Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Disquietude

The word disquietude popped into my mind tonight as I drove the dark roads towards home. The on-line dictionary describes it as a restless or uneasy feeling, with inquietude being an apt synonym. Disquietude.

With my wife away on a three-day silent meditation retreat, perhaps disquietude came to mind since my own mental environment feels filled with troubling thoughts and endless ruminations. At the moment, I can't imagine sitting quietly for hours on end---the riot in my brain would first need subduing. Unfinished business from the day at work roams through my head, interrupting more pleasant thoughts, hijacking some moments of personal reflection: "Did I make that call? Did I send that fax? Oh no! I must call that discharge planner tomorrow." The weight of it all feels enormous sometimes.

Teaching and the responsibilities of such add more weight to that sense of burden. Not only am I responsible for the healthcare and follow-up of some 80 individuals, I am also carrying responsibility for the proper education of 21 novice nurses who will soon themselves care for the ill and infirm. It is a weight I will relinquish soon, seeing that teaching just cannot be accomplished well when balanced on top of a full-time job which consumes one's energy at an enormous rate, often nearly depleting emotional and energetic reserves without proper precautions.

A life in healthcare is a life of responsibility for others, careful planning and time management, and exposure to suffering and despair which can, if one allows it to do so, subsume one's sense of self and natural personal centeredness.

A disquietude has settled on my heart this evening, and I see my most important and timely task: assuaging that disquietude with thoughtful and gentle self-care.
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