Of course, I also don't have to go back to work until Friday. My boss, with a quickness and sensitivity that left me floored, gave me a mental-health day off today.
Being a nurse gives you plenty of opportunities for gaining perspective. The day after Evvie died, I went back to work. One of my patients had a hyperventilating drama-queen attack about having four staples taken out of her head. I sent another patient to ICU before 8 am so he could be intubated, placed on a fentanyl drip, and sedated in order to control the pain he was having from widespread bone cancer.
I'd say seeing your cat killed lies exactly, perfectly in between those two extremes.
It's also nice to have a job that takes up the majority of your day and leaves you so exhausted at the end, mentally and physically, that any emotional pain that you have feels like it's happening to somebody else. The last few days have sucked big jaggy rocks, yes, but they would've sucked more had I been a waitress or a checkout clerk or an accountant. Or, frankly, if I'd stayed home and stared at the empty couch and wept.
As it was, I ran around like a chicken and solved problems and passed meds and changed dressings and, while I didn't smile much or make a lot of jokes, I was at least functional.
The next few weeks will be tough. The hardest part of this has been watching Max react to the fact that there's no cat in the house. Max grew up with dog-loving cats and had always treasured the hope that Evvie would someday like him; he keeps looking for her behind the couch and the Christmas tree. Watching him search behind things with his tail wagging, then watching the wag slow and stop and the tail droop...it's hard.
But. Eventually there will be another cat. With luck, it'll be a Max-friendly cat.
And in the meantime, I'll stop over at the neighbors' house in the next couple of weeks and offer to help them dog-proof their fence for real.