July 25, 2007, 9:18 am

The Best of Emergiblog: The Circadian Rhythm Caper

[Emergiblog will celebrate it’s second anniversary on August 1, 2007. I was having fun looking back at some of the first posts, so I thought I would highlight a few of the earliest.

This particular post, my second, led to Emergiblog being seen by Cotournix (Bora – aka Circadiana, now at “A Blog Around the Clock“) and to Emergiblog’s very first link! It went from 35 hits to over 100 that day!

Oh, and keep in mind as you read this, I have not done a day shift since and don’t plan on doing one ever again!]


“Department Store Nurse”???

You mean I could have worked for Nordstroms? Saks Fifth Avenue? Neiman Marcus?

All these years I’ve missed out on employee discounts?

What on earth would the job description say?

“Wanted: young, beautiful RN to standby in case someone faints in Hosiery. Ability to pose in white uniform and cap so that doorman can administer side-long ogles a plus. Advanced training in analgesia for headaches secondary to over-enthusiastic fragrance sprayers required”.

I bet she even got to park up front…..


I am so exhausted I can’t feel my fingers on the keyboard.

Why, you ask? Another emotionally exhausting day saving lives? A whirlwind of one emergency after another, juggling critical patient after critical patient with nary a thought for myself, doctors requesting my expertise at every turn and patients clinging to my arm, thanking me for just….being?


I worked a day shift.

Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat.

I am what is known as a night owl, a vampire, a creature of the dark. To me, 0700 is the middle of the night! I don’t even go to bed until 0300 and that’s only if I’m ill. I have not voluntarily worked a day shift in years. It’s easier for me to STAY up until sunrise than to GET up at sunrise. You get the picture. So… when my sick colleague called to ask if I would work a twelve-hour-shift commencing at 0700 this morning I said, “what the heck”!

He’s pitched in for me a few times and it’s so hard to find coverage when you need a day off. I could do this favor.

I thought.


Had I been able to get any sleep, it might have worked.

Early to rise means early to bed, and being the holistic-homeopathic-earth-nature-mother that I am, I decided to dope myself up to high heaven with my drug of choice, Benadryl! Fifty freakin’ milligrams down the hatch.

Nothing. Wide awake. 11:00. Have to get up in four hours. This called for drastic measures. Yes, I went for the Melatonin. Figured “Mel” would meet “Ben” and I’d be comatose.

Nothing. Up to the couch. Two episodes of “Aqua-Teen Hunger Force” on the Cartoon Network. Ever seen that cartoon? It’s a milkshake, a meatball and a large order of fries (with a goatee) who live together. See what you miss going to bed early? Finally, the faint stirrings of fatigue floated into consciousness. I was asleep.


Four hours later I was jolted awake by an alarm playing “Wake Up Little Susie”. Staggered to the mirror. Hair not sticking up. Good. A quick fluff with the blow dryer and I’m outta here. No make up. They’re lucky I put on clothes.

No traffic. Thank god. Too early for rock and roll. Too early for talk radio. Too early for sound.

I dragged my senseless self into my department. Only one patient and she’s ready to admit. Big sigh – time for some coffee to start the day. It is then that I discovered I was scheduled to work with Miss Susie Sunshine, RN! Bright, cheery, energetic, caring, compassionate, competent. She is the sweetest woman I know.

I wanted to wring her neck.

I’ve seen methamphetamine addicts with less energy.


I never did recover.

My patients were great; I only had a few as it was not busy. Spent 90 minutes in a class on JACHO accreditation. Stimulating.


Then my very own Florence Nightengale arrived to take over at 4:00 pm. Bless her everloving heart. I didn’t have to do twelve hours after all. I was released. I was exhausted.

In retrospect, my day was very productive.

I made the decision that I will never, ever do a day shift again.


I learned that you can take the nurse off the night shift, but you can’t take the innate circadian rhythm out of the nurse. I’ll stick to PMs and Nights.

Oh, and I’ll take vacation during JACHO accreditation.


  • TofuLou

    July 25, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    hahaha. kim, you’re hil-ar-i-ous! i so enjoy your blog. sounds like all is well with you? my school screwed up the schedule so i’m on a 10-day vacay right now! it’s great (except i still hafta go to work. damn those bills).
    on the 6th we’ll start level III: med-surg. since the hospitals are so overworked (and already have too many students) we’re stuck (did i say “stuck?” i ment… well, stuck) going to another acute care/long term care facility.
    just when you thought you were over the bulk of shitty adult diapers.
    oh, btw, the 1st is your two year anniversary? congrats! it’s a GREAT day because it’s also my birthday. 8181. i’ll be 26. ugh. and STILL not done with school…
    kisses and hugs!

  • Melissa

    July 25, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    I never work days, but they often make us attend meetings and classes early in the morning. I complain that it would be like them being asked to come to work at 3am, but no one cares. Classes and such should be scheduled for later in the day for night people.

  • […] first link: Circadiana, by Coturnix (aka Bora!) on August 16th, 2005 to this post (originally posted to my old blogspot […]

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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