, but I am indoors. My air conditioner is running at 72 degrees, I have a fan blowing on high directly on me, the temperature outside is currently 68 degrees, yet I am so uncomfortable because I am so hot and I cannot get cool enough. And there is nothing more that I can do to be comfortable. I want to scream!! So, what do I do? I can either make the choice to ignore my medical problems and get very ill to where I allow this all to kill me, or I do what I am doing now. I am sorry this is so long, but I just needed to get it off my chest. Thanks to those of you who read this post, and I am open to any advice or tips to make the symptoms of being so hot better. Right now, although it is now, 67 degrees outside, I am going to get into my pool which is not heated, just to find a little relief, even if it won’t last very long.

  • Ann B Wall
    4 years ago

    I have been helped by anti inflammatory diet. I’m a want to be vegan-but eat cheese. foods for pain Walnuts, pineapple ,green tea , ginger,up your omega 3 ‘s . super foods berries ,greens nuts seeds beans . have your doctor check your hormone levels and thyroid levels. make sure you have enough vitamin D also good for pain. REST and good luck everyone is different but diet changes have helped me hugs ann

  • Hillary Ross
    4 years ago

    Oops, I guess I submitted before I was finished.
    Anyway, the rest of my body can be a normal temp and I’ll have sweat rolling down my face. It’s sooooo embarrassing! I get incredibly impatient with it!
    Do you think it’s from the meds or from the diseases?

  • Hillary Ross
    4 years ago

    Hi Judy,
    Thanks for your post. It made me feel no so alone.
    I suffer from the same type of overheating as you do. I was just about to do a search for my problem when I read your post. I also have RA, Ankylosing Spondylitis, hypothyroidism, and fibromyalgia, but am not currently taking prednisone.
    I’m on Enbrel, Mobic, pain meds (extended release and breakthrough), cymbalta, omeprazole, Nuvigil, levothyroxine,

  • Jen
    5 years ago

    Hi Angela, thank you for the article. I am a very impatient individual. I have found that the best way for me to talk to my Dr. is online. They have this site at my hospital that allows you to email back and forth with your Dr. My Dr. gets back to me usually that very same day. I don’t have to deal with the receptionists at all that way. They are often stressed out and over worked anyway. I communicate with all my Dr.’s this way. At my hospital it’s called Follow My Health Login. I get my meds refilled that way and I can let my Dr. know if I’m having any issues.

    I try to walk my dog once a day as a stress relief as well. I know that when your flair is affecting you feet that this would be problematic, just thought that I would share this as well.

    I hope that your stress and flairs go away soon.
    Take care, Jen.

  • Ann B Wall
    4 years ago

    love your suggestions I e mail my doctor when i need him too. it helps him pace his work too. my doctor e mailed me and arranged my appt while on vacation SO now I try to be careful LOVE MY RHeumatologist

  • Amanda Kohl
    5 years ago

    Thank you for speaking so well to an issue that I also deal with on a daily basis. I’ve noticed a that many of us who deal with RA seem to be Type a professionals so inpatients with the disease is a big stress factor for many. Over stressing contributes to flare ups which causes more stress, which causes us to wait for the things we need. This catch 22 seems to be the very core of our days. I appreciate your article, as I am learning to slow down and quiet my mind each day! Blessing and stress-free days for us all!

  • Ann B Wall
    4 years ago

    thank you

  • Angela Lundberg author
    5 years ago

    Hi Amanda,
    Thank you for commenting! I’m glad you liked my post. I agree, impatience/stress/flareups–it can be a major Catch-22 problem. Finding some way to calm down in the midst of all of this is a big challenge, but I’m glad that you’re working on it. It’s definitely one of my resolutions for 2014. Best of luck to you and thank you for reading my post and visiting the site!

    Angela

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