A co-worker of mine one morning exhaustedly drove to a house she’d moved out of ten years before, and only realized where she was when the key wouldn’t work. That sounds like a Robert Downy Jr bender doesn’t it?
Extreme sleep depravation often felt like intoxication. There would come a point in the night when my co-workers and I would laugh at anything. Side splitting hysteria over nonsense. Then there were the “angry drunks”. The crabby sleep deprived workers who you wanted to avoid.
I was on an uncharacteristic short fuse for a time. I remember unleashing my wrath on some telemarketers who relentlessly called me, interrupting my sleep over the span of three weeks, until they finally put me on the do not call list. I couldn’t turn off my phone, because I needed to be accessible incase something happened at school.
There comes a point when your body won’t participate and the head bobs commence. I remember nodding off mid sentence, almost falling off my seat, and almost falling over while standing. Common sense would tell a clear thinking individual that if standing or sitting are a challenge, driving should not be attempted.
This is another link to the graveyard. I came close to joining the demographic of the diseased on a few of my forty five minute drives home from work. Driving into the glare of the rising sun during rush hour traffic when focussing is difficult even if you are rested. I hallucinated obstacles in front of my car, I had a few near misses swerving either into on coming traffic, or into the gutter.
For those of you considering this at home, I’ve since learned that there are serious legal ramifications to driving in this impaired condition. The laws that protect the public from intoxicated drivers apply here as well.
After one such near miss, I bought an accidental death insurance policy to protect my children. Why not just switch to days? Childcare costs for three children is my only excuse.
What made me finally stop my graveyard shift madness? Clarity. There were severe cut backs at work, and I had no choice. I had to work days. I experienced what normal felt like. It felt good. I started working out again. I saw all the things that were wrong in my life, and started to change them.
I’ve had the option of returning to those hours and declined. I miss those friends, but there is something to be said for sleeping at night, and I have been known to sleep eight hours straight. I love my bed. It is decadent with its heated mattress pad and the ceiling fan overhead. I love my six pillows. I no longer feel sleep is a waste of time. I deserve a good nights sleep.