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.
(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!)