My path has been winding and unconventional. I am fortunate to have finally begun to understand my way. All of us have our own story. All of us are given different talents, different foundations, different opportunities, different challenges, different journeys to live in. I was born in Roswell New Mexico. Alien mecca to the world.
On June 14th of 1947, a ranch foreman named William Brazel working on the J.B. Foster Ranch northwest of Roswell, found something. The stories are varied and cloaked in mystery as to what he found. If you visit Roswell today, you will find that main street continues to foster the mystery. Probably due to the continued influx of visitors with money in their pockets from all over the world. They make their pilgrimage to Roswell to try to decipher what happened there. Maybe someday, someone will solve the mystery.
When I was born in 1958, my Father worked for Walker Air Force Base in Roswell. My Father was an ambitious man. Both my parents were ambitious. I believe one of the main reasons they found each other was because of their common desire to make their lives better. Both of my parents were good looking people when they met each other. My Mom is still good looking today. My Mom Consuelo, (Connie) had that striking, Red Lipstick, 50’s Capri Pants, Pencil Skirt kind of Persona. My Dad Cruz had hazel green eyes and his black curly hair was combed straight back into his flat top style of the day. The American Dream was the home I was born into. My Father had scored a civil service job with Walker Air Force Base in Roswell a few years before I was born. His story was established when he took that job. He started out in “Base Supply.” He told me stories of helping move Jet Airplane Tires around in the warehouse. Unfortunate for my Dad, he was injured moving those tires and dealt with Chronic Back pain for the rest of his life.
My Mom learned how to cut hair and the Beauty Salon was an integral part of 1950’s American Life. Eventually my Mom even owned her own Beauty Salon. Ambition to the core. My parents knew how to roll up their sleeves and get to work. They seeped that into me and my siblings. We all learned from an early age that nothing comes for free. When I started working as a Phlebotomist in 1983, I already had that trait of “Get Busy” ingrained in my bones. It served me well. When I started as a Phlebotomist, we took care of everything and anything that needed Lab Techs to collect blood, all over our Hospital. Adults, Children, Babies, Oncology Patients, Emergency Room, Outpatients—We did it all. I learned very quickly who the workers were in our department and who were the ones who had to be prodded. I prided myself in always being among the leaders in the pack in collecting blood samples. I remember having races with others on my crew. As the years passed, I had new Phlebotomists that challenged me from time to time for races when we went on our appointed rounds. To this day, I am proud to say I have never been beaten. (Now for the patients that suffered my whirlwind entries and exits into and out of their rooms for their blood samples on those races–I profoundly apologize.) If you are collecting blood, day in, day out, on various patients all over your big hospital—You get good or you move on. After months had passed, I found I had a natural talent for collecting blood. I think it had to do with the fact that I have always had a natural affinity for working with my hands and tools ever since I was young.
As the years of my life passed, I also became a Carpenter. I feel God’s pleasure when I am immersed and lost in my creations. Tools have always been interesting and natural to me. The fit of them in my hands comes natural. I have my favorites. Some of them are old and weathered. Some of them are shiny, bright and new. I have a saying– “A Man can never have too many tools.” I have collected many of them over the years and I have amassed a considerable amount of experience with all of them. To create something with our hands was a strong impetus for why our earliest ancestors migrated into what we are today. We are fortunate to have minds that look for easier, more pragmatic ways in our day to day existence. Tools are at the crux of that fact. We look for and invent tools to make our lives easier. The tools of Phlebotomy are tried and true. As a Phlebotomy Teacher I have helped over 2000 Phlebotomists, Lab Assistants, Medical Technologists and Nurses establish their Phlebotomy Skills. Vacu- holders, Butterflies, Syringes, Lancets –I have taught many new people to lab work, the intricacies, advantages and disadvantages with all these tools. I found some had a natural affinity for Phlebotomy while I found a few who had two left hands. I have held the hands of many as they began their negotiation with the tools, and their negotiation with the varied patient personalities they encountered. I have helped new Phlebotomists jump the obstacles that come naturally when collecting blood samples. I have mopped up the tears of a few who were so overwhelmed with the emotional aspect of what we do.
Phlebotomy is an entry level position for many people striving to find their open door into the Health Care Industry. There are not many of us that stick with Phlebotomy for very long. No pun intended there. The work can be grinding if you work in an environment where they depend on you to be on the front line, in and out of patient’s rooms at 0400 in the morning collecting samples for early morning lab runs. Unusual hours, short staffed, challenging patients—the work can be so very daunting. On the reciprocal—There are the patients that make you smile, make you laugh, make you appreciate your journey on this worldly plane, when you witness their grit and determination to overcome. They keep you coming back again and again. Those resilient people and their stories inspire you to strive to be gentle, compassionate, skilled and feeling like a Super Hero when everything goes right…
Remember, that when You strive to keep your patients comfortable and laughing as You work with them— “You are Leaning, Locking and Rolling with them” Steven..