A Significant Shift In Moods

, | Healthy | November 4, 2017

(I work night shift in a hospital lab. On night shift, there are three working at a time with my same job title, which is the highest level of certification in the department, other than our medical director. In all, there are six night shifters with that certification for the entire fairly large specialty hospital, and if we can’t work, we figure it out with one of the three who are off. One night, due to family emergencies, sickness, and a coworker who “wasn’t in the mood to come to work today” (they were fired weeks later), I and one other end up working a night shift. I am filling in unexpectedly, and have just gotten off a flight that morning and haven’t slept in thirty hours by the time morning comes. The other coworker has a fever of 103; we make the executive decision that I’ll do anything requiring patient contact and if his fever goes above 104, we’ll call the ER downstairs. It also turns out to be what we call a “must be a full moon” night. By morning, we’re both almost crying from sheer exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and misery. Come morning, there is an employee appreciation breakfast.)

Day Shifter: “How was the night?”

Me: “I haven’t slept in thirty hours, [Coworker] has a fever of 103, four analyzers broke, the ICU is literally out of beds, they’re tripling up patients into the double rooms in MedSurg, and the ER is using the hallway as overflow for the waiting room.”

Day Shifter: “Well, we were wondering if you two could stay maybe an hour late so all the day shift could go to the breakfast?”

(We told them no way. They weren’t happy. At that point, we didn’t care.)

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