Halloween Full Moon

Even though I am off this Monday I came to the clinic to do some light work. No, I’m not workaholic. It’s just that I procrastinated to read last week’s sleep studies and now they have piled up on my to-do list. It is my day off as I worked this past weekend.

As I entered and sat on my desk, one partner of mine who was sitting at the other end of the room greeted me and said, “Bad weekend call, huh?”

Yes it was a horribly busy weekend. I rounded on more than 50 patients in the hospital, almost half of them are COVID cases. I am not superstitious but I cannot help but think that it was due to the Halloween combined with a full moon. In fact, October 31st was a Blue Moon too. A Blue Moon is when it is the second full moon in one calendar month. According to information from NASA Earth and the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the last time a full moon fell on Halloween was in 1944.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It did not help too that it was Daylight Savings time change, so we fell back one hour. That meant an additional one hour of work for me. And boy, that night was really long, both figuratively and literally. The non-stop activities in the ER and in the ICU put me on skates. Needless to say, I barely slept that night.

After staying 34+1 (Daylight Savings Fall back) hours in the hospital, I came home last evening really exhausted. Right after eating dinner, I went to bed and slept for more than 10 hours. Home-cooked meals and comfortable home bed are life’s luxury. When I woke up this morning I felt refreshed and recuperated. I even felt good enough that I went out for a 3-mile morning run.

So back to the comment of my partner about my bad weekend call. How did she know? I did not tell her about my weekend. Was I still haggard-looking? Did I look ghoulish from the Halloween?

Then she told me that she have noticed that our secretary printed some forms and placed it on top of my desk for me to sign. Based on those, she figured out that I had a rough weekend. What were the forms waiting on my desk?

Eight death certificates. All of them from this weekend.

Phantom of Menace

Has a sturdy exoskeleton and yet can collapse and squeeze into tight spots and still maintain its form.

Has the ability to move through most difficult terrains, and even handle a 90 degree climb without a hitch.

It can tread on water, and can take flight instantly without a need of a runway.

Equipped with compound photosensors made up of thousands of lenses that can see from all directions.

Has mounted sensors that detect changes in air currents and can navigate even in total darkness.

Extremely fast and can accelerate rapidly with the ability to turn and change direction while in full stride.

It is radiation resistant and probably can withstand a nuclear fallout.

Fuel efficient, and can go into energy-saving mode when fuel source is scarce.

The mere sight of it can cause fear even among hardy men. And when it’s airborne, it’s utter terror.


You may be thinking that I am describing the most advanced weaponry of war. But I am not.

I am characterizing the………



the real Phantom Menace

(*This post is just in time for the Halloween. My apology to Star Wars for the title.)

(**photo from the web)

Autumn Leaves

It was a rainy foggy autumn morning. I accompanied my family to our local YMCA, where my children would practice their swimming strokes in the lap pool. My wife went with the kids in the pool area, while I went to the exercise/weight room. I prefer to run than swim. Besides, I feel intimidated when I swim with my doggie-paddle strokes.

After I had my morning jolt, I meant exercise not coffee (exercise is a much better pick-me-upper than caffeine), I went out to the gym’s lobby. I sat down in one of the lounge chairs while I waited for my family. I picked up the newspaper and leisurely read. I wish everyday was like this, where I could take my time, sweat up a bit, then relax and read the morning paper without worrying that I would be late for work.

You see, I have taken some days off for a badly needed break from the stress of work. Even though I was on vacation, we did not plan for any far-away travel, as my kids were doing school and they have many scheduled activities for the week. So I just spent time at home.

People say that sometimes the best vacation, is the one you stay at home (staycation). I agree. It is less expensive too. Much less. For many times we are forced to work more just to pay the expenses we incurred from the last vacation we had.

As I was flipping through the newspaper, I happened to open to the obituary section. I don’t usually read this section. But does anyone? Well, that’s not true. I have a partner who regularly reads through the obituary section and relays to our office staff which of our patients would not be coming back for their follow-up. Because they’re dead. Somehow this updates our record.

For some reason this day I read the obituary. Not surprisingly, I saw a name that was familiar. It was one of our patients in the ICU that we took care for a prolonged period of time. I knew he was really ill. He finally did succumb two days ago.

As I was reading our patient’s obituary, it said there that he was always been the “life of the party” with his “ridiculous jokes.” I did not know that. I have only met him in the hospital and I guess his illness sucked away the life out him, and it was hard not to be grim if you were in the ICU. It also said in the obits that he had a “fierce spirit.” No wonder he fought that long. Yes, the disease may have defeated him in the end, but he did fight a good fight. Beyond what we have expected.

Maybe that was one good thing you gain for reading the obituary – you learn more of the person that you never knew before. But again, it’s too late. They’re gone.

As we arrived home from the gym, the day remained gloomy. I knew the sun was somewhere up in the sky, but the dark clouds and the fog was covering it. It seems like it was still night. The weather was like a perfect setting for an eerie movie. It was Halloween season after all.

For me though it was more than the gloomy morning. I couldn’t shake the thought of our patient that died. In fact, I mused on all the patients that despite of our best efforts, still died. Yet I know and have resigned that that is beyond our control.

Do you think it is easy to forget them? Especially the recent ones? Including the one that died on my procedure table a few days ago? I tell you, it is not. And it can be haunting at times. Not the scary-type of haunting like the Halloween. But haunting, that is poignant like the falling leaves.

I looked out our window. The rain was pouring down. The wind was blowing. And the autumn leaves were falling. One by one to the ground.


photo taken at our friends’ yard