“The Guy”

It’s the med techs, nurses, schedulers and physician’s assistants that make this deal a whole lot easier to swallow than it might otherwise be. They’ve got situations and issues of their own without a doubt, but you would never know it.

Take Ray. He’s the med tech at our local cancer center that takes Tom’s blood labs every two weeks and flash faxes them over to Mayo. The luck of the draw got us to Ray the first time we went in. Let’s see, that would have been June 26, just about one month ago.

Ray’s not young, not old, with blue highways of experience in his calm, dark eyes. He retired from a career in the Navy, did a high wire act in real estate before everybody crashed with or without a net, then went back to school for his med tech certificate. Ray is kind and he is careful. Checks everything twice. Gives you the feeling he knows his bit of the interlocking puzzle is a corner piece.  And he’s right. These periodic blood labs let Tom’s Mayo docs assess whether he is ready for the next treatment cycle.

Ray uses a winged infusion set , sometimes called a butterfly needle. Tom thinks of it as a dragonfly, because its proboscis dips delicately into his blood, sure and unquivering, even while it fills several vials. The technology, along with Ray’s steady hand, results in no bruising or discomfort.

After the first blood-letting, we asked Ray if he would be available to do this every time. “Sure,” he said with a smile that put lights in his eyes. “Just ask for the guy.” We must have looked confused. He waved a hand at the other blood-letting stations in two rows around the small room. Sure enough, all the other med techs were female. He’s “the guy,” and we’re grateful to have him on the team.


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