I found this little gem of information at wowvault.ign.com and am hopeful that this will help me have a normal patch life. Blizzard is starting something new - a Background Downloader. Here are more details:
"With the 1.10 patch we have integrated a new content delivery system called the Blizzard Background Downloader. This program will run seamlessly with World of Warcraft and download upcoming content prior to the release of a patch. With use of this program a minimal amount of data will be needed during the next actual patch release and help to decrease the amount of time spent downloading the patch. The Blizzard Background Downloader uses the same protocols and connection methods as the Blizzard Downloader, some customers may need to configure their various network protection programs and hardware to take full advantage of it."
"The background downloader is designed to minimize the amount of time users spend during the patching process. As users play the game the background downloader is automatically launched at a random interval when there is new data available. An icon appears in the system tray or dock to notify players that the download has started. Data is then streamed at a very slow rate into a new folder that is created in the World of Warcraft installation directory. When a patch is released users already have most of new data available and need only to download a very small amount to be able to run the patch. "