Thursday, January 03, 2008

When Hummingbirds Bonk

In cycling and running there's a phenomenon known as "bonking". Bonking is when you just suddenly get overcome by exhaustion and you collapse. To be scientific about it, you 'deplete glycogen stores' and can't go on. A friend of mine tells me that this happens to hummingbirds. They can be found collapsed on the ground, exhausted, which isn't too surprising for a creature whose heart beats up to a thousand times a minute. Fortunately they can be revived with a little sugar water.

There are days when I can really identify with those little guys. On days when I see twenty-plus patients, when everyone is in crisis, when I just can't seem to find a chart (or the medication nurse can't find my order), at some point you hit the wall and bonk. It's that moment when I think to myself that I will just walk out of the facility and never come back.

Unfortunately, sugar water just doesn't do it for me.

This is what to do to revive a correctional psychiatrist in case you ever find one lying on the ground, exhausted, with a heart rate somewhat lower than a thousand beats a minute:

Administer coffee immediately, followed by judicious amounts of dark Belgian chocolate. Don't worry about checking for consciousness first, just hit the Starbucks.

If this doesn't work consider depositing a large, warm, furry and loudly purring cat on the psychiatrist's stomach. This is also a test for consciousness since those tiny sharp kneading claws are bound to get a reaction.

Once revived, deposit the psychiatrist in the middle of a large quiet forest with miles of hiking trails (trail map included). Allow time for staring up at tree branches, listening to the wind whistle, admiring large fungi and searching the stream for minnows.

Repeat, ad infinitum, until smiles return.

I suspect every psychiatrist has their own particular favorite ways to recover from the hummingbird bonk. Dinah is relaxing in a warm, sunny place and Roy seems to find comfort in buying new very large computer monitors (I'm jealous). Regardless of the recovery method, we will all find our way back to Shrink Rap eventually.


Andy said...

This is an interesting example of two nations divided by a common language. On this side of the pond bonking is usually used as a colloquialism for sex. The first sentence of your article provoked some very bizarre imagery.

Sorry to lower the tone of your excellent post.

HP said...

And thank goodness you do....return to Shrink Rap that is. For me also, being a Brit, bonking has a completely different connotation...wondered if I'd wandered on to the wrong kind of blog for a moment :)

Zoe Brain said...

In Australia too. See UK-US translations.

ClinkShrink said...

That's why I started with the definition :)

The Shrink said...

Birds bonking? I was expecting a whole post 'bout sex or transgender issues!

Rach said...

I'm more than familiar with the concept of bonking when it comes to running - particularly because I used to run 1/2 marathons without eating anything... and then wondered why I felt so darn miserable afterwards.

But hmmmm... bonking at work. A new concept. Clink - you have me thinking now... And i think I'll go think on my own blog!

NeoNurseChic said...

Bonking (in the way you are describing it!) is a perfect way to describe what happens to me physically and emotionally on a regular basis because of being so exhausted from pain/illness. Sometimes I get panic attacks (and I mean real panic attacks - not just a little anxious) if I have a lot to do and I know my energy-odometer is reading 0. It is very upsetting and very real to me to feel that way. I certainly wish a little sugar water revived me when I feel like that! The thing is, even rest doesn't really help because the more I rest, the more tired and exhausted I feel, and then the more panicky I get. I really had a bad spell of that before Christmas when I got home from Florida.

Over New Year's, Jason came over and has been helping me clean up my apartment, which was desperately in need of a major clean up. There is still so much to do, but having him help me is the only way I could do this. Not only does it take a huge part of the load off me, but it also boosts me up emotionally and prevents the "bonk" by knowing that I have someone here to help me and I don't have to do it alone. The reason my apartment hasn't been deep cleaned in over a year (or even cleaned much at all, for that matter) is because I can't muster up the energy to do very much. But now I've gotten the motivation and most of my free time this week has been spent working on this project of finally getting organized. (And going to various appointments, as always!)

So anyway - I wish for you all the things you said in your previous post in order to prevent correctional psychiatrist bonk! I would certainly share Tony with you if you need a purring kitty to get you out of it! However, since Tony wouldn't take very well to the big apartment overhaul, he is currently at grandma and grandpop's until hopefully Sunday when we will be finished with the mass bulk of the work!

Take care and Happy New Year!
Carrie :)

ClinkShrink said...

Rach: You're welcome to think here anytime you like. Half-marathons? Egad, my limit is ten miles. And I feel miserable afterward whether or not I eat.

Neo: Thanks for your offer of a loaner cat. I'm understandably reluctant to take you up on that, knowing Tony's homicidal tendencies.

NeoNurseChic said...

LOL the homicidal/suicidal tendencies in Tony have not been repeated ever since the near-death-by-gas-stove incident of 2006. (Was that 2006? I forget now...) Most of the time, he is a very sweet little kitty... (Remember kitty in a blanket? My mom's ever so gentle way of waking me up in the morning!) Over Christmas, I was at home, and I had to share the bedroom with Tony because we had other family at home too - and he slept curled up next to me most nights. Only one night did he have more of an interest in biting my feet and pouncing on me instead of sleeping! haha

I miss his cute furry face!! I got a web cam for Christmas, and I'm hoping that my mom will talk to me on it tomorrow while holding Tony. I want to know what he'll do if he sees me on the webcam - if cats can even "see" computer images!! I think he can since he's followed the mouse around the screen before! I'm most likely going to get him on Sunday, but there is still quite a lot to do in the apartment and I'm beyond exhausted right now from very hard work days and a couple of very early morning appointments.

What I would prefer right about now is to have him curl up next to me under our nice warm blanket that Jason's mom made me for Christmas! Can you tell I miss him? haha

Take care,
Carrie :)

Rach said...

Yup, clink, half marathon (I've run a full one, actually... that's a whole other story for another day). i have a post in the works on the subject of bonking - I was out being social for once, so it'll have to wait until later in the weekend :)

PS. the mileage doesn't matter, it's the journey of how you completed the mileage. Quality over quantity always.

um yeah said...

This is semi-related to something I've been thinking about. What does happen when a psychiatrist (or any other health professional) gets really stressed? Or depressed? What about psychiatrists/health professionals who have mental illnesses? Surely this must happen? So what do they do?

ClinkShrink said...

Saoirse: Well, psychiatrists and health professionals get help (hopefully) like any other professional who has an illness. I blogged about this in My Patient Life.

Midwife with a Knife said...

If you lived closer, I'd send Sylvester over for a visit (he's the black and white kitty, there's a pic of him on my blog). He's very cuddly. Ron (stripey tabby) is very cuddly with me but not with other people, really until he gets to know them.

I hope your bonking gets better!