Monthly Archives: September 2012

Police, Pizza and Cookies

Yesterday was the second night of The Town of Davie Police Civilian Police Academy and, just like last week, it was really enjoyable. Officer Weissberger did a session on traffic and road traffic accident investigation which was fascinating: the session included using radar and laser speed guns. The speed gun session was great. Officer Weissberger’s motor cycle was parked alongside the road, he was in uniform and there were twenty or so civilians gathered around with three at a time lining up the speed guns on approaching cars. It was hardly surprising that we didn’t catch anyone breaking the speed limit although we did see quite a few cars slow down as they spotted us. Perhaps the most surprising thing was that we didn’t cause an accident simply because of people slowing down and staring at us instead of watching the road. One of the big issues on the roads of Davie is the introduction of traffic cameras at intersections to identify vehicles turning right on a red light without stopping first. (For those who aren’t aware Florida law allows a car turning right at an intersection to do so against a red light provided they stop first and the way is clear.) You can imagine that these lights aren’t really popular as they are identifying a lot of people who haven’t changed their driving from treating these intersections as “Yield” rather than “Stop”, but, prior to the introduction of these cameras Davie Police were attending around 400 accidents a month, now they are only having to attend around 100 a month. I found that a totally amazing statistic.

Next up were Officers Bishop and Vardakis from the K-9 team who explained about what they do and how they work with their dogs. Fascinating stuff. The demonstration was everything you’d expect with the “criminal” running and being  caught by the dog which hung so determinedly that the officer was able to lift it off the ground. Likewise the narcotics search where the dog was able to successfully identify the bag which contained the narcotics. What was surprising was when we were told that the dogs view all this as “play” and do it for the reward of a bouncing tennis ball! The dogs live with the family of their respective officer and are a part of the family. Seemingly the dogs recognise, and respond, to the difference between “home” and “work”. It seems that American bred German Shepherds are no longer suitable for police work and the Davie Police use Belgian Malinois instead.

In terms of my recover from the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the chemo therapy things have improved so much that I failed to remember my appointment with the oncologist so I’ll have to wait another month or so before I can see him and make a plan for the future. Strange that this should be the first appointment I’ve missed and that it is also the first after I’ve been declared clean – perhaps part of me is already in denial!

Another positive note is the Yorkshire County Cricket Club achieved promotion. Well done!

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Filed under Cancer, chemo, chemotherapy, Davie Police, Hodgkins Lymphoma

An evening with the police

My wife and myself had an interesting evening with Davie Police on Tuesday. No, we weren’t their guests in the sense of being arrested! Our local police force runs a “Civilian Police Academy” which runs for three hours per week for ten weeks and it looks as though it will be really interesting and enjoyable. This week we met the senior officers, Chief Lynn, Major Moyer, Captains Engle and Squarini, and last, but by no means least, Sergeant Choquette. The thing which really struck me about the evening was the quality of the relationships between all these officers. There was lots of banter and leg-pulling but, underpinning it all, was a sense of the respect they held for each other. This first week was mainly admin and a tour of the station, but future weeks will include the K-9 dog handlers doing a demonstration,with other sessions by the Dive Team, the Crisis Response Team, the Special Response Team, the opportunity the use the firing range and handle a variety of weapons and a chance to go on patrol in a squad car. All this and much, much more as the saying goes.

In terms of my health I continue to improve. My hair is growing back but is definitely darker than it was before I had chemo, strangely it also seems to be softer, at least it does on my eyebrows and beard. Strangely also, considering that the hair on top of my head is coming back darker is the fact that my beard came back white but is now turning grey! I was also surprised that, as hair grew back on my head and my body, the hair which had survived the months of chemo fell out. I hadn’t been expecting that at all as I just thought there’d be a mix of new and old as it were. It’s also strange to see the pattern in which the hair is growing back on my limbs. Have you ever walked through an area newly planted with trees? No? Well, the trees are planted at roughly equidistant intervals and in rows which track in straight lines at 90 degrees from you but also along diagonals, and this was something I hadn’t previously realised as I’d thought the hairs just kind of grew at random. My mental functioning is also returning although I haven’t yet been able to crack the website to book a written test to apply for my learner’s driver license here in Florida. Physically my stamina is also coming along well. We have a Wii fit and I’ve been using that for a little over a week. It’s not particularly intense which suits me fine but I can repeat things if they go badly and can see the improvement not only in my endurance but also in my scores though I think I am still quite a long way from having either the strength or stamina to make a trip to the gym worthwhile. I still have crazy sleep patterns which see me sleeping for a couple of hours at night and then being awake until 6 a.m. or later and then sleeping through ’till around noon. I always used to find it difficult to sleep during daylight hours but not now. The afternoon naps have dropped off though.

I’ve also started looking at job ads. I found one I’d quite like but couldn’t get enough of my brain together to write the c.v. I hate writing the introductory paragraph: I can write the damned paragraph easily for other people but when it comes to writing my own it’s a totally different matter and I hesitate and hack words around and then delete everything and thus the process starts all over again without really going anywhere. Doh!!!

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Filed under Cancer, chemo, chemotherapy, Davie Police, Hodgkins Lymphoma

My afternoon out

Today I felt strong enough to venture out on my own for the first time since my chemo ended, so I took a walk to Wolf Lake Park which is about one mile from here and the path around the lake is possibly about a mile. I walked around the lake twice before coming back home so, all together I reckon I’ve walked around 4 miles today (with rests in between you understand!) in temperatures which, according to my multi-function watch, were in the mid to high 90’s Fahrenheit or mid 30’s Celsius. I ought to point out that, apart from one hummock in the park, the terrain around here is pretty much flat as a pancake.

I really like Wolf Lake Park as it is very calm and quiet with a good variety of trees and, so far, the only people I’ve met there have been really pleasant and more than ready to chat. There’s also a really well shaded area in the scout pavilion where you can just sit and watch the world go by and enjoy the breeze without having to cope with the sun. I also like the number of butterflies which the park’s uncultivated lands attract – the photo below is of one butterfly which stayed still long enough for me to take its picture! As I type I can feel the day’s exertions beginning to creep up on me, my legs are stiffening and my back is aching from the weight of the camera, but, do yo know, I’m really glad I went out and didn’t stay home in the air con! Maybe tonight I will get a good night’s sleep instead of just sleeping for two hours and then being awake until daylight filters into the bedroom! (P.S. If anyone can identify the butterfly I’d be grateful.)

butterfly photographed at Wolf Lake Park Davie

Butterfly photographed today at Wolf Lake Park

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Filed under Butterfly, Cancer, chemo, chemotherapy, Wolf Lake Park