Relax, Release, Haiku

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What do you do to let off a lit­tle steam?

My day job is that of a breast oncol­o­gy nurse.  No, no, it’s not depress­ing, not usu­al­ly any­way.  While there is a ton of heartache involved, I see far more peo­ple who go on to sur­vive and live good lives, than peo­ple who do not.  I love my work despite the chal­lenges, and oh boy, are there lots of them.

Nurs­ing, I like to tell peo­ple, is often more psych coun­sel­ing, bol­ster­ing and cheer­lead­ing than it is actu­al crit­i­cal clin­i­cal care.  Believe me when I tell you, it’s easy to drown in the ocean of some­one else’s inter­nal tur­moil and the toll can be your own sense of inner peace…or san­i­ty.

We nurs­es do all sorts of things to blow off steam.  We vent to each oth­er when no one else can hear, cry, take long and fre­quent vaca­tions (not real­ly), threat­en to nev­er come back (before we get back up and do just that), we crack stu­pid jokes, pray.

Writ­ing is my sec­ond life (or maybe my first?) and it is a great release for me.  I am sur­prised though, that more of my col­leagues don’t have an alter­nate life, some­thing that shields them from the dif­fi­cul­ties of the job.  I don’t know the sta­tis­tics, but I do know that there is a high rate of depres­sion among nurs­es.

Sev­er­al months ago, my clin­i­cal team took on a new, young, and fright­ened patient, who was des­per­ate to con­trol the uncon­trol­lable, and under­stand­ably fright­ened about the prospect of chemother­a­py.  Her anx­i­ety was infec­tious and even I start­ed to feel over­whelmed.  Help­ing her con­sumed so much time that I could hard­ly get to my oth­er patients.

On one par­tic­u­lar­ly chal­leng­ing day, I emailed the doc­tor whose clin­ic I sup­port.  I gave report in the form of a haiku.  This made the both of us laugh.  It’s been sev­en months now, and we are still haiku-ing away and we’re still get­ting a kick out of it.

I rec­og­nize that nei­ther of us are pro­duc­ing great lit­er­ary mas­ter­pieces, but we are cre­at­ing and we are hav­ing fun.  The next time you’re annoyed or tired or want to vent or want to rejoice why not scratch down a haiku (or any form of poet­ry) and get a laugh out of it?  From time to time, I’ll be post­ing haiku, just for fun over at my Face­book page.  Hope you’ll check it out some­time.

Check out these two arti­cles:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/03/why-poetry-should-be-more-playful/254188/

http://www.howdesign.com/how-magazine/how-may-2012/unstuck/

  • Great post! I’m a teacher and, while we deal with more frus­tra­tion than heartache, we too are in major need of a release some­times. I’ve nev­er tried to vent a haiku before but I’m going to now! Thanks.

    • Cool. Maybe one day a bunch of us tweeps can have a haiku hol­i­day where all tweets are also haikus. Haha­ha­ha.
      Thanks for read­ing and com­ment­ing!