Posted by: drrozkaplan | December 15, 2009

Monday Morning Lament

It’s 7:45 AM and I’m already tired.  I’ve gotten ready for work, dropped my daughter at the bus, and answered an urgent early-morning patient call.  Now I’m sitting in Starbucks eating half a multi-grain bagel with cream cheese and having my third cup of coffee of the day, so I can be speedy-tired, instead of just regular tired, when I get to work at 8:30.

What lies ahead is a full day of patient care (probably with plenty of surprises, for better or worse), paperwork, a quick work-out, a check-in with my family at dinnertime, and a 3-hour writing workshop in the evening before I drop gratefully into bed tonight.

I guarantee you I’m not tired because of what I’ve done this morning.  It was last night’s crazy hyper-functioning that has done me in.

I got home from a party around 8:00 PM.  Then, like a teenager, I realized all the things I’d left undone, even though I’d had the whole weekend to get them finished.  The e-mails to my med students that I’d been putting off.  The manuscript my editor had been asking for.  The call I needed to make to my daughter’s SAT tutor.  The fact that it was my turn to hand in a piece to tonight’s writing workshop and not only had I forgotten to print out copies, but I hadn’t finished typing it.  Worst of all, I had promised m daughter to help her make dough for some kind of strange biscuits for her ‘Medieval Banquet’ at school.

I went into overdrive, typing, editing, pushing “send” and “print” like some kind of possessed cyber-secretary.  I was appalled when I read over my story for writing workshop and there were dozens of typos and grammatical errors, but decided I’d have to let it go, apologize and ask for feedback on content.

Then I got my daughter and we proceeded to coat the kitchen with flour and egg yolk as we produced and rolled out the dough for 100 ‘Cruste Rolls’- which when cooked at school will hopefully resemble sacramental wafers.  Don’t ask.

At 11:30, I catapulted myself onto my bed with the ridiculous expectation of going to sleep.  How dumb was that?  I would tell a patient that such behavior is ‘poor sleep hygeine’.  We need to slow down our activities, cool down our bodies, and quiet our minds before we can sleep.  Physical and mental exertion before bed (and believe me, rolling out that dough was significant physical exertion) is a guaranteed recipe for insomnia.

So I lay there for a while while my husband snored away.  Then I watched an old episode of CSI involving a serial murderer.  Another good plan to promote sleep, huh?  Finally, I fell into a restless sleep, waking periodically to worry about what I’d forgotten to do.

All you multi-taskers out there should do as I say and not as I do.  I should fix this.  Sleep deprivation interferes with concentration and memory.  It increases pain perception.  It can even contribute to weight gain.    Tonight I get home from writing workshop, which is very mentally stimulating, at about 10:30.  I think I’ll make a list of what I need to do instead of worrying about it.  If I play my cards right, I can get into a proper state for sleep by 12:30 AM, leaving me a maximum of 6 hours for sleep, when I need 8.  I’ll have about a 5-hour cumulative sleep deficit for the week on Tuesday morning, with most of the week still to go.  No wonder Starbucks is such a successful enterprise.



  1. I could not agree more. As a multi-tasking primary care provider I am often in the position of suggesting that my patients do things that I would not follow-up on, especially when it relates to the separation of work and home. Why is it that our Blackberrys never get turned off, and that we often are doing ‘something’ while talking. Is it something about medical providers that makes us think we’ll be more successful than others, or that we’re (God-forbid) more important?


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