Apr 13, 2012 0 Share

Sticking to the Schedule


Illustration of two clocks and arm with watching saying "Late."
iStockphoto

Last night I was scheduled to work second shift when the Nursing Supervisor came through my unit and ask me to work a double. It was unexpected but I agreed to do so. This meant that I would be working from 3 p.m. to 7 a.m. this morning and then coming home, going to bed for a few short hours and getting up and going back to work at 3 p.m. this afternoon.

I have done this several times in the past and it really hasn’t been an issue. But the last time this happened was a couple of months ago. When I arrived home this morning, I had a disgruntled young man to deal with.

Normally when I work second shift I get home around 12 a.m. I walk in the door, set my purse in the chair and put my keys on the counter. Then I go straight back to Cody’s room and give him a hug and a kiss, tell him I love him, say good night and that I will see him in the morning. Working an unexpected double shift last night threw a bit of a wrench in those works.

On my way home, I called Bill to let him know that I would be home soon. That’s when I learned that I was in trouble.

Bill leaves for work about 3 a.m. most days. Before he leaves he goes into Cody’s room to tell him that he will see him when he gets home. When he did this morning he found Cody wide awake. Upon seeing Bill, Cody said with a disapproving tone, “Mom didn’t come home last night!”

Not only was Bill shocked to find him awake but also to find him so dismayed with the circumstances. I guess we sometimes forget how much attention Cody pays to our routines and the things we say and do.

Cody has always had his own routines. He has a certain order for things in his life. Deviating from that order is just not something he does on a whim. But it’s sometimes rather easy to forget that Cody’s routines also involve our routines. If our routines vary, it can set the tone for a confrontation with him in which he is quite frank about his discontentment and disappointment. While some might believe that would never be a good thing … sometimes it is.

First of all, Cody doesn’t have a mean spirit about things. He’s a very loving young man. So that isn’t an issue. But his emphatic honesty is a good reminder to us that while Cody does need to learn to deal with the unexpected in life, we can’t just automatically assume he is able to do it without explanation. Our work schedules do affect him.

I would not go straight into an extra shift without calling Bill to let him know. If I did, then Bill would be wondering where I was. Before long, he would be tracing my route to and from work to see if my car had broken down somewhere. He would be calling my cell phone in an attempt to find out where I was. And he would be irritated with me when I told him, “Oh! I had to work a double.”  

Not letting Bill know of a schedule change would have disrupted a routine he expects. This would have him guessing with a million questions running through his mind. I would have caused him to worry and then get frustrated and aggravated that I didn’t have the consideration to call and let him know what was going on ahead of time. So why should I expect Cody to feel any differently?

When I came home this morning, Cody sat with me and drank his coffee. We talked and I could tell he was not happy with me. I asked him if he slept alright last night. Quietly, he said with a frown on his face, “Didn’t sleep well last night!”  I felt so bad. I began to apologize profusely. Now he was going to be tired all day and I may have just set him up to have a rough day with Stephen, his day hab tech. How could I make this right?

The moral of the story here is that even I need to remember that changes in my plans affect Cody also. Even I have to remind myself from time to time that Cody’s feelings may be at stake by things I say and do. Just because Cody is not always as vocal about things as the rest of us doesn’t mean he deserves any less consideration than anyone else. His thoughts and feelings are important to me. That’s something I never want him to forget!