By Sister Pam Nosbusch, OSF
This past winter I found myself stuck inside twice. The first time was after we had an ice storm.
The second time was a few weeks later when we had ice again then snow on top of the ice.
To get out of my apartment complex I have to go up a hill. After the ice storm, I could not get out of my apartment complex for three days. After the ice and snow came, I could not get out of my apartment complex for two days.
I was struck by the fact that during those days I could not leave my apartment complex I had “cabin fever.” I pondered this knowing how much I relish getting to be home on the weekends after being on the road during the week to see my patients. What was different about being home after these winter events? I finally discovered that there is a difference between staying home because I want to and staying home because I have to due to wintry road conditions.
I’ve been thinking about how it might be for those who are homebound. They are staying home because they have to stay home due to physical reasons. I cannot imagine what this must be like for those who are homebound to have to stay home day after day. This pondering does give me a new appreciation for what it is like for my patients who are unable to leave their homes. Some of my patients cannot even leave their beds due to their physical condition.
This reflection has increased my mindfulness of how important my visits are to my patients and their families. When I visit my patients, I bring a caring, loving presence to them. Sometimes this caring, loving presence is sitting with someone who can no longer speak and holding their hand while I either talk to them or sit in silence with them. At other times this caring, loving presence is listening to a patient dealing with Alzheimer’s disease telling me the same story for the umpteenth time as if it is the first time. Family members also need a caring, loving presence as they struggle with the fact that their parent, spouse, sibling or friend is dying.
Today the weather is sunny and 80 degrees. (Yes, that is warmer than usual for early April!) The wrath of winter seems like it happened a long time ago. The lesson I have learned from Mother Nature continues to help me bring the caring, loving presence of the Lord to those to whom I minister and to those with whom I work.