Friday, October 17, 2008

why am I not laughing?

Gumby found this on a strange photo website and called me over to show it to me.

I chuckled briefly and then reconsidered.

Oh, my god. That's exactly how I feel right now.

I've never worked more than three twelve hour shifts in a row. Never. I've worked shorter shifts for more days. I've worked three, gone out of town for a week and gone straight back into another three - but never more. The fact that I brought this on myself almost makes it worse, except that I had no choice. My mom will be back from the lake next week for a couple of days before she leaves. The kids have days off school. There's some other conflict, but I'm too stressed out to remember it. I keep telling myself that I had no choice, but it doesn't help.

I've tried to do nice things for myself. There's a big bag of homemade trail mix with all of my favorite things in it - heavy on the dark chocolate. A bottle of chocolate caramel coffee creamer to throw in the fridge at work. A brand new skein of gorgeous yarn and new circular needles to make myself a winter hat, since sleep is always the issue in these long work runs and I know that I need something zen and repetitive to knock me out. I might even possibly have a big container of mint chip ice cream in the freezer. (It's right next to the big container of Cookies 'n' Cream).

Psychologically, I know that the first day is always the worst. At the end of the third you're pretty much flying on endorphins anyway. I have no idea how five is going to feel, but I'm about to find out.

And man, oh man, am I scared.


laurie said...

i've worked long days, many days in a row, many times in my biz. when there's a big story--the wellstone crash, 9/11, or two years ago when the I team was breaking a series of stories that i had to edit. i'd work from 9 a.m. to midnight, night after night after night

after awhile your body starts feeling kind of tingly and you think if you don't get to go home and sleep you're going to lose your mind.

of course, the difference is that if i screw up because of exhaustion and sleep deprivation, the worst that happens is i accidentally libel someone and we get sued.

you, you have a few more important things at risk...

Rudee said...

You need distraction and a coffee IV. The yarn will help. Be sure to call home in the middle of this every day and ride those boys to do some chores. I want to know what kind of yarn you bought.

I hope you have a long stretch off at the end of this.

Anonymous said...

It will be a test....a big test, but in the end you'll be exhausted but fine. Keep the comfort food and the zen like activities handy and don't ever sign up for anything like this again. I think your going to be on autopilot. I hope you have several days off, when it is over.
Be good to yourself.

Jenn And The City said...

Take care of yourself, please. And don't forget to BREATHE!

ciara said...

long days are never easy, but i know how strong you are. you've been doing a good job of keeping it all together so far even when everyone around you is driving you crazy LOL

i agree w rudee...the boys are gonna have to start taking up some slack, even if they don't want to.

hope everything goes well xo

Iota said...

Did you sign up for 5 in a row on the basis that it is actually more restful at work than at home at the moment? Just wondering.

-Ann said...

Repeat after me , "ah sure, it'll be grand." Do that enough times, you'll start to believe it and it will actually happen.

Irene said...

Five 12 hour days are a lot of work. You can't get around that. The boys will have to pitch in, if they don't, don't worry about the state of affairs at the house. You don't have time for that. You need at least 8 hours of sleep, so that leaves you 4 hours to relax and eat comfort food. Not 4 hours to run around with your head cut off. I'm serious. The most you are allowed to do is food shopping, the boys will have to do the rest. Be good!

Maggie May said...

You will be fine.You will handle it OK because that is what you do.
And a bit of chocolate while you do it is fine too.
Thinking of you.

softinthehead said...

Do exactly as Irene tells you:) Make sure those boys realise they have to pitch in.

Devon said...

I used to work 12's in a very busy SICU. I just remember thinking to myself... "do no harm" when I was really tired, but it was more after 14 hours in one day.

Hope it goes well and not too busy. Cast on that yarn, even if you don't feel like knitting. It is kind of like sex when you aren't in the mood, once you get started, you're really glad you did!!!

Kaycie said...

You'll get through it. The worst I've ever done is these safety dinners we used to have at one of the plants where I was HR Mgr. I would have to serve three shifts lunch. So, I'd go in at around 2:30am or 3:00am the first time, feed the third shift lunch and usually end up working straight through to first shift lunch. (The third shift always had all kinds of things to talk to me about until they left at 7:30am, and I had to be in at 8am.) Then I'd do first shift lunch, clean up, check messages, go through the mail and go home about 2pm. I'd crash for a couple of hours, make dinner for my family and go back up about 7pm to prepare the second shift's lunch. We'd serve, clean up, and inevitably someone would have to talk to me. I'd usually end up getting home around 10pm to crash. I did that once every quarter for either four or five years, working about 15 or 16 of 24 hours. I used to get a little punch drunk.

Thank goodness it was only one day.

Tiggerlane said...

Hubby, at the age of 55, decided he could no longer work the 12-hour shift. He would so rarely get to eat, the pounds were falling off.

But you can do this. You will be okay -- it's going to be okay.

Sending good thoughts and ice cream your way.