Sunday, May 21, 2006

Graveyard Shift

Over the past two days, my 16 month old niece has been really sick. So sick, that my sister and I had to take her to the ER last night. Thankfully, it was nothing serious, but I sat in the ER until 6am. As my sister and niece slept quietly in the ER bed next to me, I sat in a chair watching some crappy Keanu Reeves movie. Yet again, I was wide awake while others in my family soundly slept.

I started to think back to my first stint with insomnia. It was after a restaurant that I worked at closed down. I was still attending culinary school, working towards my second degree (I had graduated with a Pastry degree, then I went back finishe the Culinary program). My schedule at the time was insane. I worked from 10pm-6am. Then from work, I went strait to the school where I attended classes from 8am-noon. I was also participating in a Pastry Appreticeship, so I did my appreticeship work from noon-3pm. I then had more classes from 3-5pm, and finally, somewhere between 5-10pm, I attempted to get some sleep. I did this for six months before the restaurant closed. As I look back on it now, if the restaurant hadn't closed, I probably would have worked myself into a nervous breakdown.

The main thought going throung my mind was that I was young, 21 at the time, and better to be busting my ass now. I probably would not be where I am at in my career had I not worked as hard as I did, but I am deffinitly paying for it now. Yeah I did learn a lot more than my fellow classmates, and am a lot further along in my career because of it, but I wouldn't have minded partying like other college students instead of working my ass off.

The chef that I apprenticed under in culinary school always told me that if I wanted to become a successful chef, that I had to become "Match Tough". I admit, that I didn't really understand what he was telling me. At first, I thought that it ment that I just had to bust my ass, and that's what I was trying to do. As my apprenticeship proressed, I soon realized that match tough didn't have anything to do with busting my ass.

After the restaurant closed, I picked up a teaching gig at the culinary school. This worked out great for me since now I was getting paid for the apprentiship work that I was doing. After six months of utter exhaustion, I was looking forward to a full night's sleep. Unfortunatly, I found out that it doesn't work out that way. I didn't fall asleep until 4-5am my first night. After a few weeks of this, I did a little research, and this was the first time that I found out about Delayed Sleep Phase which is common among "Shift Workers" or people who work hours (graveyard shift) counter to the body's natual biological clock. I made an appointment to see a sleep specialist, and he confirmed my suspicions. Seven years later, and I'm still dealing with this shit. Oh well, such is the life of chronic insomniac.


Post a Comment

<< Home