I am not a morning person.
Try not to talk to me too much.
Mornings are for... Coffee. Quiet time with my bible. Prayer journaling. Emails. Checking up on patients. Logging labs & updates. Mornings are for scalpels & surgery. Mornings are for gettin' stuff done. Mornings are where I get organized and set intentions so I can focus on killin' my day.
This is the introvert in me. It's also the process that works for me. I've learned mornings are my quiet and productive time - but that nighttime is for creativity: I start projects, plan ideas, work out. In my ideal world, I'd be sleeping 12-8am (yeah 8 hours ftw) and live life in between.
But this is not how life works.
4am is not a normal time to be awake and working, and yet there I was.
The computer screens illuminated the darkness of the ICU. I sat there studying each of my patients (which could be anywhere from 6 to 12 critically ill patients at any given time, that I had to be ready to present by 7am) - every lab drawn, every consult note written in the last 24 hrs, medication changes & when each med was given, latest vitals, reviewing the history of present visit and formulating all the diagnoses and how we were addressing each, as well as differential diagnoses for possible new symptoms. It's easy to get lost.
I spoke to the nurse about overnight events, and checked vent settings and latest ABGs to see if they needed to be adjusted, the foley catheter for amount/color of urine output, surgical wound checks, neuro checks, listened to the heart, lungs, & bowel sounds - and endless other check offs. We are inundated with detail upon detail that each needs examining but also incorporated into an overall picture & direction: where are we going?
And what are we doing to this patient that may be causing them pain, infection, sores? Tubes, drains, laying in bed 24/7? Nothing about this is natural or normal. But this is what we have to do, in order to get you back to functioning - to your new normal.
The impact of health problems and crises - of perforated diverticulitis, a septic infection, or a car accident - holds such gravity for me. I used to think that a hospital stay meant nothing much than a bump in the road, as long as you improved and left - you got back to normal. But the complexity of each injury or illness will leave each patient fighting - sometimes fighting hard - for their new normal. Physical therapy, mentally processing the experience, & changes in work, finances, or relationships.
Each story resonates with me. I want you to know, I won't forget. Even when I'm exhausted beyond belief because it's my 35th hour of work & all I want is to go home, go under the blankets, and disappear from duties and expectations ... I will remember the new normal you are fighting for. And I'll fight right there with you. This is why I'm doing this. Thank you for helping me see the forest among the trees.
I'm not a morning person.
But I love these mornings.