Family · Life

February 12: A Day in the Life

Ya’ll, I cannot be thankful enough that my husband works days. Like I said in Day Shift Epiphanies, my body really likes days but my sense of autonomy likes nights. It’s so nice that on nights if patients are sleeping we really do have the freedom to dive in and really help our co-workers when we have sick, sick patients. Day shift does a great job of doing the same but there is an added felt stress that our patients are awake and need us more. Anyway, last night was a helping night for all of us and even though I only had about an hour or hour and a half of sleep, I did fine staying awake (with the help of a few cups of coffee).

But after I walked in the door at home, had my breakfast and another cup of coffee, I couldn’t sleep very well. I was so exhausted and my body was crying for sleep but it was fitful and short. I think I slept about 2.5 hours and that was it. I just felt the need to get up and do something because the sun was shining. Unfortunately this is the story for too many nurses who work night shift. And the added responsibility of three kids makes it hard for me to move sometimes. On days like today, Henry can thankfully set the pace and keep things on track.

In order to attempt to refresh ourselves (and because Henry already has this day off) we have tried to commit to making Mondays our Sabbath. However, when I work the night before, Monday is a little heavier for Henry. I typically am so tired that he ends up carrying the weight of feeding the kids and cleaning up after them while I attempt (mostly unsuccessfully) to lie down and sleep.

And my brain doesn’t work for the entire day. I had a call in meeting tonight and I don’t know if it was the sleep deprivation or just my computer and a remote connections but I could not get anything lined up. I couldn’t get the slides to work, I signed into Skype about six different times to get the video to work and then found out it wouldn’t work anyway. It was a mess.

The other issue with the sleep deprivation of night shift while raising three kids is that you don’t think clearly and have much more difficulty controlling your emotions. And when illogical little ones do things that don’t make sense, sleep deprived mom also doesn’t respond in a very adult way. Today, the remainder my expensive facial oil and half of my body/massage oil wound up in a potion similar to George’s Marvelous Medicine. I was not at all happy. Like to the point that I could barely speak to my son. My husband kept saying it was his fault because he told him he could play with the ‘soap’ in the bathroom and my son thought that was soap. I was still livid.

It’s so hard to convey value and worth to kids when it comes to anything except their favorite snuggle friend. Or at least it is for me and my lack of sleep never helps. Instead it leads to a quicker temper and a desire to just do what is easy. But my boys deserve more. I deserve to be able to show them how to take care of themselves whether they work days or nights and I’m not being a good example of that. Some days I can feel the heart palpitations that my stressed out body and heart feel and it freaks me out because I am a cardiac nurse and I’m thinking that the worst is going to happen to me. So I try to tell myself that never again will I stay up for 20-24 hours and then the next week I already break my intentions.

I do hope that as I move to part-time I can find actual rest (and a daily shower again) and my posts about the difficulty of exhaustion and sleep deprivation will become less and you (and I) will be inspired to seek health. For ourselves. And for our families.

I do encourage you all to take one day a week and rest. Really try to make it a refreshing day for you (and family if you have kids or a spouse).You might find that you actually are able to accomplish more by taking one day out of your week to reboot your systems. It sounds crazy but (unsurprisingly) we are limited in our capabilities and need to take the time to rest. So choose a day and plan for rest! Enjoy!

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