The Graveyard Shift Diet--How to Get to Your Grave Faster
They call it the Graveyard Shift Because You Go There Faster
"SJ! Are you gonna wash your vitamins down with a coke? Really?"--asks my co-worker at whatever o-clock in the morning, during the graveyard shift at the hospital.
Expressionless, I open my vitamin pack. "I'd wash them down with bacon juice. But you would judge me."
"You really are crazy," she shakes her head.
"Ahhh. My reputation proceeds me. And that reminds me--my bacon levels are critically low right now. I should replenish," I yawn. Jesus...is that you, or just more of my night shift hallucinations?
It is nursing school that teaches that nurses as "good health crusaders" is basically propaganda. We learned that generally, the health of others will come slowly, but surely at the expense of our own. For instance, many of the students I went to nursing school with smoked. They could light up directly after watching graphic shots of diseased lungs, and graphic shots of dying cancer patients. If anything, it messed with their nerves so much they felt they had to have a cigarette afterward. When nursing professors would urge them to quit, citing cancer and emphysema, they would swear that as soon as they finished the hell that nursing school was they'd quit. Amused, our professors told them, "if you think this is bad, wait until you are a nurse."
We ate so poorly in nursing school that the majority of our meals should have had crime scene tape around them. I once made a list of what I'd eaten throughout the day, just to do so, and what I had written looked like a shopping list for a 6 year old's birthday party. When we weren't eating out of take-out containers, we were eating out of vending machines. Actually, we emptied whole vending machines. When you know your dinner's "number" by heart, you know that you have a problem.
"E-65? No one told me we were getting fancy, ladies. Where's my lip gloss? I would've dressed up if I knew we were going to have E-65 tonight."
Nursing school is where you learn to practice your most pitiful, "feed me now, or lose me forever," expression to use on your significant other. I actually learned to cook almost entirely due to the fact that so many of the men I knew could out-cook me. It was completely embarrassing.
Most of us made it through nursing school,and some of us who graduated went straight to the devil's paradise--night shift. Night shift is where you come to envy the dead for all the wonderful sleep they're getting. Night shift is where you learn to disconnect from logic, and healthy habits. Night shift nurses consider charting to be cardio, and lifting the coffee pot to be weight-training. Night shift is where you learn to eat absolutely anything--except vegetables, and to bully those who choose to eat healthy on your team. That's mutiny.
Night shift nurses eat junk food to a level that would make Ronald Mcdonald dry heave, that's a fact. And while I'm at, Doctors on overnight call are not better. One of the pregnant doctors I knew literally was eating so much cake she was hiding it like a bulimic.
"Just cake. Any kind of cake. Tell them to bring cake," was her end of telephone conversation at the nurse's desk. I quickly prayed not to be the nurse who'd be helping to deliver her 12 pound baby.
It is a myth that nurses are healthy, especially the ones who work at night. It's a high-stress job, and we often don't manage the stress well...or we manage it with cake.
The Essentials to the Graveyard Shift Diet:
1) Caffeine, and lots of it. Whatever form it takes. If you can get an RN friend to start an IV for you and get it that way, all the better.
2) Junk food. A broad term--but it basically encompasses any food you'd deprive a child of for their own good.
4) Change for the vending machine.
5) Popcorn. Popular night shift food staple. Just so no one can't say you're not eating vegetables.
6) An open mind. You're going to need this, as everything else in you will be clogged if you stay on night shift and continue to eat like this.
7) Prayer. Graveyard shift workers (police men, fire-fighters, pilots??, convenience store owners--all graveyard shift workers die statistically faster, making peace with your Maker is an excellent idea.