Circadian Rhythm Caper
"Department Store Nurse"??? You mean I could have worked for Nordstroms? Saks Fifth Avenue? Neiman Marcus? All these years I've missed out on employee discounts? What on earth would the job description say? "Wanted: young, beautiful RN to standby in case someone faints in Hosiery. Ability to pose in white uniform and cap so that doorman can administer side-long ogles a plus. Advanced training in analgesia for headaches secondary to over-enthusiastic fragrance sprayers required". I bet she even got to park up front.....
I am so exhausted I can't feel my fingers on the keyboard. Why, you ask? Another emotionally exhausting day saving lives? A whirlwind of one emergency after another, juggling critical patient after critical patient with nary a thought for myself, doctors requesting my expertise at every turn and patients clinging to my arm, thanking me for just....being?
I worked a day shift.
Let's get one thing clear right off the bat. I am what is known as a night owl, a vampire, a creature of the dark. To me, 0700 is the middle of the night! I don't even go to bed until 0300 and that's only if I'm ill. I have not voluntarily worked a day shift in years. It's easier for me to STAY up until sunrise than to GET up at sunrise. You get the picture. So... when my sick colleague called to ask if I would work a twelve-hour-shift commencing at 0700 this morning I said, what the heck!
He's pitched in for me a few times and it's so hard to find coverage when you need a day off. I could do this favor. I thought.
Had I been able to get any sleep, it might have worked. Early to rise means early to bed, and being the holistic-homeopathic-earth-nature-mother that I am, I decided to dope myself up to high heaven with my drug of choice, Benadryl! Fifty freakin' milligrams down the hatch.
Nothing. Wide awake. 11:00. Have to get up in four hours. This called for drastic measures. Yes, I went for the Melatonin. Figured "Mel" would meet "Ben" and I'd be comatose.
Nothing. Up to the couch. Two episodes of "Aqua-Teen Hunger Force" on the Cartoon Network. Ever seen that cartoon? It's a milkshake, a meatball and a large order of fries (with a goatee) who live together. See what you miss going to bed early? Finally, the faint stirrings of fatigue floated into consciousness. I was asleep.
Four hours later I was jolted awake by an alarm playing "Wake Up Little Susie". Staggered to the mirror. Hair not sticking up. Good. A quick fluff with the blow dryer and I'm outta here. No make up. They're lucky I put on clothes.
No traffic. Thank god. Too early for rock and roll. Too early for talk radio. Too early for sound.
I dragged my senseless self into my department. Only one patient and she's ready to admit. Big sigh - time for some coffee to start the day. It is then that I discovered I was scheduled to work with Miss Susie Sunshine, RN! Bright, cheery, energetic, caring, compassionate, competent. She is the sweetest woman I know.
I wanted to wring her neck. I've seen methamphetamine addicts with less energy.
I never did recover. My patients were great; I only had a few as it was not busy. Spent 90 minutes in a class on JACHO accreditation. Stimulating. Not.
Then my very own Florence Nightengale arrived to take over at 4:00 pm. Bless her everloving heart. I didn't have to do twelve hours after all. I was released. I was exhausted.
In retrospect, my day was very productive. I made the decision that I will never, ever do a day shift again. Ever. I learned that you can take the nurse off the night shift, but you can't take the innate circadian rhythm out of the nurse. I'll stick to PMs and Nights. Oh, and I'll take vacation during JACHO accreditation.