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so long night shift, hello DAY SHIFT. forever ever.

If you’ve been around this blog for at least a little bit, you’ve probably heard me complain about night shift in one form or another.  If you’ve been around since the beginning (2008, yikes!), you heard about starting my nursing career on evening shift…which allowed me to sleep at night, but didn’t really allow for any sort of social schedule.  I am excited to say that for the first time in my nursing career, I have made it to the illustrious day shift.

DAY SHIFT.

You heard that right.  When I talked to my manager last summer, he seemed to think that I’d move to full time day shift this summer.  Then half of my unit closed, so the next conversation made it sound like full time day shift might not happen until next year.  I wasn’t thrilled about the idea, except there isn’t really much I could do that about…if I went to another unit, I’d be at the bottom of the totem pole again, and I don’t actually want to leave my unit.  But I was getting tired of night shift.  Actually, I was just tired of being tired.  (I said the same thing when I had mono.  So exhausting.)

Anyway, my manager called me last week to ask if I would shift my weekend night shifts to day shift, which I politely declined since I have lost the ability to fall asleep before 4am.  (It’s fun, really.  I’ve seen every episode of House Hunters and Brother vs. Brother at least twice.  You would think I’d be able to renovate things by now, but no.)  The next on the agenda was the day shift discussion, and not only would I not have to wait until next year, but I only have to wait until next month!  (When our next schedule comes out.)  So as of August 10th, I will be on permanent day shift.  No more rotating, day shift is MINE ALL MINE.

Pretty sure my body did a collective sigh of relief.  I have some mixed feelings about going to day shift, although I am mostly excited.  Most of my time is spent on nights, so it’s what I’m more comfortable with.  While there are something I will miss about night shift, there are many things I won’t.

I will miss the people.  And the lack of people.  The people I work with at night are quite awesome, and since I spend the most time with them, I’m more comfortable being and working around them.  Not that the day shift people are bad, but it takes me a long time to get comfortable with people.  Additionally, many fewer people are around on night shift…it’s basically the nurses, the covering PA and fellow, housekeeping, and a nursing supervisor who covers the hospital.  Compared to day shift when alllll the disciplines are around, it’s much quieter.  And if people exhaust you, it’s must more tiring to be on day shift.

I will miss being more autonomous.  Since no one else is really around at night, you basically set your own schedule.  We don’t have to time dressing changes around when the attendings are available or when anesthesia might show up or when physical therapy is planning on coming.  While these things are all important, it is nice to set your own work routine with your patients.

I will miss not setting an alarm.  When I’m on night shift, I don’t set an alarm all that often.  Well, I do set one, but I’m usually awake before it goes off.  On my days off, I’ve basically given up on trying to have a normal schedule, so get up when I want.  This is often closer to noon.  I’m basically the opposite of a morning person, so waking up at 6 or 6:30am for work is going to be a struggle, but hopefully it will become more routine once I know I’ll be doing in permanently instead of two months at a time.

I will miss the night shift differential.  We get paid about $3 more per hour to work night shift, which doesn’t sound like a ton, but it does add up over time.  However, lifestyle and not feeling like death definitely wins on this one, so I’ll take the pay cut.

I will miss seniority on nights.  I’ve been on my unit for almost four years, which is laughable compared to the nurses who have been there for over 20 years, but plenty of people have started after me.  This is nice when it comes to holidays and sometimes scheduling, as I have the seniority card on my side.  Back to the bottom of the totem pole on day shift.

image

I will miss seeing the sunrise.  Seeing the sunrise is the ultimate sign that a shift is almost over.  We have a great view of the Queensboro from my hospital

I will not miss planning to sleep.  Sometimes people don’t think about how night shift people sleep.  When normal people sleep, they probably think, “Okay, it’s nighttime, and I have to wake up at XX, I should probably go to bed at XX.”  Or you just go to bed when you’re tired.  If I’m heading back into night shift, I’ll try to stay up as late as I can the night before and then try to sleep in as late as I can that day.  After my last night shift into a few nights off, I try to wake up at a reasonable hour so I’m not staying up all night.  (For the record, this is all a plan, and sometimes doesn’t go according to plan.  Sometimes I fall asleep at midnight and other times I sleep until 6pm.  Fail.)

Me everyday.

I will not miss being tired all.  the.  time.  I’m basically nocturnal these days and can’t sleep at night anymore.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t hit a time of night at work where I just want to fall over.  The walk home is brutal and I don’t know how people drive safely after working nights.  I’m often just tired all the time.  I actually went to my doctor earlier this year (on month seven out of eight months of nights) and told her something had to be wrong with me.  I got my iron/hemoglobin/thyroid checked, but basically she was like, “Um, you work nights…so it’s probably that.”  And she was probably right because I felt so much better when I rotated to day shift.

I will not miss taking my medication inappropriately.  I was diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism about 2.5 years ago (recently found out I have Hashimoto’s, so that’s cool?), so I was started on Synthroid.  Synthroid is best absorbed on an empty stomach (aka don’t eat anything for either one hour after taking it or four hours before)…and is generally taken in the morning (or at least at the same time each day).  The problem is that there’s not a consistent time of day when I have an empty stomach.  Either I’ve eaten at work (if I wanted to take it in the morning) or I’m living like a normal person and eating dinner or afternoon snacks (if I wanted to take it in the evening).  So I’ve been taking it in the morning and my dosage has continually increased.  Hopefully we can stabilize that now that I will be on a regular schedule.

I will not miss the 3am night shift life crisis I create for myself.  Usually when I can’t sleep at home and it’s the middle of the night or in the middle of the night on a painstakingly long shift, I wonder what I’m doing with my life.  Therefore, I think of every possibly option to do something else.  I’ve researched business school.  I’ve researched how to become a travel blogger.  I’ve googled how to marry rich.  Started a Peace Corps application.  Used the words “I hate everything” repeatedly.  These are usually resolved by getting some sleep.

I will not miss trying to figure out training.  I don’t think any combination of 12 hour shifts is all that great for training purposes, but I think it will be a little easier on days rather than trying to figure out flipping back and forth.  Plus, I usually have more motivation to go to the gym or run after day shift than I do on nights.  So that’s nice.  PRs here I come!

The only good thing about working overnight is that's socially acceptable to put vodka in orange juice at 10am.

I will not miss eating on a weird schedule.  Is it breakfast?  Dinner?  Why are you drinking coffee at 2am?  Waking up after night shift and then have a beer basically means I will fall asleep soon.  (See:  The Super Bowl when I fell asleep at a bar.)  Also, I’ve been eating ice cream when I get home from night shift…it’s only a little weird to eat ice cream at 8am.

I’m sorry to those of you who may enjoy my delirious 3am tweets, but thank you to those people who are on the west coast, Europe, or Australia for keeping me entertained at times.  Everyone says that coming off of night shift feels amazing and gives you a new lease on life.  I don’t know if that’s being dramatic or not, but I know that I physically and emotionally feel a bazillion times better on day shift, so I’m looking forward to that.  HOORAYYY!

Tell me how glorious it is to sleep at night, for I’ve forgotten.  Nurses – what shift do you work?  Is day shift as glorious as I’m hoping it to be?

22

07 2014

adventures on a solo long ride

I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to the cycling thing.  It’s a bit of learn-on-the-go situation, which I’ve certainly had to embrace over the past couple months.  And it makes me appreciate the ease that running has – or at least the knowledge about running that I’ve accumulated over the years.  But as for cycling, I’ll just smile and nod at whatever I’m told.  Or say, “Ohhhh….yeah, I should have thought of that.”

Since I’m working all weekend (hooray!  Fake enthusiasm!), I decided to get my long ride (the keystone of this triathlon training) in on Thursday.  I had great plans to get out in the late morning and then enjoy my afternoon, but these plans were derailed by the fact that I have completely given my life up to night shift.  I can’t seem to fall asleep before three or four in the morning, which makes wake up before noon difficult.  This is why I slept until 1pm today and why I didn’t get out to start riding until 2:30pm.  I’ve given up fighting it.  But anyway.

When I ran with Abbe in Miami last week, she wore a Spibelt, which triggered a thought in my head—I should use mine when I ride!  You may think that the answer to needing to carry stuff with me on the bike would be to buy a bike shirt with pockets, but I’m cheap and have an obscene amount of drifit running clothes.  I’d been stuffing things in the back of my bike shorts and/or my sports bra…but that little Spibelt fits quite well in the small of my back, doesn’t move, and holds enough stuff.  VICTORY.  I ride with my cell phone, credit card, some cash, keys, and fuel.  Spoiler alert:  This is not enough stuff.  On we go.

I had great plans to ride between 40-50 miles, hoping to hit 50 but being okay with anything above 40.  Traffic in the late afternoon on a Thursday is busier than on a weekend morning, so I dodged some cars and yelled at a bunch of cars outside of NYP Columbia…such a disaster.  Life was looking pretty good when I finally got to the GW…until I saw a sign that the southern side of the bridge was closed.  NOW WHAT?

I consulted Google Maps and headed over to 179th St to investigate how to get on the north side of the bridge.  Found the entrance, immediately followed by stairs.  Newsflash:  Going across the north side of the GW is a bit of an obstacle course.  One that requires upper body strength (to carry your bike) and balance (to try and walk on not-so-flat surfaces and stairs in your clip in shoes).  It wasn’t so bad, but I did miss the nice view of the city from the bridge.  I did not appreciate the stairs that were basically mesh, as I have a fear of heights and almost panicked.   But I made it.

Going across the bridge, I was trailing behind a man and a woman, and we chatted at each set of stairs.  Once we got across the bridge, she asked if I was heading up 9W.  (Is there another choice?  The Palisades?)  I told her yes and she asked how far I was going…to which I responded 40 to 50 miles and immediately thought “WHO AM I??”  She told me she had “some training to do” (not sure what that means?), but we’d be out there together.  Lo and behold, she and her riding buddy were maybe a quarter mile in front of me the entire way out.  I probably should have made friends.

It was a pretty good day to ride.  Cloud cover and a coolness in the air that made me wonder if it was going to rain.  (It didn’t.)  Legs felt a little tired, but nothing too bad.  The mile clicked off and I hoped to hit 50 miles for the day.  I got past the NY/NJ state line (19 miles from my apartment), went down the gigantic hills that followed, almost missed the turn the takes you into Piermont, checked google maps, rerouted back to the turn that I missed the first time around.  Which is when I noticed my back tire seemed a little bumpy.  Uh oh.

I pulled off the side of the road and checked my back tire to find that the air in the tire was pretty low.  So I did what any damsel in the distress would do.  Actually, I don’t know what a damsel in distress would do, but I wondered how far you can ride on a mostly flat tire without killing your rims.  Then I hoped another cyclist would ride by so I could play damsel idiot in distress.  But, it was a Thursday afternoon so that didn’t happen.  Then, I had a stroke of genius (the only one all day) and checked for the nearest bike shop.  Piermont, which was only a mile away, has one!  Victory!  Hop back on my bike, hoping it will last the mile, and have some guy pass me saying, “Strong lady, how you doing?” to which I wanted to reply, “HELP ME!” but instead said, “Great!  How are you?”  Fake it til you make it?

Which is exactly what I did at the bike shop (Piermont Bike!).  I walked in, the repair guy said hi, and I spotted a pump.  “Can I, uh, use, uh, this?”  “Sure, do you know how?”  “Maybe…Maybe not…we’ll find out.”  (Why I can’t just ask for help is behind me.  I’m too awkward for life.)  Pump up my tires, head outside.  Mentally battle with myself as to whether I should head out a couple more miles or just count my blessings that I found a bike shop and head back home.  Then, I check my back tire and it’s lost a lot of air.  Back into the shop I go.

I can only imagine what the bike repair guy was thinking the entire time I was in there.  He asked if I lived close, to which I said, “Is Manhattan close?”  He laughed.  He pumped up my tires, which apparently I had done all wrong (slash didn’t put enough air in).  I hung out in the shop a bit just to see if the tires would stay inflated or I needed some more work.  Meanwhile, we chatted about the fact that I need to carry more stuff with me (a pump?  really?  This cycling thing is a lot of work…) and that I should probably ride in a group until I get more experience.  (Anyone want to ride on a Thursday afternoon?  Anyone?  Bueller?)  He also mentioned that my bike (while a nice one!) was possibly too small for me…or I need to raise the seat.

I’m learning so much.

After thanking the bike shop people SO SO SO much for helping me out (seriously not sure what I would have done otherwise…), I started to head back to NYC.  I checked my route once, then started climbing the hills to get back…those hills going south are so hard.  They will break you.  Or at least they’re break me, since I’m apparently not a good hill climber.  (Truth be told, I’m not that good at going down them either, since I’m terrified of going too fast, hitting a bump in the road, and flying over the handlebars.  I’m an ICU nurse, okay?)  But I get up the hills and back to the state line.  My legs are on fire and I don’t feel that great.  Having only had a banana with peanut butter and some coffee in the 16 hours leading up the ride, I scarf down the PowerBar energy chews I brought with me.  I usually spend way too long chewing them in races (chewing at race pace isn’t the easiest…), but I think I ate the whole back in less than two minutes.  Sugar, please.  Must work on my nutrition.

So anyway, I spend the rest of the time alternating between thinking about how awesome biking is and wondered how must a cab from NJ back to my apartment would be.  (I think the answer is $50 – flat rate.  But how would I get a cab?  Pick me up at mile 11 on 9W?  Maybe not.)  Luckily, I made it back closer to the GW.  I stop outside Strictly (bike shop on the Jersey side of the GW) to check my tires – good to go.  Do the obstacle course in the opposite direction back over to NYC.  Ride home, still impressed by how fast the delivery guys on bikes on.  Feel bad about how slow I am.

Feel better about covering 45 miles.  Wonder if I’ll feel stronger on the bike by race day.  Wonder if bike repair guy thinks I’m an idiot.  Because I probably am.

image I would like to run a marathon in 3:11.  Please?

Take Aways

1)  I’m slow at city riding, mainly because I’m terrified of being hit by a car.

2)  I’m slow at climb hills or when panicking about a flat tire.

3)  I really need to either start watching YouTube videos, bribe Baker with beer to teach me everything, or take a basic bike repair class.  Because I really I was stupid today.

4)  Must work on nutrition.  In life and on the bike.

5)  I should be more concise in writing.  So many words, so few pictures.  (I make no apologizes, but props if you read all that!)

How did you learn bike maintenance/repair?  Any tips/basics I need to know?  Anyone ride at weird hours?  Or run at weird hours?  Let me know if you’re in NYC!  (Or Jersey for riding, I suppose.)

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07 2014