Here I am again writing my second post after a two days break.
I wanted to write about this yesterday, but time didn’t allow it.
Yesterday, I spent more than half the day helping shoot a film for an eye hospital (just camera work). No. It wasn’t a happy or fun shoot, but a rather sad and depressing one. I wonder now, how I was able to stomach the whole thing.
Here are a few big words, but don’t let that stop you from reading on.
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is an eye disorder that affects mainly premature babies (those born before 36 weeks and who are of low weight). If the disorder isn’t treated at this stage, the child can suffer from partial blindness, or have a lifelong visual impairment or, go completely blind. At this stage of development, the baby’s eyes aren’t fully formed, and due to the lack of certain nutrients, abnormal and fragile blood vessels, ROP may develop.
In order for sufficient treatment to take place, the babies’ eyes have to be screened every few weeks to see how their eyes are developing and if there are any symptoms of ROP.
So what the eye hospital I coordinated with does, is this: They carry around the portable equipment needed to detect these symptoms to hospitals that can’t afford these special machines. The equipment is linked with a special software that transfers all the information on to a site which then can be accessed by eye doctors anywhere. This way, the machine can travel to remote places, and information is transferred and stored for the future, being accessible anywhere.
The film is being made to make people aware of this disorder, but more for the doctors concerned. It aims to show the whole process of one baby being screened. There were 3 other doctors with me and ward was full with baby in incubators. I’ve never been to a hospital a few times, but never been into a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Rooms were filled with such small babies, some crying, some sleeping, and some looking so terribly sick, so fragile. Machines were beeping and nurses were constantly on the move. Thinking of it, it’s all a haze, but they way I felt while I was in there, I can still recollect quite strongly.
Filming the process of one baby’s eyes being screened- how did I manage it? I guess I had partly prepared myself for it, and while I was there, I focused on what I needed to do, and that was it. What was happening in my head, what I felt- that, I did not express then, or pay much attention to. Once we left the place, I thought about it, and watched how I felt. As time went by, it became harder and harder for me to think about those babies, their small thin bodies, their cries.
In another light, there is actually so much positiveness. Advancing equipment is available, more premature babies are surviving, and facilities are getting better.
However, for some reason after all this, I can still remember the faces of the babies clearly. And they haven’t gone away yet.