Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Unaccountable cheerfulness + cough = impending cold

I felt unreasonably lighthearted when I woke up this morning. Then I started coughing; a deep, chesty cough that leaves me sounding like Harvey Fierstein and Eartha Kitt's love child. That combination warns me that I need to stock up on Delsym, decongestants, and zinc, for a cold is definitely on its way. 

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.


Anonymous said...

Ok, that one one makes me cry. I am so sorry for you and Max.

When we lost our first dog (to very old age), the cat, who never liked anyone but the dog, and never came onto our bed if we were in it, began jumping up and waking us every morning at 5 am to tell us "the dog is STILL gone! do something!"

May God bless you and Max with a cat who appreciates you both and has no interest in going out front.


Anonymous said...

Well, that image of Max's tail slowing to a stop just broke my heart.

I'm so sorry.

Penny Mitchell said...

I was laughing at, "Harvey Fierstein and Eartha Kitt's love child," and then teary-eyed at the end.

The right cat will find you guys.

Love you.