Well, it’s official. I’m officially old. And I hate it, not because I’m opposed to being old or old people or that people get old, but because it’s limiting things that used to be limitless. Like my energy, and my time and my ability to do things with little or no sleep. Somewhere along the line I’ve become this weak, sad, sleep-needing person! (note: if you have always been a sleep-needing person I apologize for characterizing you as weak or sad. I’m just not used to it. And it’s making me cranky. I’m sure you’re wonderful and strong and I promise to bring to you the next pickle jar I cannot open…)
Background info: I work for a Medical Group (which is basically a big pile of doctors who have office hours and see patients for that which ails them). This Medical Group is part of a larger healthcare organization which also manages our sister/neighbor/good friend hospital (which is basically a bigger pile of doctors who have shifts and see anybody who crosses their medical path for that which SERIOUSLY ails them). The hospital just moved into a newer, bigger, super-StarTrekish-hightech building and it was a BIG DEAL in Hippyville! And because we’re related anyone who works for the Medical Group was helping out with the big move.
OK, so last week was the actual move and the first week in the new, fancy digs. And I have to tell you, there are so many cool things about this new building! Twice before I’ve started to write a post waxing geeksodic (it’s a word now – tell your friends) about all the cool things! Like for instance there are these big screens which can tell you where any patient is in the whole hospital based on their ID badges and sensors in the ceilings! I want to say “computer, where is ensign LaForge?” so it can tell me that he’s left the ship and is on the planet’s surface. Also we have NEUMATIC TUBES! Tubes that run for MILES all over the building and even to a near-by LAB BUILDING, running under the streets magically! Tubes in which you can put papers or lab samples or gloves or whatever you want and hit “send” and they’ll shoot away, popping up as if by magic in another place with a satisfy “Hshhhhh-THUNK!” Really, its just a great big pile of very cool toys that I wish I could play with.
In an effort to be helpful to the sister hospital I volunteered for a “phone coaching” shift last Tuesday from 6pm to 6am. Yes, that’s a 12-hour shift. Yes, that’s an overnight shift. The idea was that the new, fancy, SUPER-COOL phones are very different from what the doctors and nursing staff are used to, and while doctors and nurses are extremely smart about what things you can and cannot do with human bodies, they are often not technically savvy folks. There was a fear that someone would run into confusion w/ the new phones while trying to yank a poor soul from the jaws of death and would LOSE THEIR SH*T if they suddenly had to grab a phone manual to make a damned call. Hence we phone coaches, who were mostly charged with “being around” to help folks w/ the phones if they needed it at any time. But for me it was mostly “wander around the ICU all night long, while nothing happened and nobody called anybody or got called by anybody. And eat Red Vines.” In order to “work” this shift I left my normal job at lunchtime and tried to nap for a couple of hours, but mostly I was up and working from 7am on Monday until about 7am on Tuesday.
But here (at last!) is the point of my rant: Time was (and has always been!) that I could have been up for 24 hours with no problems. NO PROBLEMS! “24 hours of being up? Bring it on!” I would have said. “Heck, while I’m at it I might as well stay up for 36 hours! It’s only another 12 hours!” Sleep, I figured, was for the sleepy and/or dead, and you can always get more sleep later. I don’t do skateboarding or skiing or anything, but was all about the EXTREEEEEME WORKING! And so off I went for my shift and I coached and I worked and the sun set and slept and rose and I finished and went home. By which I mean I got behind the wheel of my car and only fell asleep at 2 stoplights and only once forgot that I was DRIVING A 2-TON VEHICLE!, and finally got home and fell over dead on the couch and slept for about 4 hours. And then I was all good and got up and felt no ill effects and everything was just fine!
I woke up after 4 hours and tried to eat, but instead napped a little. I showered and did a little work from home, but was attacked by another nap from out of nowhere. In the space of 12 hours I took something like 5 spontaneous naps. I felt like a narcoleptic, too afraid to operate heavy machinery because I didn’t know when the next attack-nap would strike. But hey, even that was ok, because at least at the end of the day I went to bed and slept like I would generally sleep and everything went back to normal.
I’ve been sleepy and off-kilter ever since. It took several days for the attack-naps to back off completely. I slept in on Saturday until past 11am. And even this week I’ve felt like I’m walking through flaming oatmeal here, unable to get back up to speed and running on all cylinders. And my stomach, probably feeling left out of all the fun, has been throwing the occasional tantrum where food turns to poisonous gas in my stomach. Any food. Even safe food. With no rhyme or reason.
Oh, and it’s also apparently made me very whiney. See this post as “exhibit A”.
Because I’ve been so out of sorts, which I blame on my oldness and new inability to handle EXTREEEEEME WORK, I’ve been too busy for my life all this week. Work is piling up all over me. I’m working tons of extra hours, and still can never reach the end of the “to do” list. My personal life is a shambles, both because of all the work hours and the other stuff that has cropped up. (soon I will post for you the story of Chester, the Sad and Abandoned Kitty of Sadness and Woe. Watch for it.) So busy am I that I have not posted in almost a week! So busy am I that I haven’t emailed to the Queen ALL WEEK! Normally a daily thing, and yet silent has I been! She probably thinks I’m dead or in a coma or a Jehovah’s Witness or something!
Today is Friday. I’m going to get to the top of my pile IF IT KILLS ME! And from there I will be able to see everything and get a handle on it all and GET MY LIFE BACK! And BE LESS OLD!! (and STOP TYPING THINGS IN ALL CAPS!!!)