How Jo Plans To Stay Awake During Her First-Ever Night Shift; or, Disaster Comes On Little Cat Feet
1. Nerves. I figure nerves will carry me from 1900 until about 2200.
2. Coffee. I can drink a cup of coffee at 2230 and stay awake until well after 0200, at which point there are...
3. CT scans and MRIs to haul patients down for.
4. And when I get back from those, there are baths to do.
If all of the above fail, then....
1. Food. I've been warned by a number of people not to forget to eat while I'm on nights; apparently, this is a big problem for some folks. Not sure Mama's gonna have a problem with that, but I'm taking an omelette and a salad with me anyhow. (Actually, that sounds pretty good right now, too.)
2. Sports. Everybody on night shift is on some sort of fantasy football team. Even though I don't watch sports or follow them at all (except for Olympic curling, which I love because it's just so weird), their chatter will keep me awake.
Which brings me to the fact that our CCU is essentially oval. On the back wall is a single automatic-open door leading to the back hallway, which has things like the dialysis rooms and outpatient lab collection and the lab and so on on it. The front side of the oval, as it were, is the CCU. With an oval floor layout, you can have....
3. Curling. Steal a whisk broom and a push broom from Housekeeping, snag the tea kettle from the break room, and put some tape lines on the floor. Presto: your own indoor, ice-free curling arena! And if that's too north-of-the-border for my colleagues, an oval layout also lends itself to....
4. Roller Derby. This might be the opportunity I've been waiting for all my life. I'd make one hell of a blocker and might even work as a pivot, you know? Plus, I have a name all picked out: Miss Ann Dree. Get it? It might be a little work to get Steve, the six-foot-five ex-Ranger to play on a mostly-girls' team, but I think we could make it work. If all else fails, we could have two sides of three each and he could referee.
5. Boys! And girls! The nurses at night play "Which resident is least loathsome?" (answer: Not Dr. Dweebo) and "Which movie star makes you want to stab your eyes out the least?" Most of the day-shift CCU nurses are gay; most of the night-shift CCU nurses are straight. Do not ask me why this is, and don't ask if it's a common thing; I don't know. Anyway, going from one to the other should give me plenty of thought-provoking answers.
6. FORKS IN A DISPOSAL!! This is the favorite game of the nurses on days. Whenever things get too rough, too tough, too stressful, or too emotionally-charged, we all go into the back and do a quick run of Forks In A Disposal. Essentially, you hop up and down with your hands in the air, yelling "Tink-a-tink-a-tink-a-tink-a!" and going in circles until everybody falls down laughing. I look forward to introducing this concept to nights.
7. Tooth-Whitening and Cuticle Care. I once asked Friend James how his night was, and he replied, "Oh, great. I got to do my tooth strips and a manicure, see?"
8. Boomshine, Bubble Blaster, and Bejeweled. 'Nuff said.
9. Facebook. I mean, what was Facebook invented for, if not long night shifts when both of your patients are on floor orders and everybody else is intubated, including your coworkers?
10. ...aaaaand here is where I run out of ideas.
I'm really kind of nervous. I mean, on the one hand, it'll be nice to get to nap frequently and well tomorrow, with the excuse that I'll have to be up all night tomorrow night, but on the other...working nights is a different feel, a different schedule and rhythm. I'm not sure that my natural hyperactivity will work well with night shift.
I've never been happier than this past week at work, when I felt like a barely-adequate skiier confronted by a double-black-diamond slalom. I had everything just barely under control--with a whole, whole lot of help when the shit hit the fan--and was loving every second of it. Long stretches of not a lot to do is the primary reason I left the floor for the CCU.
Oh, well. Attila's been kind enough to give me a list of easy-to-do, no-equipment-necessary exercises that are guaranteed to wake me up and make me a laughingstock, so maybe I'll just do those in the middle of the night. Hell, maybe I'll haul in my twenty-pound bells so I can do oblique crunches and lower-back exercises at 1 am.
Wish me luck, Fearless Readers. I think I'll be needing it.