A Note to the Medical Community ~ Kindness Counts

36296_Thank you for your kindness.

Kindness counts in all ways, in all situations, in every step, in every moment of human contact.  My post today was written last night in my head as I tried to see the situation from both sides and found the other side lacking.  Yesterday I had some tests done ~ MRI and MRA which if you’ve ever endured these tests you’ll understand that they can be difficult for someone who is a bit claustrophobic like me.  I have endured these tests many times in the past so I know what I am up against and I know myself.  So I explained it to the technicians before we started so that they would be aware and hopefully be helpful.

With MRI/MRA’s, you are in a machine which feels like what I would imagine what being in a coffin feels like.  The patient is put into the machine on a stretcher and not allowed to move while the machine does its job of scanning the body parts needed for the tests.  In my case yesterday, my head was put into a cage-like helmet which did not allow my head to move.  I was in the machine, not moving for over 45 minutes while the machine clonked and whirred loudly, taking pictures for the tests needed.  The technicians who were in the other room occasionally spoke kindly to me, making sure that I was ok for which I was truly grateful.  Sometimes it’s the littlest thing which makes the biggest difference.  Hearing a friendly voice when there’s a break in the test helped me immensely.

45 minutes later, the stretcher was slid out from the machine (I was still not able to move) and I was to be given an IV of contrast fluids which helps with the test.  Unfortunately the technicians blew my first vein (I only have my left hand to work with so this was a major bummer), then with the next injection which was by my wrist, she accidentally blew that vein too, but not before she injected the contrast under my skin (which by the way burns intensely).  By this time, my composure was gone and I was openly crying, still trying desperately not to move my head which was still harnessed in the helmet cage.  I asked the other technician to please talk to me because I was having a hard time keeping myself in check.  I asked her about her unusual name and tried to make small talk with her so that I could keep myself calm.  But it didn’t work.  The technicians then decided to get a ‘professional’ in and the 3rd time was the charm.  The technician who wasn’t able to inject the contrast properly then moved to right side and although I couldn’t really see her, I asked her to please hold my hand.  I was beginning to shake all over and I needed some type of human calming contact to center me.  She complied and nicely held my hand as the contrast was finally injected properly into my vein and I was quickly whisked back into the machine.

But then there was silence.  The machines whirred around my head, clanging as they do and there was silence on the other end.  No more kind words, no countdown letting me know that this test would be 7 minutes long or that there was only 15 more minutes.  Nothing.  Dead silence.

I struggled to keep myself still, tears still leaking out of my eyes.  Do you know that when you cry and you are flat on your back, your tears drip into your ears?  It’s true.

Finally I heard them open the door and the stretcher was slid out.  I asked them to please take out the IV that was hurting my hand, but they informed me that it wasn’t there.  My brain couldn’t understand why I had this horrible pain and burning sensation in my hand.  They uncovered my face, took off the blanket that covered my body and helped me up to the sitting position all in a very formal, efficient manner.  I was handed my glasses and even though I felt faint, I was told that the test was over and I could leave.

The unusually named technician stood waiting expectantly at the door for me to hop off the stretcher and leave.  Struggling through tears, I asked for a tissue and then I felt like a bad child lagging behind a pestered parent as I was escorted from the room.  I was shaking, teary and sad.  I am not a wimp by any means.  I have endured this test before and I truly didn’t ask for anything more than kindness.

But I will tell you that it was lacking.  I wanted to call this post Robotic Humans as that’s how I felt about the technicians who were with me yesterday.  I tried to figure out last night what I could have done to have them act so coldly.  Is it that I asked for kindness and human contact?  Is it that they are just so robotic that they can’t feel others’ pain?  Or have they become so numb in their jobs that their humanness eludes them?

I have had other MRIs in this same facility all with no problems whatsoever.  In fact, the technicians in the past were always very kind to me and I am very appreciative when treated with respect and warmth.  I’m not asking for you to bend over backwards for me, but when you see me heaving crying because my hand burns because YOU made a mistake, please have the decency to say you are sorry.  To accept that you made a mistake and at least pretend that you care for a moment.

My hand was so swollen last night that I couldn’t put my watch nor my wedding rings back on and even this morning, the swelling is such that I can’t wear them.  That is not right.

So to all the technicians out there, please ~ be kind to your patients.  We are trying to do what you ask of us and we want the tests to go as planned.  But a little human kindness goes a long way.

I won’t return to this facility and I am hoping that I receive a notice asking what I thought of it because I would gladly name names and explain the situation.  I feel as if the facility needs to hear from the patient what it feels like to be in our positions.  I think they’ve forgotten what it’s like to be human.

Thanks for reading ~ I apologize today for griping, but I think it serves as an example of how much Kindness Counts!

Be kind to all with whom you have contact today!

Kindness costs nothing, but is a priceless gift to the receiver.

Shine On!


(FYI:  Sometimes you can be prescribed a Valium to help with the anxiety associated with the test.  Make sure you ask your doctor if you need one.  Unfortunately for me, due to the nature of the test, I was not allowed to take anything.  Also, there are OPEN MRI tests as well which put the stretcher in a dome instead of a smaller coffin-like capsule.  Also make sure you get the earplugs!   Truly though, I hope you never have to endure this test!)

42 thoughts on “A Note to the Medical Community ~ Kindness Counts

  1. So disappointed to hear about your experience.

    Last time I had one done, they actually had headphones instead of earplugs… so I was able to listen to General Hospital. From the booth, they can then cut into the audio and talk to you.

  2. Thank you for talking about this. I have had some bad hispital experiences as well..
    One after having my daughter. And I complained to my doctor about his receptionists who were like this (as they played religious music). Sounds like you stayed with yourself as much as possible.
    Yes, we are kind of off track as a society..
    We need your voice and example. ♡
    Love –

  3. So sorry you had to endure this! No one deserves this cold treatment, especially you. You did a great job communicating what happened, and I hope you feel a little better after writing this. Those types of test are known to be difficult for patients, I would think the technicians would have better bedside manner. I hope you’re feeling a little better by now ….

    • Thank you for your sweet note ~ I wasn’t going to write, but then I thought perhaps it would help the next patient if the technicians saw the scenario from our point of view. I am feeling a bit better thank you. ♥

  4. I have such empathy for you and I am so sorry that you had to go through that! As you know, I have been in and out of hospitals for the last 25 yrs. and have had that test many times, along with some very painful and humiliating procedures. I have had some amazing doc’s, nurses and medical tech’s and I have also seen and felt the ” ice people” who have no clue how to show a patient support. How hard is it to hold someone’s hand or to pat their shoulder and hand them a Kleenex??? I applaud you for speaking about this as I am sure there are so many people who have experienced something similar. A random act of kindness, especially in a medical setting, is so powerful. Wish I was there to hold your hand! Great post! Xoxo

  5. This is so important so I facebooked and tweeted it. It applies to Dentists too! When I have had long procedures I so appreciate my dentist telling me what he’s doing and how much longer, etc..

    I think you should get the email of the facility and send them this post. Not to be mean, but to educate.

    Hugs to you!

  6. I’m sorry you went through that. I can so relate in many instances but the most recent was a mammo. I left crying for the way I was treated and manhandled. These people need to remember they are dealing with human beings, all with different needs. xo

  7. Kindness does count, and there are too many instances where it is lacking. Medical environments are not one of the places where that should be true.

  8. Surprising how many people lack basic kindness. Sorry that you had to go through that as you did. Not sure what people think when they take jobs like those. They are going to deal with people. If they don’t like it – perhaps it’s time for them to move on.

  9. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I hate it that the medical professionals just sometimes get so hardened and treat people as objects instead of humans. I remember 7 years ago and taking my mother (who had multiple cancers) to a well-known teaching hospital for a Pet Scan and to see a liver specialist. It was so sad because we were put in a little hallway for over 2 hours where we waited. No explanation as to why we were having to wait. No apologies. I remember my mother looked over at me and with a very sad voice and sad eyes, she said that she was not a person to these people, but just a number on an assembly line. We were treated very coldly. I felt so sorry for my mother. I remember putting myself in my mother’s place and thinking how sad it would be to have cancer and be fighting for your life and the very people who are caring for you, don’t even care or show the least bit of compassion. It was an eye opener for me.

    • Hi Gail ~ so nice to see you again! I’m so sorry about your Mom. How wonderful that you went with her so that she wasn’t alone because there’s nothing worse than feeling alone when you are battling anything ~ cancer, loss or even tragedy. Big hugs to you ♥

  10. If I were you, I wouldn’t wait to be asked, I’d call the customer care centre and make a complaint. Its the only way people learn and change. Go for it. I’m sorry you had to go through this.

    • Thanks Yaz ~ I just don’t want someone else to feel the same way that I did. Perhaps they could just see how the patient feels and understand. I did tell my doctor so that he knew. He’s not affiliated with them but he does recommend the facility. He said he’d be speaking with them. So I am happy for that. He knows me. I’m not weak so if I was left feeling that way, he knows it was awful. ♥

  11. This is a HUGELY important post. I think you should send copies to every hospital and MRI facility that you can. I have been there. I DO know that your tears land in your ears. And when I had the whole contrast-vein-mess-up experience, I felt like they were blaming ME for having uncooperative veins!! My heart goes out to you. Shame on them.

    • Oh I am so sorry that it happened to you as well. Big hugs to you! I drank 2 huge bottles of water before I went so that my veins would be nice and plump. I guess it didn’t work. But I also got that feeling as well. ♥

  12. Oh my… I’m so sorry to hear you had to go through that. It does seem to be a little to commonplace in the medical profession. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the staff trying to detach themselves and not become too emotionally involved, but a little compassion never hurts.

  13. First of all – sorry that you had to go through all that mental and physical pain! It’s the worst!

    I just wanted to say that I think people can be that cold – especially in the health field – simply because many doctors and technicians see sick people all day. They are just conditioned to accept the sorrow and pain of their patients as normal. If they felt compassionate towards every person who walked in feeling miserable, they would go crazy. That’s no excuse to be unkind towards patients but all I can say is that the system is very messed up, to say the least, and that healthcare should be more personalized so that people who treat us have enough energy left in themselves to have a heart for each of their patients.

    • Hi Jade ~ I totally agree with you on this one ~ I’m sure that by the end of the day, they are spent with dealing with people. It must be exhausting to comfort others as your job ~ and quite frankly, their job was to be the technicians monitoring the tests so perhaps bedside manner wasn’t part of their curriculum.
      I guess my post was intended to shed light on the situation that I think many of us have experienced.
      On the bright side, I have had many tests there with no problems, so whether it was the day, the time, the technicians, me…however the stars aligned, it didn’t make for a great experience, but I am very grateful that it is over. xo

  14. A little kindness does a long way when you are stressed. I have had MRI’s and PET Scans, I know the fear of being closed in by those machines. At times I felt like I was on a conveyer belt, take me in do the test escort me out and next patient….Like you said like robots. I pray that this is your last test. Let us know when the swelling goes down, my prayers and hugs are with you.

  15. This is just not right. Unfortunately healthcare is getti g busier and workers are getting more stressed trying to keep their schedules
    I can tell you exactly what happened. Getting your vein probably set them back a bit. They were probably thinking …”if we don’t ask her how she’s doing she can’t say anything and we won’t have to take her out and set us back even more”. With your hand they may have ignored it because people don’t like mistakes and sometimes if they ignore it its like it didn’t happen
    As a nurse in the patient role it’s so easy for me to see how things work and its easy to see the folks who work in healthcare for a paycheck only. I’ve worked with plenty of nurses who just saw their job as a job and not a calling
    I agree with other commenters that you should bring it to their attention.
    Most facilities have a patient advocate or patient satisfaction supervisor that you can contact.
    And if your hand is still hurting try some warm soaks like a warm wash cloth applied to the area. This will increase circulation and dissipate the contrast faster to get it out of your skin. (Normally for swelling you would apply ice but not in this case). If the swelling doesn’t go down or if you notice any unusual discoloration have it looked at Pictures of your swollen hand would’ve useful when you contact the facility too
    May you have only good scans from now on! 🙂

    • Thank you Sis! I appreciate your understanding. I am sure that my vein issues set them back quite a few minutes ~ and truly, I would have so preferred to have not been a bother to them. But then, my body has not ever cooperated when needed. It’s more of a petulant child! 🙂
      The swelling has subsided finally and I can wear my watch and rings again. I did tell my doctor and I showed him my hand the next day at my appt so that he knew what happened. He said he would speak to the facility as he is the one who recommends them.
      I know we are all busy with our lives and that it is a job. I am sure that in dealing with people all day in the medical field, it must get tiring. I just hoped that with my post and speaking up that patients and medical staff would both take a moment to think about how they approach each other in this type of situation. xo

  16. Pingback: Daily Post ~ Moved to Tears | Misifusa's Blog

  17. I’m so sorry this was horrible for you-and what a difference a little human kindness can make. I know it’s really hard but have you tried visualization? I once spent the most perfect afternoon in Santorini, Greece and through all my medical “stuff” I just take myself back there-breeze blowing, smell of the sea, the taste of ripe tomatoes and local olive oil. If your brain can tell you there’s still an IV in your hand, it can definitely convince you you’re back on a Greek island! Good for you for braving these challenges to make sure you stay healthy!

    • Jill, I do use visualizations ~ I go to my happy place which definitely helps. But when the pain is too great and my anxiety goes into overdrive, it’s hard to keep the visualization going. I love that you have a beautiful memory of Santorini that you can conjure up. I would love to visit Greece one day!

  18. Reblogged this on chemobrainandmore and commented:
    Omg you poor thing!! I’m sorry you had to deal with the blown veins. I had the same thing for my bone scan I only have my left hand. Blew it two times with radioactive die, the second time left my hand so swollen and bruised it was horrible. Veins just suck!! Best wishes to you!

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