Well, I’ve got one week of sabbatical under my belt, and I spent it in the frosty metropolis of Dallas, Texas! That’s right, I almost froze my soft, west-coast butt off in the southern USA! The temps were below zero for most of the visit, and the wind blowing through the city brought back memories of my eye-watering prairie youth 🙂
SO! I spent a week at the UT Southwestern Medical Centre learning all about this machine. Our cancer centre foundation has raised $6.5 million in donations to purchase this highly specialized treatment machine. It will be a busy time getting this unit up and running! The machine looks like a very big CT scanner or like the hubby said, “a big Polo mint!” (… a Lifesaver candy, for those non-British people…). The main feature of this treatment unit is that it can track a tumour moving in the body. Let’s say a patient is breathing (crazy, hey?). Maybe that person has a tumour in their lung, so the tumour moves while they are breathing. This machine will be able to follow the tumour around as the patient is breathing in and out, and only deliver radiation to the tumour, and not the healthy tissue surrounding it. Cool.
The gracious physicists, radiation therapists and Vero engineers spent the week showing me around this unit and humouring me with the many (MANY) questions I had. It was a really good visit, and I’ll hopefully be able to remember all the info I learned once I get back to work in July!
My home for the week was this lovely (super cheap!!) place. The room was large, the bed was comfy, and the sunset views were pretty great! They even brought me in a fridge and microwave when I asked if any rooms had these.
I’m used to walking (or cycling) a lot in Vancouver and tried to do the same in Dallas. It was about 2 km from the hotel to the cancer centre. Everybody down there thought I was crazy for walking. The area was slightly dodgy, but I stayed on the
6-lane-highway main road and enjoyed the local scenery.
I’m not quite sure what I thought of Dallas. I suppose the more time you spend in a city, the more you get to know which neighbourhoods you prefer to hang out in. The neighbourhood around the medical centre was slightly dodgy, but then you’d turn a corner and end up in one of the most expensive areas of Dallas, with houses that rival the size of those in West Vancouver.
The only time I really got to wander around was Friday afternoon, the day before I left. I spent some time in downtown Dallas. As you can see, it was crazy-busy!
Maybe the downtown core is busier on the weekend? Or maybe it’s just full of executive offices? Not sure, but it was pretty quiet. One of the physicists recommended visiting the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza. JFK was allegedly assassinated from a sixth floor window of this building. The self-guided audio tour took me about an hour, but I’m sure that JFK history (conspiracy theory) buffs could have spent much longer in there. It was quite interesting!
And just like that, the week was over and I was on my way back home. Next up, a little trip back home to visit the family, then off on the BIG trip! Time to start planning our RV route!!