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Archive March 2020 XXI, No. 3

Behind Closed Doors: Full Moon Fever

I'm convinced Nurse Luna is to blame for odd OR occurrences.

Paula Watkins

Paula Watkins, RN, CNOR

BIO

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How many times have you heard people blame crazy behavior on a full moon? Well, ready yourself for more lunar-inspired lunacy because another full moon is coming on April 7. In honor of the appearance of next month's Pink Moon, here are some logic-defying happenings I'm chalking up to the influence of that spherical satellite shining down from the night sky.

Early morning wake-up

I arrive in the wee hours while the moon is still up, like always, to discover the arthroscopy tower has been "upgraded." Now, to add a little venom to the mix, the system doesn't work with some of the instrumentation they've used for the last 20 years. There was no rep to provide an in-service — and you know us nurses, we like our in-services. The straw that broke the camel's back? The surgeons didn't even sanction the replacement job. They found out when the circulator (me) was struggling to figure out why the cords don't plug in like they were supposed to.

Three's a crowd

Picture this: Two CRNAs and an anesthesiologist at the head of the bed. Who am I to question these professionals on their need for backup to the backup on this done-a-thousand-times-before case? I'm just an old circulating nurse running to the moon and back to collect the things I need to start the surgery on time.

Head of the table?

Have you ever peeked behind the curtain during those watching-paint-dry cases? In one such case I was working, the CRNA fell asleep. Aren't full moons supposed to cause insomnia? Kudos to the first assistant for calling him out and interrupting his nap. I've seen other "bored" anesthesia providers — shouldn't having someone's life in your hands be excitement enough? — kill time checking Facebook, playing the latest online game, texting or watching a feature-length movie (with AirPods in their ears!). This is done as they're asking me to grab another bag of fluid when they're literally 10 steps from the warming cabinet and I'm clear across the room.

Brittle bones

I just know we fix more bones in elderly patients during full moons. I don't know why the 70-and-older ladies have to go out and get the newspaper or mail when three inches of ice coats the front porch steps. I wish they'd look up before stepping out, and hunker down if that mystical orb in the sky appears fully lit.

Meal-time madness

I had been going through the usual assessment and questions with my patient and was about to take her to the OR when my lunch relief decided that I had to go eat right now! I asked if she would like a report on the patient's condition. Her answer was no. She felt like I had learned everything necessary, and it wasn't like I wouldn't be coming back. Young Miss Know-It-All thinks she eclipses the knowledge of us older nurses because she has more letters after her name than the alphabet.

The sun'll come out

So dear readers, if you find things getting a little squirrelly on April 7 and you feel like the agent for chaos is breathing down your neck, try to cope until the next day when the craziness will begin to wane. OSM

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