Thursday, August 11, 2011

Circadian (out of) Rhythm

I’ve mentioned it before, (night shift, 36 in 48) but it seems that the gross reality of the situation has been staring me in the face lately. I am NOT a night person. I, specifically, was not designed to stay up all night long and sleep during the day. It is against my personal nature, against my circadian rhythm .

Yet every time I work it’s either a 24h shift or a 12h shift and it’s always during the night, always demanding that I sleep the next day. Some people thrive with this type of schedule, some people not so much. Me? Not so much. I hate the way it makes me feel, hate that I spend my “off” time recovering, hate that I’ll just have to do it again in a few days.

I think it may feel worse today because I’ve been off so long and my body and sleep cycle is super out of sync with sleeping during the day. It may be because I slept just enough last night to not sleep very much today, to make me feel exhausted when I go in tonight.

Vacations are always wonderful but it seems I always have to pay for them in some way on the back end. If anything, during a vacation when I finally start to feel “normal” it just makes me realize how exhausted I feel most of the time.

There are two thoughts that I have seemed to adopt as steering themes for my life:
1. There are positives and negatives to everything and
2. We all have choices.

I enjoy critical care, that’s a positive. Critical care is a 24h, 365d job; sometimes that’s a negative. I worked last year on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after; that’s just the fact. The hospital and health care arena have different time demands than a lot of other arenas do. I knew that and I chose to adopt that arena for my life, which was my choice.

I fear though, in the very near future, that my paradigm is going to shift the remaining positives to negatives and demand that a choice be made. With every new choice there will still be positives and negatives facets. But it is my responsibility to myself to make choices in which the positives outweigh the negatives. Sometimes that choice is simply in how we view our perspective, sometimes it reaches beyond that.

So what does my future hold? We shall see. But we all have choices…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy reading your thoughts. I was on shift work when Josh was growing up & he can tell you the way it comes across to a family. Not good. Hardly good.
I did not get on day shift until the last 7 years I worked at GE. 2nd shift was bearable but I missed my sons day lives. 3rd shift let me still be a part of their lives but I was horrible to be around. All I can say is YES you have choices. We as working women make them all the time, & you single, can be glad it does not affect your children or husband. Though it does affect your Ruthie.I may be wrong but I feel it is not as difficult for men. You have a very important job & you have to make those choices, no one else. Thanks for sharing w/the rest of us. Blessings.
Carol Watson