Secret Admirer

Kristen Nace

You will never see my face or know my name. You probably won’t give much thought to what happens to your blood after your doctor says, “I think we need to run some tests,” and the phlebotomist draws it into the tubes with their colored tops. I know I never did, until I became a medical laboratory technologist.

Over the course of a normal day at the hospital lab, my coworkers and I process hundreds of patient specimens–everything from blood to bone, from sputum to spinal fluid. Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, the specimens come to us from the hospital’s ER and ICU, from doctor’s offices and nursing homes, from the inpatients on the floors above us and from outpatients who walk in through the hospital’s doors.