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For the past month I have been engaging with my eye doctor. I've had two cataracts removed which isn't a serious thing in itself. But what goes into this surgery is what baffles me.

I've often wondered why doctors call us patients. I have figured out that the doctors are not patient, so they expect us to be patient. I need to work on that.

I had two cataract surgeries two weeks apart. It took a whole month to go through the process. After the surgery, it'll take another 4 to 6 weeks to get the proper glasses I need to read.

Talk about being patient!

However, needing this procedure, I had to take what came with it. I must say I am not more patient today than I was a month ago.

The first time I went to the eye doctor, he scheduled me for a 9:15 appointment. No problem. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage got me there 15 minutes ahead of time to make sure I wouldn't be late.

An hour later, I finally got in to see the doctor. I think he is, on the side, trying to develop patience in my life.

On the first visit, I had to wear a mask, and it's no problem for me. If it makes other people feel happy, so be it. I'm just not real happy about wearing a mask.

As I was sitting waiting for my appointment, the lobby began filling up with new patients. An old guy sat next to me, and we nodded heads. I went back to what I was doing.

In a few minutes, I begin to smell something rather disgusting. I didn't want to look over to the guy next to me, but I did not smell that before he sat down, so I decided that I could not take that stench any longer.

I got up to get a drink of water prepared for us, washed my hands, and then sat at another place.

And of course, within a minute or two another man walked in and sat two chairs away from me. They had it set up so you could not sit next to somebody. I smiled and nodded my head, then went back to reading.

In a relatively short time, I began smelling that odor, and it seemed to worsen as I sat there. I don't like to make a fuss or embarrass anybody, so I sat there as long as I could.

Then, I got up to get another drink of water, washed my hands, and walked across the room to another seat. This time an older woman came in and sat two seats away. Again I nodded my head, smiled, and went back to reading.

Then I smelled that smell again. This was getting to be rather ridiculous. I can understand some old man smelling that bad, but I was a little confused as to why this woman smelled like that.

At this point, I didn't know what to do. I got up two times before, and the third time draws attention to yourself.

I was wearing a mask, and so I couldn't figure out how I could smell anything through that mask. It's supposed to protect me from outside particles, whatever that means.

Then I got to thinking, if my mask can't protect me from the outside stench, what makes me think it can protect me from some floating germs?

As I was thinking, a terrible thought rumbled in my head. This thought cannot be true, I said to myself. But what if this stench is not coming from the outside but rather from the inside of my mask?

That idea was preposterous, and I wanted to throw it out as quickly as possible. But you know how it is; a thought will haunt you until you pay attention to it.

Cautiously, I pulled my mask down, took a deep smell of my breath and almost passed out. That stench was my breath.

The problem was that my mouth was in close proximity to my eyes of which the doctor was going to be working on. Something had to be done before the doctor called me in.

As I was thinking of this, the nurse walked into the room and called my name and took me into the surgical room. My prayer at the time was that all of these masks worn by myself, the nurse, and particularly the doctor would actually work. I did not want the stench to go out from my mask to enter the doctor's mask working on me.

I prayed a quick prayer, and before I could say “amen,” the doctor walks in.

I tried keeping my mouth closed as much as possible, hoping that a closed mouth and several masks would work.

The doctor finished his surgery, and just as he was going out the door, he turned and looked at me and said, "Are you sure you didn't have any breakfast? Smells like you ate garbage this morning."

My patience deflated right there.

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain” (James 5:7).

Patience doesn't come easy, but it does have a wonderful reward attached to it.

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