Monday, July 26, 2010

Comfort in Discomfort

I am a nurse.

Trained to dispense comfort. Sooth fears. Lessen pain. Ease anxiety. Provide hope. Give strength.

But that's not always comfortable. For patient or nurse.

For the nurse it might mean to insist on discomfort.

For the patient it might mean:
  • to breathe deep and cough when it feels like an incision will explode.
  • to walk when it feels like one more step is impossible.
  • to take medicine that causes the yucks.
  • to accept a dreaded needle.
  • to avoid comfort food and learn to eat healthy.
  • to give up control and allow exposure.
However, an order might read, "comfort measures only."

This usually means the patient is past the point of restored health and that death will occur before long.

Eat what you want. Do what you want. Refuse what you don't want. Rest in comfort and peace. And then die.

I don't want to die as a writer. I mean I don't want to live as a dead writer.

I don't want to live with comfort measures only.

So I may need to:
  • self-inflict discomfort and allow others to do so, too. 
  • expose myself. Write naked. And let others read it.  
  • let go of some things I love--good things--to make room for the best. 
  • perhaps cause discomfort for others when I withdraw from some activities or say no to others. 
  • come to terms with the fact that that's okay in order to respond to this God-given passion.
  • walk when I'm discouraged.
  • swallow the medicine of critique, even though it stings or tastes yucky.
  • try new exercises that stretch me even if they're painful.
  • sometimes go back to the beginning and learn to walk again.
  • be teachable.
It means I'm not dead or dying.

There's comfort in that discomfort.

Where do you find comfort in discomfort?

Note: Today I write as part of a blog chain of writers from Topic: The Discomfort Zone. Check out some of these other posts.

July 1:  Power of the Pen by Ruth Rockafield
July 4:  Front Notes by Nina Rose
July 6:  Sowing the Seeds by Edward Lewis
July 7:  Expression Express by Tracy Krauss
July 8:  Kat's Musings by Kat Connolly
July 9:  777 Peppermint Place by Linda Yezak
July 10: Heading Home by Lynn Mosher
July 11: Word Obsession by Nona King
July 14: The Book Lightwalker Files by Victor Travison
July 15: Wayslinger by Janalyn Voight
July 16: Clearing Skies by Sheila Hollinghead
July 17: The Collings Zone by Adam Collings
July 19: Word Wanderings by Liberty Speidel
July 20: Tracings by Traci Bonney 
July 25: The Beulah Land Blog by Chris DePew
July 26: The Write Pursuit by Sandra Heska King
July 27: Creative Adventuring by Chris Solaas
July 28: Suzanne Hartmann

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King


  1. I think the biggest comfort in discomfort (for me) is knowing that growth is going to come from it.

    To write and put yourself out there can be scary, but it can help one understand where they are or help others.

    Love your writings over here.

  2. Loved your analogies. I especially liked the "yucky medicine" of critiques. What do you mean you don't love my darlings?

    Great post...keep at it. Peace and Blessings.

  3. I find comfort in the Lord and His word, also in my family and good friends. Thanks for sharing this:)

  4. Great post, Sandy! I loved your analogies. Blessings for more comfort! :D

  5. I don't have much comfort in discomfort, but I'm learning it's part of the process. Great reflections here, Sandy.

  6. Hi Sandy -

    Great analogy and timely for me! I'm struggling with an expanded synopsis right now. Thanks for putting a new spin on my discomfort. I will survive.

    Susan :)

  7. You mentioned putting up with discomfort to have comfort in the medical field. As an outpatient with a weak heart, I know how that is. You put up with the needles, the restrictive cuff, the feeling of being in a fishbowl with all these eyes looking at you. And embarrassing questions asked over and over.

    Yet I know all this is necessary to be treated in the clinic or hospital. If I'm going to live as comfortable a life as I can, I have to put up with a little discomfort. Thanks for this relevant post, "Snady."

    ~ VT

  8. I love your line at the end 'There's comfort in that discomfort'. What a great way of looking at it.

    My wife is currently studying to be a nurse. I have a lot of respect for nurses, so well done.

  9. Beautifully written, Sandra. I like your voice and the comparisons you draw. I don't want to live as a dead writer either. Thanks for the exhortation.

  10. I like your analogy. It works for a lot of things in life.

    It's so hard to be disciplined, but very little of what we long for will happen apart from it.

  11. You have blessed me with this post. Thank you. Thank you from the BOTTOM of my heart and soul. <3

  12. @Michael: Thanks. It's always good to remember that pruning and plucking and pinching bring fuller growth.

    @E.G.: Thanks for visiting and your good words. "Do you love me more than these?"

    @Karen: Good medicine!

    @Lynn: And right back at you.

    @katdish: Thanks! Yep. A process. Do you ever wonder what a wall feels like when it's being stripped of paper and prepped for fresh paint? Thinking on that now.

    @Susan: Glad to be able to spin you. You will survive and be all the better.

    @Victor: Sigh. I'm sorry you have to go through all that. My daughter has other issues, and I've watched her go through all kinds of poking and prodding. Definitely not comfortable. But necessary to be comfortable.

    @Adam: Nice to see you. Thanks. And best wishes to your wife. Nursing school can be very uncomfortable!

    @Traci: Thanks! And I see you signed up to follow. Double thanks. I'm transferring to a new blog next week. Stay tuned. :)

    @Cassandra: Hi, girlfriend. That discipline thing. I thought about that again this morning as I tried to button my shorts.

  13. @Nona: And now you've blessed me. :)

  14. Wow. What a comparison. I appreciate your writing voice, Sandy. I found your post very challenging and inciteful. It's scary to expose your feelings for others to see. But only then are you truly 'real' - and only then will your words truly speak to another person in need...

    I have an aversion to needles. I tried to give blood when a friend was needing many pints. I fainted during the retrieval process.

    The nurse at the desk said that next time I wanted to give blood, just give flowers instead.

    I've fainted when getting stuck with penicillin. I just tell the nurses to lie me down and wake me up. They usually go for an oral antibiotic instead. I don't freak over the needles, just faint.

    My wife says God help me when I have to have surgery...

  15. Wow, I really needed to read that, Snady. It is just confirmation of what God has been whispering to me over the last few weeks. Time to let go of the good and work for the best. Great analogy!

    Time to get off the duff, let some things go and go through the discomfort. :)

  16. This was a very thoughtful and thought provoking post. Thanks. All the 'advice' is excellent and should be taken to heart! I find comfort in my faith, my family and my passion to create.

  17. @Chris: Too funny!

    @Kat: Glad you hear what I hear. :)

    @Tracy: Big comforts!