Into the Blue Zone
I worked in hospitals for nearly 7 years as an IV Therapist - I mixed all of the IV meds that didn't come premixed such as chemotherapy agents, TPN (nutrition for patients on ventilators who cannot eat), and a wide variety of medications for the ER and surgery wards.
Because I had to be scrub certified to enter the sterile room where I did my work, I was also cleared to enter the OR and surgery units.
I made friends with several surgeons and on my time off I'd go into the OR with my trusty Nikon F5 or my Nikon D1x.
My goal was not to "document" a surgery that had no doubt been photographed and filmed/video taped countless times before.
My goal was to wait for the moment that the surgeon would hyper-focus on the surgery at hand - a unique moment that I discovered after watching countless surgeries. I guess you could say the moment when the surgeon entered into "The Zone" and they tuned out everything around them.
I became obsessed with capturing the intensity of their focus and their body language. Many of the surgeons I worked with loved my photos and said they felt I captured the best portrait they'd ever had taken... regardless you couldn't see their faces because of their surgical masks.
The BLUE ZONE refers to the blue drapes that are laid on the patient and on certain tables around the main operating table. These represent a "Sterile field" - which means you can't walk between them. The operating room is a different world full of the most amazing moments. Life and death hang in the cold sterile air with a weight you cannot dismiss.
I am very proud of my time in this world for it taught me to never take any given day for granted; too many times the stories I saw were ones where the patient was here today and sadly would not be tomorrow.