Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Isn't it ironic... don't you think?

I'm a good whiner. Probably because I get so much practice ;-) One of my specialties is whining about things I have no control over, because then no one can blame me for whining about something instead of changing it! Case in point: night shift.
I have the UTMOST respect for night-shifters. They are always *cool* and I REALLY WISH I could be one of them. However, it's hard to be cool when you'd rather be asleep. I've always been more of an early riser than a night owl. I am trying to be more optimistic, and I had actually been thinking about writing a post listing all the POSITIVE things about night shift to cheer myself up.
Instead, today I found out a day shift position has opened for May 2. That's soon! Suddenly, I'm thrown into turmoil. ALL I WANTED was to move to day shift. I blame most of my problems on night shift and I tell myself the when I can just be on day shift, things will change. I had basically resigned myself to a year's worth of night shift and all that it entails. Yet now I can't decide if I want to put my name in for consideration?!
So. The "positives" list is now a "pro and con" list.
PROS of staying on night shift:
1) Obviously, MONEY! The night shift differential makes a big difference on my paycheck and between taking a paycut to move up here and watching income taxes drain away a good percent of my paycheck, that differential seems to be the only thing keeping us afloat.
2) Slower pace (this is also a con... see below). When it's
3) People TEND to be more easygoing. Don't misinterpret this. I have some great dayshift friends from JPS (my old hospital) and I hope to make some here, too. However, people one night shift tend to be more laid-back.
4) The slower pace allows me some free time to play with babies! The best part about my job! My primary patient is going home soon and taking care of her has kept me coming to work these last few months. When I don't want to work, I just think, "I get to see sweet pea!" and I can drag myself out the door. I miss her when I'm gone. Now that she's so close to leaving, I've definitely started to dread coming to work and not taking care of her.
The best part about my job!
5) Now that it's warming up, I was semi-looking forward to the workout schedule I got used to last time I was on night shift. I'd wake up around 4pm, go on a good bike ride or run on the Trinity Trail, shower, eat, and get to work. The last bit of sunshine really energized me and helped me stay awake at work. However, we don't have a great trail in our backyard anymore so it would've been a little more complicated. (We didn't realize how lucky we were- I wish I'd used the trail more. I MISS IT SO MUCH! Now any way you go from our apartment, it's busy roads, interrupted sidewalks, and hills.)
CONS of night shift:
1) Sometimes the night passes SO SLOWLY that I'm tempted to find an empty patient room, curl up in a pediatric crib, and crash! You'd think that all that free time would be a great time to study, read a good book, etc. Except it's IMPOSSIBLE for me to focus at 2am. Trust me, I've tried. I end up reading the same page over and over again and not absorbing anything. I was never able to pull studying all-nighters in school, why would I suddenly be able to do so now!?
2) I never see Ross. He works in the morning, so he's not there when I get home and eat breakfast after work, and he is either headed to class when I wake up, or else we see each other for about an hour before I have to leave.
3) My body is all out of whack. Some people can sleep anytime, anywhere. I used to think I was one of those people. While I definitely do sleep when I get off in the mornings, it's not quality sleep and I don't feel rested when I wake up. On my nights off I can't sleep, period. I'm usually up wasting time in front of the computer or TV until 4am or later. I also feel hungry all the time because I'm so tired and suddenly I'm eating 24 hours a day!
PROS of switching to day shift:
1) A healthy sleep schedule = normal circadian rhythm = a happy Therese
2) I'd actually get to see my husband!
3) When we visit family, I will get to spend more time with them instead of sleeping the day away and then prowling around the kitchen at 2am when my body now gets hungry for "lunch" and everyone else is asleep.
4) I can work 4 days a week without messing up my sleep schedule on days off even further. And I can split them up (on 2, off 1, on 2) without losing an entire week of my life.
5) I'll always know what day it is! On night shift, I'll go into work on, say, a Monday and work 2 nights in a row. One night off means sleeping most of that day and night, being awake the following day and then taking a nap before going to work again. I'll get off work the next morning, take a nap, and then before I know it, it's 5 days later!

CONS of day shift:
2) The transition. I worked nights for 9 months at JPS, and after I switched it took another 9 months to learn to sleep throught the night again and be rested for day shift! That left me with 3 months of "normalcy" before moving to Kansas and going back to night shift. Three months in which I saw the light of day, went to the farmer's market on my days off, and actually hung out with friends (I miss afternoon walks with Brittnye and Avery!) I know I said I'm an early riser, but when I've been sleeping from 8am-4pm on days I work and about 4am-1pm on days I'm off, it takes time to adjust to going to bed early and sleeping through the night again. I've only been on night shift 5 months here, but that's plently long enough to be out-of-whack once again.
3) SORE FEET. Right now, I can wake up and work out before work without making myself more tired. But on day shift, it's hard (read: impossible) to wake up at 5am, work out, and then work a 12 hour shift and remain on your feet the whole time. My feet were always so tired after leaving work on day shift that the LAST thing I wanted to do was go home and pound the pavement for a good workout.

I remember when I was nearing the end of my night shift stint in Texas, I had been sitting and rocking a baby for 30 minutes and that Trace Adkins song popped into my head, "You're gonna miss this, you're gonna want this back, you're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast..." But I wasn't too worried because I knew we'd be moving eventually and I'd inevitably be put on night shift at least once more in my life. But now that it's possibly over for good, I'm panicking! I hate when things end.
"And isn't it ironic... don't you think
It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures"

(Comments/advice/prayers greatly appreciated!)

1 comment:

  1. We miss our walks with Therese too, especially since Avery can set a good pace now! How odd, I just read this and yet I told Evan yesterday I was half tempted earlier to drive over to your old trail and take Avery for a nostaligic walk.

    I adore her but her conversations and vent-fests don't leave me as empowered and comforted as yours did. ;P

    Can NOT wait until MAY!