I've got to conquer the nightly struggle to sleep because I can't continue to lose this battle.. Everyday I stumble through an artificially slow world because I am just not sleeping at night anymore. No matter how tired I am, once I lie in this bed my brain refuses to shut down. I was doing so well too. Then he came back, unannounced. I had just finished an overnight shift and was crashed out in blissful sleep when I heard the door open. And there he was: He has stopped taking his medications and started drinking again. He is a crying emotional wreck that I have neither the time or personal reserve to take care of anymore. And so we fight. Nasty, screaming, drag down but not knock down fight. He left, and I haven't slept since.
I live on a busy street and can tell the time fairly well based on the traffic pattern outside. My arch nemesis is the 5:15 bus. Up until that bus passes I am still convinced that I have a chance to sleep that night. Then my hopes are dashed by the sound of the diesel engine straining to make it up the hill. I hate that damn bus. During the day when I'm post night shift those same buses travel by each and every half hour, steady as the recent rain. But at night the street is silent except for an occasional traveller or two. And then I hear that bus. Sometimes I cry, because I know that I have to leave for work in half an hour and my chance to sleep is over. Furious because sunrise follows that bus and for everyone else the day has just begun. For me, it has just not ended. I used to play with a friend of mine when I couldn't sleep. I would text him every morning when the bus went by. 5:19, 5:16, 5:22, and we would keep track of when it was late. If I didn't text it meant I slept, and my soul was still. But most of his days started with a text of a time.
When your day doesn't officially begin or end the edges of your sanity get frayed and the concept of yesterday and the day before getting stretched into one long continuum of hours. Your ability to sequence events is strained and it gets difficult to communicate basic information about past events. It's considered torture in most countries for a reason. I look at my charting later and see all the misspellings and mistakes, that is if I can find my charts. I lose them so readily and waste more time searching the same places because I'm not sure, Did I checked this rack today? Or was that yesterday. At this point they're the same day. The same miserable lonely day stretched infinitum
I'm approaching my limit soon for just how much sleep deprivation I can take. Everyone at work can see it on my face and feel it as get tripped up on basic conversation. I walked in the other day and heard the collective gasp as people could see last night's every toss and turn embedded in my face. We all know someone needs to put me to bed and hold me until I fall asleep, but instead I'm running the room. Hopped up on caffeine and Hawaiian punch, people throw information at me at a dizzying rate. "Irishdoc line 17", "we need a doctor to the radio room", "can Bed 14 eat?", "critical lab for Bed 2", "Respiratory Therapy ER Bed 2 STAT". Meanwhile there's a line of patient's to triage and I've lost control of midroom. There I am standing in the middle of it the tornado trying to process it all. Just white-knuckling my way through the day because I'm convinced that this night, this time when the sun goes down, I will get to sleep. Perchance to dream...
Except it's already well into the morning. The street is quiet. And I'm pretty sure I hear the 5:15 bus rounding the corner.