I’ve never been diving (though I have watched shark week on Discovery Channel) but I find that diving is an apt analogy for returning to regular life after residency. Especially when considering decompression. In the context of diving, decompression refers the the reduction of ambient pressure during the ascent at the completion of a dive. If this is not done properly bubbles, and blood clots, can form in a diver’s bloodstream because of the built-up levels of such gases as nitrogen and helium (Hills, 1978, p. 916). You can liken it to the fizzing in a carbonated drink when you open it*. A rapid ascent creates decompression sickness, where the diver is inundated with a large amount of gases in their system it is very painful.
The residency portion of MALAT may not be a life-death situation, but too rapid an ascent from the depths of knowledge can cause a shock to the system. We’ve been involved with a very intensive learning situation where, for two weeks, the majority of the day was spent engaged in articles, lectures, or teamwork. Although not everyone was staying in residence or totally disconnected from the office, there was still an overwhelming focus on the program. Returning home was bittersweet for me because I could no longer afford that focus, but I also got to come back to my loved ones**. Yesterday was spent traveling and happily hanging out at home, then going for dinner. Today things are slowly returning back to the regular grind.
I was able to take a few days off this coming week too so I do not have to worry about work until Wednesday. I want time to slowly get back into the swing of things. Trying to take things slow, but even now the dogs are whining to go for a walk and I have to iron my boyfriend’s shirts.
*Tangential statement: Or, in my case insisting that someone else opens it so I do not spill all over myself. Ken, I totally did not shake the beer so it spilled all over the TV room.
**and my really disgusting fridge. Dear God.
Hills, Brian A,. (1978). Effect of decompression per se on nitrogen elimination. J Appl Physiol December 1, 1978 45:(6) 916-921