Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'm in the Library!

Hehehe...I am finally immortalized in the library! My thesis was finally published and I am now available by special request (because only the cool people can touch my work! More like, only the nerds want my work. Britta: that now reads you.)! To check it out: Go to and search by Kristen Ameel or the title (which I hate!), "Paraquat and Rotenone Induced Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration in Drosophila melanogaster." I wanted to name my thesis "Feed flies pesticides, watch them die, and then look at their brains." I guess that title just didn't have the same ring to it as the formal one in my thesis advisor's opinion.

Side note: I am reading the best book I have read in a while, "The Omnivore's Dilemma." Makes me not want to eat anything that I haven't picked off of a tree or out of the ground myself. Anyways, Michael Pollan writes in the book that rotenone is an accepted organic pesticide. That shit is what gave my poor flies Parkinsonian-like tremors, neuronal loss, decreased motility and vitality. Think about that the next time you feel smug buying your organic cereal (which I still feel smug about buying even knowing that the organic agricultural rules are crap)!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


There have been many changes in the past week. First, my dear, beloved Grandma Boughn passed away last Monday. I was fortunate enough to visit her and say goodbye. We had a lovely service for her and I know she would have loved it.
My grandma was the most beautiful woman that I have ever met. People constantly told her that she looked like Grace Kelley and I would have to agree with that sentiment. More importantly though she was an elegant, smart, funny, strong woman and she taught me a lot (always wear lipstick, have your clothes ironed, and always have a smile on your face).

Second, I had my first car accident. An old lady ran into me doing a left-hand turn. Sucky! I am hoping that everything will be all right with my car and that insurance will be kind to me (and the poor lady that hit me).

Third, I start med school in less than a week! Crazy!

Changes, changes, changes. I feel even more a-comin'!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

EUROPE! (and swine flu)

I have been home from Europe for 2.5 days now and am still in that depressed/where did the time go mood. Also, I am still dealing with monsieur swine flu....pretty sucky. I don't have the energy to put up anything entertaining at the moment (J, this post is all for you!) but it will be coming soon. This one photo was taken at the start of our seven hour, hotter-than-hell, sweat-out-all-my-body-weight hike in the Cinque Terre. This was also taken two days before evil swine flu virus struck me:(

Question for my doctor: does vodka count as a fluid? You said to drink as many clear fluids as possible..just wondering if I can follow those directions with a little vodka chaser after my cough medicine. Hmmm...

And here are three cheers to dad for being offered department chair. You would probably kill me if you knew I was putting this online, but dude, I am so proud of you that I can't keep it to myself!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Seven Days!

My grand tour of Europe starts in 7 days. What? I have been waiting for this for months and can't believe that the countdown is below the double digit mark. Damn!

Also, I am missing some of my BFFs: A and E already took off for Europe, B is at a wedding in Cape Cod, and J is about to leave for Africa (and I still owe you that glass of wine and housewarming gift!). Oh sadness, where does the time go?

Today also marks the two month mark for the start of med school. Watch out kids, only 60 days until my doctor-ness aka awesomeness is set loose! (Actually, I am terrified to start.)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Bet

So about a year ago when I was going through the hell that is known as "med school applications", I made a bet with my parents. If a med school accepted me they had to take me out to dinner to the bestest place ever...Log Haven. Well I was accepted to two med schools so they had to shell out some extra dough..hehe! And since I am obsessed with food I of course have to give a description: I started out with a yummy sweet wine-rose cocktail, then we had grilled calamari (totally out of this world), and quinoa encrusted crab cakes. Britta and I shared a half bottle of champagne for the appetizer/salad course. My salad was heirloom lettuce, egg, truffle vinaigrette, and mushroom. We ordered my favorite wine, a Gruner, for our entrees. I had a bison ribeye with parmesan pomme fritte. Britta had grilled scallops atop creamy risotto with a carrot coulis. For dessert, coffee, creme brulee, and a triple chocolate cake thing that was blow-you-away fantastic.
Thanks so much to the folks for holding up their end of the bargain (and for the med schools accepting me so that I had another chance to eat at Log Haven!).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dr. Kristen

Yes I am going to be vain and post about the coolest thing that has ever happened to me:
My dream came true!!! I am going to be a doctor! I was accepted to Chicago Medical School and am on the alternate list at the U, so one way or another, yours truly will someday be Dr. Kristen. Mind-blowing, humbling, incredible. Trying to soak the moment in.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Studying equations (sort of)

Studying + allergies= :(

Studying + allergies + wine= :/

Studying + allergies + wine + pizza= :|

Studying + allergies + wine + pizza + double chocolate gelato= :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A tip for everyone:

Never let a hypochondriac take a medical microbiology class. It can lead to constant worry/sleepless nights worrying about scarlet fever and gas gangrene and c. difficile and scalded skin syndrome. Not fun...

Strangely enough, hypochondriacs can still shove gauze inches deep into a person's cheek and watch pap smears. Hmmm...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I received the nicest compliment today at the homeless clinic:

Me: (tired, grumpy, aching sinuses, half-hearted smile) Do you have high blood pressure? Are you allergic to any medications?

Homeless man: No and no. Hey do you see this weird arm that I have?

Me: (Slight nod.)

HM: I was electrocuted. Want to hear how?

He then goes on and on, but I listen as intently as I can at 9 am.

HM: You know, you are going to be a really great doctor some day. There are a lot of bad doctors out there, but you are going to be one of the few good ones.

I don't know if this was a real compliment or if he was simply thanking me for listening to his long story. Because I need a little inspiration at the moment, I am going with the former:)

And in other medically related news: Gentleman watch out. A man was in our hospital this week for penile injury during sexual intercourse. I guess that it can really happen. OUCH!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I am studying HIV/AIDS pathogenesis for my microbiology class and I want to cry. How can one infinitely small capsule of nucleic acid lead to such devastation of the human body???? Definitely humbling, definitely sad, and definitely mind-blowing.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Some of my favorite new words...

*gubernaculum (yes, it is a very real word. connective tissue of the testes)
*gingivostomatitis (a sore mouth in babies)
*claudication (atherosclerosis leading to limping. many pts in the hospital have this symptom..who knew?)
*cholangiocarcinoma (cancer of the bile ducts...again who knew that this could happen?)

I would have been a damn better speller when I was a kid if I knew some of these words. Then again, I probably would have been Doogie Howser, M.D. if I had known these words.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I was telling dear EB today that the only thing running through my head today while talking to patients were names of foramina and features of the skull. Yes, I do know (maybe) where the petrotympanic fissure is located. EB said, "Ladies and gentleman, we have a nerd in the house." HAHAHA!!! So true, so true. But I love my nerd status. I have come to find that I feed off of knowledge, especially medical knowledge. Like, do you know what claudication or kyphosis mean? (If you know this without having to google it, you should maybe apply to med school, if you haven't already). Bring it on baby..this nerd wants more of it!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Simple Foods

A fantastic mid-winter week of simple/healthy meals:

~Roasted butternut squash, potato, leek soup with gruyere toast
~Smothered sirloin burgers with mushrooms
~Roasted tilapia with olives, garlic, and tomatoes (and a nice pinot noir)
~Double dark chocolate cupcakes

Yummy! This is the type of food I wish that I always had the time to make!

Monday, January 5, 2009

I am not you, and you are not me

I am reading a fantastic book right now titled Another Day in the Frontal Lobe by Dr. Katrina Firlik. So freaking amazing!!!! Obviously I am a little obsessed with medicine at this point in my life, but I think many of these medical non-fiction books should be required reading for all Americans so they can really understand the weird world of being a doctor. I know that I have had my fair share of rude, distant, arrogant doctors and while I believe this attitude is inappropriate (to say the least), it helps remembering the immense pressure doctors are under. Another really fantastic book that explores this idea is How Doctors Think by Dr. Jerome Groopman. Now, I am not at all saying that it is acceptable for doctors to act disrespectfully and in abuse of their power, but this pressure can maybe explain why nice people can sometimes become mean, stressed-out doctors. (And then there are the mean, arrogant people who become doctors...and nobody can help them!!) All of this understanding people from the stance opposite of me has helped me to see (or try to see) the world with this unbiased, open, collective viewpoint. Granted, when someone cuts me off on the freeway it is a little hard to have this understanding attitude, but I can say it does cool the stress off a tad. Resolution #10 for the New Year: try applying this attitude in the most stressful of situations!