Garrett’s Second Procedure To Correct Ankles

Two weeks after his initial visit to the Stanford Children’s Hospital for a procedure to release his tendons, Garrett returned to have his casts replaced and have minor adjustments made to the positioning of his ankles. This time I was there not only as a friend of the family, but as a professional with my big workhorse of a camera and the hospital’s PR rep, my friend, who has helped me out in the past. I going to take a moment here to update my last “post on gaining access to a hospital.” I was immediately treated different once my big camera came out. Even though I had PR there backing me up, nurses were questioning my presence and demanding info and clearance before continuing with their duties. At one point a nurse left the room, returning to say that since a “camera” my big 5D with a 16-35 lens and battery grip, a pro looking camera, was present the charge nurse wanted to know who I was and why I was there. My PR contact, in the room, stepped in, showed his badge and cleared my access. I had received the golden key for the day, my access would go uninhibited throughout the day. The only challenge I had left was to gain access to the operating room to photograph Garrett. That would come without me even knowing it. While we were waiting to enter the pre-op staging area my PR friend left the room. Returning, he told me that the doctor did not mind me being in the OR during the procedure as long as Garrett and his mom didn’t mind. The final hurdle was cleared.
Throughout the years of photographing Garrett and his family, I have witnessed some pretty horrible, heart wrenching moments that have pushed my emotions to the edge and beyond. This visit to the hospital would be another one of those days. You’d think that after all of these years I would be use to hearing Garrett in pain, witnessing his tears, fear and anxiety. I have to admit that even 3 years later it’s still hard for me to witness this kid in pain. As I write this the tears are welling up in my eyes. EB is a horrible disease. To hear Garrett screaming how he hates his life (captured during frame #7 in the above slide show) is rough. Already anxious, scared, in pain, and deathly afraid of needles, Garrett lost it and broke down. I only experienced him say this a couple of times over the last few years. Those times were moments of extreme pain off the 0-10 pain charts.
Witnessing Garrett’s experience has changed for me now that I have a child of my own. I feel more sensitive and connected to the family’s strife. As Garrett was wheeled into the OR, sedated, scared, he was crying for his mommy. This was a new experience for me. I had never seen Garrett separated from the care of his mom.
Photographing in the OR would prove to be one of the most challenging environments to photograph in. I had never photographed in this environment before. Even now as I type this I realize an image that I failed to create. But I digress. The procedure was done with about 8 people around Garrett all within a giant blue circle of tiles on the floor. This circle I could not cross for sterility reasons. I was allowed to shoot from any point around that circle. With so many people moving back and forth it was at times difficult to get the right angle or capture the moment. There were many missed opportunities. So is the nature of the beast. But it did give me many opportunities to create many layered, complex frames.

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One thought on “Garrett’s Second Procedure To Correct Ankles

  1. I am a Guatemalan lady, mother of 3 healthy children. I knew about Garrett bcse of a Nat Geo show, and really impacted my family and I. I ended up trying to find out this boy´s progress, Thank you, Mr. Hermann for sharing with us the pain and the courage of this unique family. My regards and prayers!!!

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