Introduction to the Hero Highlights category of the “The Hope Chest” blog: In our Hero Highlights posts, we will be focused upon trauma-informed “heroes” in our community. Professionals and/or agencies that exemplify what it means to be trauma-informed or trauma-responsive will be written about. These can be posts from consumers receiving their services or posts from the agencies or professionals themselves, sharing stories about what they did to be more trauma-informed or responsive in their practices and what impact that had upon those they serve or upon their fellow employees.
For reasons I don’t yet fully understand (and won’t until I receive the results), I was referred for an MRI earlier in the week after a doctor’s appointment. I took the first available appointment and found myself in the waiting area at St. Elizabeth Healthcare at 8:15am on Saturday morning with my husband. Needless to say, getting referred for an MRI is scary. These tests aren’t the go-to for most health issues, but they are able to reveal things doctors are unable to see with their own eyes and instruments. I’d like to share my experience with the Radiology tech, and it’s the same thing I wrote on the “Care Gram” I asked for upon the completion of my MRI service at the hospital. I walked away from this experience thinking, “now there’s a hero story” for the blog. The following are the words I used to describe my MRI experience with a wonderful technician named Brett M.
“From the moment Brett greeted me and my husband, he created a sense of calm. He presented as a caring, competent professional, asking questions with care and compassion about my background and any current health issues that would need to be taken into account when administering an MRI. He really took care to create a safe space with physical and psychological comfort by asking if I wanted a warm blanket and what kind of music I’d like to listen to, if any, during the procedure. (Side note: I said, “yes” to the warm blanket and “yes” to the music. They are both comforting to me in different ways and it was actually a little cold in the office. But I may have asked for the warm blanket anyway because warm blankets aren’t just for warmth. They’re soft and cozy, and perfect for times of stress and anxiety, which bring cold, tense, tight uncomfortable feelings. )
“Throughout the entire process, Brett was calm and caring. Even the directive to squeeze the bulb if I needed him during the procedure was more than simply following protocol. He genuinely wanted to let me know he was there to help me if needed. MRIs are scary because they aim to reveal the unknown pieces that are creating concerning bodily responses. Brett made the entire process not only less ominous and daunting, he took away my fear to the point that I found myself just enjoying and singing along in my head to the music he chose for me, when I had given him a pretty vague category of “soft rock”.”
My Care Gram concluded with the following: “In my professional life, I run an agency that promotes trauma-informed care, the Tristate Trauma Network. I wanted to not only praise Brett, but to lift up his approach and behavior as a prime example of what trauma-informed care truly looks and feels like. Thank you, Brett, for reducing my anxiety and fear about this procedure. Thank you for being a caring human being who exemplifies proper treatment of patients during medical procedures.” I stopped my Care Gram there, but I do have one more acknowledgement to make as I know that it’s very much about the agency and not just the individual when these things happen: Thank you, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, for seeing and nurturing in Brett his capacity to replace fear with comfort and safety. It’s what we all need a little more of in life, especially right now.
And to all of you reading this, I wish you again, a day sprinkled with hope from your own or someone else’s “Hope Chest.”