The Week of Not-Sleep
Here I am, poised to go in for the third night of in-house night call coverage. Every morning, my anxious coworkers ask me how it was, how I slept, did I have to work? I’m only the third one of the entire staff who has had to do this. I volunteered to show solidarity and lead the way, I guess. I’ve been the first to use the call rooms that have been sadly placed near the doors by those who make decisions like this. I’d wager my left kidney the persons who made this decision will never spend a night in one of those call rooms.
It’s been like trying to sleep in a loud hostel but without the happy relief of alcohol or the pleasant exhaustion of all-day sightseeing that was and that is to come. It’s tight and anxious and the plastic mattress and thin, itchy sheets don’t help. When I leave there, having not-slept, I feel I have to be productive and make the most of the 16 hours allowed to me. The days have been beautiful and sunny spring days. While that’s been nice to enjoy to a certain degree, my mounting sleep debt has kept me from really enjoying it. I guess complaining about being paid for essentially just standing by is silly, what with all those out of work, starving, etc etc etc, but the very real lack of good sleep has infected everything. That’s how important sleeping is, folks. Not getting enough is like being drunk without the carefree part.
I suspect my IQ is suffering every day and so is an intangible aspect of my health. And I feel this way after only two nights of this. There are three more to go. I’m going to watch my episode of Mad Men and then go back to the world of the not-sleep where I can already hear the shutting of that door in the back of my head.