I am a certified phlebotomist and lab assistant. I passed the classroom portion of my program at the top of my class. I successfully completed clinical rotations in three different hospital laboratories. I conquered not one but TWO, super scary nerve racking board certification exams. Now, as a result, I can write my name like this: Crystal Mead PBT, (ASCP)CM, CMLA (AMT). It was a big accomplishment for me. I worked hard, I studied hard. They might not be credentials like MD or MLS, but they were a BIG DEAL. The funny thing is, I’ve never actually written them behind my name. There has been no life situation where I have felt it appropriate to add the additional 13 letters to my name and in doing so declare the areas for which I have been certified. And, Really, that’s okay.
Then one day, about a month after I had returned from maternity leave an opportunity presented itself in the form of a simple styrofoam cup. It was 7am and already had been a full day. As I made the short trek from the lab to the dining room to attempt to re energize myself with a cup of coffee, I replayed the events that had unfolded so far. It started with the sleep piercing, sudden hungry baby screaming times two at 2 am. The hubby and me, changing diapers, sleeperes, stripping the cover off of two swings, mixing up 2 bottles, feeding, and burping. Me wiping the spit up from a sweet little face and hands (his hands and mine), and the floor, and the couch, and my shirt. My husband moving the swing frames out of the living room and moving one bouncer, one bassinet into its place, and then stumbling back to bed to steal one hour more of sleep. Me, trying to convince 2 very awake and fussy little boys to go back to sleep for just 30 more minutes so I could get showered and ready for work. Somehow I managed, as somehow I always do, to get myself ready and pack up two adorable little boys so my husband could drop them off at grandma’s house on his way to work. And then I was on the road.
I drive 36 miles from my front door to the hospital where I work, on a dark stretch of curvy highway. Old highway 92 has a reputation for the variety of wildlife that tends to dart from out of nowhere in front of oncoming cars. This morning, just to keep me on my toes, it had given me fog. I was 10 minutes late starting my commute and now had to slow down due to the poor visibility. But I got there, late but safe once again.
Arriving at work, the real chaos began. There was an ER patient waiting for me, one who was difficult to get blood from. The hospital’s interface system was down. Our main chemistry analyzer was having issues, and the tech I was working with that morning was glued to the phone, desperately following any and all troubleshooting advice the tech support person on the other end had to give. It was hectic. But, by the time the first hour of my day had ticked away it all had managed to work out. The analyzer was running, the ER patients tests were in progress, and my morning quality Control tests were completed. Which brought me back to the moment I was in, fetching coffee. As I completed the mental recap I felt a great sense of accomplishment about all I had tackled that morning. I grabbed the styrofoam cup for my coffee and my sharpie to write my name on it. I was intending to follow it up with my credentials, big bold and proud in sharpie black. But I hesitated, though a moment, smiled and then wrote instead; Crystal Mead MOT.
I love my job. I really enjoy what I do and the place where I do it, but in the moment of reflecting on the day, that wasn’t the label I wanted to wear. Nope, that morning I chose a new label. One that referred to a part of my life that I had done nothing to earn. It was purely a gift from God. A crazy unexpected blessing. There were no classes, no clinicals, no big scary tests that got me this credential. It was simply God’s hand in my life. And now with His help I was living it, surviving it, at times maybe even being good at it. It was more challenging than any position I have ever had, but also so much more rewarding. I don’t know why God had chosen me for this job but He had. So when my curious coworker asked about the three bold black letters sitting behind my name, I grinned big and proclaimed: MOT, Mother of Twins.