It is hard to believe that the fluoroscope (essentially an x-ray machine used to produce real-time moving images viewed on a screen of the internal structures of a patient) was used to “help” better fit shoes to your feet! From the 1920 to about 1970 you were able to irradiate your feet with x-rays in order to see if you had enough “wiggle-room” in your new shoes! Crazy.
So, the whole concept of Fluroscopy dates back to you know who, Wilhelm Röntgen. We chatted about him here in our blog. He is also responsible for discovering the interesting phenomenon of barium salts fluorescing when exposed to x-rays (see here in our blog).
|Basic function of a fluoroscope
Soon after Rontgen’s discovery was announced, Thomas Edison (the light bulb guy) decided he could improve on this whole x-ray thing as these rays were produced by a “glass tube apparatus” – something he knew a lot about. After setting his team to work – he had a team as he was a very successful man in those days following his 1879 patent of the light bulb – they soon discovered the risks of working with x-rays. Edison decided to remove himself (literally!) from x-ray research. But before he did he developed one of the first (and arguably the most advanced in it’s time ) fluoroscopes along with a full line of x-ray kits. He also coined the term “Fluoroscope”. Interesting man…
Fluoroscopes have come a long way over the years and are still used today in areas such as orthopedic surgery, gastrointestinal investigations, and angiography but, of course, the dose of x-rays a patient receives is minimized and closely monitored. Have a look at this machine from Siemen’s. “Beam me up Scotty!”.
So how did all of these machines suddenly flood the shoe retail industry? Good question. As it happens, following the development of the high vacuum, hot cathode, tungsten-target x-ray tube by William Coolidge in 1913 the interest for a portable and reliable machine increased dramatically with the advent of the First World War. The successful deployment of numerous machines during the war to aid army physicians spurred the manufacturing industry to mass produce them. After the war, the impact the fluoroscope had on army medicine flowed into community practice.
Due to the enormous supply of portable x-ray machines at the time following the end of the war, Dr Jacob Lowe introduced the idea of using a modified portable x-ray machine in the shoe retail industry. Voila, fried feet fricassee for the next 50 years!
Now If were to be interested in using a fluoroscope to look at my feet I may be inclined to use a suit like this gentleman below is sporting…
|WW I x-ray protection suit
Now for the fun part, using Fluoroscope in a sentence by the end of the day:
Serious: Bob, did you know that the foot-o-scope was a modified fluoroscope used to view ones feet when fitting new shoes which delivered on average 13 Roentgens for every 20 second exposure?
Less serious: I heard grampa grumbling he can never find shoes that fit right anymore since they banned fluoroscopes in shoe stores. What is a fluoroscope mommy?
Listen to High Heels to decompress and I’ll see you in the blogosphere.
As first year Radiation Thearpy students here a The Michener Institute, we are currently in our 4th week of clinical placements! As promised, here’s a little update about the experiences Jennifer and Ori are going through at Princess Margaret Hospital.
Jennifer: I’ve been placed in Unit 10 which specializes in treating patients with Genitourinary, Gynae and Lower Gastrointestinal cancer.
Ori: I’m on Unit 14 and we treat breast cancer and palliative cancers.
We are proud to say that we are enjoying our experience here. Our duty as students in training is to follow the radiation therapist and learn what they do. The job of a therapist is to treat cancer using a machine called Linear Accelerator (Linac) to deliver ionizing radiation. Patients will typically come once a day for the next couple of weeks, so we see the same patients every day and therefore really get to know our patients well. There is a fair amount of patient interaction, which is one of our favorite parts of the job. Along with patient interactions, we also get to use the equipment, which mainly includes operating the Linac machine (the machine that delivers the radiation) and taking X-rays or CT scans to make sure the patient is in the right position. Every day is a new experience and we are constantly learning new skills. We get a better insight of the patient’s perspective during the entire span of their radiation treatment. For example most patients in unit 10 are required to have a full bladder and empty rectum. Having to hold their pee can be quite difficult for some patients, especially when there are delays, which pushes Unit 10 to be a very fast paced environment. Overall our first 4 weeks of clinical has been an exceptionally valuable experience and we’re looking forward to our next 4 weeks!
Until next time!
Jennifer and Ori
(Kingston City Hall)
It has been a month since the start of summer clinical placement, and I am currently
completing my placement in Kingston General Hospital (KGH) here at Kingston, Ontario. Kingston is a nice beautiful town located at the north side of the entrance of outflow of St Lawrence River from Lake Ontario; it was the first capital of Canada when Canada was still a province of British colony.
KGH host one of the most eastern cancer center in Ontario and it has a beautiful view because it is situated by the side of Lake Ontario, its front entrance open to the water. It is a perfect place for lunch and enjoys the sun during summer time.
(KGH cancer centre front entrance)
Park by water, in front of cancer centre)
The past month was phenomenal, words cannot fully describe the knowledge and experience we gain from clinical practice. The transition from purely academic to hands on
practice is eye-opening and a bit hectic; because each patient is unique and no knowledge from books can prepare you how to interact with all patients. It is interesting to learn from the therapists, the way they educate patients on their first day of treatment, the type of approach to each patient base on the assessment they do during the conversation with them. It’s amazing how much compassion the therapists have for patients and how much they care for them.
During the first two weeks in CT simulation unit, I made my first mask and had my own mask made for treatment to head and neck regions. The mask is made of pliable plastics. They come in as a sheet of plastic in a frame, and are put into a warm/hot water bath for 2-4 minutes to makes it pliable, after the mask is taken out of the warm water bath there is a 30-60 seconds window before it hardens. The therapist takes out the mask, tower dry it as much as possible and covers it on patient’s head as fast as possible. The therapists are very efficient at their job, but what is amazing are the patients going through the process; imagine a warm and moist piece of plastic cover you face, harden in an instant and lock your head into position, and afterword you cannot move for 5-10 minutes for CT scan. I never had thought of the discomfort till I experience it myself.
(My 1st mask, can kinda see my face print)
So far the experience here is amazing, and hopefully the coming June will be equally fantastic as well.
Till next time.
Michael Douglas: actor extraordinaire!
How is acting and radiation therapy related? Here at the Michener Institute, there are actual actors coming in to perform as our patients during patient care simulation and practical assessments. This is very helpful and fun at the same time as we get some experience with “patients” and if we make any mistakes, all can be corrected before going into the real world. This can spare us some embarrassment – the first time I talked with a patient actor, I could not think of what to say so “I am drawing a blank” just slipped out of my mouth! At the end of the debrief, the actor told me I could have just pretended to know by acting like The Thinker! Looking sophisticated and deep in thought.
Beside the patient actors coming in, we also do role play in patient care labs – free acting lessons! Just the past Tuesday, we had a role play class for scenarios in patients with special needs. Some students are just natural actors/actresses, sometimes I wonder why they are not in acting. The class was very fun and educational and allowed us radiation therapy students to learn how the patients will react and how we can respond. Anyway, I wish I had video to show you how fun it was. If you are interested, you should apply to Michener next year and experience it yourself…
Until next time,