by Ansel Oommen, 05/12/2020, New York, NY
Oftentimes, clinical laboratory technologists are out of sight and as a result, out of mind in the public realm, even though we are just as impacted by this pandemic as our other colleagues in health care. The paradox of being a technologist is that our patients are physically present (through their samples), but not entirely, and they are psychologically present (when we view their charts or call their providers), but not entirely either. Despite this ambiguousness, when dealing with hundreds of samples per day and viewing the results before everyone else, we feel the brewing storm looming over the horizon just the same. There is a strange sense of heaviness in the air that lingers after we release results. Although the lab is quiet, the gravity we feel is immense when every sample we process whispers stories of the person behind it. The gravity we feel is immense when our results are the thunder that reverberates beyond four walls and out into the world itself— echoes that strike like lightning, illuminating the thin line between life and death. In a split second, we know that countless lives will be changed. Yet, amidst the strange climate we all find ourselves in, somewhere in the atmosphere, there is also a sense of solidarity and purpose. Behind the thick cover of clouds, there is still light, and we must all work together to find our own sunrise in the upcoming darkness.