Saturday, October 8, 2011

Driving Myself Crazy

"I had to stop driving my car for a while....the tires got dizzy."
-Steven Wright

Warning: this post is a rant wherein I feel sorry for myself.  So if you don't want to read a pity party rant, you should stop reading now.

I'm halfway through with the Milford community site rotation, and it has stopped being fun.  Well, not the rotation itself; I still like working in the ED.  I'm talking about the 45 minute commute I have to make before and after each shift.  The end-of-shift commute is the worst part, because the last thing I feel like doing after an exhausting day in the ED is making the 25 mile drive back to Worcester.  If it's a day shift, I get back to the Worcester area just in time to hit rush hour traffic.  If it's a night shift, I'm driving home down an unlit highway in the middle of rural Massachusetts where I can't see anything outside the range of my headlights.  Sometimes, if I'm really lucky, it starts pouring so hard that I can't even see where the exit is, or someone almost runs me off the road.  (Each of those things has happened to me once so far.)  It could be worse, I guess.  At least I haven't had to drive through a blizzard....yet.

But what really has added to my misery is that my schedule is now moving backward (getting earlier and earlier) instead of forward (getting later and later).  Usually our shifts are scheduled so that we do days, followed by evenings, followed by overnights, and then back to days.  The rationale is that it's a lot easier for your body to adjust to staying up later than it is to try to go to bed earlier and get up earlier.

Well, on this rotation, the shifts have been scheduled backward for the person who is working the weekend (me) so that the person who has the weekend off (one of the second year residents) can get out earlier on Friday before his weekend off.  But that means I go from working evenings this week (4PM-midnight), to working afternoons this weekend (noon-10PM), to working days starting on Monday (8AM-4PM).  Since our weekend shifts are ten hours instead of eights like the weekday shifts are, I'll get done around 10 or 10:30 PM tomorrow night, drive home, get about six hours of sleep, and drive back out to Milford early Monday morning.

The fact that I will be the one having Friday evening off next week right before my weekend off doesn't make me feel better about being on this schedule now.  At the same time, it's not just the schedule itself that's bothering me.  I'm annoyed with myself, too, because I know I'm making a bigger deal out of it than I should be.  I mean, some people drive this far to work all the time, day in and day out.  (I have no idea how they stand doing it.)  Plus, it's just one weekend.  My other work weekend at Milford will be followed by a string of overnights at UMass, which means that my schedule will be moving forward again, the way it's supposed to be.

Even so, I'm still upset about it.  And being this cranky about something that really isn't that big of a deal in the whole scheme of things tells me something about how sleep-deprived I probably am.  On that note, I'm going to bed so that I can make that drive again tomorrow.  Sigh....

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