The Bryan Kids 2014

The Bryan Kids 2014

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Night shift rewind...

   Many moons ago, ok, 12 years ago, when I started as a nurse, I started out on night shift.  Most of the time, as new nurse, you have to pay your dues, and work nights for awhile.  The bad news, it plays havoc with your body and circadian rhythms.  The good news, you will make more money.  I stayed on nights for about 6 years.  I was stubborn.  I liked my friends, I liked the money, and I liked the autonomy I had as a nurse.  Eventually, my old friend insomnia caught up with me.  He still comes to visit me occasionally, but much less so now that I am on a relatively normal sleeping schedule.  I have been working evening shift, 3p-11p for those non nursing folk reading out there, since shortly before Mike and I got married in 2006.  I haven't looked back for a minute.  I did not miss the pain of staying up all night.  In fact, I was busy enough with sleepless nights at home due to the children, I certainly didn't need that at work as well.  The last time my old night shift buddies talked me into staying on call until 3 am, I fell down the stairs at home, and broke my left foot, and sprained my right in two places...two weeks before my wedding.  I walked down the aisle in heels thanks to Lortab and mimosas, and I wore an ortho shoe and an air cast for my reception.  I am an incredibly superstitious person, like so many nurses, and I haven't stayed late since that night.  I figured, if I was so tired that I could fall down my own stairs, it couldn't be a healthy thing to do.  Let's just ignore the fact that I am horribly clumsy on a good day, and I risk injury anytime I am moving :)  It seemed like a good excuse to never work night shift again...well, until last night.
    I needed Sunday off pretty badly, and it was becoming a very last minute trade.  My friend Wendy totally stepped up to the plate, and traded the shift with me in the final hours of Saturday night.  The catch...She works 3p-3a, not 3p-11p.  Twelve hours loomed before me as if it were a marathon that I had never trained for.  I have worked 12 hour shifts in recent years, but the daunting part of this was the 3 am end time.  On a good day, I am in my bed in a horizontal position, if not asleep, by 10 pm.  My two shifts on the weekend are sometimes difficult enough for this reason.  But I had a willing person to trade, and morally, I felt the need to make sure my shift was covered.  So, for the first time since 9/2006, I was making a cameo appearance on night shift.
    Monday began like any other Monday, wrestling two toddlers into clothes for school, and hitting the car pool line at the preschool.  I dropped off both children, and I hit the gym with my friend Sandra.  We had a nice cardio/weights workout, and then I headed  back to pick up the kids.  I gave the kids lunch, got them ready and out the door, and started towards the hospital.  I unloaded both children in the parking deck, and started inside.  Mike was meeting me at the hospital around 3 pm to pick up the kids, in the mean time, they had a blast riding the "alligator"(elevator in Molly speak), and following mommy down to the locker room to change.  Mike picked the kids up, and I reported to my station.  I started to get sleepy around 5:30, and I am positive it was simply because I was staying later than normal.  By 9 pm, I was offering supervisors bribes to let me go at 11pm.  In jest...of course.  I made a pot of coffee, and warned my former night shift buddies I was going need help staying awake after 11.  Everyone was so sweet to me.  My team leader asked "do you need to go for a walk, maybe a snack?" as I started to fade at midnight.  I wandered over to my charge nurse, and I warned him that I might need a shock collar to stay awake until 3 am.  Around the time the nausea and exhaustion started to set in, he walked by and said "I am sending you relief at 1."  I told him he was my new best friend.  After the drive home, changing after I got there, etc, I was still not asleep before 2:45.  I am exhausted, and nauseous, possibly from attempting to drink my weight in coffee already this morning.  I have been up since 8:30, but I would hardly call myself awake even right now.  Molly has already dumped out an entire 1 lb bag of pretzels on the couch, and brought me "pink wankie" telling me that "she needs a shower."  I am not sure what the brown substance is all over her blanket, but I am hoping it is her chocolate milk.  The one thing I am sure days of working night shift are over ladies and gentleman.  It will probably be another 6 years before I decide to try that again.  In the mean time, could someone find me a Zofran ODT and some jumper cables.  My tummy can't handle the coffee, and Molly is in rare form already today....

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