Lunar-tics

24 03 2012

In my twenties I worked overnight for a medical locum service. We sent doctors out on the road to visit people at home overnight. Not quite medical emergencies, but at least in theory, things that couldn’t wait until morning.

Because I was studying at university at the time, and possibly because I was quite fond of a certain quality of life, I worked the weekends. Half of Thursday night (3am to 8am), all of Friday night (10pm to 8am), all of Saturday night, All of Sunday night and half of Monday night (10pm to 3am).

It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. It paid very well. (Very well.) And there is an entire community out there that works weekend nights and we got to know each other and had chats and sometimes met up for breakfast at the Hilton or the Hyatt in the morning. And it was nice driving home when rush hour was heading in the other direction. Every so often, I actually had a social life on the weekend and I would swap with the woman who worked the weekday nights.

Which is where my full moon story comes in.

It was a well known fact for we night workers in the medical industry that full moons were weird. Not in an astrology way, in a literal sense. And sometimes really bad. And the worst of all full moons was the Saturday night full moon, probably because it combined with a major drinking / partying night.

Full moon nights would be characterised by:
• Pubs – more fights and more injuries
• Police and Ambos – more call-outs for drunks and disturbances
• Hospital EDs – more bizarre cases, more injuries from fights and falls
• Nursing homes – patients restless and wandering, falling
• Prisons – more disturbances amongst the inmates

So the whole full-moon-thing is a fact, not a fiction.

Of course the reasons might be different – less the “lunatic” and more the fact that additional light means people sleep less deeply, are more likely to be out and about on the streets, etc. Either that, or the tide has gone out on their brains. Present company excepted of course.

So back to the story. I used to comment on how completely bizarre some of my Saturday full moon nights were, and the lovely woman who worked the week nights used to sympathise.

Until one day she did a swap with me and actually worked the full moon Saturday night.

And swore she would never swap with me again.

So yes, Virginia, there is a full moon syndrome. And everyone working those shifts knows about it – medicos, nurses, police, ambos, publicans, wardens. And I have to say, the bizarre stories in the media (and particularly social media, which I monitor) come thick and fast at the full moon.

So don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The next full moon at time of writing in Australia is 6 May 2012. You have been warned.

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4 responses

24 03 2012
Christa

“The tide has gone out on their brains”, love it! Martin and I know all about the full moon crazies. I used to get showered with them when working in the cinema industry (not pretty) and Martin as a doctor in the ED (really not pretty). Which is where the term lunatics comes from of course. It’s derived from lunaticus meaning “of the moon” or “moonstruck”. So I’m guessing those of us not affected, have been shaking our heads in bewilderment and sharing hair raising stories since the dawn of time 🙂

25 03 2012
Mudmap

yes I used to laugh when people said the full moon effect wasn’t real. It certainly is!

30 06 2012
Why the moon rules your life « Mud Map to Life in the Modern Age

[…] have previously written about the effect of the full moon on human behaviour. Personally I think the tide goes out on our collective brains – some more than others. I […]

1 07 2012
Did you sleep well? « Mud Map to Life in the Modern Age

[…] more? Try… Why the moon rules your life and.. Lunar-tics Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLinkedInRedditStumbleUponDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

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