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


7 thoughts on “Decompression

  1. Danielle, I love the analogies you’ve used here. I was very fortunate to have shared the drive home with my brother in law who had been completing his education degree in Vancouver. During the 12 hour drive plus an overnight in the Shuswaps (it was rough) I was able to make that ascent a little slower than if I had just swam to the surface. It was nice to discuss similar ideas, ponder theories with someone who is in the same field, just a different circle. It gave me time to digest the last two weeks, sort out the pieces and try and reconstruct the puzzle again. When I got home to a waiting BBQ and 30 degree weather, I felt a little more at peace with myself and my thoughts. Although I would equate the last couple of weeks as trying to sip water coming full force out of a fire hose, I think I was able to actually drink a great deal safely.
    One thing you must know, we are all here. If you need assistance in any way you need only ask.

    • Jason, water analogies allow us to drown in our own metaphors. Haha! Anyway, thank you for the thoughtful post and sharing your experiences.

  2. Very interesting way to reflect on our situation. They way you described it makes me think of people who get out of prison and the world is a shock to them, or how addicts need to be weaned off the drugs. Nerveless, I didn’t realize when I was trying to leave that I was weaning myself off the experience. I could of left right after class, but I had lunch with a friend, met with Theresa from the writing centre, Kris from reference dept., and Will from research. After that I was heading home, and turned around because I wasn’t ready to leave the cohort. I drove back to campus to pick up a friend to go to the Potholes. I figured that I may never be in this part of the world again, and I’d regret not going to the Potholes – boy was I right, they are a amazing. So in essence I weaned myself off the situation. I’m glad I turned around and came back to campus. Not only did I get to relax in nature, but I got to set things right, and say a proper goodbye.

    • It isn’t like leaving prison per se, Lisa’s metaphor discussion excepted, but I did use a pretty severe analogy didn’t I? I’m glad you took time to return and to visit the Potholes. I regret not going too! I’m also glad that you came back so we could have a brief chat and hug out our problems. It is difficult to have to ‘set things right’ but I think it was mature and far-sighted to do so. Any conflict would IMPACT the cohort, and the dent would be messy and possibly knock us out of alignment.

  3. I love this analogy. I feel very much the same. I enjoyed a weekend of just being home and enjoying my own personal comforts but now I feel that something is missing. The immersion was something of a comfort near the end. I think we all spoke the same language and were all working towards a similar goal. Now at home I find myself sitting in my office a bit lost. I have lots of work on the go but trying to focus on creating a time and place for attending to wrapping up those courses. They almost feel done, but I know that they aren’t. Seems weird to be taken out of that environment and then asked to complete the work without all the support we built up over those two weeks.

  4. I love the anology you use Danielle. I was trying to come up with words to describe how I was feeing now that I am back home again. I did have to get back to work today but I confess that I have not been very productive. Maybe by tomorrow! For today I am reaching out to connect with my cohort.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s