I am drained. It is the end of week two of the new job and I feel like my head will explode if I learn one more piece of new information.
It’s not just the learning that is taxing, although it is mentally exhausting to become competent enough to put such toxic poisons into people’s bodies — there is so much to know. You give ice chips with this drug but not this one. You can expect nausea with this one but not that. This one is always given first except under these specific circumstances. With this one, the patient might go into shock and die, so watch them carefully for the first 10 minutes. This one makes your veins black, this one can make you deaf, this one makes your hair fall out. I need to know what to warn people about so that when they go home with these things coursing through their veins, they know when to call their nurse and when to write off a symptom as an inevitable but unfortunate side effect of the therapy.
The other part of the exhaustion is the adjustment to the changes. Even though the change is, generally, good, it is a change, and with any change, there is a certain amount of mental energy required to adjust. Now, I need to think more about things like transportation, who is going to pick the kids up and at what time, what to wear (I don’t have to wear scrubs anymore if I don’t want to). Minor things, like that payday is now on opposite weeks from before, to bigger things, like full time versus part-time, and remembering the names of all my new co-workers. All of these things take time and energy to process. The rhythm and routine of our household had undergone some alteration, and a little fine-tuning is definitely in order.
It hasn’t helped that the kids and I have had a cold, and I have been worried about who would look after them if they couldn’t go to daycare, and worried about me killing some patient who has no immune system with a common virus, but also worried about missing out on some valuable learning opportunity and looking like a slacker on my first two weeks if I call in sick. Learning to block the sound of sick, hurting kids so I can concentrate on my job is another item on my laundry list of things to cope with.
But, this is kind of a good tired. Not really a satisfying just-ran-a-marathon physical tired, but a can’t-really-answer-that-because-my-brain-has-disengaged mental tired. It feels like I am back in school (but this time they’re paying me!!) and I like the feeling of learning things. I like knowing lots of Stuff, useful or otherwise.
Transitions are hard, even if they are positive ones. Simply processing the differences and assimilating the New Normal takes energy. Sometimes I feel as if I have a finite amount of energy, and a lot of it has been sapped just by dealing with the spinoffs from the transition. I have energy brown-outs, mostly felt by my family, when at the end of the day I can’t even muster the will to make a decision about what to have for dinner.
Luckily, the human brain is a sponge of unlimited capacity (I believe), and if you add it slowly enought to be absorbed and incorporated into your base of useful knowledge, it can accomodate whatever information you need it to. Hooray for me. This is going to be a great job.
And now, I am going to bed.