Friday, December 16, 2011

Burning the candle at both ends

It's been a long, long week in which my Circadian rhythm was totally disrupted.

The good news is that I got a spot tutoring students in Springfield elementary schools, for pay.

The bad news is that although I signed up for after-school hours, there were more tutors than students, and if I didn't take the 7:30 a.m. slot, I wouldn't get to do it at all. I need to be there early, so with travel time that means leaving at around 6:45 a.m.

Welcome to the world, you say?

Well, for the past 30-some years, my world has always involved later work shifts. When I left the Republican, I worked from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and when I first started, we went in around 11 and left at 7.

Common sense says to just go to bed earlier, but when you stay up late like I do, it's hard to just make yourself go to sleep earlier. Plus, it was a busy week, with a tennis party Tuesday night and a concert at the Iron Horse in Northampton Wednesday, and I wanted to go to both.

Wednesday didn't start so well. I stumbled out of bed and made coffee and a piece of (overdone) toast, which I ate in the car. I cut my lip on the toast and only realized it when I felt blood dripping down my face. I managed to stop the bleeding with a tissue and got to my assigned school in Springfield in one piece.

We were assigned our groups, and I got six fourth-graders. There was basically time for introductions and giving them a test which they did in class to assess their level. On the way home, I had to pull into the parking lot of the CVS in Holyoke and take a nap. When I got home, Joe was having car trouble and needed a ride to the West Springfield repair shop where his car was towed. After he got his rental, I fell asleep again in my car.

Thursday morning began with me trying to carry coffee and the bin of student booklets out the door in the dark and dropping my keys in the dog water near the door. Big splash of water on the floor, left for later.

In school we began work on a unit in capitalization. I passed out booklets and walked around helping them. When the bell rang at 8:30, the kids threw their stuff down on the table and ran to breakfast. One little girl stayed to help me, gathering everything up and offering to carry the bin downstairs for me. I am already falling in love. Next week I will stop a little earlier and tell them they can't leave until they clean up.

On the way home, once again I couldn't get any further than CVS. After my 15-minute catnap, I got home, threw down my jacket, took my shoes off and crawled into bed, setting the alarm for 11 a.m. Every time it went off, I set it for another half an hour. I set it for 12:30, but it never went off, because I saw later that I had set it for a.m. Who knows how long I would have slept if Ben hadn't called at 1?

I sat down on the couch at night and told Joe I was so tired, I was scared the leukemia was coming back. (This when I know full well that my blood test a couple of weeks ago was fine.)

"Are you serious?" he asked, or some such thing. Probably I was not serious, but it's a thought that pops up, and then when I say it and someone (or myself if I'm the only one around) sets me straight, I can let it go.

Hopefully next week I will do better with sleep.

Despite the fatigue, I have to say that Wednesday night at the Iron Horse was worth it. I saw friends from work and heard a great opening set by Scott Kempner and then the show by Elliott Murphy and the Normandy All Stars. It was great rock n' roll with folk undertones, and everyone was clapping and at some points singing along.

And I thought, "I am not in the hospital. I am here and alive and listening to music with friends, and I am really really happy about that."

2 comments:

Ann said...

Well done, Ronni! You continue to amaze and inspire me.

Nell said...

Ronni,
I am glad you got this job. No doubt it will take time for your body to adjust to such an early wake up call. I find getting up for cardiac rehab to be torturous for me and I have to nap the minute I get home. The minute I feel the least resistance in breathing I want to sound the panic alarm. Only people who have gone through a serious illness can understand how one simple thought can set your mind to panic mode. Aren't you cold when you nap in the car?