Psalm 42:8 (ESV) By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
To quote Charles Dickens, “Never say never.” And one more famous quote, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” (Alexander Pope,1709 and Bob Dylan, 1983). Not angels, but maybe your boss. I have returned to the night shift.
It’s been 13 years since I climbed out of the peculiar world of the nightshift. In fact, the night my son Spencer died was my last night in the ER. Since then, I’ve stayed above ground, rising with the sun and the internal alarm clock God built within us, the Circadian rhythm.
But I get antsy. It’s not always a bad thing, so God leaves it there, but He has to keep an eye on me because I can get crazy ideas. I still don’t know if returning to nights, now as an ICU nurse, is a good or bad thing.
If you talk to nightshift people they either love it – “I’ll never do anything else” or hate it: “I can’t wait to get off nights.” We love to discuss any aspect of sleep; from sleep remedies (melatonin, mimosas) to where you can buy the best pillow. How much sleep you get becomes a science and a daily preoccupation. Like food, it is essential to life, so when you are deprived, you become obsessed.
Reactions to my return to the night shift run from polite shock,
“Oh? (pause) That’s good…I guess..,” to impolite shock –
“Are you nuts?”
There’s a few nurses that recall wistfully the draw of the nightshift; camaraderie, lots of laughter and all the dip and donuts you could dream of.
I never slept well. When my parents came into our rooms at night to check on us before they went to bed I would close my eyes and pretend sleep, then listen as the house became silent.
I began sneaking out at night when I was 12. I liked being invisible and free. Then the nights turned to weeks as I entered the rough seas of adolescence. There was something in me that had to run, that connected to the other-worldliness of street-life and nights. [Read more…]