Author Archives: Sophie Katz

Sophie Katz is a Registered Nurse and a PhD student in Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Her work in anthropology focuses on nurses and death, surveillance, and autonomy in the hospital and beyond. She currently lives in Michigan with her husband and two dogs.
A dome surveillance camera mounted on a white ceiling tile. A hallway is reflected in the camera’s plastic housing.

Staring Contest

It’s 3 in the morning. I’m sitting at the end of the hallway of the boomerang-shaped intensive care unit (ICU) where I work, looking into the darkness beyond the unit’s only window. When I’m on the unit, the world outside the hospital transforms into something entirely remote—intangible, imperceptible, inconsequential. I force myself to imagine the scent of the fresh air I will inhale when I leave. It’s hard to remember that the world is pulsing with life outside these walls. The hospital’s resistance to darkness and quiet permeates the boundaries of reality itself. The fluorescent lights transform me into something other than a person, washing out the details that make me Sophie. In here, I can lose myself. In here, I am lost. (read more...)