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Lives of Doctor Wives: The Life of the Sleep-Deprived

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Life of the Sleep-Deprived

I just wanted to share something I discovered this past weekend with sleep deprivation and how I now understand what my husband must feel like after his busiest call-shifts (and during his past residency). Months ago, we were invited to participate in a murder mystery party organized by some friends of ours in Seattle, Washington. We live in Indiana and were delighted to not only be invited, but also to be able to see our friends again. The last time we were in Seattle, our son was only about nine months old, and he's three years old, now. Because my husband had already taken a lot of vacation time over the past month, we decided to make this a VERY short trip. My husband was on-call Wednesday night, and he worked until 8 am on Thursday morning. He even did a delivery at 3:45 that morning! When he got off work, we drove an hour to the airport to catch a 12:20 pm flight to Washington. By the time we got there, it was 6:00 pm Seattle time, but 9:00 pm our time. Still, all of us (even our son!) were able to stay awake long enough to meet our friends for dinner and catch up on each others' lives. Of course, jet lag hit us hard on Friday morning, especially my son and I, causing us to wake up way too early. We were able to get through the day just fine, and did a lot of sight-seeing with our friends. We did take some time to relax in the afternoon before dinner, which helped because we didn't actually have dinner until about 9 pm (which was midnight, our time!). Then, yesterday morning rolled around, and boy, I really felt the sleep deprivation and jet lag affecting me. I could truly understand how my husband must feel some mornings after he's had a rough call night and must try to make up for the sleep he lost the following evening. Still, we were able to enjoy some time with friends sight-seeing around Puget Sound. The murder mystery party, which was lots of fun, started at 6 pm last night and lasted until 11:30 pm. Because my husband had to be back to work on Monday for another call-shift, we decided to try to get an early flight out of Seattle to have time to relax at home on Sunday evening. That meant, we had to catch our shuttle to the airport by 3:40 am for a 6 am flight! Oy! We didn't get back to our hotel after the party until about midnight, and then, we spent some time packing. Our son's sleep schedule was already thrown for a loop, and because he ended up going to the party with us, it was made even worse. Somehow, he took a long nap at the party, and we managed to get him back to sleep at the hotel. Though we talked about not even going to bed that evening, my husband and I went ahead and tried to sleep, but only for a couple of hours before we had to get up again. I was so tired when we got to the airport, I could barely think straight enough to type in our confirmation code for our boarding passes. I was irritable and snippy with my husband and my son, and I just wanted to get on the plane to try to get some more sleep. What an awful way to start the morning! We managed to get home safely, and we're now relaxing after our whirlwind trip. After last night and today, I now know what it's like to try to live on little-to-no sleep. It makes me wonder how my husband can function when it's 3:45 am, and he's trying to deliver a baby after having just done another delivery or having just checked on some sort of gynecologic emergency. Our husbands must really train themselves when they are in residency, kind of like for a marathon or an Olympic competition. It's amazing that they can think straight and prescribe the right meds and make the right decisions after having very busy days and nights and days all over again. I don't know, but I think my new-found appreciation for my husband's occupation might keep me from feeling bitter on those days when he comes home and doesn't want to do anything but sleep. My hat's off to you, gentlemen!

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Blogger Desiree said...

That's a good analogy... on our recent trip to Korea, I was awake nearly 40 hours straight and didn't get a "good" night's sleep for nearly a week. It was truly awful. I don't know how they do it on a consistent basis.

August 31, 2009 at 12:01 AM  
Blogger Kathi Browne said...

Thanks for sharing, Amanda. You can probably understand how your husband involuntarily reacts sometimes when he's running on empty. I experienced something similar when a flight was canceled and I spend 36 hr waiting in an airport. I did some stupid things... and didn't even care.

September 4, 2009 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger Melisa said...

I'm a different person when I'm tired. I really don't know how they do it day in and day out.

September 4, 2009 at 6:08 PM  

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