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An Update from Dennis: Is There Life After Phlebotomy

by Dennis Ernst • March 01, 2022

Some people refuse to go away. Count me among them. 

It's been 15 months since I wrote my last post here. A lot has happened since, which can best be summed from the lyrics of the Grateful Dead's classic, Truckin': "What a long, strange trip it's been."

I've officially taken the exit ramp to retirement where I will find out what life after phlebotomy is like. This much I know for sure: I want you in it. You heard me. I want you to be part of my after-phlebotomy life. Hey, we go back way too far to just let our friendship fizzle away. In the 25 years I ran the Center for Phlebotomy Education, I've amassed thousands of friends and colleagues that are just too hard to forget. I think about you often. Really, I do. You made the journey so incredible, I want you in my next journey, too.

Just so you know, I plan on having nothing to do with phlebotomy anymore except for submitting to the occasional venipuncture myself. (Apologies in advance to everyone who is unfortunate enough to be on duty when I walk in the door. You're going to get pointers; there's no way around it.) Exactly what I intend to do in my retirement, and why I think you'll be glad you came along, comes a few paragraphs later. Suffice it to say you'll be getting more of what you loved most when we interacted through But first, here's what's transpired since we last visited on these pages:

     I've been to San Diego, Phoenix, Raleigh, and Los Angeles on business, and to the local emergency room on account of my primary physician's unwillingness to listen to me. Now he can't listen to me because I fired him. I caught Covid last year, and five beavers last month whose handiwork flooded my house. If I had to choose between one or the other I'd take Covid again. It cost me only three days in bed whereas the beavers cost me a small fortune. 
     About a year ago, I suddenly lost my hearing in one ear. Now people don't know if I heard them or if I hear only what I want to hear. I know a lot of retired husbands who wish they were as fortunate. 
     Catherine is fine, by the way, and says "hi." She's doing a lot of quilting, cooking, canning, freeze-drying, and other domestifications. This spring, she's got quite a nice garden going. Beets, peas, 'maters, 'taters, and kale. I'm fond of all but the kale. If you ask me, no plant that cooks up like seaweed has any business in a garden, not mine or anyone else's. But she loves it, and says it's good for me.  I help her in the garden when I can, anyway, planting whatever she asks. She'd probably have a lot more kale if my hearing was better.

Now that I'm on the exit ramp to roads less traveled, I'm inviting you along for the ride. Over the years, it's become obvious to me the part of Phlebotomy Today you loved the most was my editorials and "On a Personal Note" columns. It probably won't surprise you that those columns were the ones I enjoyed writing the most, too. So I'm taking them to the next level by launching Studio E, my personal YouTube Channel. More specifically, my Studio E playlist titled "Life After Phlebotomy" will be where you and I can connect and continue our legendary friendship. Instead of phlebotomy being our common bond, it will be the mutual admiration and genuine concern we've developed over the years as champions of preanalytical excellence. 

Think of Studio E as our sandbox, the video version of my "On a Personal Note" essays. If you have a moment, visit my channel and subscribe. I'll do my best to make it worth your time. One week  you may hear about the massive midge fly invasion around my house and the mosquito infiltration inside, the next week I might just take you kayaking down the Sturgeon river. The week after that we could both disappear into the swamp behind our woods and talk about what incredible engineers beavers really are. Rest assured, it'll always be interesting if not informative. You've been with me this long; join me and we'll both find out if there's life after phlebotomy. 


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