Fighting To Stay Awake

It’s 3 O:clock in the fucking morning and here I sit with my thumb in my ass, trying to stay awake just a little bit longer.

My sleep schedule has been fucked up all week and it doesn’t matter what time I go to bed, I wake up 6 hours later almost to the minute.

I nodded off for a little while after dinner but tomorrow night I have to work from 6 PM to 4 AM, then come home, sleep and turn around and be back at 4 PM for another 10 hours.

10 on, 12 off, 10 on. That’s 20 hours at work in a 32 hour period.

Plus, I’m the only maintenance guy there tomorrow night.

This is taking some serious getting used to. It’s that last hour, from 3 to 4 in the morning that is the really bad part. If I don’t keep moving I damn near fall asleep standing up and the drive home is fucking scary.

Total Autopilot.

Get in the truck, point it out the driveway and the next thing I know I am pulling up in front of the house.

I’m sure I’ll get used to it at some point but for some reason I am really struggling to get with the program this time.

Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with me going to be 61 fucking years old at the end of next month I’m sure.

20 thoughts on “Fighting To Stay Awake

  1. Hey, I feel your pain. Before I retired, I was an operator at a small hydroelectric plant in WA. There were only 2 of us to run the plant. In 2014, the other operator was gone all the month of November. I worked 10 hours each day and then was on call for the rest of the time. At least 3 or more call outs at night each week. I was really dragging ass by the end of the month. I was 66 at the time.

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  2. I feel your pain. I’ve worked 16 and 18 hr shifts, multiple nights in a row, more times than I can remember. There have been times I woke up in my driveway wondering how the hell I got home. And then, of course, I go inside, lay down in bed, and can’t fall asleep. MY dad did it all his career but he retired early at 58. I’m fast approaching that age but finally moved to a position where they call me last. Which only means things are really screwed by the time I get called out. Fun times, but bills got to be paid.

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  3. Fingers crossed you don’t have to do that for too much longer.
    I’ve got a little break right now between fall and spring outages.
    At the beginning of next month the spring outages start.
    Looks like I’ll be doing the 12/7 for 4-5 months straight.
    Then again, I’m only pushing 50.
    Good times!

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  4. Just do your best to stay on the road and survive until the schedule gets back to normal.

    And yeah, I did the graveyard and sunrise shifts as a tech when the company in NY was running 24/6 but that was at age 25 in the mid 1970’s, not at age 60+. Stay awake when it counts Phil..

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    • I remember 18-hour dispatches in the military, where (if you were the Team Chief) you also had paperwork to fill out at the end. So, 24 hours, then a 6 (or 3) hour turnaround, then back to a 6 to 12 hour dispatch AGAIN! Good thing I was only 24-25 years old. We were woefully undermanned, it was hard to find people that would pass the drug/alcohol and security tests for the necessary Clearance. This was back in ’73-’76.
      The thing that scared me was we were working with nuclear-tipped missiles (Minuteman III), and one wrong move and you would be playing a leading role in a Geiger counter and the whole world would be aware that you screwed up. But, you would never feel a thing… ;P

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  5. truck driver here, the hours from 3 to 5 are the worst. right before the sun comes up is just brutal. Monster/red bull/whatever are your friend. try to stay caffeinated so it all runs out 10 minutes after you get home. (i.e. don’t pound one down 30 minutes before bedtime, that’s not going to work). Hot air will make you all sleepy. cold air, being uncomfortable (angry also works) keeps you awake. a 10 minute power nap can do wonders. Never sleep in the drivers seat. If you have to power nap, move to the passenger seat.

    sleep deprivation is real, be careful.

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  6. I only 6 hrs a night, it’s been like that for around 10 years now… I have to be careful about what time I go to sleep because I’ll be up 6 hours after that.
    Every now & then I’ll sleep 8 hours or so, it’s rare but I do feel rested when it happens!

    Driving while you’re asleep is depending on luck… just saying.

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  7. Just like clockwork, I flipped the light off and went to bed at 4:05. By 10:15 this morning I was up, had dressed and eaten and was on my way out to have a smoke.
    I see a nap in my future this afternoon.

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  8. At the Smurfit Stone mill in Los Angeles, I was the last of three guys hired
    from the same Millwright service. The smaller of the two paper machines
    was shut down and three of us were facing layoffs. At the time clock on
    our last day, we were given a reprieve. We ended up doing demo work
    and sending equipment to another mill in South America. That kept us
    busy for about a year.

    I had no problem with hard work. My personal best was 94 hours in one
    week. When the work was done, we were all offered jobs in the production
    department. That meant rotating shifts so I took a pass on the offer. I
    began to notice that half the production department was Diabetic. A
    little Internet research showed that people who worked rotating shifts
    are much more likely to be Diabetic. I ended up with a Biotech company
    but made a deal with my new boss: If he gave me a day or two off
    every 90 days, he could forego my health care and other benefits.
    by working the 90 day and once a year one-week shutdown I got
    more than free health care benefits, I stayed on as an employee
    and was the first to be rehired into maintenance when a coworker
    retired.

    I relayed this info to Phil and told him that the first time there was
    a need an experienced hand, they would call him and it could be
    a path for him to be rehired. To paraphrase a shitty Kevin Kostner
    movie if you know the equipment, they will come!

    I even got my yearly $200.00 work boot allowance. Take a shitty
    job for less pay and stay in contact with the company.

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  9. Phil, wrt the falling asleep while driving, I’ve had some close calls and some missing hours. A long haul trucker told me his secret was eating sunflower seeds (with shells). It’s harder to fall asleep with food in your mouth, and the crack,fiddle, spit, chew and swallow ritual with every seed gives you something to do.

    Carbs put me to sleep, so now I nibble on sugar free beef jerky pretty much whenever I’m on the freeway. Tiny little bites, maximum of chewing and moving it around in my mouth, it’s the only thing that works for me.

    I also sip half and half iced tea and lemonade (sugar free) from noon to about 6. I make the 24oz last that long, and the constant little dribble of caffeine seems to work better for me than having a whole cup of coffee or tea.

    There are also chocolate covered coffee beans to nibble, and caffeinated gum (Black Black- from japan, made by Lotte) has an intense mint flavor and half a stick usually is enough to get me over the hump if I’m really tired and need to keep moving. I keep a pack in the truck.

    Way back in the day when I was doing 48 hour shifts, I had some liquid ginseng I got at a chinese health food store and a couple of drops of that under the tongue would perk me right up too.

    Do something, driving while tired is worse than driving under the influence.

    nick

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  10. Phil, I remember Hobart’s Tasman Bridge disaster back in ’75, when the skipper of an ore carrier steered his ship into the bridge supports, bringing it down on the ship and sinking it. Ship workers said that he stood at the wheel staring straight ahead, but taking no avoiding action, asleep on his feet, I bet the poor people in the cars falling to their death were wide awake! In every military campaign in history, we hear of the difficulty faced by piquet sentries, or men in positions guarding against night attack, battling to remain alert despite fatigue and sleep deprivation. We just keep making demands of our bodies that it wasn’t designed for. Okay, you need the work, but your boss will have killed your old arse when you have a prang on the way home. Won’t your wife pick you up at work? That way you both can go to sleep, safe and sound.

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  11. Phil, I remember Hobart’s Tasman Bridge disaster back in ’75, when the skipper of an ore carrier steered his ship into the bridge supports, bringing it down on the ship and sinking it. Ship workers said that he stood at the wheel staring straight ahead, but taking no avoiding action, asleep on his feet, I bet the poor people in the cars falling to their death were wide awake! In every military campaign in history, we hear of the difficulty faced by piquet sentries, or men in positions guarding against night attack, battling to remain alert despite fatigue and sleep deprivation. We just keep making demands of our bodies that it wasn’t designed for. Okay, you need the work, but your boss will have killed your old arse when you have a prang on the way home. Won’t your wife pick you up at work? That way you both can go to sleep in bed, safe and sound.

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    • Oh FFS, please delete one of those Phil. When it simply wouldn’t load at all, I made a small alteration, then they both went up after hitting ‘comment’.

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