Friday, April 08, 2011

Neonatal Phototherapy

Within the first week of Tontu’s birth, she had jaundice as most newborns do. To treat jaundice for newborns, the infants are kept under a source of blue light. This process is called Neonatal Phototherapy.

The nurse informed that the infant’s eyes should be protected from the blue light. So whenever we placed the baby in the crib under the phototherapy, one of us always had to hold a folded longish cloth (like a shawl) over the eyes to act as a shield.

Now, the baby had to undergo the phototherapy for over 10 hrs. If the baby slept for the entire 10 hr duration, then all is well. But newborns being newborns, they wake up every once in an hour or whenever they feel its time to bother the people around! And if they wake up at a time when no one is around, lo and behold, they start gazing into the Blue World and no parent wants the eyes of their just born to stare into intense wavelength.

So we (whosoever in the ward donning the role of attendants) took turns to provide this shield to the eyes by manually standing over the crib and holding the folded cloth over the eyes. It was on one such occasion, when I was bending over the crib, holding the cloth taut over either sides of the crib, thereby shielding the eyes, that the attending sister saw me. She didn’t say anything but I could see that she was appreciative of the Fatherly Love, of the Father taking pains to protect his daughter.

Almost an hour passed by and relentlessly I stayed put in the same position: bent over the crib, folded cloth taut over sides of the crib, shielding the baby’s eyes. Again, the same sister popped into the ward. She saw me in the same position she had seen me almost an hour ago. She asked me to move aside. She looked around. She found couple of cloths lying hither and thither. She took both of them and neatly folded both into brick like formations. She kept the two brick-like folded cloths on either side of the infant’s head. She took the folded cloth (which I was using as the shield) from me and tucked either ends of it over and underneath the two brick-like folded cloths. This automatically acted as a shield over the infant’s eyes. This done, she walked away.

Imagine my state. I felt stupid. It showed absolute zero ‘Apply Thought’ process from me. I work for one of the esteemed companies who recruits associates testing only keen intelligence and here I was making a mockery of myself in front of attending nurses. The nurse having showed me how to automate a tedious menial task had deflated me completely, and suddenly, with nothing to be done, I sat down. It took a moment for me to digest.

Then I realized that perhaps if the exercise had seemed boring to me, I too would have thought a way out of it. But the fact was, it didn’t seem boring. It didn’t seem tedious. It was nice to be there, near my daughter, sharing her treatment (my hands were undergoing phototherapy too!), being sorry for her to have to feel the emitted heat, staring at her small features, admiring them, being fascinated by them – and it was as if I was enjoying every moment of it and the fact that it had been almost an hour hadn’t even struck me.

That’s what happens when we become parents.

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