MindForce: Mental Fitness & Career Stories!

MSgt John Reeves: A Story of Service, Health, and the Lab Tech Life

December 06, 2023 Nathaniel Scheer Season 1 Episode 10
MindForce: Mental Fitness & Career Stories!
MSgt John Reeves: A Story of Service, Health, and the Lab Tech Life
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if your life choices led you to a career that not only enabled you to serve others but also inspired you to prioritize mental health? This fascinating journey is that of Master Sergeant John Reeves, a seasoned medical lab technician. Walking us through his 14-year journey in the 4T0X1 medical laboratory technician AFSC, Reeves unveils his unique reason for joining the Air Force and how it morphed into a pursuit of self-care and service.

From running himself over with his own car to wrestling for his driver's license, Reeves's stories are as captivating as they are enlightening. He paints a vivid picture of the critical role lab techs play in quality control, providing life-saving blood products, and even testing for biological weapons. His experiences are testimony to the relentless dedication and hard work that underpin this career. His story shines a spotlight on the vital role lab techs play in providing accurate patient diagnoses and protecting the base.

As we journey further, Reeves detours into the realm of mental health. He stresses the importance of open conversation and the profound impact of Susan Scott's book "Fierce Conversations" on his approach to inner dialogue and difficult conversations. From career decisions to maintaining mental fitness, his wisdom and insights are a treasure trove for anyone navigating challenging career paths. Tune in and share in the intriguing journey of Master Sergeant John Reeves.

Scheerious Positivity!

Nate Scheer:

Welcome to the podcast. Mind Matters. If it's on your mind, it matters. The podcast for love, life and learning. I'm your host, Nate Scheer, and this is another episode of AFSC's One Through Nine. Today we have the wonderful Master Sergeant John Reeves on the show. Welcome to the show. Hey, how's it going, captain? Good to be here. Absolutely, it's a great time. One of my favorite parts of the podcast is being able to hang out with people I love and have some great conversations. It's a little weird. That's recorded, but it's still going to be a great time. Initially, we're going to kick off and knock out some of the easy questions. First question what is your AFSC?

John Reeves:

I'm glad we started with the easy ones. My AFSC is 4T0X1, which is essentially clinical laboratory technician. That is my AFSC.

Nate Scheer:

Perfect, you've read right into the next one, which is the official title. That's medical laboratory technician, awesome. The last part of the three-part question is how did you find or become interested in 4T?

John Reeves:

I didn't find 4T. It essentially found me. I came in open general. I completely rolled the dice. I was hoping I'd get medical, but the whole time I was going through basic training. There's no way you're ever going to get medical. I consider myself lucky. It was my number three choice. When you're in basic you get a list of possible AFSCs to choose from. I put it as number three. When I got my actual selection to be a 4T, I was super excited. Then I started reading chemistry, microbiology, all these sciences. I was like, oh shoot, I'm not even sure if my ASVAB was good enough to get this AFSC. No, I was very fortunate. No, I didn't choose it. It shows me.

Nate Scheer:

That's awesome. It's really cool. You've gotten medical. A lot of people desire that. I do find it super hilarious. You mentioned that there's so many different functions and things that happen in the medical group that are outside of nurses and doctors. I think, being in the Air Force, the first assumption we fly jets, that's number one, then two you say no, I work with the Med Group. Then you're like oh cool, you're a doctor or a nurse. There's so many more people that are important for the operation and functioning of the clinic. That's great stuff. We'd like to know a little bit about you. Tell us your origin story.

John Reeves:

I am originally from Hawaii, born and raised. I'm from the small town of Mililani. I lived there for about 21 years. Then I met my wife. Essentially I needed a job so I could marry her because her dad, when I asked her for her hand in marriage, he said no. I had to go and figure out how I'm going to make him say yes. I didn't join for college or anything else like that that most people joined for. I joined to get married. Join the Air Force from Hawaii went off to San Antonio, to Lackland. That's how my journey started. Initially it was going to be a four-year thing. I was going to get out and get my college money and all that good stuff. Here I am, almost 14 years later. I've been to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, right Air Force Base in Ohio. I've been in Okinawa now for going on five years. That's basically how I got here.

Nate Scheer:

That's awesome. I would love to know the percentage. I wonder if it's out there. I guess it probably isn't, because it's no way to define what people say when they initially joined. It'd be super interesting to know how many people said I'm doing the initial and I'm out. That are still here. I know we've heard Chief Bass and multiple other people that were only going to do that minimum Moving on. The next question is what's one lesson you learned? Have learned that everyone should learn in their life?

John Reeves:

What's one lesson that I've learned that everyone else should learn in their life? That is a tough question because there's a lot of lessons learned. One thing that I always think about is taking care of yourself is really, really hard and you can really burn yourself out quickly, especially when you join. A big thing that we do is we're told that we're here to serve others, volunteer, get involved. I think a big thing that I've learned is to take care of yourself. We talked about self-care earlier before the podcast. That's something that I'm still working on is self-care, because you're trying to put a lot of people ahead of you, and that's how a lot of us think in the Air Force or in the military in general. Taking care of yourself is probably one of the most important things, I think.

Nate Scheer:

I think that's a super difficult thing and I think it's in tune with people that work with Med Group. I think if you're drawn to, even though you were potentially forced into medical, I think people that are drawn the nurses and people that like to take care of people that's in there DNA. To take care of people Taking care of themselves is always pretty difficult and they say one of the worst patients is a nurse or doctor.

John Reeves:

So that totally makes sense.

Nate Scheer:

We're going to move over to the warm-up. We got to love a good sports reference. We're going to warm up the muscles, get loosened up and move into more of the fun AFSC stuff. So first question is what is your spiciest opinion that most people would disagree with?

John Reeves:

So this one was this is a really hard one, spiciest opinion. I'm not super controversial, I'm not that exciting in that way, but I guess it would be. You're not special, right? And everyone thinks they're special or they deserve something or that they should automatically get something because they're there, they're present, right? Anything worth having is you have to work for it. You're not going to get put up for an award if you're just sitting there expecting to get something. You know sitting there. Hey, I'm here. Why haven't I gotten put up for an award? Why haven't I been awarded this? Why haven't I been promoted? So that's, I think, if you want to consider it spicy. My spiciest thing is you need to work for anything worth having. You have to work for. Nothing's just going to fall on your lap. You're not special. There's always going to be someone better than you. I mean even me. I'm 35, right, I was a track star or quote unquote track star in high school. I'm not fast anymore. Now people are faster than me. You know. It's just, it's part of life. And so you go at your own pace, you do your own thing, but you have to work towards anything that you want. People aren't just going to hand it to you.

Nate Scheer:

Absolutely. So now I got to ask what are your events, or were your events?

John Reeves:

So I ran the 400. That was my best race because it wasn't too short, because I didn't have like that quick stop, that quick speed, and it wasn't too long either. They wanted me to run the 800, but I about died when I tried it. So the 400 was my race and then also the 200. So the 200, 400, four by two and the four by four.

Nate Scheer:

Nice, what's your 400?

John Reeves:

time, so I ran people in in Hawaii. This was fast, so I ran a 49. So I busted 50. That was my my best race, but I know like in Texas and stuff like that as a joke. So here's a. Here's a quick funny story. I actually tried to walk on to a school in Oregon and onto their track team, the University of Oregon. Yep, yeah, so that was pre-fundain school, yeah it wasn't just any school, it was, you know, the track school, right. So I tried to walk on and they had me run my my 400 and they're like thanks for coming out. I'm like I ran some 50. You know, like I feel good about myself. But I mean, we're talking about top tier athletes Like these guys are no joke and I, when I saw them run and I saw well, when you see these athletes close up, you know you're not the same league, right, so it's a little bit different. When I walked I was like I'm not supposed to be here, so but it was, it was a good experience Nonetheless that's super funny.

Nate Scheer:

That's like when you go to the interview and whatnot, we'll get back. Yeah, exactly, you're just like no, that it's not the one. So I kind of want to recap that a little bit. I think I'm getting what you're saying, but I think I'd like to rephrase a little bit. I think you're saying no one is owed anything. I think that you know, people are still special. There might be things that are going on and everyone has unique talents and things like that, but definitely agree with you that no one is owed anything. No one owes you. Society does not owe you. That's a really good principle and probably a great thing to really live by. I know I have a few tattoos that kind of represent some of those things where you know you have to work towards things. One of them says there's no easy path from Earth to the stars, meaning like you have to work. You can't get to the really cool goal at the end of the stars without putting in some effort to get there. So that's good stuff, yeah, no absolutely, I completely agree.

John Reeves:

And it's not just, like a lot of people say, the newer generation. I'm like, no, this is all generations, this is everybody, even myself like, even myself, right, I was like, oh man, I should have got, I should have got that strat or whatever. And no, you know, like I, obviously I could have done more, right, and you're right. Maybe that you're not special thing is a little rough around the edges and I appreciate the rephrasing.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, yeah, I got you. Totally makes sense. No one is owed, Absolutely. Next question is what is the most embarrassing moment of your life? Wow, that's a fun one.

John Reeves:

Yeah, so I have a lot actually, but no, the most embarrassing moment and I'm going to lose all credibility here. So growing up I was a terrible driver. Luckily I consider myself a good driver now, but it took me seven tries to get my driver's license seven.

Nate Scheer:

That's earlier, when I was watching you inch toward my car.

John Reeves:

That was that was I was worried, but but you took me seven tries, which is absurd. I actually ended up sleeping at the DMV for my last one because it was just taking me so long. I was like I was just going every week at that point trying to get it and luckily I passed. A lot of accidents happened after that, to include when I was an airman at my phase two tech school. So I'll get into more lab tech stuff. But we have two phases, phase one and phase two. But anyway, phase two. I had a car, I was living in base housing, my starter went out, so the push start. Yeah, so any, instead of buying a new starter and installing it, I gerry-rigged my starter with a switch underneath the hood to go directly from my battery. So when I flicked the switch my car would start. The issue with that is I had to make sure my car was in neutral because it was a five speed. So one time I parked in front of my house luckily my wife was in the passenger seat and I was parked in front of my garage and I popped my hood. We're going to go to the BX and I'm in my blues. By the way, I'm in my blues. I flipped my switch underneath my hood and my car was actually, because it was kind of on an incline. My car was in first gear, so it immediately accelerated and ran me over. Luckily I had the wits about me to like fall into the engine bay and I smashed my windshield and it plowed through my garage door and almost through my house. If my wife was in the car and to hit the brakes, I would have went into the wall, into the house. So that's probably why it was a embarrassing story, and what's great about that is they took pictures and used it as a wing safety brief yes you are a safety brief. I was, and there I was in my blues, standing next to my 91 Accurant Agra, which I loved.

Nate Scheer:

At least it was a cool car.

John Reeves:

Yeah, it was a cool car those random headlights were so cool. I'll never live down that day probably ever.

Nate Scheer:

I kind of know a little bit more about the seven tries where you just like one point over or you just blatantly just bomb these things.

John Reeves:

It was like you failed parallel parking. You lost so many points that you would basically fail, so you had to parallel park. You got so many tries like so many adjustments. He just took me a while.

Nate Scheer:

So I'm not a terrible driver. I'm not terrible, it's just not the greatest.

John Reeves:

And one of them, though the lady who was testing me. She made me wait a month because she was like, basically it was a right turn on a red and she said it was a dangerous turn because the cars were too close or whatever. It was fine, it was fine.

Nate Scheer:

From your point of view, it was good. What's funny is like that one.

John Reeves:

I had it parallel parked successfully, and then I did that and she failed me automatically because I was dangerous and then. So that was frustrating.

Nate Scheer:

Oh, it's always something, and of all the uniforms to get run over in man, the blues that is rough.

John Reeves:

You know I look good getting ran over by my own car. I got ran over. Oh, that is yeah. I had to call my supervisor to be like. She was like what happened? I ran myself over. She's like what do you mean? You ran yourself over. I didn't even believe you. I'll have to explain. The dog ate my homework.

Nate Scheer:

No, no, I got ran over by a car. What car? My car, my own car. Oh, that is glorious. Okay, last question to the warm up is for me what question do you got?

John Reeves:

So what mental health resources do you use or do you find helpful?

Nate Scheer:

So for me, I think the biggest thing I'm sure sounds kind of cliche. I'm probably a walking cliche. I think most of the things I say are cliche, but if I truly feel that, then still use some of those things. So I would say, people. I really like to bounce ideas and things off of people. There's reading and apps and things like that, but there's really nothing better than event session with somebody going to grab in Starbucks and just doing something to get out of this situation, whatever it may be. So if work is stressful or if you're having challenges with you know one of your troops and you just need another view, there's really nothing better than bouncing it off another person. So there's really not another equivalent that I can think of. That's in a book, that's in an app or whatnot. So, really having the people that you can trust and then, hopefully, the people that will tell you what you need to hear I think that's one thing we don't do very well. We sometimes keep the people that tell us what we want to hear, but we really need the people that. Hey, that doesn't sound like you're really doing the right thing. Maybe you're being too emotion driven on your decision. Maybe you should sleep on it. You need someone that can kind of check you before you make decisions that could end up not as well. So I think that's probably my best mental health. I've had some good friends at different bases, like my last base, my best friend, kyle Guthrie. We started the same day and we had a very rough first year. Our commander got fired. I wanted to go AWOL, tried to run away to Mexico and luckily my wife called me and got me turned back around on very large base of Edwards Air Force Base. Luckily it was so big that I barely left base by the time I was trying to run away. But so, yeah, he was there and we did a lot of runs to Starbucks, didn't have a drive-through, so we just go over there and kind of funny, it has nothing to do with the tea or the coffee or whatnot, just being able to get out of the situation and talk through some stuff. And my two big things I think I talked on the show in a previous one, but I think the two big areas are venting and trying to find solutions. So when you talk with people, if you do have that person, that will give you the feedback that you need. Try and clarify I think that's really important Like sometimes you just need to pour out and then I'm going to walk away. Don't talk to me about it, I don't want to hear it again. That's it, that's the vent. Or like, hey, I'm looking for ideas. Please provide solutions, because those are very different on both sides on the sending and receiving side of that. So I think being clear with that is super important. But, yeah, definitely, people. People are awesome, absolutely. You got to have the good people there. We're going to transition into AFCs, so we really want to get some information out on different AFCs, see if anybody wants to cross train, try new things or even just get a better understanding of what different career fields are doing out there. So could you start us off with a brief description of your career field from someone that really does it, not that Google version.

John Reeves:

No, absolutely. Yeah, no one really grows up as a kid and it's like I want to be a clinical laboratory technician. No one's looking. I mean I'd even think about it in high school and college or anything like that. I mean I was trying to become an environmental lawyer save the trees, that's what I wanted to do. But as far as lab techs, we test every bodily fluid you could imagine, and I'm talking every single one Urine, stool, sputum, which is lung butter. You know, like synovial fluid, knee fluid, any joint fluids, cerebral spinal fluid, like we'll test it. And you know the lab career field is so critical and I think after COVID it's really, really appreciated because we are able to provide doctors with that information that they need to make an actual clinical diagnosis. You know, like we always joke saying without us you're just guessing, like that's an ancillary services thing, like x-ray too. You know like without us you're just guessing, like you don't know for sure what's going on until you receive these results. You know you have a pretty good, you could paint a pretty good clinical picture. But lab really allows you to see what's going on with the patient. I mean it's, it's broken out. I mean even sometimes like I mean we're bringing on more DNA stuff right into our laboratory here at Kadena and that's like the person's essentially profile broken down. So I think it's. I think it's the clinical lab field is that's basically the just of it. We test everything you think of to help paint a better picture for our providers so they know what's going on with patients, so they can make the best decision for our patients as far as their care. That's awesome.

Nate Scheer:

It's awesome to hear how you got all the different pieces that fit into the larger picture. I know sometimes when you're a support it feels kind of thankless and things like that. But knowing how you fit into the larger picture and confirming some of those things. I know I've joked before but you know, practicing medicine is the term for the doctors and they're trying their best or looking at different things, but they need the information to really be able to make some of those decisions. Next question is probably a difficult one. I think this is one that's probably difficult for a lot of different AFCs, but what does an average day look like for you?

John Reeves:

I know I get this question a lot when people are considering becoming a lab tech, the lab career field. Is this specifically for the Air Force or is this for just oh yeah, for tea? For tea specifically, okay. So what we do in the Air Force is not necessarily what we do on the outside. Our four teas there is asked a lot more of them, so I'll just we'll start a normal day, right. So 0700, maybe 630,. We have to get in the lab before everyone else is in the clinic. We need to do maintenance and this is a clinic, right, I'm not talking about a 24-hour hospital, but I can go into that if you'd like. So our clinic here at Kadina, so we get here early before everyone else does. We get our analyzers spun up, which means maintenance. So we open them up, clean them, maintain them, replace parts if they need to be replaced. Once we do all that, we do our QC, quality control and all of our analyzers to make sure they're operating properly. We check temperatures, we check all this stuff. We are CAP accredited, the College of American Pathologists accredited, which is like the gold standard. So all of our Air Force well, dod or DHA laboratories are CAP accredited. So we have to maintain all this stuff. So after we do our quality control checks and everything like that, then we open up the window, right. So lab techs are not just phlebotomists. A lot of people think we just draw blood, right. So in the civilian sector a lot of times you have phlebotomists and that's what they do. They draw blood, right. And MLTs they're going to do some testing and the MLS is the medical laboratory scientists. Those are like the 40 degrees. They'll do majority of the testing. That's like really what they're looking for in the civilian sector. But for us, mlts literally do it all besides the officer side of the house. Right, so they'll draw blood, they'll test everything from low complexity to high complexity. Right, so they'll be doing PCR, which is polymer chain reaction. You know DNA testing, rna stuff. So they'll do everything which. And they'll also run sections. So here at Kadena we have senior airmen in charge of sections, so they'll be the section supervisor of chemistry, for example. That's a lot more than MLT will ever do in the civilian sector. So if you're looking to build a resume, you know, if you're looking to really set yourself apart, you're going to get a crazy amount of experience that only really, really sees in lab techs or medical laboratory scientists get on the outside. So a lot of times, like those positions are held by people with four-year degrees. Here we have our medical laboratory technicians running sections which is incredible Doing high complexity testing. Looking at here we have, you know, I think I'm going further than a day daily operation, but I can talk forever, so stop me if I'm talking too much. No, you're good, but here we have like 1200 individual checklist items that we have to maintain for our accreditation through CAP, right, and so all of us have a hand in that. If you're in charge of a section which our senior M&R and our staff sergeants a lot of times in this clinic at Kadena, they have to go through all these things to make sure we're doing everything to a T. There's noT SVs, which are technical supervisors, which are civilians that are in place. We don't have the continuity that you would get where someone's been there for 20 years. A lot of us have been here for three to four years, right. So there's a lot of turnover, there's a lot of learning, and then so that communication piece, that teamwork, all that stuff is super important in the lab career field. Handoffs are super important, between lunches even right. So what's going on in the lab? This is what's going on. Let me do a nice safe handoff with lots of information, everything you're going to need to continue to take care of patients. So there's no breaks. And a lot of times we're the last ones to leave the clinic. So people stop seeing patients. At what, what is it they? Maybe they see the patient, last patient at four o'clock, maybe because they have to close everything out, close out all their notes, the providers. We don't close our windows till 430. And then it's packaging everything up that we need to package, maybe for shipping, get everything processed, then shutting it down, all the analyzers, making sure everything's cleaned and good to go for the next day. So they're long, they're longer hours, right, but what we do is incredible. But the day to day operations, it's fun. You know like it's not just sitting at a desk and typing, typing up, you know, paperwork or whatever you're doing, You're actually doing physical testing, all sorts of different testing, so it's enjoyable. I always joke saying if you can cook, you can be a lab tech. You love cooking. You should be a lab tech, because it's like three drops of this, all right. Then you let it sit for one minute. Then you do five drops of this, okay, then you stir it for this long and then you let it sit for this long, and so I say it's a lot like cooking. So if you like, cooking lab could be for you, obviously with a lot worse ingredients, but but that, hopefully I didn't talk too much. But that is. That is a day to day operation, I would say, of what our kind of day looks like. We also have to come in on the weekends to check temperatures and stuff like that, which at a clinic you won't see most of the seas here on the weekend. We also prep for the week. Over the weekend we also have microbiology. You know we're growing bugs. So we need to check up on those things, make sure they're growing. Maybe stuff's coming off the analyzer. We need to see what type of infection this person have. We'll have to call the on-call doctor. So our day to day operations play that critical role in patient diagnosis.

Nate Scheer:

That is a lot going on. I want to touch on one thing real quick. I don't want to go too in depth. We've kind of moved on from COVID. I hate to even say that, yeah. But I would like to say I would like to hear briefly how crazy that was and kind of how that looked versus the day that you just mentioned. So I know I barely know from the outside you guys were staying up until 10, 11, 12 and putting results and things like that. Can you just kind of briefly touch on the craziness that was COVID?

John Reeves:

Oh man, and COVID was different. Out here, you know like we're a US military base in Japan, but in Okinawa, right, so we're detached from Japanese mainland, so there's a whole lot of stuff that went into that. We were one of the first locations to actually get testing or validate testing for COVID. So we lean forward, we train our Navy partners. I mean, yeah, the amount of testing was absurd. We were the sole test site for a long time, especially for travel. So Marines, navy, army, air Force personnel, if you were traveling, you were going through Kadina so we were touching your samples. I mean, we're talking thousands upon thousands, upon thousands. I think we hit close to a hundred thousand. When I left the lab we were over 80,000. That was about a year ago, because right now I'm in a, I'm at group staff, but it was just for our lab, which a lot of times on the floor we have maybe three or four people. It was a lot. It was a lot and it was also coming in. You know we sent samples off to get tested at a reference lab and they didn't come back. So people need to get on a plane early the morning. Families need to PCS, right, they have a flight and they can't get on that flight unless they have the results. So what do we do? You know, there's a bunch of times where I picked up I don't remember Captain Fuller Shout out to Captain Fuller, he was my flight commander here, we would drive down, we'd grab him, I'd grab Captain Fuller, we would go to the lab and we'd be up from nine o'clock at night to two am Testing to make sure these people got on plane so they could go PCS to see their families, whatever it might have been, get the medical care they need, because if you didn't get tested you weren't moving. So everything came through the lab. Everything special operators, reconnaissance missions everything that was getting on a plane getting off the island of Okinawa came through the lab. So we played that critical role. So at one point I had a fold away bed in my office. So that's how crazy it got.

Nate Scheer:

That is rough yeah.

John Reeves:

I'm glad that we're back to normal. See you, that's what you want to call it now.

Nate Scheer:

It is slightly funny to see all the memes and everything on my Facebook page in March. I guess every March all those pictures are going to come back up as Facebook memories of people wearing crazy stuff on their head and whatever else. But moving on to the next question, we'd love to hear some of the parts of your job you'd like to highlight.

John Reeves:

So there's two things that really. I mean a lot of the clinical lab stuff we do is just what you'd see in the civilian sector to a lot of it, right, but we have two big missions, right. That's the blood mission and the laboratory by detection team. So the blood mission we supply blood products to, to our wounded warriors down range. We have, you know, here in Okinawa we have the Armed Services Blood Banking Center. That's a naval or that's actually it's not a naval asset but it's on a Navy base and it's a joint thing, right. So you have army logisticians there, you have Air Force lab techs, naval corpsmen, everything operating out of there. But it's it's a big thing for us Air Force lab techs because it allows us to really affect the warfighter directly. We provide that life saving blood. We collect it, we process it, we send it to wherever it needs to go To provide that life saving blood. And I can't stress enough how important that is and how big of a mission that is for not just the Air Force but for the DHA. And the other thing would be the laboratory by detection team. So here at Kadina we're the sole laboratory by detection team. We can test for all sorts of biological weapons that could be used against this here on Island, as well as a few toxins. We have two different types of analyzers. I'm not going to go into the weeds on it, but that really allows us to, you know, help defend and support this area and allow our mission commanders to make decisions based off of the results we receive. So, for example, someone gets sick in this sector, we identify that it that it was an anthrax attack. Right, we can tell if it's been weaponized, essentially by the testing we perform. The wing commander can make a decision based off of those results. Should we shut down the whole base? I mean, what do we do? He won't know what to do until we say this is what we have going on, right, I mean, it's presumptive, but those presumptive results are enough for a wing commander to make those decisions that need to be made to continue the mission.

Nate Scheer:

That's pretty important and definitely a direct connection there to the wing commander, which is pretty wild. Another thing I was going to touch on a second ago, but it flew out of my brain but then it ended up flying back, because that's how my brain works.

John Reeves:

My brain works.

Nate Scheer:

You guys also do testing for aircraft incidences, right?

John Reeves:

Yes, yeah. So an aircraft lands really hard or something crazy happens. God forbid, right, we will be involved in that.

Nate Scheer:

And that's on call whenever it 247.

John Reeves:

Yeah, so also any DUIs, air eyes we get called for those as well to test those individuals to see if they indeed had something in their system that could have caused them to crash. Whatever it may be, or like with the with the aircraft incidents cause the aircraft to malfunction, cause the pilot to land improperly, whatever it may be, we do those testing and sometimes it'll be you know, there's like maybe two pilots right and like a crew of like I don't know three, four, but we will test every single person sometimes who's touched that plane, all the maintainers. One time we had like 60 something people come in. Yeah, we also had when I was at Wright Pat. We had one of the Blue Angels crash at Wright Pat so we had to test them as well. That was an intense situation. Luckily the pilot was okay and everything. But we had to test everybody to see was there anything that they don't see that could have happened, that someone made a bad judgment call because they were under the influence, right?

Nate Scheer:

Dang, that's crazy, crazy 247. Well, let's move into lighter notes. What are some aspects of the job you enjoy?

John Reeves:

I mean, every medical person is going to say this but helping people. And for us it's not just the patients like yes, the patients, like seeing the patients, like, like I said, our MLT is actually draw blood to. We have the customer service aspects of it, making sure we take care of them, but it's also our internal customers, helping our nurses, our doctors make those clinical decisions by providing information, accurate information. So there's nothing better than helping people. I remember I was. I think I was a senior airman or a staff sergeant, I can't exactly remember. It's kind of a sad story, but the patient got what they needed. So I was there late by myself, well, with my OIC, was still there and I saw some weird looking cells and those of us if you're a lab tech that's listening, like you know what I'm talking about, like those are, you're like this looks weird, right, turns out that you know, because I was there. I stayed late at night to process. This is seven year olds, specimen he was. He came in after 430, they knocked on the door and mama said I'm sorry, I tried to get here. He's, he's really sick. You know, it's after, it's after hours. They got led in the building. Whatever, I'm going to draw their blood. They're at our door right, so draw the draw the kids blood. Look at flags on our complete blood count analyzer right, which looks at all their cells, and so I need to do a manual. I need to look at his cells underneath the microscope and what I saw was just these crazy cells, right. So I look at it. I look at it and then call my OIC over. She's like that's not good, call the pathologist. Pathologist actually drives down from launch duel. Sure enough, the kid had cancer so undetected before, first time it's been. It was identified and the child was able to get treatment. And the mom came back and was just, I mean, she just found out her child had cancer. But she was super grateful that we found it, you know, so early, right. So that was like that type of stuff. And that was a young airman like was a big heavy hitting thing for me, because a lot of times you go through your day just monotonous. You know, sometimes it's like any other job. You do your thing day in and day out, you do a good job. But it's moments like those where you're like, wow, my job is important and I, this is, this is saving people's lives, you know. So I'd say that's one of the one of the best things about my job.

Nate Scheer:

It's funny how those always seem to happen at some random moment. You can't ever plan or know. I know I had one when I was in contracting. I had moved over from air traffic and I was away from the flight line. It was a little less action packed and sexy. And so after like a year or so people were saying, oh you know, you just fly the desk and you just your admin, all we do is file paper. And I knew that it was pretty cool at first. But when people are saying it over and over you're like, ok, I just file paper. But I remember this one time flew in to David Grant the massive hospital there at Travis with my daughter. She had a temperature. Things just didn't seem like they're going very well. We flew in, they hooked her up to this machine that took her vitals and as soon as the vitals came out the provider that was there was able to say that she was OK. But you know, this or that was going to happen. But that sense of relief, knowing that you know kind of what was going on and where we can move forward, felt so much better. And I glance over and realize the machine that she was hooked up to I bought previously in the year from contracting and so, even though it's just a processing paper, it's just whatever you know term you want to put in there. I had, you know, signed that and got that squirt away to be able to have that in there. And so a rush of emotions goes through your body and whatnot, because then you're realizing other family members that show up to that to the hospital, that need that reassurance and need that feeling of comfort, To whatever moms and dads and fathers and sons and daughters and whatever it may be, are getting that same feeling. Ok, well, it's not great, they're going to. You know they're going to need some antibiotics or whatever it is, but they're going to be. OK, and that sense of relief after just processing paper is super important Really. I had a great commander. He always recommended us get out and see the things we were buy in, which is a super good thing if you are in a support room. Kind of get out and see the things that you're pushing out. Super important seeing the larger picture.

John Reeves:

Yeah, I think a lot of us in support roles, like we got in that mindset sometimes we were like what am I doing? I'm not tip of the spear, whatever you hear that right. You don't realize how important your roles are until you're needed, like COVID, for example, or without that machine, right, none of those people would have been treated or none of those issues would have been identified. So, like I mean, even for the lab, for example, we clear not just us, but we play a part in clearing people for deployment, making sure that they're good to go. Once again, you're not gonna deploy unless you get those lab tests done. So that's another thing that kind of reminds you that what we do is important.

Nate Scheer:

Getting people down range Absolutely. So I say not the tip of the spear, but it sounds pretty close to the tip there. What are some aspects of your job that are a little less desirable? Gotta tell the good, bad and indifferent yeah you know I'm not gonna sugarcoat it.

John Reeves:

I mean, the hours can be long and you know how people are, like we're gonna close for an official function because so-and-so had a whatever. Yeah, no, we lab, you're not closing for anything. That's not a thing. You know, like we are gonna remain open. If we're closing, if we're gonna have a function, someone's gonna be back to make sure that blood is being drawn and patients are being tested, because if that's not happening, patient diagnosis is not happening either. So, yeah, we don't close for official functions. If the wing sometimes has stuff like and everyone's shutting down, then that's a different story. I'm talking about like, yeah, we're just having an official function because it's lab week or whatever, but we have fun regardless. But that's one of the things. And then it's a lot of information. There's a lot of things going on in the laboratory, like inspections. You're always being inspected. It feels like we have College of American Pathologists, we have the FDA, which is the Food and Drug Administration, and it's called AABB now, but it's the Blood Banking Accreditation Agency. So if you have blood in your lab, that's another accreditation agency that's gonna check on your stuff and that's just to make sure that patients are safe, right, but it feels like when you're not inspected, when you're not being inspected, you're doing a self-inspection in preparation for an inspection. So it's just like you're constantly feel like you're being scrutinized and audited. So that is a stressor. Always preparing it's something that I feel. I know everyone gets inspected by different entities, but compound those until what we have now Like. So all those other healthcare ones like TJC, whatever it might be, we go through those too. Ubi's, we go through those as well.

Nate Scheer:

You could almost say you're under the microscope.

John Reeves:

Yes, very well done.

Nate Scheer:

What are some unique opportunities that your career field presents?

John Reeves:

Unique opportunities. Well, I mean the blood aspect. You could work in a donor center. So that's cool. I think everyone should work in a donor center if you're a lab tech, at least Once. It's definitely different. It's more like manufacturing and processing, is what I say. It's kind of like you're working in a factory, but the result is life-saving blood products. So it's an incredible thing. And there's still a bunch of lab tech stuff you do.

Nate Scheer:

And I think you touched on it earlier a little bit just the diversity and depth, I think, of experience. It sounds like just all the things that really I don't know how else you go about that without going through almost like a specific training program to see all these random things.

John Reeves:

Oh yeah, yeah, definitely. I mean for us, whenever you PCS you're gonna get trained on wherever you go, like you're not just gonna be able to jump in the job when you go to the next G-Station. You have to get completely re-compensied, assessed on the new analyzer, whatever you might be, because it's not like it's standardized across the board where it's all the same analyzers everywhere you go. For us, yeah, so for us, we'll go to our next base and we'll have to go through training and re-encompanied assessment all over again. And then we also have to be competency assessed every year. So we have initial six month and annual Right. So you're constantly being assessed to make sure you know your job. I mean that's for a reason right, to make sure you're not gonna oh yeah, that sounds good, that's fine, and then it's a wrong you're doing like the completely wrong thing. So make sure we're doing the right thing and taking care of our patients, you know so Wow that's crazy.

Nate Scheer:

You are really under that microscope.

John Reeves:

that's wild, oh and then one more thing sorry, I wanna get back to that. What is it? The research laboratory. So at RightPat man, research is so cool. Like they got to go TDY, put these patches on seals and see, like, what their sweat looks like. I mean crazy stuff, right. I even did this thing called the Strong Study Super cool. So I think it was like three months long. They did my BMI. I'm not gonna go over it, it was sad. So they did my BMI and then they're like all right, here's how much fat you have, how much muscle you have, your bone density, all this stuff. We're gonna put you on this workout program, all right, and we're gonna draw your blood. We're gonna do initial blood draw and then we're gonna draw your blood every so often to see what that looks like. You're not gonna know what those results look like, but you will see what your BMI is not just your BMI, but your bone density, fat and everything it looks like afterwards, right? So I did this three month program and I also got like this drink and they're like you either get the placebo or you're gonna get the real thing, and I was like I hope I get this the super soldier.

Nate Scheer:

serum please Come on.

John Reeves:

So drink that drink and I got more muscle. I had personal trainers there and everything but these lab techs they're the ones drawing the blood, they're testing it. We did sweat tests where they would take a giant syringe and like we'd wear these giant patches, similar to what these seals use, and they would stick a giant syringe in there and suck out all the sweat and test it. So that's like maybe the not so glamorous part of our job, but research is super cool, so research lab opportunities are awesome.

Nate Scheer:

That sounds like a very specific opportunity. I'm glad I just realized you're talking about Navy seals For some reason. The first time I was totally picturing the animal with patches and I was intrigued and super confused.

John Reeves:

But right there, okay, navy seals humans.

Nate Scheer:

Oh, boy, that's good stuff. I think one of my favorite questions what are some things about your job that no one seems to understand?

John Reeves:

I think the biggest thing is nobody truly knows what we do. Like I said earlier, most people think we just draw blood Full bottomess. Yeah, you just, yeah, you draw blood. That's like the first thing, right, because that's what they see. They don't see what goes on behind the scenes. We're behind locked doors. You can't get in there unless you have the proper access right. So a lot of people just don't know what we do. I don't think people know exactly how much goes into getting an analyzer online or doing those things, Like it's not just buying a new one and oh yeah, now we use it, now we test it for this. I mean, there's validation processes that take a lot of time. It's writing a validation, implementing the validation, quality control, making sure everything works before we could actually use it on patients. So that takes so much time. You know that's one thing that you have to constantly explain to people, as well as, like a lab tech arrives, All right, you guys are fully manned. No, that person needs to get spun up. It takes months for this person to get fully trained and competent. I can't just put this person on the bench, because that's patient safety issue. So that's a big thing is because, for example, a logistician they could probably go to their next duty station and hop right in. Maybe a few like here here's this, here's this. And this is an assumption, obviously. So please correct me, Because you work in logistics you know They'd be probably squirt away.

Nate Scheer:

They could probably go right in there.

John Reeves:

It's one, two, all the same they know what it's, sort stuff and all that stuff Us like, no, they take months to get like I said, they take months to get trained up and all that stuff, and so it's sometimes it's shocking, it's like why hasn't this person done this yet? I was like, well, they're still in training, you know, they're still learning how to do their job here at this next base.

Nate Scheer:

So yeah, and I would venture to guess maybe reaching too far. But if anyone's seen too many episodes of CSI, I'm sure it looks pretty easy. You're just using the pipette, you're filling some stuff, You're throwing it in a machine and then you know the sweet results just pop out of the machine. So I'm sure that's a super misleading and almost everyone has seen at least one episode of CSI.

John Reeves:

Oh yeah, and it's a detective, they're the ones. Or they give it to the person, like they put on here. It spins around like, yeah, this is the person, there's their, that's who it is. It took five minutes and we know who this person is now.

Nate Scheer:

With this.

John Reeves:

DNA, magical DNA machine Like you know the DNA machine.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, what's one piece of advice you'd give to someone starting out in your career?

John Reeves:

You know, when you first start out as a lab tech, you're not. You're not doing the awesome shifts. You're not working the awesome shifts. You're working nights probably. You're doing ward rounds early in the morning and patients that you're gonna be drawn their blood or not probably the happiest patients in the world. So One thing I implore new lab techs is to stick with it. See what's outside. I mean, you're gonna be a worker, be just like everybody else in every other. A fsc is right. You're not gonna work those glorious shifts there. When I'm just working days, it's really nice. Now clinics it's different, like you probably will. But you know, stick with it. We we tend to lose lab techs based off of their first do you station, their first experience. I think that's kind of the same around the air force, you know. So I always say don't let your first base make the decision as to whether you're gonna stay in or get out. Right, because that's just that's one experience like that's. Or your first supervisor. Right, because sometimes, like my supervisors, terrible, whatever I want to get out, and now you've lumped all supervisors into this how this one person is. So that's my biggest piece of devices. Stick with it and get out of the lab. We tend to get stuck in the lab. I call getting pigeonhole. I think that's a common use term. You get stuck in the laboratory and you don't get out and nobody sees you because we're in like the basement somewhere, there's no windows and nobody can get in there because they don't have access so they don't see you. So a lot of times we feel like Like I mean, log is there going every section, you're talking, everybody you know other fsc's are, you know they're walking around, they're bringing samples to lab, they're going here, they're going there, so they get maybe more face time, just because it's the nature of their job, right, I can see like, like pharmacy, maybe in radiology is kind of same with those ancillary services. We sometimes get stuck Behind our doors and it's. It's good to get out and do more and I know it can be hard sometimes because you're you're tired and stuff, but just make that effort to do, to just get out and talk to people.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, that's good stuff. It's definitely one of my favorite parts of being a bnm sc being able to rotate and try new things so definitely getting out is super good. So to round out the fsc last thing, kind of in line with that last question, is what are some super important personality traits, or maybe things that people can do our character traits, to be successful in this position?

John Reeves:

I'm basically everything. A lab tech shouldn't be so if I could do it, anybody can do it. But honestly, anyone can, anyone can do it. Cook yeah, if you can cook, you can be a lab tech, but you know, it's just organizations key. Being able to multitask is important because a lot of times you have like multiple timers going off. You learn how to do things efficiently. So that's that's super important just learning how to, and you're gonna find your own way. You know people are gonna show you how to do things, but you're gonna find your own little niche way of how to do things faster without obviously like Turning five minutes into three minutes or whatever it might be, right like you don't do that, but you know those ways of making your life efficient, to make life easier for you Is is is gonna be something that you're gonna want to pursue in the lab career field.

Nate Scheer:

Awesome good stuff. So the core of this podcast is really getting after mental fitness, that ongoing conversation on having difficult conversations, breaking the stigma and really just being able to have these conversations. On things that you know we've had trouble with, there are things that have gone well. So in every one of these episodes, even though we're touching on some AFC's, we're gonna be weaving in some mental fitness topics. So the next one we got up, or the first one for mental fitness, is what's the biggest challenge you've overcome in your mental health?

John Reeves:

Biggest challenge of overcoming my mental health. So I want to say that I'm I'm hard on myself a lot of times and I I I'm always performing at a certain level of stress and anxiety, right, I'm always, like Always stressed out or maybe worried about something, but I feel like sometimes that helps me perform and that sounds weird, but sometimes that that anxiety stuff like helps me perform because I'm like I need to do a good job. I am not a perfectionist. If you've seen, my MFR is like you know, I've never seen. You know, sir, I'm not a perfectionist, but I strive to put out a good product wherever I go like. So that's a huge thing that I've had to overcome was like Beat myself up, beat myself up a lot. I mean you hear me say it all the time and I I try to tell myself that's not true. Like I'm stupid. You know, like that that's verbal self harm, if you want to call it that like I do it all the time and I do it in front of a lot of people. So I mean, not only are you saying it out loud, but now, like when you say it about yourself, like people are going to be like oh well, yeah, you stupid. I mean, you're saying you're stupid, so I'm assuming that you know you better than anybody else and you so you must be stupid. But no, so that's one thing I do is I beat myself up, I break myself down because I feel like I'm not performing a certain level. That was like the hardest thing to overcome and to be more positive and just tell, tell myself that it's okay, it's okay to make a mistake, it's okay, you know, because a lot of times it was like a one mistake Air Force thing, not just with with alcohol and stuff, but with you, know, you, you, you get tasked with something. You screw it up. No one's gonna ask you to do everything ever again, and I don't necessarily think that's the truth, maybe with some leaders, but for the most part people are, most people are pretty understanding and as long as you're forthcoming and letting people know, hey, this, what's going on? Yeah, I messed up, I'm gonna fix it most people are okay. So that's the biggest thing I'd overcome was like beating myself up and breaking myself down.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, I think the two pieces of advice I would throw out not that you asked for it, I'll take it would be. One of my favorite books is fierce conversations by Susan Scott, great book. She's a consultant. She flies into these different businesses and has the difficult conversation that needs to occur within the company, but no one will the partners won't. Sometimes the partners are friends. The one example she uses is two fishing boats and they work for the same company but they're sabotaging each other and not getting as much fish. And then she goes in, tells him to stop being silly and has those difficult conversations between the two partners. And then she leaves and does the recap and they've, you know, collected more fish and they ever have in the past, and all they do is work together. But one of the quotes, one of my favorite quotes from her book is we have conversations all the time and sometimes they involve other people, and so what she's saying with that is we have a lot of inner dialogue and monologue and things like that. So we're constantly talking to ourselves what we want to put on to where for the day, what we want to turn left or right down the hallway, you know those are always occurring. So we need to make sure we're hopefully having good inner monologue with ourselves. So I challenge you to maybe talk better about yourself. You do some great things. And then the other part I would put in there makes me think of the interview with Chief Woods. I went in to that podcast. I had a shaky voice to the first two questions. I was telling you earlier and he had said if you worry about something, that means you care, and I think that was something that was super powerful. It'd be easy to just not care and you know not give a crap and just you know throw papers around and you know have a bunch of mistakes and do. But the care even though it's sometimes frustrating because of the stress and anxiety goes with, it, is really the most important part. Really like if you didn't care, then you wouldn't be there, you wouldn't take care of people, you wouldn't help anybody. So even though it seems like the negative aspect of that situation, I think it's probably the most, the most important to actually care or you know, whatever right, absolutely so cool. Next question is what are some habits you've established to take care of that mental fitness and ongoing thing to take care of your mind? So exercise.

John Reeves:

That's a big one for me is exercise. It's a way for me to decompress, you know, get that weight off your chest, whatever might be, literally. So, after my shoulder surgery, I had a hard time getting back in the gym and you know, working out and physical fitness was a part of who I was as an individual, as part of my persona to and to what I, how I felt, was I fell so far. I had a hard time getting back into the gym and getting back to working out and I felt like I lost, like I said, who I was, and it was such a key part of my, my, my mental fitness because I felt myself being depressed, sad about my current physical state are also. My performance at work is affecting my mind and how I interact with people. Right, usually I'm positive and stuff like that about every situation, regardless of its good, bad and different I'm. You know, I'm like, all right, well, it'll work out, it's all gonna work out, we could do this, we got this. I felt myself being a little more negative, a little bit more pessimistic and all that stuff, and I think it's because I didn't have that outlet and so exercise is my little, along with my family, my kids, man, like they're a huge part of that decompression. That feel good, that that which you get from being around your kids. I could just feel so good. And then my outlet, my wife talking to her. Like I said, talking to people, yeah, it's the same thing. I like to talk and I like to get feedback, and she likes to talk and she doesn't want me to say anything and I'm like all right, you know, I just on my head but that's how we, you know, talk about our stressors and stuff like that. But yeah, that's the exercise. My kid, my family, those are the two big things.

Nate Scheer:

That's awesome. Yeah, I want to throw a shout out to the wife and kids were pulling John from from them tonight, but I think this podcast will be out there and, you know, help someone get through a tough time. I think everyone agrees that would be beneficial, so thanks for coming out. Next question is why is mental health important to you personally?

John Reeves:

Mental health is important to me because your mental health is essentially who you are and how you're going to operate. If you have poor mental health, I think that you're going to walk through day to day in the bad state. I think that's just like. You know the gist of it. I'm not the best. I'm not going to pretend like I'm the best at dealing with my mental health. You know I've struggled a bunch of times but I haven't gone and, like talked to anybody. I usually deal with it on my own type of thing, in my own ways, like, I guess, those nonconventional ways, like you've stated, talking to people and everything like that. So that's worked for me. But yeah, that's. That's a that's a tough question, for sure.

Nate Scheer:

It is yeah, we're going to round out the last two. We could go on and on. We might have to set up a second episode, but we're going to end with these two. Did you have conversations, or how did you handle mental health growing up?

John Reeves:

We didn't handle mental health when I was a kid, just didn't.

Nate Scheer:

So it didn't talk about it.

John Reeves:

Yeah, so you know negative things would happen. In my family. There's a lot of stuff that went on, you know, with my family, in particular between my parents and everything like that. It was hard as a kid and so the way my family handled it was we didn't talk about it, so something would happen, and it wouldn't get talked about as if it didn't happen. So nothing, there was no resolution, ever, ever. And that's my entire childhood and that's the way they are now and that's just who they are. And so it's hard for me because After meeting other people, you know the way other people handle it, because that's how it used to be. I used to ball it up until I couldn't hold it anymore and then you kind of explode, right.

Nate Scheer:

The worst way.

John Reeves:

Yeah, you can't hold it in forever, because that's the way my family handled it.

Nate Scheer:

So I mean you do what you're taught, right?

John Reeves:

Yeah, I mean, that's that's how I grew up, that's what I saw, that's what I, you know. So that was the hardest part for me is handling those situations and really adjusting who I was, because that's a really unhealthy way of doing things. Learning to talk to people, you know. So, yeah, my family, we didn't, we didn't discuss stuff, we didn't have closure or anything, it just kind of happened and it went.

Nate Scheer:

So that's unfortunate. I mean, I'm glad you bring up the answer not to the you know you had to live through. It is a good thing and whatnot, but it's really kind of the core of the podcast having conversations, people listening to these conversations. I think so far, every time I've asked this question it's been no, no one's talked about it or not handled it in very healthy manner, so I'm glad we're having it. Hopefully you know these words. Going through the radio ways will help break up some of this. We can have conversations. I know I've mentioned a couple of times, but I love the concept of mental fitness. It's something that's going on all the time. If you had a buddy ask you as you're passing them on the way to the gym, you'd ask him about you know what cool sets and reps and innovative new ways to get after your physical body. But then it comes to mental health and we can't say anything, apparently, which is just so bizarre. Your, your mind, is a part of your physical body, so it thinks. It seems like you should be able to say I found this cool meditation technique. I am now doing yoga. Like. Why is that not in the same playing field as, like the reps you're doing at the gym and the cool workouts and the article you read on? You know doing inverted burpee pull ups or something crazy? That should be right there.

John Reeves:

Do you think it's because it's like we're always concerned about what people think about us. You know what I mean? Like I'm that way. I think a lot of people are worried about what other people think about, especially like when you're in a, you're in a performance based job right, I mean you're a rewarded base offer performance, or you're rewarded based off of how knowledgeable you are or whatever and sometimes perception determines how people think about you and everything like that. I know a lot, I mean even with. I know most people are afraid to open up in the worry that people in the in the cause. You have the concern that people are going to think about them differently, even though they've been stellar right, let's say they've been awesome the whole time, and then that wall, that shield, right, it feels better to be behind the shield.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah.

John Reeves:

But, but then once again, like you're not taking care of things, and that's you know. Luckily for us, we have those other options where we can talk to someone and you know no one's going to know. We're having those conferences like the M-flag, for example, all those things. So those are available to us. But you know, you tend to like hold those things closest to you Instead of just like people know what's going on. You know, because we have a fear of that judgment, I guess. Yeah, I definitely agree.

Nate Scheer:

I wish we could kind of blow beyond that. One of my biggest pet peeves is that kind of holding stuff close to the chest, and we always do it with the positive things. I think that's the most frustrating. If someone gets a DUI in the unit, like everyone knows the person's first, middle and last name by the time close of business comes, they're like this comes. But I remember I was fortunate enough to find the medical service core and get picked up and this is thing that I love and I get up and I'm, you know, completely ecstatic to get up and go to work every day. But I was at seven and a half years and, you know, narrowly miss my chance to even apply at all because it's a hard, hard cap, as you know. Sorry.

John Reeves:

Absolutely.

Nate Scheer:

Source. Subject Edit this Um, but I was just super glad to find it and no one talked about it. So it's like when there's good opportunities out there, it's like no one talks about it, because this thought process, if I keep it, it stays with me. But there's so many um research and data out there that if people come together they rise together and they usually rise to a higher level than they ever would have rose by themselves. So it's weird that this mentality like if I keep it secret that you know the other person won't find it and I can take it, but you both could get picked up if you're great or you know, maybe the other person wasn't meant to do that and so maybe you are the only one, or whatever, the scenario be, but yeah, it's really unfortunate, uh. So I challenge everyone out there listening, please. Uh, pass the good news as much and as fast as you do the bad news.

John Reeves:

Yeah, you know, when someone gives you information, this is just to add on like they're trusting you with that information, whatever, maybe going on with them, whatever, like, so secure that trust, you know, like they're telling you something that may be personal, like keep gossiping, is I'm sure it's fun, you know it's fun to talk about stuff and be like I know something, you know, uh, but that person entrusted you with that information and you should honor that trust. I think that's a big thing. Is that nobody, everyone's worried that someone's going to like tell something or whatever. So people are afraid to open up. Um, but ensuring that trust is so important and man, that person's going to have that buy in too with you, right?

Nate Scheer:

So absolutely so we've got the last question. We're going to try to keep it somewhat to an hour. Um, so last question to piggyback off the last one is what is your perspective on mental fitness now versus growing up in that, you know, kind of negative aspect?

John Reeves:

Oh yeah, so, um, going from not talking about it at all and pretending like it didn't happen to, hey, we should talk about this, let's work through it, that's the biggest thing. Let's work through this stuff, um, and let's find I mean, you're not always going to necessarily find a solution you know right away you could find ways to to, like I said, work through things and and figure out ways to make things better. Um, talking to people, like, like we've said multiple times now, just talking about it sometimes is like that's the biggest thing, it's like the best thing ever. And you're like you know what? I just I got what I needed by talking about it and yeah, maybe we don't have a resolution, but it was good to talk about it.

Nate Scheer:

You know, so I was talking about.

John Reeves:

It's the biggest thing.

Nate Scheer:

So with your family, your wife and kids. If someone is out there right now and they're in one of those families that doesn't talk about it, um, what's an actionable thing? Someone could go out and this you know, today, this week, this month or whatever. Um would you recommend, uh, starting to get away from the, the silent family?

John Reeves:

Well, hopefully I'm answering this right. But so my grandfather, he's a World War II veteran. He was actually on Okinawa, he was part of the invasion force. Um, he always used to say and it sounds selfish, right, you are your most important person. Um, he'd always tell me that, right, but it sounds like I'm so what, I just care about myself and no one else. Like, but what it was is, um, you have to invest in yourself to be able to invest in others. It's kind of like that, that that glass of water like you keep pouring into someone else's glass. Eventually you're out of water, you can't give anymore, and then you know what are you going to do? You can you? Now you're empty, right, so you have to make sure you take care of yourself so you could take care of others. We hear that in the Air Force a lot right, Take care of yourself and take care of others. But man, we do a terrible job of taking care of ourselves. I'm telling you, you know, um, we'll put it especially in medical field, military it's ingrained in us from when we join that we I think I said this earlier that we are serving others and we are. We are absolutely. You know, I'm serving my, my commander, but I'm also serving my airman and my, my, my, my, my junior NCOs. You know like, and so you know what do you do? You let them go early, you do this, you do that, um but, and so you're staying late, whatever it might be, and I think that's great, absolutely Like give back time 100% to uh for to retain people, to help their mental health out, all that stuff. But, man, sometimes you got to let yourself go, give yourself that PT time, whatever it might be, invest in yourself so you can continue to take care of airmen, take care of your family, take care of stuff, cause the last thing you want to be at the end of all this is buy yourself sad and nothing to show for it when you hang up that uniform.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, I was here that reference of that front row at the retirement. There's no one there. I mean, what was the point of getting to retirement?

John Reeves:

Exactly.

Nate Scheer:

Another thing I know it's mentioned on this show again, but, uh, I'll say it as many times as needed because it's a good reminder, but it's that example of the oxygen mask on the airplane. I mean, you got to, you got to put that thing on first, uh, to be able to, you know, put it on the babies and whoever else is next to you, the elderly or someone else that needs help. So, if you're looking for that visual, you got to get your your own on and get that oxygen flowing into your, into your mouth hole, so you can breathe and whatnot, and take care of the rest. But yeah, that's definitely something super, super important. Well, john, thanks for coming on the show. Do you have any? Uh, last parting words.

John Reeves:

No, no, captain, Thanks so much for for having me. This is an awesome experience, um first podcast, so this was exciting. Um, I think it was great that I got to talk about my FSC A lot of people don't know what we do and everything like that. Um, but yeah, just thank you for this opportunity to to showcase my FSC as well as talk about some mental health things, cause even this, just this podcast alone, was um a great experience as far as my mental health goes.

Nate Scheer:

Absolutely, and we could do a full episode on mental fitness. Maybe we'll have to get that set up, but thank you for listening to A FSCs one through nine. Remember, exploring different career fields is an important step in finding the right path for you and really understanding all the other career fields that are happening throughout the Air Force. Please join us next time as we continue to explore different career fields and the opportunities they offer. There's so many good things. We heard a lot of things today being able to do research and some other opportunities in a vast amount of experience that you'd never get anywhere else. If you have any questions or want to share your own story, uh, please reach out to me. Uh, if you want to talk to John more about uh lab, I can get you connected, but we'll see you next time.

Journey of a Medical Lab Technician
Car Mishaps and Mental Health
Friends and Career Field Importance
Lab Technicians and Their Daily Operations
Okinawa Military Base Blood Mission
Biological Weapons and Aircraft Testing Support
The Importance of Lab Tech Jobs
Lab Technician Challenges and Rewards
Navigating Careers and Mental Health
Overcoming Self-Doubt and Maintaining Mental Fitness
Mental Health and Communication Importance
Exploring Career Fields and Mental Health