WHY I TAKE THIS SO PERSONALLY
In my first article I mentioned that I take this issue of performer health very personally, and I would like to take this opportunity to explain this in further detail.
Many years before I had ever heard of AIM Healthcare I was working for Physicians Clinical Laboratory, in Glendale California. One day I was dispatched to an oncology office to pick up a ‘stat’ specimen. This was a routine thing so I headed over there and went up to the office. I picked up the red stat bag out of the refrigerator, chatted with the nurse for a few minutes, then went back to my car. At that point I realized that I had not signed the “Stat Log” in the office. I tossed the specimen on my front seat and went back upstairs to sign the log. I walked into the office, and out of the corner of my eye I thought I say my sister going into an exam room. Then I picked up the stat log, and the name on line 16 was my mothers. The stat tests were a CA-15,Ca-19.9 and a CEA. These are cancer detection tests. I realized then that I had just tossed the specimen into my car, and didn’t put it in my ice chest. It was a summer day, about 95 degrees.
I cant put into words here how I felt, you can probably imagine. To make a long story short my mother died of lung cancer less than a year later. I never told her what I had done, and to this day it haunts me. The very next day after doing that with my mothers blood specimen, I asked for a transfer to another lab department, I was determined to learn everything I could about the lab, and to make sure that nothing like what I had done ever happened again, at least not while I was around.
Fast forward to April 2004. I am at the AIM office in Woodland Hills where I had spent a lot of time, but today was different, and we all know why. And here I am with the AIM employee( I have not asked for permission to use anyone’s name, so I wont) and to say the least, the stuff is hitting the fan. The AIM employee is in the exam room drawing blood, and I am alone by the front desk. In walks a girl who had just been notified why she needs to come in and get tested. She is a wreck, sobbing uncontrollably, sweating, and shaking form head to toe. I lead her into the other little exam room and she sits down, and at this exact moment the AIM employee walks in and begins to console her. After a few minutes its time to draw her blood. I’m sitting right next to her. She reaches over and grabs my wrist and squeezes, and squeezes hard. Her fingernail dig into my skin. To this day I have a visible scar on my left wrist, a reminder of that day. I have often thought that was one of the worst days of my professional career, but I cant imagine what kind of a day it was for her.
I called Mitch that night and cried like a baby. Mitch said, and I will never forget it,” Time to pony up Tim, I need you. This is why we’re here.”
This is why I take it personally, and I will always fight for performers. I probably overstepped some privacy lines here, but at this point I don’t care about that.
Mitch and I don’t talk much anymore. I will always admire, respect, and love Mitch, no matter what she thinks of me.