Zombie Nurse

29 12 2009

When I work 3rd shift, everyday is like waking up with a hangover. Body aches, head aches. Nothing that Motrin or Tylenol can really touch. A constant fuzziness in my brain, like the grey matter started to mold up there. Put that Reticular Activating System back in the crisper would you? Oops someone forgot to close the cerebellum bag. Now it’s all crusty and dry. Damn it. I was going to use that.

Can’t get enough sleep—ever. After three 12 hour shifts in a row, I crash. I go to bed during day light hours, but don’t wake up until it’s dark again. The daylight never happened. It’s winter in Michigan; there’s no daylight anyway.  In my dreams, I pop vitamin D pills like their M&Ms and visit long hallways filled with tanning beds and UV lights.  

The zombie apocalypse is real. We are the living zombies. We eat. We sleep. Sometimes we shit and shower. We go to work. And then we do it all over again. Notice that glazed look in our eyes. bRaIns! BrAiNs! We can’t seem to wake our brains. So we crave yours hoping that if we eat your dayshift brains, we will feel the sun on our pale dead bodies.

I watch other people sleep. I’m the night shift nurse with the squeaky shoes that opens the door every hour to make sure that you’re sleeping. This is why you can’t sleep in the hospital. I can’t sleep, so neither should you.

“Are you having any chest pain?” I ask.

“No, not right now. I’m sleeping,” You say.

“I could have sworn you said you were having chest pain.”

“I was sleeping”.

“Does this hurt?” I ask as I punch you in the chest.

“Hey—Ouch!”

“Better get you some nitro. Let me get your vital signs. While we’re at it, we should get a troponin and an EKG.”

The phlebotomist jabs a needle in your vein while the respiratory therapist places cold electrodes on your chest.

“But it doesn’t really hurt that much,” You say.

I pump the blood pressure cuff up to 250mmHg.

When I’m not working, I have found that activities that used to be enjoyable have lost their appeal.

Instead of cooking, I point and click on Facebook’s Café World.  I point and click an entire meal, watching virtual people enjoy gingerbread houses, pot roasts and gourmet duck. Wish I felt like cooking.

Instead of writing, I watch Buck Roger’s Episodes on Hulu.

Instead of going to the movies, I stream movies through the Xbox from Netflix.

Eating? Brains sound good. Otherwise I’m a little nauseated. Healthy choices like vegetables and fruits seem obsolete. I want brains and junk food. Brains and chocolate chip cookies. Brains and chips.

Why bother getting dressed on my days off? For that matter, why bother showering? I’m probably just going to get back into bed in a few hours anyway, so that I can sleep during those normal sleeping hours when it’s dark–instead of working under fluorescent lights. So off days become pajama days on the couch. Followed by more sleeping in the bed.

Naptime replaces all favorite hobbies, interests and relationships.

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