Graveyard shifts and marathons

The time has come for me to start what I was originally hired to work: the dreaded night shifts. I honestly do not mind working night shifts–in the ICU you are kept so busy that you can stay awake. Well, that, and lots of caffeine. Night shifts are tough on your body, because you lack normal sleeping hours, and your days off are spent trying to catch up on sleep.

I’ve found that there are advantages, and disadvantages to night shifts. I think the negatives definitely outweigh the positives. For example, you sleep during the day–when it is light–so unless you want to skimp on sleep (which I do anyway), you will not see much sunlight. Most of the rest of the world is awake when you are sleeping. Doctors offices are closed, and it is sometimes more of a chore to speak with people when you need to when you are working at night. Personally, my nose starts to run like a faucet when I’m tired, which is not good when you are trying to give report to someone and constantly blowing your nose.

Advantages are that your fellow staff work much more closely together (they have to), and you become like family. There are fewer people cluttering the hallways, so you have more room to work. There is pay differential–if there wasn’t, it would be cruel. Weekends are considered Friday and Saturday, instead of Saturday and Sunday. When you leave work and go home, you can think as you pass other cars, “Haha, you have to go to work, and I get to go home and sleep.” Because you sleep less, you are more productive–now since there is a bit of light left before the sun sets at night, I can get in a run before work.

Although thus far, I’m not sure my body has adjusted to the night schedule yet. It’s tired. My muscles feel workouts. A five mile run feels like a fifteen mile run. A thirty mile bike ride feels like fifty.

I keep debating on whether or not to do the marathon in a week–after three shifts in a row, going home saturday morning to take a nap then drive up in the afternoon to run 26.2miles on Sunday morning, and have to drive back that afternoon as Monday I’ll need to return to work. I think any rational human being would think twice about that decision.

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September 2010
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