Monday, January 31, 2011

In the Middle of the Night

I probably shouldn't be posting near the end of a long night shift (the fatigue could have me nearly as impaired as if I'd been drinking...), but there isn't anyone on facebook, and I certainly can't text anyone at this God-forsaken hour, so this is what I'm left with.

Been up all night.

I've got two more nights to go this week, though hopefully I'll get more sleep today to give me a boost. For those not working shift work, Night shifts usually go like this:

1. I try to wake up at a decent hour the morning before the night shift. This gives me sufficient time to do enough that I'll be able to...

2. Nap in the afternoon before the shift. I generally aim to be laying in bed by 2:30 or 3pm, though this can be a toughie when you're hustling around, or just don't feel like laying in bed again. Whatever time it is I start to nap, I always

3. wake up at 6pm. My shift doesn't start until 730pm, but I've developed a readying routine that takes about an hour (showering, packing 'lunch,' getting dressed) which is followed by the 30 minute commute. (the bus ride is really only 13 minutes, but what with standing and waiting for the bus, and then walking to work, I'm always waiting at the bus stop at 7 for a 730shift)

4. Work. I've got a host of paperwork duties that need completion, and from 730-9pm, I also have a couple of kids to look after and tuck into bed (which isn't always a smooth task...) Duties generally get done by about 2, though that can vary depending on the kids, and the day of the week, or the lunar cycle....

5. I most often have "free time" of sorts from that time until about 6am, when I recheck to make sure I've done all of the night shift duties, and generally try to look busy for when the admin's arrive on the unit. (free time is when I get caught up on missed episodes of Mad Men, Jersey shore, or do knitting, and check on the kids periodically to make sure they're all still alive...)

6. Get the heck out of there at 7:30am sharp.

7. I go to bed almost immediately (about 8:10am), exhausted from staying up all night on only a few hours' napping time from the afternoon before. On a good day, I'll sleep until 3. Usually, on the first day of a nigth shift set, I'll only geta bout 5 hours of sleep in, but at least I'm more rested for night #2 than I was for #1. Whatever the time is, I'll start the routine again at 6pm....and the next night shift begins.

And so go an average 24 hours in a nurse's night shift where I work. At least, that's my routine. They're nice in that they're much quieter and less busy than a regular day shift, but they can be hella tiring, and if the company isn't good, you're in for a lonely night (and day, if you wake up in the middle of the day when M's at work....) From what I hear, nurses live shorter lives because they live their lives on this crazy day/night shedule for decades. I'll tell you how it all turns out.

Good morning, everyone....

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