Ugh. Here we go again. The nurse called out (sick) and it’s another thirty-six hour shift. Ryan is having a restful night and this will go a long way for getting me through the upcoming day. Also, it’s a little better than the one earlier this month when the nurse called off, since I was able to grab an afternoon nap yesterday.
Still, I swear this will be the death of me. It’s not so much that I sleep well (or much) at night, but it allows my mind to take a break. It’s a little mental R&R. One thing I learned through all of this is there’s a definite difference between active and passive attention.
By passive attention, I mean those times when I can allow my thoughts to focus on other things while just listening for anything out of the ordinary. You know, like an alarm sounding or Ryan coughing. I guess the best way to explain it might be like when your phone rings and it grabs your attention. The only time I allow myself to do this is when Sue or a nurse (that I trust) is watching him. Even with a nurse here, we always keep up audible and visual contact.
The reality is my mind is never at rest. It moves between two levels of alertness… active and passive. For the most part, it’s active and it has to be this way. Ryan cannot tell me when he is uncomfortable. It takes constant monitoring to keep him at ease. I’m always looking, feeling, and listening. Does he have an eyelash in his eye? Does he need his bottom cleaned? Did he bit his cheek? Is his g-tube not pulling? Did the condom come off? Did his arm slip off the side of the armrest? Is his urine clear and odorless? What is his temperature? Pulse? Respiration rate? Lung sounds? Blood pressure? Oxygen saturation? Well… you get the idea.
Then, when I’m confident he is comfortable, it starts all over again.
When the nurse is here, my “passive” time normally begins around eleven o’clock. By this time Ryan is tucked in for the night and it’s just a matter of monitoring him. Usually by four o’clock in the morning I’ve given-up on trying to get some decent sleep (although I do doze off periodically throughout the night) and throw down my first cup of coffee.
I guess what I just figured out is that this passive time is my time to revive. It’s the best rest I get. Hey, it’s not sleep but it’s still good for me. It’s my sleep substitute.