December 2017: Fake patient exams, sea turtle smoothies, and bourbon with wheat


I took an online class for elective credit while preparing for the USMLE Step 2 exams, both computer-based Clinical Knowledge and awkward Clinical Skills test that pairs you with 12 real-live-fake patients. I chose to use only one resource for each: UWorld for the computer exam (but who doesn’t?), and First Aid’s Step 2 Clinical Skills for the exercise in pretending. I think it is absolutely the only resource you need for CS: it breaks down the 40+ most common scenarios and gives you a framework to practice them. Get this book and give yourself a week and you’re good to go.

Current Projects

Writing a travel article about my experiences at sea turtle hatcheries in Guatemala and Costa Rica. In the United States, any known sea turtle nesting sites are given the royal treatment, or the same precautions as Area 51, however you choose to see it: fenced off, surrounding lights off, interaction strictly prohibited. In Central America, half of the population patrols beaches at night in search of nesting turtles. When they do find a clambering prospective mother, they either protect them or poach their eggs, which are sold to street vendors in bigger cities. They sell them raw or blend them into smoothies (licuados), ostensibly as aphrodisiacs.


I finally got around to a book that half of the free world read at this time last year, Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance. It curried favor during the election season as a means to get inside the minds of America’s Appalachian middle class. I’d like this to remain relatively apolitical, but I can say that I was fascinated by Vance’s story as a means to understand a population that has its paradoxes, and as an inspirational story of what a talented, driven individual can accomplish-obstacles be damned. I love that what began as a law school writing project became a best-selling phenomenon that forever changed the course of his career.


Wheated bourbon. I’m a bourbon fan in general, and replacing the rye with wheat in itself isn’t earth-shattering, but it does lend some smooth drinking. Everyone has heard of the famous wheated bourbons like Pappy Van Winkle 23 year and it’s kid brother, the W.L. Weller 12 year, that is made from the same mash. I’ve never had the fortune of stumbling upon either of those, but I did try the W.L. Weller Special Reserve, and it is outstanding. All of these bourbons mentioned here are made at the Buffalo Trace distillery-I’d recommend a visit if your in the Bluegrass state.

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