Saturday night to Sunday morning was the return from daylight saving time to standard time, and I was dreading having to work 13 hours that night. In the past several years, I haven’t had to work on this particular weekend and had the benefit of an extra hour of sleep. The calendar finally caught up with me this year. The moment me and my coworkers walked in the door and started our shift at 7 P.M. we got our first patient admission and it kept on going the rest of the night until we had a total of 8 admits by the time we left at 7:30 A.M. the next day. There were pros and cons of this situation. The main pro was that it made the night go faster than normal. Another was that I was able to make productive use of the extra hour. The con was that the nurses were awfully busy evaluating and documenting the 8 admissions. The mental health workers like me (there were 3 of us) lucked out because most if not all of those patients brought few belongings. Our main responsibilities in admitting a patient are checking vital signs, having them sign admission papers, and inventorying their belongings (clothes, jewelry, money, medications, etc.). The last one is the most tedious if a patient brings all their possessions except the kitchen sink, and only because they don’t usually have a kitchen sink if they’re homeless. The medication nurses have their own set of responsibilities and that is to transcribe new medication orders by hand. On this night, since we started with a very low patient count, there were only two medication nurses working instead of the usual three. Around midnight, in between my own admissions, I was able to fill the extra hour by being productive, making 50 admission chart packets (actually it took about 2 hours). With those 8 admissions, I think we might have set a new record for the night shift because I don’t remember getting more than 5 since I started working in this hospital 8 years ago.
A strange thing happened when we were supposed to move the clock back an hour at 2 A.M. Some of the staff’s cell phones did it automatically but some didn’t. On one of the analog clocks in the nurses’ station, the minute hand started sweeping across the face faster which made the hour hand move faster too. The time kept going forward until it reached 1 A.M. In short, the clock adjusted itself. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be one of those atomic clocks that synchronizes its time automatically with the official U.S. time in Colorado. But wait, there’s more, or in this case, less. The other atomic clocks in the same nurses’ station and the rest of the building didn’t adjust at all. The one that did was closer to a patio with an open view of the sky, while the other didn’t. Did that have anything to do with it? The first thought I had when I saw the first clock moving faster was that we had entered the twilight zone. Here is a video I found on Youtube:
An old joke I remembered from the Philippines – a guy tells his friend that the time is being switched from DST (daylight saving time) to DOT. The friend asks “what the hell is DOT? Don’t you mean back to standard time?” The first guy says no, it’s DOT – Dating Oras, Tanga! (translation: former time, you idiot!). Well, English speakers may not get it but it works better in the Filipino language.
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