This week kicked my ass. I hadn't worked as a nurse for 7 weeks, and I worked a full schedule plus another 6 hours of callback. I short-slept all week to edit in the afternoons before I went to work (for non-nightshifters, short-sleeping means you drag ass out of bed before your "reasonable sleep cutoff" to squeeze in extra stuff before a 12-hour overnight shift…not recommended). I had to take the shittiest call EVER because I was on leave and didn't have a chance to sign up when the sheet came up, so I had to go back to work tonight because we were THREE short. I woke up sick (swallowing over razor blades and coughing up an obvious pus smell, fever, the works…one of those "I'm probably sicker than my patients but not sick enough to stay home" things), and my charge nurse took pity on me and let me go a few hours before my call ended (I was in that stage where you go through the blanket warmer wrapping yourself up to stop chills), and oh gosh do I need some rest. We had a traumatic night on one of my shifts that caused me to not sleep at all between two of my shifts, and in short I really need a night off. Totally off. Off as in "I'm not even going to take a shower," off. And I have two! Oh, you can't understand this brand of "tired" if you're not a nurse. And the bad situations…they whip the snot out of you. They almost literally suck the life out of you. I'm not good at the self-care part of this job, which is undoubtedly why I'm immediately sick. I thought I was doing pretty well, I mean I'm cooking meals and stuff, but I guess not. Am I happy to be back at work? Yes! Yes! I still love what I do, and turns out I'm uninterruptedly good at it. It's weirdly like I was never gone. I guess you have like muscle memory or something. No issues. I stuck people with no veins and got IVs. I triaged. I coded people. I juggled my patient load. All normal. I was my usual good-nurse self.
I'm NOT happy that some people are just being idiotic. I continue with my delusion that life should be fair and people should treat others the way they would want to be treated, as well as the delusion that people can RECOGNIZE when they are irrationally, ironically doing the very thing they are berating me for doing (see "fair," above). This applies to both jobs I'm involved with right now. The editing work I went without sleep to complete resulted in, in short, an e-mail saying, "Sorry we didn't send you that style sheet, but we did send one 18 months ago, so please redo the work you just went without sleep for to get it done by our bizarre and arbitrarily short deadline. And no, we didn't even look at it to see if it's OK first before making this totally unreasonable request." No, I'm not going to randomly re-edit 100 pages of material before you even look at it to see if it's done right. Who even tells someone to do that? Gah! I probably need to decide whether to be an editor or a nurse or go part-time with nursing. I make enough money with writing and editing to replace a whole paycheck consistently every month. I don't think I can healthfully do both, because I'm irate enough to knock someone's head off right now.
I am grateful there are several things I'm incredibly talented at and can make money doing. Don't get me wrong. I just can't do it all. I thought I could, but I'm not a young pup anymore, and also I'm jealous about my free time. I ASPIRE to sit on my ass and do nothing but read chick lit. That's why I collected a shitload of degrees in my misspent youth---so I could reap the benefits by no longer being exhausted and driven all the time. Yet here I am, exhausted and driven, and for no good reason other than opportunity and incorrectly perceived necessity.
Still and all, as I sit here typing while worn down to a nub, it's a good tired in a way. I did some hard-core shit this week. I did stuff that not everyone can do. I helped people in ways not everyone can. And I did it skillfully and well. How can you not want to stay in a profession that allows that? I just need to find some balance. I went from 0 to 100 in nothing flat, and now *I* am flat.