New York — Lydia Runkle, recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, has had enough MRIs over the past year to have noticed an obnoxious pattern.
“For whatever reason, these techs think that, because I’m on a board with my head sandwiched between some foam blocks, now would be a great time to have some light conversation,” Runkle complained. “It’s like when the dentist asks how things are going right before shoving their hand in your mouth, but worse.”
Sources confirm that, as Runkle was waiting on the table for the procedure, the tech began casually asking what could best be described as uncomfortably probing questions.
“I don’t mind casual surface-level chitchat, but I don’t want this guy asking about ‘what happened to me’ or any other unrelated medical questions that, frankly, he has no right to ask. I know he was trying to make the experience feel less weird, but he definitely made it weirder.”
Bedside manner is a tricky business to get right so that a patient feels at ease, and a big part of figuring that out is the ability to assess different situations and, above all, to read a room.
Attending MRI tech Stuart McClarkson stands by his preferred bedside manner.
“You know, I try to make getting an MRI feel like it goes by as quickly as possible,” McClarkson said, standing against a nearby wall and doing absolutely nothing with his hands as he talked, while Runkle continued to wait with her head between the blocks. “A lot of people find the experience unpleasant, even anxiety-provoking if they’re claustrophobic. So I figure, Why not keep a normal conversation happening to take their minds off the situation?”
As she finally was able to sit up, stretch and head out to change back into her street clothes, Runkle had an idea. Before McClarkson could ask her any more annoying questions, she hit him first with a casual: “So can you tell me all about the worst thing that has ever happened to you and how that affects you to this day?”