Saturday, July 23, 2011

All Things Ben

lying dead near the Grassy Knoll
Or at least several.

So I live in Las Vegas now.  Technically it's Henderson, but you know how that goes.  I started PA (Physician Assistant) school just over two weeks ago.  So far I like it--good classmates, good teachers for the most part, so you know, good times.  If you want more information, here are some questions I could imagine someone asking me if I were to, you know, speak with that person.  I also provide the answers to said questions. 

What is a PA?
Perhaps Wikipedia said it best:  "A Physician Assistant is a healthcare provider licensed and trained to practice medicine with limited supervision of a physician."    Chew on that.  Literally. 

Where do you live?
In a house.  I rent a bedroom in a three-bedroom mini-house about eight miles SW of the school.  The commute takes about 15 minutes.  The owner is finishing up his graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.  The other roommate is a pilot and gone every other week for work...or so he says.

Do you have any pets?

Does your landlord have Netflix streaming?
Yes.  This is convenient because I started watching LOST in late May, and I now have eight episodes left in the final season.  Recently I've watched one episode per day while eating dinner.  I may even tell you what I think about the series sometime in the future.  Recommendations for other tv shows to watch when I'm done will not be rejected outright.  

So you spend most of your time watching tv?
Pretty much.  Actually I go to school for about eight hours a day.  We have about four hours of class most days, and then there's a bunch of studying to do.  I treat it about like a full-time job so far, but I'm pretty sure some of my classmates study substantially more than I do.   

So what are they teaching you over at that silly school of yours?  And what's it called again?  UNLV?
Actually it's called Touro University-Nevada.  Not surprisingly, no one has ever heard of it unless they're into the whole "health professional school" scene.  So far this semester we're taking Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Radiology, and a couple of fluff classes (that are actually important, just don't require studying like the others).  A few other classes start later in the semester.  It seems like this first semester is basically the first year of med school, whittled and compressed into 3.5 months.  Which makes sense.   

How long is the program?
28 months:  16 didactic (i.e. classroom), and 12 on clinical rotations.   

So wait, I'm confused, whatever happened to podiatry school? 
I took a leave of absence in December 2009, partway through my fourth year, and eventually decided to attend PA school.  

Weren't you almost done?  Why didn't you just finish?  
I was pretty close to graduating, but overall it's a seven-year process if you include a typical residency.  So I was about half-way through the full process of becoming an independently practicing podiatrist.  If I was gonna jump ship and switch careers, that was actually a pretty good time to do least compared to later.  

Is it really that simple?

What's one thing that attracted you to becoming a PA?
PA's can work in just about any specialty, and even switch midstream.  Docs can't do that.  

Do you currently own a guitar?
Technically, yes, but it's in Missouri (and pretty crappy).  Luckily I have a much nicer one with me that I don't own, compliments of a generous friend.

Do you consider blogger user-friendly?
No, it's ridiculous, especially arranging photos. 

What have you been doing since December 2009?
Elena and Abigail, probably May 2010
First I moved to Missouri and honed my skills at being as unproductive as possible, for about three months.  Then I moved to Dallas (April 2010) (taking a circuitous route through Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Montana to visit friends) just in time for the birth of my cute twin nieces Elena and Abigail.  Actually I got there the day after they were born.  Shortly thereafter I spent two weeks digging ditches in "Texas clay" (the dirt in Texas is like clay) to help Mark and Sarah (my brother and SIL who were living in Dallas at the time, and the parents of the aforementioned twin baby girls) install sprinklers in their front yard.  About a month after that I performed surgery on my own big toe.  Another month or so later (July 2010) I finalized my decision to apply to PA school, and started the process.  Six months after that (early Feb 2011), I got accepted to Touro.  In the meantime I traveled to Phoenix for about six weeks (Sep-Oct) to finalize my affairs at Podiatry school once and for all.  In November (2010) I started working as a tutor (for all subjects...I'm only partially kidding) and music teacher.  In December I started substitute teaching as well, which I did until June 1st of this year.  In May I went to Utah for a family reunion and started watching LOST.  In June I left Dallas after a bit more than a year of living there, spent two weeks in Phoenix (on the way), and came to Las Vegas. 

Do you really think I got all the way to the end of this post?
This isn't the end.  

Have you seen any good movies lately?

Have you seen any movies lately, period?
No. Did I mention I've watched 112 episodes of LOST in the past two months?

What about Harry Potty and Deathly Hallows part five???!?
Plenty of time for that later...that's my usual approach to movie theaters...don't go. 

Did you really see a car burn up in your parking lot last month?

I know this is changing the subject, but doesn't the title "Physician Assistant" make you sound menial? People probably get you confused with Medical Assistants, right?
Yes, it's misleading.  From what I've heard, some early PA's wanted to call it "Physician Associate", which is a better title, but they had to grovel before influential organizations to gain acceptance.  Now it would be expensive and impractical to change the name. 

Don't you feel like this post is bit lengthy?  
Yeah, so what.  Actually, it's probably shorter in total word count than several others I've written.  

Are you schizophrenic?  Why are you conversing with yourself?
I heard in lecture yesterday that 1/100 people become schizophrenic at some point.  Which is probably not true.  But if them, why not me? 

Me at the Alamo in June.  Remember it. 
What do you now consider your favorite band?
That's easy, The Beatles.  But Led Zeppelin is extremely awesome, in case you weren't aware.  Here's proof. 

Have you made any friends in Nevada?
About five.  Actually, I have some pretty cool classmates who've been fun to "hang out" with (mostly meaning studying and attending lectures), and the people in my singles ward have been friendly and welcoming, though I haven't been around them that much yet.  Plus a friend from college lives down here, and she invited me over for bbq pulled pork last Sunday.  Afterwards we jammed on the ukulele.

You play the ukulele?
Yes, of course I play the ukulele.  And by that I mean I've learned about six chords on two separate occasions in the past month.

Have you done any dating recently?

Care to elaborate?

What else have you accomplished in the past few months?
Learned some Beatles songs on the guitar.  Also started recording some music in Dallas before moving.  I studied Italian for a month or so and became very mildly conversant.  Ate a lot of cookies in June.  In addition, I slept on a random guy's couch in Albuquerque. 

What's your BMI (Body Mass Index)?

Does that make you part of the growing obesity epidemic?
No, I'm just in the "overweight" range, so take it easy.


  1. Oh Benj. I love reading your blog. I will be interested to hear your take on Lost. Good luck with PA school!

  2. So interesting, Benj - I enjoy the way you put things!

  3. I agree about blogger photo placement being obnoxious.

  4. Recommendation for TV: When I was at Matthew's I watched a new, kind of modernized version of Sherlock Holmes that Matthew recommended. Pretty decent. But there were only 3 episodes at that time, so it wouldn't keep you busy very long.

  5. I'm not sure what the grassy knoll picture has to do with anything, but it's a cool picture, taken by an excellent photographer, I might add.

    We also agree that blogger is awful for pictures. You'd think with all their programmers, somebody would have fixed that by now.

  6. Cool post. You could try Firefly, Parks and Recreation, Monk, and Survivors.

  7. Wow! I'm captivated! Looking forward to your next post!