Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Temporary Insanity

I used to think the temporary insanity plea was bogus. I didn't think it was possible for a completely rational human being to lose all reason and touch with reality in an instant. I have changed my tune.

During the wee hours of Thursday morning (and I do mean wee: 1:30 am to be precise), I awoke with a jolt to the sound of my daughter's labored breathing. I leapt to my feet and ran downstairs. I found her sitting up in bed struggling for air. She was whimpering softly in a heartbreaking attempt at crying. This is where the sane switch was turned off in my brain. I freaked. Faced with the prospect of my daughter's impending death, I went ape-shit (sorry-I could not think of a better description of my state of mind). I screamed for Sean to come downstairs. He did, and in a sleepy haze, he attempted to comfort me. Big mistake. I bit his head off, chewed on it for a while and spit it back out. I was furious. How could I possibly remain calm? Couldn't he see that my daughter was struggling to breathe?

I ran upstairs, daughter still in my arms. I threw on some pants and some shoes and raced to the door. I couldn't go alone because I had fallen asleep with the aid of Ambien and could not be trusted behind the wheel. I waited for my casual, relaxed husband to tuck in his shirt and rouse my son slowly out of bed. I felt like he was moving at a snail's pace and it infuriated me. I have no idea what words came out of my mouth during the time that I waited for my husband to get his Zen butt out the door but I'm certain that they were not the words of a rational human being. I lost my mind. I was temporarily insane. No doubt about it.

My daughter had croup. Go ahead Moms, nod your heads in collective unison. Of course it was croup. If I had one iota of rational thought left in my brain during the time when my daughter was struggling to breathe, I would have considered this possibility and taken her outside for some cool air. I might have even noticed when her breathing improved in the short distance from the front door to the van. Like I said, I was temporarily insane. If I had committed a felony during that time, I would be in court right now trying to convince the judge/jury that I lost my mind for about 5 minutes on Thursday night. It's true. And it is a disturbing reality. My husband and I are left to wonder: What will happen during an actual crisis?


  1. I can truly understand how you can freak out in a second. Hope she's better soon!

  2. Thanx for the memories! When my first-born had croup, she made a barking sound...not like a dog, but exactly like a seal. Try getting your brain around that at 3 AM the first time it happens. How could there possibly be a sea mammal in my Wisconsin home...especially in the winter? Absolutely a disorienting and terrifying experience. I became adept at the hot shower method, buidling up a miniature steam room where I would try to stay awake while her little bronchial tubes cleared.

  3. I totally understand where you are coming from. since birth my 4 year old daughter has battled with croup every year, and after many episodes to the ER I am still the frantic mom screaming uncontrolably at every ER visit, I keep telling myself that next time it will be different or better, but I am always that basket case mom screaming at the doctors.. when it comes to seeing you child struggle to breath, there is no way to keep your insanity!!!

  4. I did the same but with my trio it was febrile seizures. The Dr.'s always told me that the seizures didn't hurt the kids unless they went beyond ten minutes, but I still went nuts. I could not handle it at all.
    Finally, if I was alone with the kids and they had a seizure I just called 911. The police were very sane, calm and understanding. Thank God my kids out grew them or I would have had to move out of town sooner then I did.