Saturday, December 20, 2014

Too tired to think

20 years ago, I worked too much and didn't sleep enough and at the end of a work shift, I might have an addled brain. Now, I'm twenty years older working just 38 hours a week, out of the ICU, but the level of job stress is of an equal comparison. Near the end of a typical insanely busy shift, I sometimes have too many details bouncing around in my brain, like the balls in the Lottery machine. 

Circadian Calamity 

I've been known to brag
That I am infallible,
Master genius at work
Always present, ever callable,
But in the waning minutes
Of my twelve hour shift,
I'm more prone to forget
And suffer memory drift.

But I'm not alone
With this egghead fault,
A Harvard brainiac
Suffering memory halt,
Other nurses I work with
Who are half of my age,
Remark, they, as well
Lose an occasional page.

Eminent researchers
Call it Shift Work Sleep Disorder,
Decreased mental acuity
After crossing the Circadian border,
Key details and facts
Have undergone cancellations,
Call a "Memory Alert"
Block the doors, man the stations!

12-Hour-shift workers
Includes many variants,
Rotating work assignments
You could forget your under-pants,
When your mind gets so befuddled
Sleep deprived and wasted,
You feel like rotten turkey
Unfit to be tasted. 

A paper was written
Let me read it to you,
Keen observations
And a theory or two,
To correct memory drift
A recurrent event,
A simple 5-step approach
Time well spent.

The best thing I found
When my brain feels like crap,
Stop what I'm doing
Take a break, have a nap,
Find some darkness
Or simply, close my eyes,
And even if I don't sleep
I watch the starry skies,
Behind my closed eyelids
With the ringing in my ears,
I relax in that environment
My mind shifts gears,
Producing relaxation
A restful transformation,
Feeling better, I'll be
When I return to the station.

Sounds like a treatise
Delivered at the N.T.I.,
Where's the documentation?
My competitors cry,
If I don't show some proof
My claims are just fluff,
If my brain remains addled
I'll be shunned, and that's enough.

But will I remember?
Let's not presume,
I suffer memory drift
When I walk across the room,
And forget what I wanted
To do for Mr. Jones,
This Circadian calamity
It rattles my bones.


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