Yesterday I thought that, due to Mr Grump’s ‘Man Flu’ I would be better off accepting the night shift at work, I had been phoned about, due to staff shortages. (it turns out that the staff were falling like flies with the same lurgy that I had just had). I presented myself fresh-faced (well,I have still got a bit of a red nose, and I  think a cold sore is forming on my upper lip) and ready for duty half an hour early at 7pm (I am always ridiculously early for everything)!

The Ward Sister greeted me enthusiastically, but told me it had been ‘a bit of a busy day.’ Usually, this didn’t bode well for the night either, but ever-optimistic I thought that at least the shift would go quickly if we had plenty to do to keep us occupied! ….

Two of my colleagues arrived ready for the night ahead, and as we sat chatting for a while, realised that it was time for Handover, and no-one else was going to turn up for the shift, apart from us three! This was not good, we have 27 patients and are at least two staff down, not to mention that someone has to be in one particular Bay at all times, as at least four of the elderly men in there are very confused, have no concept of the time of day, and do not necessarily want to go to sleep.They are all also very unsteady on their feet, but that does not hamper them in their attempts to go for little walks, so they really need a little extra monitoring.

We decided between the three of us, who would do what; one would administer all of the drugs to all of the patients, one would sit in with the ‘boys’ to try to settle them and keep them safe,  and I would answer the buzzers in the other bays, then once the drugs were finished, two of us would work together in settling the rest of the patients….in theory, this seemed the best option, but actually we were dealing with people here, and of course, reality meant that in the end, we had to ‘borrow’ a member of staff from another ward for 20 minutes, in order to try to get all of our patients comfortable, dry and clean before they went off to sleep, (those that wanted to sleep of course).

Finally, around midnight, we managed to grab a quick drink (It was so hot on that ward that all 3 of us were dripping with sweat, and parched to go with it)! I of course was starving as well. This healthy eating I am trying to do is all very well but a small stir fry 6 hours earlier had not sustained me, and I frantically shovelled in forkfuls of my salad, whilst briefly sitting down to write some notes. The other two were also doing the same,

After that brief respite it was all systems go again; although some of the men had briefly slept, one of them, although exhausted (he was almost walking around with his eyes shut),  would not give in to sleep, and he started making a bit of noise, which in turn woke some of the others up, and they too wanted to get in on the act! This took us a while to calm down, and of course disturbed some of the other patients, who had now woken up and were buzzing for attention.

By 4am, we were all pretty frazzled ,but with still another 4 hours to go, we continued running around right up until it was time to leave at 8am. (None of us had been able to take the hour-long break we were entitled to).

I staggered out of work,and got home to find that Mr Grump was already up. His man flu had prevented him from getting a decent night sleep. I listened sympathetically this time, poor thing. He did look rather pasty, and his whole demeanor looked woebegone and dejected…perhaps I would have been better off staying home last night with him after all!!

As exhausted as I was, I found that I could only sleep for a couple of hours (my body clock was mixed up and it decided to protest at being forced to sleep in the daytime).  So it’s an early night for me tonight, as I am back in work first thing tomorrow morning!!