Editor's Note: This is an entry in our Scholarship Contest for Patients and Caregivers to attend the Mayo Clinic Social Media Summit Oct. 17-21 in Rochester, Minn. See this post
for more details on the contest, and please cast your votes by liking or commenting on the candidates you think would be best.
Here is Mary Green’s Essay:
I Will Never Be the Same
For more than a century, Mayo patients live on in the hearts of their families. Our stories may have different names, but they all have similar endings. The care that we received at the hands of the Mayo family is beyond words can describe.
One January day, my mom and I walked into Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. Willie, was the first to greet us at the entrance. Standing over 7 feet tall, he bent down to smile at my mother, who smiled back. This greeting continued, appointment after appointment, months after months, until my mom couldn’t walk anymore. He would help me by getting me a wheel chair. As my mom’s disease progressed, Willie would help me with words of encouragement.
My mom came from India with only nine dollars in her pocket and made a life for her family by providing care as a nurse. She impacted the lives of so many people she touched over 40 years.
They say some people are in your life forever and others are there for a moment, leaving footprints on your heart. The Mayo family had that impact on my family, at the most needed time in our life.
One day my mom pulled out a piece of paper with someone’s name on it. She was still able to talk and write then. She handed me some money and told me to go get a thank you card and gift, and make sure I found this nurse that drew her blood. I found the tech on the second floor of Mayo and handed her a card to express my mom’s gratitude. How amazing? A complete stranger, young enough to be my sister, showing love to my mother. My mom, a retired nurse, passing something on to a younger one.
My mom shared the same insight that Dr. Mayo and his sons shared. The value of future generations, the importance and quality of care and the infinite potential of the future of medicine.
Times change, seasons change. I think of my mom’s PDR, which we still have. It has to be older than me. Then, I think of WebMD, my “PDR”.
“In the autumn of life one perhaps may be privileged to become reminiscent.” - Dr. Will Mayo
I became reminiscent. Social media kept me occupied during my stays at Mayo. MRIs, chemo, radiation treatments or waiting for labs, I was on my laptop. Social media gave me access to medical information and support. I joined Facebook, reached out to old friends and was touched by new friends.
My mom passed away on Nov. 4, 2010 on Worrall Way, named after Dr. William Worrall Mayo.
The Mayos were not just innovators, doctors and teachers. They were philosophers who embraced changed and valued quality care outside the general hospital atmosphere. That simple philosophy is evident when seeing the carpeted halls of Mayo, the cushioned chairs, the “Willies” at every entrance. Mayo Clinic was different…it was amazing.
Without social media, my mom’s story would probably have had a different ending. Instead she was received at Mayo, as a retired nurse whose turn now was to be the patient. The staff doted over her. “Hi Miss Baby, how are you?” Her first name was Baby.
When I received the Mayo tweet about this essay, I knew my mom would want me to share her story. Even tragic stories, have priceless treasures. I was able to spend time with my mom and I made life-long friends.
My sister took care of my mom during her last months and she continues my mom’s legacy by giving quality care as a cath tech. I’d like to bring her to the Summit so she can be inspired, and so we can thank those who dedicate their lives to caring for others.
Social media not only educates, it provides a platform for patients and educators. It’s static and validates the impact of many who dedicate their lives to helping the sick through quality healthcare. The future defines our infinite potential.
“I look through a half opened door into the future, full of interest” Dr. Will Mayo