One of the best ways to break the ice and relieve tension with a patient is to tell a good joke. It doesn't even have to be a good one. Any attempt at humor is always appreciated in preop holding and in the operating room. I've previously quoted a joke I heard in the OR that was downright X-rated. But not all jokes have to be dirty to be funny. These jokes I got from a pediatric surgeon who was telling it to his young patient and family. It got a laugh from the patient and a groan from the parents. So as the old cereal commercial used to say, kid tested, mother approved.
Why didn't the skeleton cross the road? It didn't have the guts.
Why else didn't it cross the road? It didn't have the heart.
Why else didn't it cross the road? It lost its nerve.
Cute but effective.