After having spent ten hours tucked away in the corner of an emergency room while the doctors vainly searched for the missing portions of my brain (which would include most of it), I discovered why they call customers of hospitals “patients.” It’s a term of hope despite all evidence to the contrary, after all they couldn’t very well be honest and call the customers “impatients” could they?
“Um…nurse, would it be okay if you unhook the various cords, whistles, and bells to which I’m attached? I hate to be a bother but I haven’t hit the john in 7 hours now.” Nurse: “I’ll check with the doctor.” She disappears for another 30 torture filled minutes while you dream of being locked just outside a bathroom with a drippy water faucet next to your leg. This is why they call you a patient.
It is for this reason that the Detroit Lions are called “football players.” You and I know that they are mere doormats over which, the rest of the league can run on their way to another excursion to the Lion-less playoffs. This is also why they call Brittany Spears a “singer;” or Brangelina a “couple.” Sure it’s about as close to the truth as sworn testimony from Barry Bonds and Mark Mcguire, but one can be hopeful, can’t one?
Ten hours sitting in an emergency room while the hospital attempts to pay off the monthly utility bill by doing medical tests on you that would make a guinea pig cringe in fear will turn even the most ADHD person into a true patient patient (who invented English grammar rules? A patient patient is not a redundancy-vanishing breed though he may be). After all the only alternative to being a patient patient is fleeing the hospital while vainly trying to hide your derriere from the various hospital staff who will gather to literally laugh at your…well, you get the point.
If rules of honesty applied emergency room customers would be called “impatients.” Of course this means that customers in restaurants would be “waiters” and waiters would be referred to as “dawdlers.” “Politicians would be “spendthrifts;” Banks would be “rat holes” (down which to pour your money); sailboats would be “sale boats;” and of course retirement would be known as “return to work because the bankers vaporized your money for you.”
Oh for some vocabularic honesty!