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Eyeball Adventure, Part Deux July 17, 2007

Filed under: Daily Grind — booksunread @ 12:34 pm

Okay, so we finally got going on the surgery, several hours late.  All the nurses were bustling around, covering things in plastic and laying out sterile instruments, and I was given a little 2×2 area to stand in (obviously, can’t be breathing down the surgeon’s neck, and could not come within the sterile field of various instrument tables positioned around the small room).

Then they wheeled the patient in.  I felt a little bad for him being all vulnerable and about to have his eyeball poked.  They got the anesthesia going and continued prepping.  Then, he started fighting the sedation and flailing his arms all around.  So they had to give him a “block”-meaning that they had to put him on a respirator and put him completely under.  So we got sent out to the hall for another half hour.  When we came back in, he was out and all draped up with just his eyeball showing.

I was trying very hard not to focus too closely on what was going on in the eyeball area, and just getting some general pictures.  Before too long, they turned off the overhead lights and were operating by the light put out from the instruments, shooting entirely into eyeball.  So the room was very dark, and it was very hard to shoot.  Obviously, using flash was out; I didn’t want to distract the surgeon while he was in someone’s eyeball.  So messing around with my camera settings, trying to capture a darkened scene, and get shots when the surgeon’s hands were not in my way (again, little hard to pose the doc mid-surgery) kept me occupied for most of the surgery and kept my mind off what I was actually looking at.  Luckily the eyeball is relatively small and the incisions are little and not very bloody.  A full open-body cavity would have done me in.

Oh, but then he started sort of shaking in the middle of surgery, so they had to stop and figure out what was going on.  Then there was some stuff with a laser and the doc was turning to his assistant and telling her to go ahead and close up.  Unfortunately, we still had to stand around and wait because we wanted to get some more shots of the equipment once the sterile plastic drapes had been removed.  I asked the rep I was with exactly what was involved in “closing up” since apparently a non-doctor can do it, and he said, “Oh she’s suturing his eyeball, come look!”  Um, no thanks. I’ve made it this far without booting, I’d like to keep it that way.

And then it was over and I turned in my scrubs and went home.  I took over 200 pictures and am about halfway done processing them all.  I got a couple really good shots that I’m very proud of.  I just need to go through the rest and see if there are any other hidden gems.  It’s tedious comparing so many similar shots for the subtle differences in focus, lighting, depth of field and positioning that make a better shot.  I would never make it as a full time photographer.

Next posts: New Hampshire last week, update on the sperm situation.

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