Wednesday night. The radio has been eerily silent, and while I know that could all change in the blink of an eye, I also know this isn’t likely.
The stereo in the tired old Charger I’m using as a cruiser tonight is playing classical music overlayed with a good dose of static.
Tonight is my “adjustment night” which means I came in at 11pm instead of the usual 7pm. You see, when you work twelve hour shifts, there has to be an eight hour one thrown in there every two weeks to keep you at 80 hours, so the bean-counters don’t cause a riot about constant overtime.
So, every other Wednesday I work 11pm-7am…and I hate it. Not only is it a dead shift, but there’s something unnatural about coming INTO work just before midnight.
The upside though, is that it’s another night where I’m home for dinner and to put the boys to bed, so that is something at least.
So, it’s usually a slow shift. Tonight, I started looking around the internet on my phone, trying to find cynical or humerous pictures relating to night shift work that I could share on facebook. Instead, I fell down a rabbit hole and spent an hour reading numerous articles and studies about how night shift workers, (me) especially cops, (damn. Still me) are susceptible to numerous health issues including type two diabetes (which already gallops through my genetics) and heart disease, on top of getting less rest than day shift counterparts.
Add these factors to the matter of my being eight years older than your average rookie patrolman, and I’ve managed to become absolutely horrified. A lot pf these studies suggest keeping the overnight schedule even on your days off to get used to the sleep cycle and maximize rest.
However, that would pretty much mean I don’t get to see my kids aside from a few hours in the afternoon each day, and never get to do anything special with them. So that’s being ruled out.
So what do I do? What steps can I take to survive long enough to be old and crusty enough to work days? I already know I need to eat better, and I’ve started trying. But still. Scary.
Perhaps this is the biggest drawback of slow shifts. Too much time to think, over think, and worry.