I worked in healthcare for more than 40 years. I was a lab tech and although the last 20 years I worked as either a manager or supervisor the one thing I did to maintain patient contact (I always loved talking with patients) was to draw blood from patients very early in the morning on our normal daily labs. I loved talking to old guys and elderly ladies. I loved hearing from retired school teachers and World War II Veterans.
And all those mini-conversations were as much for me as they were for the patient. But there was one vague memory that at the time, I thought was funny. Not so much anymore.
It was probably more than 25 years ago when I walked into the room of a very elderly woman. She was both disoriented and also bed-fast. She was mumbling, but I really didn’t pay much attention to her at first. As I got ready to draw her blood and got closer to her bed, I was able to make out what she was saying. She kept calling for her Mother. Over and over again she would repeat the same thing, “Momma, Momma, I want my Momma”. I proceeded in getting the elderly ladies blood and she continued with her chants for her Mother, and she really never even acknowledged I was there or had taken her blood. When I was done, I left her room and went on to finish the rest of my day on patient rounds.
Her moaning, crying and chants that day for her Mother stayed with me, at least in the back of my mind. Not so much that day, or that week, but over time and especially as I got older, and ESPECIALLY after my own Mom passed away in 2013. I would remember her saying repeatedly…”Momma, Momma, I want my Momma”. Now every year that goes by I understand how someone in an advanced age could still want their Mom, and would still call for the comfort of a loving Mom’s arm.
This 2 minute encounter with an old lady, whose name I don’t remember, whose face I can’t recall, which hospital it occurred, or even the exact year it happened (although it was long ago)…leaves only the impact of calling out for “Momma, Momma, I want my Momma”.
Many days now…I know the feeling.