A Fool’s Moon

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It was a crazy week for me. And I am glad it was over.

For the past few days I have seen an unprecedented number in our ICU admissions. In fact in just one night, we had eight ICU admissions for our service alone. And it did not stop. More came the following day and the following night too. We were constantly moving patients in and out of our ICU.  As soon as we got them barely stabilized, we discharged them out of the ICU, to make room for new admissions. It was a nightmare for our nurse managers too as there were just no beds to place all these patients.

In my short years of practice here, I have never seen so many suicide attempts and overdose patients that needed ICU admission in such a short period of time. There were a lot of trauma patients too, that I was constantly hearing the “trauma alert” being announced overhead to notify and mobilize our trauma team. I wondered what was going on? Then an old and wise, as well as very experienced nurse told me, it is because of the full moon.

moon over my lamp post

Throughout the centuries we have often heard people trying to link weird phenomenon to the phases of the moon. It is believed that people can go insane, just the fact that the moon is full. Indeed, Luna, the name of the Roman goddess of the moon, is the root word for  “lunatic.” Is there truth in this or is this just an urban legend?

In one article in Scientific American, I read that Greek philosopher Aristotle and Roman historian Pliny the Elder, suggested that because the brain was the “moistest” organ of the body (in reality, the human body is 60% water), thus it was affected by the phases of the moon just like it affects the tide. However, according to the same article, that belief does not “hold water.”

There were already a number of modern studies and research that have been conducted to find if there was really a link to strange behavior and the full moon, and the last time I looked, there was no scientific nor medical truth to prove this. None. Nada. Zilch. Wala!

However, this myth pervades in our culture and society today. Maybe because so many Hollywood movies and horror flicks portray full-moon nights as peak times for spooky occurrences and time when creepy creatures roam the earth.

I woke up around three this morning to go to the bathroom. As I looked out the window, it was so beautiful with the bright full moon shining in a cloudless sky, as the moonlight bathes the icy branches of the bare trees, and its glow reflects on the snow-covered ground. There was supposed to be a lunar eclipse happening too. I looked at myself on the mirror, and a sinister “shadow” looks back at me (*evil laughter*). No, it was not the full moon playing tricks on me. It was my stressed out and sleepy brain.

I am glad it is the weekend. But more importantly, I am not on-call, and can take my much-needed break. In the meantime, I’ll just howl at the moon…….aaaawooooo!


  1. Love this post! Much food for thought. Sorry to hear, though, of the increase in your ICU admissions. Sending healing vibes to your patients, and wishes for strength and patience to you.

  2. i also have some takes whenever full moon shines amidst the dusk. what i meant was, similar stories sound so familiar with same reasons. thankfully, i myself don’t go foolish on such occasions. hehe. 🙂

    glad to know you enjoyed your weekend, doc!

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