The Patient
by Tool

Album: Lateralus (2001)
  • A groan of tedium escapes me
    Startling the fearful
    Is this a test? It has to be
    Otherwise I can't go on
    Draining patience, drain vitality
    This paranoid, paralyzed vampire act's a little old

    But I'm still right here
    Giving blood, keeping faith
    And I'm still right here

    But I'm still right here
    Giving blood, keeping faith
    And I'm still right here

    Wait it out
    Gonna wait it out
    Be patient (wait it out)

    If there were no rewards to reap
    No loving embrace to see me through
    This tedious path I've chosen here
    I certainly would've walked away by now

    Gonna wait it out

    If there were no desire to heal
    The damaged and broken met along
    This tedious path I've chosen here
    I certainly would've walked away by now

    And I still may, I still may

    Be patient
    Be patient
    Be patient

    I must keep reminding myself of this
    I must keep reminding myself of this
    I must keep reminding myself of this
    I must keep reminding myself of this

    And if there were no rewards to reap
    No loving embrace to see me through
    This tedious path I've chosen here
    I certainly would've walked away by now
    And I still may
    And I still may
    And I still may
    And I

    Gonna wait it out
    Gonna wait it out
    Wait it out
    Gonna wait it out Writer/s: ADAM JONES, DANIEL CAREY, JUSTIN GUNNER CHANCELLOR, MAYNARD JAMES KEENAN
    Publisher: BMG Rights Management
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 16

  • Tuck from SydneyI personally feel like the patient is about how the band had the lawsuits and felt like quitting. This song shows how they remained Patient during these times. Example:
    This tedious path I've chosen here
    I certainly would've walked away by now
    Gonna wait it out
    Gonna wait it out
  • Bodhileaf from BostonI feel it is a description of the path of the Bodhisattva. Helping others while also helping oneself in the process of walking the path toward enlightenment. Patience indubitably...or sure ANOTHER song about his mother...
  • Tool Guy from UsaIMO...The "Patient" means the one who is patient, and it's a play on words because it can also mean his mother being the patient of medical care. I think this song is told from HIS perspective as someone who has struggled to deal with his mother's declining health. No matter how close they are, I'm sure the situation weighed on him HEAVILY and made him want to just give up hope.. "if there were no loving embrace to see me through, I certainly would have walked away by now" meaning he is probably just tired of his mother suffering, and if she weren't so loving, he probably would have walked away. But, he remained patient and cared for his mother until the very end (10,000 days after her initial medical issue... get it?). In regard to the "questioning faith" comments, no, that's what "Judith" by APC is about. I have spent years listening to, and trying to interpret, Tool lyrics and I feel as though I have a solid grasp on the meaning.
  • Zbelle from MoI’ve heard the song is about his mother.. but in experiences of own I can relate to this in a whole different.. that’s what’s great about tool
  • Simon Mcgrath from N.irelandCLUES IN THE NAME!!

    Tool songs are so intricate and geniusly vague it means the lyrics can mean something different to EVERYONE however.... The Patient definitely in my eyes is in relation to him/mother lost and struggle with faith. The lyrics reflect this also you could say addiction, abusive relationship etc but CS Lewis wrote the Screwtape letters about losing faith in god etc I wont go into it but the subject in question is called....."The Patient"
  • Gemma from Vallejo, Ca UsaI love how most all these comments start as they were the author of the song itself.....
  • Kidarcade from UsaActually this song is written from the perspective of someone who is in an unhealthy relationship with someone who is possessive, paranoid, controlling. A type of relationship that tons and tons of people tend to get into regularly.

    It addresses the nurturing intuition of a woman, who tends to find themselves in a relationship with a man they must "fix". By doing so they are setting themselves and their own needs aside.
  • Jeroen from Lisse, NetherlandsTo me this song is part of one big story with four songs in it.
    Most of the Tool listeners know about the fibonacci-sequence in the trackorder. For those who don't know:
    http://members.tripod.com/hunk_o_manwich0/ . This site gives a pretty good illustration of the alternative trackorder.
    If you watch the alternate trackorder you can see it goes like this:
    - disposition
    - the Patient
    - Reflection
    - Triad

    My story begins here.
    For me the story begins with Disposition. The lyrics are quite simple. The only lyrics in it are these:
    "mention this to me
    mention something
    mention anything
    mention this to me
    watch the weather change"
    These lyrics give me a sense of... well... frustration or something. Everybody keeps on mentioning everything and keeps having an oppinion but nothing changes. The weather is still changing in a bad direction. This can illustrate the story of his mom. Maynards mother died of a stroke. From own experience I can remember that, in a hospital, a hell of a lot is being said but often the situations gets worse and worse. Almost like these lyrics.
    So let's continue with this thought. Maynard's mom had a stroke and is in the hospital where here situation get's worse and worse.
    The next song follows...
    According the alternative trackorder not reflection but the patient comes next. This song already makes sense by only reading the title. Maynard's mom became a patient in a hospital. If you read the entire lyrics (http://toolshed.down.net/lyrics/lateraluslyrics.php - song 3) you notice somebody that's keeping faith in something and continues waiting patiently. This is basically the same with somebody who had a stroke, is in the hospital and the situation get's worse and worse.
    After this song 'Reflection' follows. This song illustrates to me the ending of a life. It's a reflection of a life that's almost done. Maynard propably descripes his mom almost going to die. The situation is thusfar that nothing can be done 'bout it. Triad is the instrumental end of his moms life.

    To me these songs are about the death of his mom, the feeling of remorse and the crucifying feeling that nothing and nobody, most importantly himself, can help her.
    This makes these four songs by far the most beautiful and sad songs of Tool. For any other thoughts or additional information, please reply.
  • Kali from Martinsburg, WvThis song is actually very dear to me. I never really thought about the actual meaning till now. I still can't listen to this song without crying. I heard it for the first time in the depth of my childhood. Everything before that time in my life I could mannage, I did not believe I could make it through this. Then I heard this song and it somehow got me through. So I do believe it's about faith because it got me through.
  • Connor from Westfield, NjI actually believed that this was love song or about relationships in some way. More specifically on one in particular that has been very trying(from the narrator's perspective to atleast). I interpretted that he was "waiting it out" to reach a new point in the relationship. He's already put so much effort and belief into it working out that his patience is the only thing that is really left of it. The relationship has been left dry and the only way to get through the difficulty/find hope is to keep "reminding himself" that his patience in the end may still pay off.
  • Ray from San Jose, CaAll or most of Lateralus is about the turmoil within the band and the eventual reconciliation. Ticks and Leeches and The Grudge are songs from Maynard's point of view about Adam, Danny and Justin although The Grudge may be more about the situation rather than Maynard's perspective. Triad is from the point of view of Adam, Danny and Justin in regards to Maynard's absence due to A Perfect Circle (notice there are no vocals, just the "voices" of the other members of Tool). The Patient is Maynard reassuring the other three members of the band that if he didn't want to be in Tool he would have left by now. It is also Maynard coming to terms with the fact that he can't change the feeling or opinions of the other three, all he can do is continue moving on and have faith that everything will work out. To be patient. My understanding of "The Holy Grail" is that The Patient and Disposition are linked in the "Spiral." The Patient is about being patient and Disposition being about the change of perspective of the entire band after coming to an understanding of one another. The songs following these two: "Lateralus" and "Reflection" are in a sense about rebirth and renewed awareness. The songs prior to The Patient and Disposition revolve around anger and discontent: Schism, The Grudge and Ticks and Leeches. In between, in the middle of the "Spiral" are Parabol and Parabola. Google the holy grail and tool to learn more.
  • Donna from *megadon City*, United Kingdomi love how the title can have a double meaning. there's the patient, the 'ill' person, and the song is also about patience and waiting in some places- so the title could also be the 'patient', as in patient person
  • Steven from Jumba, TxMaynard hardly speaks about anything specific in his songs, they're very general however stay true to the original intention of the composition. The beauty of Tool's music is the fact that it's so easily interperated in many ways. The way I see this song, is that there's this person who's chosen a path that they seem trivial towards, Is it worth it to keep going in this direction? Surely it is, otherwise I would've walked away by now... He's questioning you as to whether or not this path you've chosen is the one you want for yourself, if it's the one that's best for you. This patient individual whom waits day to day for his rewards is plagued with reminders of his decision. He/she believes they would've walked away from it if there was no reward, but even if there is one they "still may" because of the constant trauma and shock they suffer... The patient isn't so sure anymore, and that's how I see this song. I see a strong connection between this, The Grudge, and Reflection. They all revolve around self-reflection, and burdens that may weigh you down.
  • John from Glasgow, Scotlandi always think that this song is a sort of religious dig. the way i see it is that its talking about people waiting for something good to happen to them because of their faith.
  • Matt from Auburn, WaI dont know if maynard is a religious person but it just sounds to me like he is describing a general test of faith. the obvious interpretation might be the perspective of somone who follows and/or lives by strict religious guidlines in order to be saved or go to heaven or what ever and he is describing the crossroads of trials and tribulation that test ones patience. "is this a test? it has to be. otherwise i cant go on." etc.
  • Ben from Chicago, IlTo me this is the ultimate anti-suicidal, we do i keep going song. If there's nothing that could possibly go good in our lives why wouldn't i have killed myself long ago? No there must be something, i just have to go out and find it. That's the feeling i get from this song.
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