I've been really grumpy, lately. Everything seems like kind of a crapshoot. I delayed taking classes until the fall, but then I encountered an insane car bill and have now spent most of the money that I had been saving for tuition. I applied for several private loans but was rejected for all of them even with a cosigner (which surprised me, because my credit rating is in the 700s). I think it is really hard to get loans as a non-matriculated student taking 5th year undergrad courses. I'm feeling screwed.
Spending nearly four years exploring menial jobs to confirm my interest in medicine has proved to be overkill, and now I feel like I'm going to lose my shit. Working overnights sucks. I never get to sleep during the day as much as I would like to (between two and six hours) and I think the sleep deprivation is messing with me.
It's depressing not to be challenged, and I constantly feel torn between wanting to learn (one of my favorite activities is reading charts, and looking up terminology that is unfamiliar to me) and doing what needs to be done (emptying foleys and urinals, stocking supplies all over the unit etc.). Stocking is this endless task that no one wants to get stuck with. We stock about a hundred supplies in each room; it's mostly boring stuff: shampoo, toothbrushes, suction liners, tubing, yankauers, emesis basins, etc. Initially it was cool to familiarize myself with some unfamiliar equipment, but it's just banal repetition. Compelled to do my job as well as I can, I always do whatever needs to be done over what I enjoy doing. The thing is, I stand there filling these cabinets while I imagine my brain atrophying and grow more and more bitter. The nature of my job involves few puzzles, little problem solving. If I actively seek it out too much, I feel like I'm slacking off. I guess the good news is that it's not forever, but I just don't know if I'll really last two more years as an aide while I finish my pre-med requirements.
Despite this, we recently had a patient who was detoxing, but two weeks later, was still significantly confused. He came in reasonably oriented, and I was puzzled as to why he wasn't getting better. I asked one of the nurses if it was normal to have DTs for such a long period of time -- don't they usually subside by this point? Do you think the benzos are making him loopy? And then wide-eyed and excited, "maybe he has Korsakoff's Syndrome!" recalling tidbits from a human neurobiology class from undergrad. His nurse looked up at me, "what's Korsakoff's Syndrome?"
Tonight I was reading a progress note by one of the internists whom I really respect, and he too, was curious about the origins of this guy's encephalopathy. And what did he consider? Tail end of DTs, adverse reaction to benzodiazepines, and you guessed it, maybe Wernicke Korsakoff's syndrome. I was really surprised with myself. Usually I just laugh at myself and the ridiculousness of an aide throwing out ideas as a diagnostician. I think the thing that I have to remember is that I'm learning, even if only by osmosis, a lot the time. Hopefully some day some of that will actually be useful.