Running the Spring Marathon

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    Some things are universal: frustrating days at work, annoying co-workers, higher-ups who just don't get it . . . and periods of time where work and home life come together in such a way that you just can't catch a break. Spring always seems to be the biggest struggle for me, but I know I can make it through.

    I used to work at a theme park, and the 2 weeks around spring break were unofficially known as "marathon" because we went from weekends only to daily operation. But since most of the high schoolers only have one week off, and a lot of summer people haven't been hired yet, everyone winds up working 60+ hour weeks. Pay period weeks ran from Monday through Sunday, with only one mandated day off per pay week, so it was common to work more than seven days in a row.

    The upshot of it all is that after marathon, everyone but a barebones staff gets two or three days off, and sleeping in for the first day is AMAZING.

    I haven't worked as a nurse in a hospital, so I don't know what the timing of the marathon shifts is like in that setting. But for my school district, now that we're back from spring break, it's clear that the end of April is our spring marathon. I've had more kids coming in each day, for an increasing variety of reasons. Within a two week time span, we have scheduled three field trips, a visit from the mobile dentist, an immunization clinic from the health department, and an open house. Spring allergies means that everything is coated yellow, and asthma kids who haven't had issues all year are showing up daily with wheezing.

    th-jpg There's been a bunch of new students registered, more in the past 3 days after spring break than we had in all of March. We're looking ahead to the end of the year and cleaning up health folders, as well as putting together allergy and asthma packets for kids who are returning. New medications, changed medications, the discovery of kids who were supposed to have medications all year but parents have just been sending inhalers in their backpacks every morning and never taking anything to the nurse (seriously!).

    Kids are wound up and worn out, and fights are more frequent. The winner for today's "Kids Are So Strange Oh My Gosh I Can't Believe We All Used To Be Tiny Humans Like That" Award goes to whichever 3rd grade boy decided to roll some scrap paper together, pinch it up like a joint, and then try to smoke it in the bathroom. (The runner up to this award is the kindergarten girl who decided one part of the playground equipment is a "jumping board" -- it's like a diving board, but you just jump onto the mulch. She thought it was still ok to try to dive off it though.)

    And since the weather's warming up, there are 5k runs and races all around town every weekend. (Two of which I signed up for 6 months ago, not realizing how much would be going on this time of year.) We locally had a 16 year old die in a half marathon just last month, and there's been more reports from across the country of people who thought they were perfectly healthy but die before crossing the finish line.

    This confluence of increase in work load and personal matters on the weekend means that I am collapsing into bed late and getting up early, with only one day a week to really rest. It's spring marathon all over again, and I'm only on mile 5. But I keep this quote in mind, and I know I can keep going.
    Last edit by Joe V on Apr 17, '14
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    9 Comments

  3. by   tnbutterfly
    Great article! I got winded just reading it.

    Good luck with your marathon. I hope you cross the finish line in one piece.
  4. by   NutmeggeRN
    Great article.....I always try to rememebr that it is a marathon and not a sprint...may need to rethink how I think! LOL!
  5. by   NurseEllie13
    The winner for today's "Kids Are So Strange Oh My Gosh I Can't Believe We All Used To Be Tiny Humans Like That" Award goes to whichever 3rd grade boy decided to roll some scrap paper together, pinch it up like a joint, and then try to smoke it in the bathroom. (The runner up to this award is the kindergarten girl who decided one part of the playground equipment is a "jumping board" -- it's like a diving board, but you just jump onto the mulch. She thought it was still ok to try to dive off it though.)
    Mine goes to the kiddo who tore open a preservative packet that clearly says DO NOT EAT all over it and ate the contents because "I don't know I just wanted to try." They're going to put a medal of summer around our necks at the end of this marathon, right?!
  6. by   kungpoopanda
    I'm disappointed. I thought this was going to be about an actual marathon.
  7. by   fetch
    Quote from kungpoopanda
    I'm disappointed. I thought this was going to be about an actual marathon.
    Sorry, no actual marathons here! One of my friends from undergrad is trying to run one in every state, and I can't believe all the training she does. Definitely not for me!
  8. by   kidfloat
    But can I just give a cheer for Boston where we just marked the one year anniversary of the marathon bombing. I am proud, and we should all be as a country, that even after last year's tragedy we show up in record numbers and show that once again we are strong and will not be intimidated by these horrible acts. The stories that have been told of the past year of compassion, strength,bravery and resilence are inspiring. I try to remember to think of these stories when I'm having a bad day.

    BOSTON STRONG
  9. by   ana010
    "Kids Are So Strange Oh My Gosh I Can't Believe We All Used To Be Tiny Humans Like That" Award goes to
    Yesterday, was the 7th grader who is allergic to peanuts/tree nuts and still ate a granola bar with peanut butter.
  10. by   fetch
    Well, I'm about to mile 16 or so now - definitely getting there but not done yet. Last week the pollen count racketed up, leaving many teachers freaking out about possible pink eyes (most of which were just allergies). We had a couple ringworm cases, some truly tenacious lice, and now . . . SCABIES! Yikes! I've been reassured that scabies are VERY unusual in our area, though the rumor mill has it that a few schools in a couple districts have some cases right around now. So maybe it was some big non-school event - skating rink lock in maybe? - that hit students from all around the area. Unfortunately it sounds like we'll never know for sure.

    I've been very thankful for my support system, both at home and at school. The district nurse coordinator walked me through speaking with the health department and drafted a letter for me to send to parents, the principal and assistant principal have had my back in dealing with staff and parents, and my wife and I ignored the messy living room to take Sunday off from all responsibilities and nap the day away.

    Everyone says the second year in a school is much easier than the first. And even if it isn't, you're much better equipped to deal with it. Here's hoping that's true, and on to the final leg!
  11. by   Jen-Elizabeth
    See, in MA, we just had our spring break last week (during which I volunteered for the actual Boston Marathon - long, long day & busy tent!). The weeks leading up to break were brutal. Horrible. I saw an average of 10+ more kids a day in March thanks to stress (no days off in March) and both the stomach virus and respiratory virus from hell.

    Now we are on the 8 week countdown. I expect it to be brutal, but not as bad as March. Of course, I work with the older kids . But they are the ones that come to my office complaining they can't go to math class because their hair hurts so much they can't concentrate...

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