Tag Archives: Shift Work

He promised to Skype with me, instead he met me in the driveway

A picture of middle child showing off while canoeing..

Middle child showing off while canoeing.

The past week was quite trying for me, with a hospital visit for middle child, new medication for myself, hubby working different shifts plus overtime, I had pretty much met my limit by yesterday.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, middle child now attends college about four hours away. It is not a far distance but when she is off to the emergency department because she had passed a very large menstrual blood clot, she might as well be on another planet.

Numerous phone calls were made back and forth, money was transferred so a cab could be taken to the hospital (and back again). Tears were shed as she waited alone in a strange emergency department. The snow was coming down hard, our first storm of the season, as I debated whether or not to drive up there, knowing full well that I couldn’t make the drive myself, plans were thought out as to who could watch the dogs, so hubby could make the drive with me.

Middle child was seen by a doctor in record time for an emergency department, I believe she only waited about two hours, rather than four. Vitals were taken, blood work done. After determining she wasn’t anemic and all was stable they sent her home, telling her that the gynecologist would want to see her the next day.

Also during this week, sleeping for me was getting worse, with my one medication for chronic pain giving me insomnia. After seeing my physician, we decided that I would try a new prescription in hopes that I would start to get some sleep. So Friday, being alone, because hubby was working a twelve-hour day shift, I changed my meds. Usually if I start a new medication someone is always with me just in case I have a reaction. Well with the young man away at university, middle child away at college and having her own medical issues, the eldest living in another city now, I was alone. So, I wrote out my new list and emailed everyone, that way if something happened, phone calls could be made and correct information given. My best friend was also given the list, plus a text message was sent to her, being that she is only about twenty minutes away and happened to be on vacation. By evening, middle child would be home for the weekend, and hubby would also be home from work to watch over me.

Later that night around 1 a.m. I was woken up with extreme nausea, only to hear a beeping sound from the answering machine. Work had left a message for hubby, needing him to come in for a few hours because all the boilers are down. (This is considered an emergency since he works at a hospital, the boilers are a vital component, without them the hospital is in real trouble). Of course it didn’t seem to matter that he would have to be back at work Saturday morning for another twelve-hour shift.

Back to bed I go, and in the morning I read over the side affects of the new medication. Well lo and behold, nausea was one of them, but was I being woken up by a migraine? I phoned my pharmacist to ask her advice and to find out if I could take my migraine medication, would it react with the new script I just started? After discussing everything with her, we decided I would take my meds for a migraine since it would not interact negatively with the new painkillers. She reassured me all was good, her information was up-to-date so I didn’t have to worry.

Within an hour or two, the migraine medication started to relieve the nausea and headache, enabling me to make my Saturday morning market visit. The had day progressed pretty well, I was starting to feel normal, and the new pain medication seemed to be working, allowing me to function. By the afternoon I thought I would phone the young man since I hadn’t spoken to him in a few days, to explain my new medication, and what was going on with his sister.  As I started to tell him my stories, he cut me off, saying he was busy at the moment, but promised to Skype with me in about an hour and a half.

After waiting more than the hour and a half for the Skype phone call from the young man that didn’t seem to be coming, I went out again to finish grocery shopping. It was getting late in the day, I was tired, the trying week was starting to catch up with me, I was borderline as to whether or not I would fall apart.

Picture of the young man's cowboy bootsAs I started to remove the groceries from the van, I saw middle child, plus the young man’s ex-girlfriend (but still awesome friend) walking towards me to help. Then out of the blue the young man appeared. I was stunned, overcome with emotion, and cried in the driveway as he held me. Though I couldn’t stop crying, I asked question after question, how did he get here, when did he get here, and then told him he couldn’t go out this evening. He continued to hug me as he chuckled and said I know mom, I will stay in.

The toll of working shifts

January
January is turning out to be a very busy month for my better half. One of the guys he works with, has had to go out of town for a few weeks which means overtime, six extra shifts this month. Now that doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you work twelve hours (he is paid extra for breaks and lunch since his job does not allow him to leave the boiler room), and then throw in a few extra, your body becomes completely messed up. This week alone, instead of working just two nights, he did four, and without any days off, he is switching to days (Sunday is considered a day off since the shift started Saturday night). Thus, he worked Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night, and tomorrow morning he will go in for a twelve hour day. Basically when he came home this morning he only slept for three or four hours, because he will be going back to bed tonight so he can get up and go to work in the morning.

Hubby and I have been together for almost thirty-one years and he has always worked shifts. Way back when, he used to work a completely insane schedule. The shifts comprised of working seven-eight hour days, two off, seven afternoons, two off, then seven nights with three days off. This rotation gave him one weekend off a month. I found it to be particularly difficult on me also; I had three kids all under the age of five and if it wasn’t for the help of my mother, I would have went crazy. Afternoons were the hardest, feeding the kids supper, clean up, cleaning them up, and putting them into bed. I’m pretty sure, I went to bed right after the kids. My one saving grace, my kids were (and still are) sleepers. All loved a good twelve hours of sleep, so bedtime was at 7 p.m.

Throughout the years, hubby has worked all different rotations, with each new job he started, there was always a new schedule to get used too. One benefit I did enjoy was him having days off during the week. On those days, he could and would gladly take kids to school, swimming, or soccer, giving me a break. When it is just you and the kids for days on end, you feel and are in some ways a single parent, because even if hubby was home, there were days he was just too exhausted to really do anything, or he was sleeping.

Hubby has worked his current shift rotation for quite a number of years, and as it worked out, he wasn’t here for Christmas, boxing day, or New Year’s eve. On Christmas, we all woke at 6 a.m. to open our gifts, then middle child drove dad to work while the rest of us went back to bed (actually I stayed up, and started work on the dinner since we were having company). When the kids were small, it was a lot more difficult; waking kids early, or having them have to wait until dad gets home, is hard when all you want to do is open presents. The kids were troopers though, and would wait, asking every few minutes, “is he on his way home mommy”, kind of like the “are we there yet”question.

The one major bonus of night shift, especially when the kids were (are) in school, is well, sex. The kids weren’t home, so the parents played!

The Shower

The other day, hubby and I were invited out to a barbecue at a friend’s house. This is a rare event because his shifts rarely coincide with their extremely busy social life and of course, an outing depends on whether or not I am having a good pain day. Anyways, in order for our outing, I needed a shower before making myself pretty. I yelled down the stairs to the teenage boy that mom was taking a shower, and then off handily added to my husband, you may join me if you like! Well the bathroom is right beside the teenage boy’s bedroom, and just as I entered the shower, the teenage boy decided to go to his room. Then the most horrible thing happened (according to the teenager), dad joined me in the shower. Oh was he angry! Now our son did hear quite a bit of noise coming from the shower, but it is not what you are thinking! Hubby could not believe how hot I liked the water, and was trying everything to get out-of-the-way of the stream.

The next day, well visiting my best friend’s house, I related the shower story to her. Now she has quite the wicked sense of humour, and was quick to give the teenage boy a talking too! First though she asked him how he thought he got here? The teenage boy quickly answered, “I like to believe the stork brought me”.