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.