Yet another Thursday is almost over . . . Twilight Zone in the Libby house. I work in the ICU at St. Mary's every Wednesday night, and have found that working one night a week with kids is . . . interesting. When I went back to work after Sophia, I usually spent the next day curled up in the fetal position, intermittently sleeping and whining to John "I'm tiiiiiiiiired" anytime he said anything. Back then I worked Friday nights, so this behavior was acceptable-ish as Saturday laziness.
When I headed back to work this time, I decided I had had enough of blowing half the weekend feeling like death warmed over, so mid-week it was. I am fortunate to have a younger sister that can come over to watch the kids for a few hours Thursday morning so I can sleep, otherwise this plan would never have worked.
So here are my rules for surviving the weekly overnight.
1. Nap the day before. Though this only happens about 66.67% of the time. The other 33.33% of the time I am too caught up in an engrossing project to rest when the kids nap. Of course, whether or not I get a nap predicts exactly what kind of night it will be at work. It I do get sleep, the night is super slow and drags on for 96 hours while we sit around picking our noses. If I don't get any sleep (yesterday), then the night will be steadily busy until 5:30 a.m. when I get an admission that keeps me working until 9 because I have so much stinkin' charting to do (today).
2. Take my own food. Each night I worked in December leading up to Christmas (and then after because of leftovers) I gained approximately 56 pounds, eating the mish-mash of chips and dip, chips and salsa, chips and hummus, and all the other "chips and" combinations that everyone brought in to share. (Thanks, all.) I left the unit in the morning feeling like I was 6 months pregnant, but then repeated the whole thing the next week, somehow forgetting how unhappy my GI system was after I ate all that food. So back to taking my own food, and I even told John he has to ask me if I ate junk at work. But do you know how hard it is to eat healthily when there is a 24 hour Dunkin' Donuts in the building?!
3. Do not speak to ANYONE after work until I have gotten at least 2 hours of sleep. This is crucial for maintaining loving relationships. Or even any kind of relationship at all. My sister is already to my house when I get home in the morning, and she and John seem to have gotten used to my monosyllabic grunts in response to anything they say. Sophia chatters on as though I am responding to her in any meaningful way, and doesn't seem to mind that I go all Tim the Toolman on her.
4. SHOWER IMMEDIATELY! This is non-negotiable. I have to confess, before I had kids I didn't think much of going right to bed when I got home from work. Granted, Maine Med ICU provided scrubs so I changed there and now I come home in my dirty scrubs, so it's a little different, but still. I never realized how nasty it was to come home in those clothes until there was a little toddler trying to wrap himself around my MRSA covered legs. Yick!
5. Sleep. Even if I finished my last cup of coffee at 5 a.m. and just got my second (or 12th) wind. GO. TO. BED. A couple of weeks ago there was a big snowstorm and my sister couldn't get here. I spent that sleepless day wandering around like a zombie, never actually completing anything I set out to do. It was definitely a Domino's night.
6. Don't expect to accomplish anything. Well, that's not strictly true. This fall I did work my way thru the Alias series on Netflix while the kids napped and I attempted to fold laundry on Thursday afternoons. So there's that. I guess I should ammend my rule to "Don't expect to accomplish anything meaningful that doesn't involve drooling."
7. Do not look at the house until Friday morning. One of two things happen if I do. Either I fall into despair because I have zero energy to "encourage" the kids to clean up whatever they got out after naps and the house is a pit by the time they go to bed, or I get a brilliant (I use that word loosely) idea for an improvement and start a giant project. Which brings me back to #6 and more despair.
Finally, a request and an apology. Please, people, don't judge me for my day-after-the-end-of-the-world appearances. Should you happen to ever drop by on a Thursday, I will welcome you with open arms in all my sweatpant-wearing, tangled-hair, no-makeup, messy-house glory. And if our mailman is reading this, I am so sorry if I scared you today when I came out onto the porch to get the mail just as you were dropping it off. Fight or flight is an amazing reflex, isn't it?