You may or may not have a problem with YaST I just can't tell from what you are describing. I doesn't sound entirely correct as you describe it, but without being there, it's hard to tell.
A few tips.
Try different download mirrors to see if the download progresses differently.
Try manual vs automatic patch selection.
After the dowload and installation completes you will go through the SuSEConfig screen as the new config gets written (If you choose manual, you will have to push the "finish" button) If you don't go through SuSEConfig, then it's likely that nothing was installed.
Make sure that you are not deleting the patches after download. (check box on the same screen as the download progress graphs). Then you can go to the patch directory to verify that the patches have been saved. Thie directory is /var/lib/YaST2/you/mnt/i386/update/8.2/rpm/i586
This dirrctory should be filled with patch RPMs if downloads are working and you have selected the save sources option I described above.
If you burn the var/lib/YaST2/you/mnt/i386 directory to a CD after downloading and saving all the pathches, this will be a patch CD that will reinstall all the patches should you need to reinstall SuSE at a future date. Good thing to have if your on dialup