My vacation is ending today. I enjoyed my physical distancing of the rest of the world as I stayed home. I kept busy during my time off working around the house/yard. I also enjoyed the cooking and painting I accomplished while in seclusion.
Getting back to work after an extended time away is always challenging. There are changes to adapt to and hundreds of emails to read. Heading back to a “normal routine” during the epidemic feels a tad strange. Moving trains helps keep the goods flowing to the customers and places to keep the public supplied. I’ll still be practicing my physical distancing and extreme cleanliness.
Traveling to work and coming home will be the majority of my venturing into the wild during this COVID-19 crisis. I’m glad that for the next three weeks I’ll be working the night shift as well. It means far less people to interact with. Plus I get to sleep all day long.
Like one giant nap.
It’s been about a year since I had to be a switchman last. It’s like riding a bicycle- my legs were a little wobbly at first, but it all came back to me once more. Over the past four nights I have been back at it again doing twelve hour shifts each night. Last night I was soaked because of the rain. I was quite literally “Getting My Feet Wet” once more.
A part of me enjoyed doing this job again at first. Seeing some of my favorite graffiti art that I hadn’t seen in ages has been a real treat. I remember many of the images and it’s odd to see them show up again.
However, I’d like it to be over soon. I’m hoping that things settle down and the conductors return into their regular roles. They are more apt to doing this type of job than I am. I don’t feel that I am as good as I once was that’s for sure. But if I have to, I will do what is required of me until such a time that I won’t be needed.
And here I thought my career was moving away from working nights in the rain. Oh well.
I’ve worked night shift the past few days. It has made me very fuzzy in the head. Today has been especially bad.
I feel like I cannot come up with coherent
sandwiches sentences. I’m also confused as to what date it is. I keep thinking it’s two days ago. No idea why. As well, my stomach isn’t overly happy either. No gut. That’s a bad gut. Bad.
I know the solution!
Nap time. I love a good nap. Naps make me feel sort of human again.
Sleeping after a night shift is one of my favorite things to do. I find I get a really good sleep as I waste away in preparation for my next night shift. Sometimes I get woken up in the middle of my daytime snooze. Usually because I have things to do. Or I get woken up early and decide it’s too much work to go back to bed.
Take today for example. I had to wake up in the middle of my sleep in order to pick up my kids from school. (Darn half day at school.) I’ll probably get back to sleep and snag another 4 1/2 hours. But still- two short sleeps don’t always make up one good sleep.
I am completely understanding of the fact that I have a commitment to our children. I can’t let them down. It’s not like the school they attend is close by either. We have to drive at least twenty minutes to get to the school. At home, our kids are very respectful of my sleep and never bother me or make a ruckus.
Only one more night to go this week. Then a few normal days. Followed by another stint of nights.
I got this.
Really I do.
I’m coming off five weeks of night shifts. My body and brain haven’t adjusted yet. It’s only been two days so far, but it feels like I never sleep. I barley saw my own kids while on nights, now I’m going to bed early.
I’ve found it difficult this time for the change over. It also doesn’t help I’m working in a location I haven’t spent much time in over the past year. Lots of changes and my brain is back in full gear trying to keep me going. It’s mentally exhausting.
Unfortunately my children haven’t seen me much lately. So my time at home is very precious as well. Tonight, my son decided that he needed to showcase his talents on violin and trumpet. He came into my bedroom with his trumpet as I crawled into bed. I think it must be revenge for something.
But I love that he wanted to share what he’s learned so far in school. It was also easier to let him play his piece than argue for ten minutes.
Now it’s time for me to go to sleep. Fresh trumpet sounds echoed on my mind.
Days like today are a pain. I stupidly made a doctor’s appointment for mid morning. Which really isn’t so bad, except I’ve been on four straight weeks of night shift.
I went home after work to take a quick nap before my appointment. Before falling asleep, I didn’t feel that tired and thought, “it shouldn’t be that bad” when I wake up. I slipped into a deep enough slumber that I awoke to my alarm with my face in a puddle of drool.
I lay in bed. Five more minutes. Five more minutes. Five more minutes. Then I had to race to get ready and ran out the door. Now I’m hiding in the corner of the waiting room wondering how long it will be before the doctor sees me. Anyone who needs sleep counts every minute they need before getting on with their day. He’s already seven minutes late!
There’s nothing I can do about it. So I wait. Hoping to get sleep at some point today before work.
I work the nightshift regularly at the moment. I sit at a desk typing things into a computer, answer the phone and the radio, and generally work alone. There have been hours at a time that I’m the only one in the building. I like to have the lights dimmed and the blinds closed as I work. Like a late night radio dj, smooth and calm is how I like to run my shift.
But, I get a bit stir crazy sometimes. The other night, I randomly began singing about eating my curry chicken and rice. Most nights I am swearing and cursing before I would answer the phone in a calm manner. I often sing my responses to the crews as they ask questions on the radio. Sometimes I’ll quote movies as my responses.
The job is tedious at times. It’s also extremely stressful. My job is best described as being an air traffic controller for trains. It’s a dangerous and unforgiving environment for those who work on the ground. They are expecting me to give them the best information I can in order for them to do their job safely. I take great pride in my work every night. Many of my coworkers have come to understand my style of working. As well, I’ve grown to understand their capabilities.
Together, we make through each night until daylight breaks.
I am physically and mentally exhausted today. It’s from a lack of sleep. Not that I haven’t tried- I came home from my nightshift and promptly went to bed. It’s my friends forgetting that I am working nightshifts that seem to be the issue.
The real world seems to be 9-5 Monday to Friday with Everybody Working For The Weekend. But there are those of us who can’t or don’t. That’s where the hardship comes in. Most people sleep all night and forget that there are some of us who need to sleep during the day. Even my friends and my family forget or have a tough time adjusting to the thought that I’m not as alert as they are during the day.
Working nights is tough but it also has its advantages. It means I am free to make doctor or dentist appointments for anytime of day. It means I can volunteer more for my children’s school activities. It also means I can do shopping during the calmer times and not be stuck in lines and crowds during the after school/ dinner hours. I’m looking at you Costco– I swear those are the worst times to shop there.
But in arranging appointments and time with the family, my schedule gets altered. Following most nightshifts, I get home and try to fall asleep by 9am, waking up for dinner. I’ll spend the evening with the family. But other times, it’s a few hours nap, wake up & do stuff, nap, wake up to eat, maybe nap again. My body is generally accustomed to this.
But, I also have days like today. A day where emails, phone calls and texts have interrupted me far too much to get even a decent nap. “Turn off your phone Josef.” I can’t really do that. It’s the main communication I have to my wife, work and emergencies. Most texts or calls I can ignore and respond to when I wake up. No offense to my friends, but sleep is kind of important.
Don’t talk to me anymore today. I’m going to try and get a four hour block of sleep now. Thanks.
Working a regular job is great. I know when I’m going to work and when I’ll have time off. But working straight nights messes me up on the weekend. I try and swing my body back to sleeping at night for two days, when really I shouldn’t.
I’ll get home after my Friday night shift and go to sleep, but only for about five hours. The rest of my Saturday afternoon and evening is spent fighting off sleep deprivation and mental exhaustion. Passing out about eight hours after my nap is a regular occurrence. Sometime falling asleep while watching a movie with the family.
The Sunday usually has me waking up early and making a large breakfast for the family. Then we have a good day of hanging out with other friends followed by a nice evening with a couple of drinks. I get to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up on the Monday morning at around eight am.
Then the frustration kicks in. I’ll be awake for hours, then toss and turn trying to get some sleep before night one of my work week begins. After that first night shift, I’ll get home and crash for ten hours or so trying to get my body back into the swing of nights. Every week is like this. But I really enjoy the night shift because there’s so much to get done and I can still squeeze in some time with the family for a meal or adventure.
Like most people who work regularly, two days off just isn’t enough. A third day added on would be great. I’d love to have a four day work week. Although, switching my sleep schedule around from days to nights and back again halfway through the week would probably take its toll on me worse than what two days off does.
Anyhow, time to try and get a nap before my Monday begins. I hope you all enjoyed your weekend!