Tuesday, January 23, 2007


A tour of the new cancer care center

Mount Vernon has a new cancer care center that is now open and they had a tour of the facility last Saturday. Patti & I toured the place along with her daughter, C. It is a wonderful facility but I hope no one I know has to make use of the place. I took a few photos but it was so crowded with people there isn't much to see. Also I could not use a tripod so the exposures were on the slow side and the sharpness isn't what I would prefer to have.

Cancer care tour 00
This is kind of a general view of one of the hallways. The gentleman speaking to us is one of the accupuncture doctors. They are there to help with comfort for the patients. Patient comfort seems to be an area this place really works hard to keep up.

The two main things in treating cancer seem to be with chemicals and with radiation. The infusion area was very crowded so nothing could really be seen in a photo but I was able to take a couple of photos in the radiation area. In addition to having medical doctors on staff, the facility has a PhD phyisist on staff to monitor and manage these machines. And there is a lot of thickness, up to four feet, built in around them to contain the radiation.

Cancer care tour 01
This is one of the two linear accelerators, that produce the radiation. It is a pretty complicated process to locate the exact position of the target, then program the machine and give the radiation dose. Patients are scheduled fifteen minutes apart and most of the time is spent setting up the machine. The actual delivery of the radiation only takes a fraction of a second.

Cancer care tour 02
This is a better view of the machine, with one of the doctors explaining it on the left side of the photo. The white mesh thing on the patient table is portable and is a device to hold the body stationary. It is critical that there be no movement once the machine has been programed or the radiation may be delivered to the wrong place. It is amazing how much control they have over where it is delivered.

Cancer care tour 03
This is the CAT scan machine. It is used to precisely locate the cancer for the linear accelerators to target and deliver the radiation. In the past our hospital has had to rent trailers for this equipment and actually move patients a short distance outside to get them to the machine. Now it is all inside. They also have a PET scan machine. I didn't look at it but can't help but wonder if it is where the Veterinarians take their four legged patients?

Sunday afternoon Patti and I took a drive in the country, getting off the freeways. It was interesting to see how many trees have been blown down over the winter by the storms we have had. There has been so much rain that pretty much all of the pastures or anyplace where there is a fairly large, level area has standing water. We really need a dry period for the ground to soak up all that water. Right now it has no place to go since it is saturated. The forecast for the next few days sounds good. I hope it will be enough to do some good.

My new camera didn't come yesterday but I am sure it will arrive later today. I'm looking forward to trying it out and want to see how that lens does. Patti is working today at her volunteer job at the hospital, then we will meet for lunch and have a stop or two to make before I'll get back home. More later.

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Hey Grandpa - how come you took pictures of the facility but none of you and your girl on your outing in the country with fallen trees and flooded lands?
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