There are 2 main things I worry abut with JDs job: The physical danger of what he does, but also the mental toll it takes to be exposed the tragedy he sees daily.
Adding to these stressors, I worry about him being fatigued, and how this may impact his awareness, reaction time, and ability to perform not only at work, but everyday tasks like driving home. Not only are his shifts long (12 hours), but they’re especially long given the physical and mental demands of what he does.
Some of his hardest days are the first few shifts he’s back on night shift. In JDs department, they do 4 weeks on day shift then switch to 4 weeks of night shift. (Other departments will assign everyone to a certain shift and stick with it or switch every few days. I’m glad he only has to switch once a month, because completely altering your sleep schedule like that is really hard on your body.) As if completely switching his sleep schedule isn’t hard enough, his designated court day happens to be his first day of his new shift each month (All officers are assigned a designated court day each month when all their cases are handled. JDs happens to be in the morning on the first day after he switches shift. Confused yet? Try managing this schedule with a family).
Basically, what this means is that on his first shift of night shift month, he spends all morning in court, goes home to sleep for a few hours, then returns to work at 7pm for a 12 hour shift. There are times I’m not sure how he’ll make it through his whole shift he’s so tired, and when he calls me the next morning when he gets off shift, I can tell he’s barely functioning- I always worry about him falling asleep at the wheel on his way home.
I really don’t know how he does it. I am NOT a fun person to be around when I’m sleep deprived, so being sleep deprived while dealing with other people’s problems? No thanks.