University of Virginia Health System medical intensive care unit nurse Charlotte Brouwer’s newest self-care purchase is a bit unique. Her purchase was also good for the community.

“My fiancé and I actually just adopted a cat yesterday,” she said. “Clyde. He is a little tuxedo kitten.”

Brouwer adopted the cat through the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA, which got her in contact with the foster mom of the kitten she and her fiancé were interested in. Brouwer was even able to FaceTimed with Clyde to see how he acted in a comfortable environment.

“It’s a nice distraction, and plus it’s just good for the community,” Brouwer said. “When the quarantine started a couple weeks ago, they did actually, like, a mad push to get all of the pets that were in the clinic out to foster care. So … most of the animals [have] gone out to foster care.”

Brouwer said it has been difficult not being able to provide physical support to her co-workers due to social distancing restrictions.

“We’re all very affectionate people and very close, and that part of it has been hard because … when we have a hard day at work, we’ll give each other hugs but now we can’t really do that,” she said. “So that’s, … probably been one of the harder parts about it.”

Still, units at the hospital have found innovative ways of supporting each other despite the restrictions. She said the pediatric ICU sent the MICU Insomnia Cookies one night, as well as a canvas that said “PICU Loves MICU.”

“One thing that really leaps out at me is … the construction workers lined up on the new construction that they’re working on at UVa hospital and cheered as the nurses walked into work,” Brouwer said. “We’re putting our lives and our health and our family’s lives and health on the line, so just any sort of appreciation like that is greatly welcomed and super appreciated.”

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