Who remembers Dr. carl and his ads about Microsleep, Fatigue, and Power Naps? Do you remember the ads, or just his Psychedelic top? Or, were you like me, and always switched Channels because it was boring?
As most of you know, Dan and I embarked on an epic roadtrip, spanning some 900km’s and taking in some of the sights that the Coast has to offer.
These include Bells Beach, made famous by Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze in Point Break, The lighthouse from “Round The Twist”, The Great Ocean Road, Right up into Lorne.
We took our time for the whole trip, and even got to play Poker at Crown Casino, not to mention two other tournaments we played in at Geelong and Wangaratta.
We caught up with Jacinta and Dick in Wang and had a lovely dinner, and the whole trip was a success. There is something about doing the unplanned that really frees up your headspace!
But lets back this story up about 100km’s.
Daniel and I had stopped in Wallan, after I had slept from Split Point right through to Craigieburn (some two hours.). After refuelling, and eating, plus recharging our batteries a little, I started the drive to Wang and Dan caught up on some of his missed sleep.
About 20 K’s down the road, I began to feel tired, but figured it was nothing. I had just slept for two hours, how could I need more? I was listening to my audio book, Dan was asleep and I was in a “zone”.
About 60k’s down the road, it got really bad. I was so tired but didn’t want to stop as it was only 110km’s till Wang.
“That’s only a little further than home to Myrt. I can do it, easily!”
By the time another 20 or so KM’s has passed It was getting hard – almost too hard – to stay awake. I cranked up the AC, turned my audio book up louder and pushed through.
“Now its the same distance to Myrt. I do it all the time. I’ll be fine!”
This is where it gets scary to me. I can’t remember the last chapter of my book, nor the road at all.
What I do remember is getting jolted awake by the rumble strips – you know, the white bumps on the side of the highways that kids love when you drive over because it makes an awesome noise? I used to love mum doing it.
I was on the right hand lane, with my right hand tyres on the right hand side of the strips, verring toward the scrub in the middle. I jerked the car, back on to the right lane, then over to the left lane. A rest stop was two km’s down the road, but by then I was so awake it wasn’t funny at all. I was scared beyond belief. My heart was racing, I was nearly in tears, and I think I was close to hyperventilating.
All I could think of was that I had just nearly Killed Daniel and Myself, and hadn’t even been aware of it. What was even trying to achieve? To get to Wang quicker? SO NOT WORTH IT!
But the scariest part for me, is that I don’t even remember being in the right hand lane. I don’t remember if I was in the left either. If I was in the left, that meant I had just driven across a lane of the highway, potentially endangering other drivers. If I wasn’t, that meant I was in the overtaking lane, and shouldn’t have been, and hadn’t even noticed!
I pulled in to the rest stop, shaking. Dan woke up at this point, and I told him what happened. I got out, I recharged, and Dan went back to sleep, leaving me with strict instructions to wake him if I got even the littlest bit tired again. I don’t think there was any danger of that happening, I believe I had so much adrenalin pumping through me at that stage that I could have run a marathon – not to mention all the Mother I downed at the rest stop!
My wonderful road trip could have ended so horribly, just because of my own idiocy and stubborness. What was I playing at, making such a stupid decision on the road?
I had Dr. Carl running through my head for the rest of the trip. The ad about Micro Sleep, which I never thought would happen to me, had happened. I had endangered Daniel, Myself, and countless others on the Highway.
I learnt a valuable lesson, and I hope that you can too. If you’re ever tempted “to keep on going” remember that the story doesn’t always finish the way you want it to. You’re juggling too many lives with one silly decision, and it can haunt you, or your family, or the other peoples family, forever.
Stop; Revive; Survive.