I don't sleep.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Yay for a second post!  I have so many ideas for what I want to write about - now I just have to get it all out.  I will admit right off the bat, I am not a good storyteller but I’m gonna work on it!

So I mentioned in my first post that I am taking a gap year between college and medical school.  During my gap year, I knew I was going to need a decent paying job to pay for all my med school applications so I started to do some research at the end of my senior year. 
Large iced coffee for the long night ahead.

I decided to take a class to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in hopes that I could get a job in a hospital.  Unfortunately, hospitals typically only hire applicants that have at least 6 months of experience so I spent some time working in a nursing home and now I work in private home healthcare instead. It’s only one year - how bad can it be?

This year has definitely been filled with ups and downs.  One of the less desirable parts of this year has been my work schedule.  In order to maximize my hours and still have time for a life, I work third shift overnights which means I don’t get much sleep...at least not like a normal person.

As I type this, I have just returned home after a 7p-7a shift (I do this four days a week) and I don’t plan on getting any sleep until this afternoon after I run some errands and get a workout in. 

The irony in this lifestyle is that I am NOT a night owl.  I wasn’t in high school. I wasn’t in college (much to the chagrin of my roomies...) and I am quite content with going to bed at 10 pm when my schedule allows.  Never have I ever pulled an all-nighter for school - not even for finals week. Sleep has always been my top priority...so what the heck am I doing?

The great part about this schedule is that I can still have a life during the day.  I can usually get by with about 4-6 hours of sleep during the morning right after a shift (sometimes I throw in a nap if I have nothing else going on) and then I can go about my day.  As someone who requires cold and darkness, I am utterly amazed at how easy it is to sleep right as the sun is coming up.

Another nice thing is that for about 60% of my shift, the elderly person I care for is sleeping. Aside from doing some light housework and checking on him periodically, I have this time to myself.  I usually end up watching Netflix, reading my favorite blogs and magazines, and counting down the days until I get to quit this crazy schedule and relax a little before school starts.

While this situation definitely isn’t ideal, it is something I freely chose and it has afforded me the opportunity to meet some truly amazing families.  I would love to do a future post on all the things I have learned just from interacting so personally with patients and their families one of these days. As for now, I consider the sleepless nights to be good practice for the hectic schedule of a med student and resident. Maybe I will become a night owl after all!

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