Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hydration: My Night in Three Drinks

I wrote most of this in the very early hours of the morning yesterday during my overnight shift...then I revised it during the very early hours of the morning today during an overnight shift. Overnights are weird. I can do a lot of things, but then the sleep deprivation starts to make me a little loony.

I. Cherry Coke: 10 pm - 3 am

Right now I just need a boost of energy. Not that working the overnight requires energy, but I do need to stay awake for the next ten hours. Youth are in bed, almost asleep, and after working a regular shift I'm tired too.

This overnight was a surprise; I turned down two other programs' offers for overnights, unsure if working a double the day before an interview was the best decision, but when upper management calls you to fill in, you say yes. The universe must not want me to sleep tonight. In between room checks I browse the web, text with friends who are still up, and read a funny novel that's been on my to-read list for years.

As soon as the caffeine from this soda hits, I ride it out for the rest of the night. The carbonation fizzes in my mouth and up my nose and I remember I have a dentist appointment in the morning. Oh well. I also have an electric bill due in a few days. Working 18 hours straight seems like an awesome decision when there are no other employment offers on the horizon, even if you have three interviews scheduled that week.

II. Arizona Green Tea with Honey & Ginseng: 3 am - 7 am

It's just me now. Youth are fast asleep and past needing water or bathroom trips. Friends are also asleep, even the night owls. Now are the hours I need to stay awake. More caffeine would just bring jitters, a sugary drink would make my stomach hurt. Arizona has just enough sweetness and minimal fizz. It's a quieter drink for quieter hours.

I finished my book--as expected the plucky heroine gets the reclusive, recovering alcoholic, singer-songwriter. My eyes begin to tire; I can't look at a computer or a book right now. The TV goes on. I start to wonder about elderly women in household cleaner commercials. Do they have husbands and children? Is there a kid out there whose grandma is the Swiffer woman? Watching the news this early reminds me of getting ready for school when I was younger. Mom would watch in her room while she got ready for work. I'd come up to borrow her hair dryer or some lotion, or to crawl into my parents' unmade bed and avoid getting ready for the day.

Now is the dead of night--the absolute dark before the dawn--the time I get super poetic and think of blog posts like this. Drinking iced tea somehow helps my dry eyes and sore body, gross from work. Sweaty teenagers felt the need to hug me, shake my hand, or touch my hair after they had been in the gym. News gets boring. I channel flip until I find a classic sitcom. At this point, I'm just waiting for the sun to rise. That part of the overnight never gets old.

III. Naked Green Machine Fruit Juice: 7 am - 11 am

The boys are up now. They shower, get dressed, iron clothes, and try to sneak in some extra sleep on the couch. Day staff starts arriving. I see them park in the lot, dressed in business casual, coffees in hand. I'm still in my t-shirt and jeans. I eat some fruit and drink this super fruit juice between giving wake up calls and making sure everyone is out of bed.

The human body is not supposed to stay awake for this long, and it's definitely screaming at me for not letting it sleep. I know there are no magic foods, but drinking a fruit juice with tons of vitamins seems to make up for the torture I'm putting myself through. It can't hurt, and at the very least it's damage control.

Once all the boys leave for school, I can peace out. Usually I'd go home, shower, and crash, but today I shower and leave again. I get back on the blue line for my dentist appointment, then head to a nanny interview. I finish my drink on the way. The thing about overnights is it's not just your sleep schedule that gets messed up. Eating helps me stay awake. After ten hours of grazing on trail mix, popcorn, and fruit, this drink feels like a meal.

After the interview I can go home and sleep for several hours. Then it's back here for round two. Someday I will have a normal person schedule and my body won't hate me. Maybe November's my month.

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