As mentioned in my last post, Jack got sick last week. After the doctor ran a few tests on him, causing all manner of trauma and dread to settle firmly in my boy’s psyche, she then dispatched us to Milpark Netcare Hospital for him to get an ultra-sound scan, as they wanted to be sure what these lumps were.
Firstly, the radiology center bumped Jack up to the front of the queue as soon they saw how little he was which I thought was just brilliant. Secondly, they assigned radiologist Brenda Mahlola to perform the scan on Jack. It would be an under-statement to say that Jack was utterly terrified. We had had an entire morning of Doctors, tests, medicines, worried looks on loved ones faces, crying, and now he had to go into this dark room with a strange woman who he knew would have to touch the lumps on his neck which were just so agonizingly sore for him.
All my husband said to her was that he was nervous and scared and that was all he needed to say, she took absolute control from there in her quest to make Jack feel relaxed. It was incredible to watch a complete stranger gain my son’s trust so absolutely within a few minutes. She drew all her attention and focus onto him and said,
“Jack, my name is Brenda and I am not a doctor. I am a Radiologist. Radiology is the coolest job in the world because we don’t have any needles here and we can look inside peoples bodies and show it on this screen!”
“You see this thing here, it is called a probe and if I rub it gently on your hand…Look! That is the inside of your hand! There are the bones, and muscles! Isn’t it amazing! Here, you try it on my hand. You only have to touch my hand very softly and look! There! There are my arm bones!
And on she went to explain the gel used to make the picture on the screen nice and clear and Jack was squishing it through his fingers and applied some onto his neck himself. She showed him where he was to lie down and what position he needed to be in so she could scan his neck properly.
Her enthusiasm was so genuine and so charming that Jack couldn’t resist a smile and a sigh to relieve himself of the tension in his shoulders. And then the questions started.
“What’s this button for?”
“Can you see people thinking?”
“Can you see my breakfast in my tummy?”
She totally disarmed all three of us and once she felt Jack was ready to start the procedure, she asks him, “Jack, do you want to have a wee before we start?”
To which, of course, the answer was yes.
Only once this incredibly intuitive and passionately thoughtful woman had made absolutely sure that Jack was one hundred percent relaxed and relieved did she start the procedure. It was a doddle as my Dad would say. Couldn’t have been easier.
This remarkable woman reminds me of the dentist I used to visit as a child. His name was Dr. Terry Honeysett and he used to show us what each gadget did on our hand before he used it in our mouths. He also used to say that because we couldn’t speak, if there was any pain at all, we were to raise our right hand and he promised to stop immediately. How simple, how brilliant, how much easier his job must have been!
I thank Brenda Mahlola from the very depths of my heart. She gook the time to set a superb example to practitioners everywhere who want to gain the trust of their younger, a little more frightened patients.
What I learned from this? “Show me, show me” speaks volumes more than “tell me tell me.”