The Director of the Lab called me into his office. 

 About 3 months after my terrified entry into my career as a Phlebotomist, the Director of the lab walked into our department and pointed at me and said, “Steve I need to see you in my office.”  My heart went up into my throat and I started thinking, “What did I do wrong?”

The Director was a gruff, insecure man who I was totally intimidated by and only 3 months into my tenure—I had not been able to get a grasp on his personality.  I learned over the years, that he was one of the kindest, most gentle people who ever came into my life. 

In 1983, I was only 25 years old.  I was young, green and inexperienced.  I have been on this 3rd Rock from our closest star for 62 years now.  I am now starting to figure some things out; about who I am, and why the Creator put me here and what some of my purpose is.  So when Mr. Moore the director of the lab came into our department about 3 months after I had started, and called me to his office—I was scared again.  My classic Steve Madrid 25 year old way of thinking came alive –Overthinking that is.  I went into Mr. Moore’s office where he told me to sit down in the chair across from his desk.   He then proceeded to swivel his chair around to a metal filing cabinet he had close by.  He fished around in the files for a minute.  My heart was thumpety, thump, thump thumpin again as I prepared myself for the worst.  Mr. Moore swiveled back around and slapped a piece of paper down on the desk in front of me.  He then gruffly, and with his fuzzy eyebrows pinched forward, informed me, “I need for you to sign this right here.”  I looked at the paper, oblivious to what it said and I had to nervously look up at Mr. Moore and ask with my body language dripping with dread,  “Mr. Moore, did I do something wrong? “  

He replied, “You didn’t do anything wrong.” 

I was still unsure about what was happening.  I thought I was being written up for something.  After 3 months, I had tried to hone my Phlebotomy skills and I had found that I was able to contribute to helping push the workload through every day.  I had tried to be punctual about coming to work every day.  I could not remember ever having to call in sick since I started.  I had even started to collect blood from children now.  I had even been able to fumble my way through the nursery where the newborns were and perform heelsticks on them.  I was not very good with that yet, but at least I did not complain about it when it was my turn to go.  (At least out loud I didn’t.)  I preferred to work on adults with veins so much more prominent than those children that I was beginning to encounter.  Then Mr. Moore almost floored me with what he said next.

 “I’ve decided to give you a raise.” 


     I was absolutely dumbfounded.  “I’m sorry Mr. Moore.  What was that you just said”? I asked.  “Really?”  “A Raise?”  I could feel the tension coursing through my body beginning to soften up.  Wow, I could not believe what was happening. 

Mr. Moore’s Delivery could have been better…  Mr. Moore leaned back in his chair, twiddled his thumbs and told me.  “Young Man, you have been doing a good job and I want you to know I am aware of your contribution to our team.” I didn’t know what to say next.  “Thank You Mr. Moore,” was all I could respond with.  Then Mr. Moore immediately reverted back to the personality I was still trying to get a grasp on.  “Okay Steve, that was all I needed. You can get back to work now.”  Now I was being shooed out of there.  I stumbled to my feet and made my way out of his office and in a big, blurry haze, I walked back to the “Collections” department.  It was not even called “Phlebotomy”.  It was called Collections in our lab because we collected the blood.  It was at the end of the summer that Mr. Moore called me into his office.

1983 was the year.  I had been married for 3 years.  My wife Lupe always has been and always will be—the best thing that ever happened to me.  3 years into our marriage, we were happy, struggling to make our ends meet, and grateful for our union.  We celebrated our 41st  wedding anniversary this past May the 24th.  We have euphorically ridden the high cresting, waves of our lives and held each other tight, when the low waves have crashed their way in.  The movies of 1983 included, Flashdance, A Christmas Story, Mr. Mom and The Right Stuff. 

I was just beginning to understand that I had the right stuff to be a Phlebotomist.

            My position as a Phlebotomist was supposed to only be temporary.  My plan was to work on the evening shift for Methodist Hospital in Lubbock Texas and carry classes at Texas Tech University during the day and prepare for where my Life would turn to next.  I did work on the evening shift and I did carry classes during the day at TTU.  Now, 38 years later I continue to work directly with patients every day.  I was destined to do what I do.  It took me a long time to understand that. 

Are You like me?  Has it taken you a long time to understand the reasons for what you do and the path that brought you there?  My reasons for writing include, sharing my experience with others out there and to find a place to express myself about my journey.  A place where I can share my story and hopefully connect with people like You and others out there, playing out their own stories.   

Remember when You are trying to establish the Path You are on–Try your best to — “Lean, Lock and Roll” with Whatever comes Your Way… Steven…