Lab Data

It was not one of my prouder moments.

I’ve spent decades of my life running scientific tests on blood and urine and other ghastly body bits, and you can’t just wing it creatively when you’re dealing with someone’s life.

You’ve heard of creative accounting?

Well, I tried being creative once as a student in my hospital training as a lab tech.

I had a sample of amniotic fluid and was running a chemistry test called an L/S ratio to determine if a developing fetus’s lungs were sufficiently well developed to cope and breathe in the outside world.


The test involved a math calculation to come to the final answer. I did my figuring and sent the result off to the doctor.

The physician looked at the result — the baby’s lungs were good to go. The Mom was struggling with high blood pressure or something dangerous to her health like that so a C-section was scheduled in ASAP.

The surgeon was soon in the OR suite washing his hands thoroughly for the C-section that would get the little one out but, feeling some inexplicable niggling doubt, he decided to call the lab to confirm that the test result was correct.

The senior technologist in the lab department reviewed the result and looking at my calculations, discovered that I had put a decimal point in the wrong location. When corrected, it showed the baby’s lungs were far from ready for breathing outside the womb.

If the doctor hadn’t phoned to double-check the result, ten minutes later, I would have been responsible for killing a newborn.

My creative approach to lab testing was a MAJOR failure.

I made the BIG mistake, but what is really sad, is that the senior tech who was responsible for watching over me got into more shit than I did.

He trusted my skills and abilities based on what he had seen in the few weeks we had worked together, and didn’t double-check my work any longer. I had let him down.  Fatal mistake … well, almost.

Bottom line? Lab work doesn’t call for the creative right-brain to activate a whole lot.


I want to be the most creative person … EVerr (sounds like a line from a Taylor Swift song, I know).

Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Brian Wilson, Joni Mitchell, Andy Warhol, Michelangelo, stand aside.


Earlier this year I took an online Songwriting course and now I’ve started another free course through the online presence of COURSERA on Creativity, Innovation, and Change via Penn State University.

If you’ve read any of my earlier posts, you’ve probably guessed by now that I am in awe of the inner workings of those who can paint, write, play music and find any number of ways to be creative and make things happen from nowhere, out of nothing.

Of course, it’s never from nothing — we have a huge mind bank of input from years of dirty-dancing with this world. Still, it feels like it’s new and spontaneous when we discover an inspired force bubbling to the surface like lava from the central core of the earth.

Ideas and creativity are all about taking what floats around us and mixing and matching to bring out a new concept … remember, it’s all about Idea Sex.

Creativity can be a challenge, and so most of us look around for a springboard of inspiration, sometimes in the great outdoors, sometimes in reading others’ stories, and often by just observing and absorbing what others around us are doing.

I have just such an inspirational person that I work around one day each week.

Cindy is a cool and enthusiastically-energetic lady. She gets the highest-endorphin high from conceptualizing. You talk to her and immediately you see the wheels churning.

She can’t turn her mind off. She lives her life in metaphor… how everything — both in the workplace and in her personal space — somehow relates to something else.

For all I know, she doesn’t sleep at night because of all the ideas flowing continuously like the Nile into one ear and out the other. She casts her net into the passing river and picks out the tasty fish-that-are-ideas swimming past.


Cindy is a bit like me (although she is far more attuned to details, I’m a big picture kind of guy, details usually drive me crazy) in that she works in a science-based profession, but really her mind works in a more free-flowing artistic sort of way.

She works in a job situation filled with IT problems and challenges. She has to find solutions quickly. A lab test result that warns of bad cardiac damage in a heart attack victim communicated a week after it’s done is next to useless. People will die or become much sicker without fast turnaround of lab tests. Cindy spends most of her weekday working two phone lines simultaneously, solving problem after problem.

Her’s is a much preferable use of creativity in the science world than I exhibited in my early student days.

Cindy lives in this headspace where she’s always perfectly located to get the message she wants when she needs it. You might call it coincidence, but I really believe it’s because she’s constantly ready to receive. She has a consciousness that is open and able to pick up what passes others by.

Modern day geniuses like Steve Jobs can absorb and synthesize ideas that make no connection in the typically unprepared.


So will I ever join the ranks of the super creative?

Probably not.

But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try and be enthused and motivated by the amazing capacity to see things “different“.

Think Different

I’m trying hard to shed the lab mindset that tends to see things in a black and white way and find meandering paths that have an undetermined and mysterious end.

I marvel at those who produce and imagine and synthesize, not spending their whole lives as spectators.

Our super-saturated world makes it so difficult to be creatively productive, to not just observe the TV, the video games, the professional sports, the theatre and dance productions, the Hollywood movies.

Where do we carve the moments in our days to be producers and not only consumers? It is tough. But surely we deserve  to breathe more reality into our once imaginary dreams — to make ourselves more than just bystanders..

The unknown can be scary and intimidating but it’s the uncharted roads that take us to places where ultimately, our hearts beat vigourously with the most profound intensity and satisfaction.


Live to the Point of Tears”

                                                               Albert Camus