If you’re one of the three regular readers of this blog, you’ll have noticed by now that life for AD is a nonstop whirwind of activity, and my favorite hobby seems to be “cram as many productive things into a single day as possible.” My jobs and my family keep me running to the point where I count using the restroom as ‘taking a break.’
The reality of it is though, I don’t mind. The work, while constant, is paying off in that there is food in the table, clothes on the boys, and it looks like we’ll even be able to get an actual Christmas Tree again this year, instead of just making a tree shape on the wall out of lights, like I keep telling The Narrator we’re going to do. (Did I just ruin my ‘father of the year’ nomination again? I did, didn’t I?) So, it is paying off. We’re not getting rich, but we’re floating, which after the last couple of years….is a win in my book.
The problem though, is the whole sleeping thing. Two of my three jobs are done mostly after the sun goes down. Ambulance shifts run 12 hours until 6am, so even the most stressful time at the day job could be followed up by a three or four hour call of indeterminate urgency….at three AM. The PD night shifts are supposed to end at eleven, or midnight on weekends…but ask anyone who is in, or is familiar with the field of law enforcement and ask them how often they punch out exactly on time.
Or, Mini-Me, who STILL refuses to sleep properly when put down by my wife, could wake up at two am. Or again at 5:30am as he did last night.
Not to mention, the fire pager could go off at ANY time, day or night, there is no shift schedule there, which is the nature of a volunteer organization.
So, sleep interruptions are not only common, they’re expected.
How exactly does one cope with not having completed a REM cycle in the last seventeen months?
Easy. A shift in psychological outlook. I’ve stopped saying things like “I only got thirty seven minutes of sleep last night” or “I didn’t get to bed until three in the morning.” Instead, I’ve altered the phrasing.
“I managed to get a whole thirty seven minutes of sleep last night after cramming in that call and the baby waking up in the middle of the night!”
“I got to bed at three in the morning, and was able to get an entire four hours of sleep!”
I’m starting to count the rest I DO get as a victory, rather than lament the loss of sleep.
I’m not a brain doctor, or even really all that smart. But there seems to be a large number of people these days who are telling me that if I THINK positive, things will BE positive. The school I work in during the day before I get to go off and do the work I like to do- is literally awash with inspirational posters about positive attitudes, Optimism, and the new food pyramid.
With such a push to make me think positive, why fight it? Usually, I’d bicker with these people on principal alone- pessimism and negativity are generally some of my defining character traits- but I thought I’d take a stab at this whole ‘positivity’ thing….and what better place to start than where the ‘bad’ is the thickest in life right now? Namely….sleep.
Joking aside…it actually seems to be WORKING. My mornings run a bit smoother, and no, I have NOT upped my coffee intake, as much as I would like to. Take last night/this morning for example.
I came off a rather slow night shift, was home by 11:30. In order to keep awake at work, I guzzled a gas-station coffee around 10, so I was still pretty buzzed when I got home. So, while the wife slept blissfully on the couch, I tuned into Top Gear’s “Ambitious but Rubbish” series they’ve got on between seasons on BBC America. We rolled into bed at 1am, whereupon Mini-Me woke up at 1:30, promptly. I went in with him and passed out on the futon in his room until 4am. I went back to bed, until he woke up again at 5:45 and I went in again until my wife came and got us at 6:45.
So, late night shift, caffeine high, two wakeups from the little one…and I still pulled down about four hours. I got my coffee, and headed out the door into cold weather, icy roads, and a list as long as I am tall of things to knock down at the day job.
But I’m not bleary-eyed and slothful this morning. I’ve already tacked down a few tickets, and am working on another as I write this.
Am I finally used to the scheduling biologically? Or is the power of positively spinning the ‘sleep lost’ into ‘sleep won’ stronger than I thought?
Perhaps neither, and I am caressing the outer edges of actual insanity.
I can’t say…but something’s changed, and until the wheels fall off completely, I’m running with it like this is a good thing, and you can’t make me stop. Nobody can. I’m invincible.