Family Nature

I’m Afraid of the Dark

Monster by hradcanska

I’m afraid of the dark but probably not for reasons that you might think. Sometimes the dark digs down and awakens a fear in me. It is the worst kind of fear, but one­ that I know very well. Every once in a while, there is a monster that comes out at night at our house. Only once the house is quiet and it’s deep, dark night does this monster rear its head. The monster is croup and around here we know him well.

You see, croup has caused us more than our fair share of worry. What is normally a harmless childhood illness has sent us to the hospital more times than I can count. It has resulted in a 911 call and an ambulance at our house – also more times than I can count. And one summer night, it almost took the life of my little ray of sunshine, Son-F; that monster did it’s best to steal every last breath from him. To this day – more than two years later – every siren I hear, every ambulance and fire truck we pass by on the street, reminds me of that night.

The signs are very subtle. Mr. Family Nature and I just know when it’s coming. It’s hard to describe, it’s the way he breathes, the slightest hoarseness to his voice and just a feeling that we get when we know it’s going to be a long night. It’s virtually impossible for a doctor to detect during the day but despite how subtle the symptoms, to us they are unmistakable. We know.

On those nights when we know it’s coming, we do our best to prepare and then we wait. We have our tools and tricks to keep the monster at bay. If we think it’s going to be a particularly bad night we lay out clothes, pack a hospital bag and make sure the phone is close by so that if we need to, we can be out the door quickly. They we go to bed. We fall asleep with difficulty, as we listen for every little peep in the night.

Someone stirs, I am jolted awake. A cough gives me butterflies. I hear that croupy, barky, stridor sound and my stomach lurches. I struggle to keep calm. I have to tell myself to breathe deeply; to relax my muscles; to stop clenching my teeth. We do everything we can to fight the monster and we pray for morning. I am never so happy to see sunlight. Once the morning comes, the monster is gone until next time, when he comes again in the night.

Photo by hradcanska via flickr.

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5 thoughts on “I’m Afraid of the Dark

  1. LIsa Marie


    It is the scariest thing ever to watch your child struggle to breathe and know that as a parent you are essentially helpless to do anything. My son has regular croup episodes, too. and we’ve been in the ER once. But NOTHING like you and F – you are an amazing set of parents and I commend you both for your strength.

    It’s amazing for me that you guys have learned to recognize the day time signs and that you are able to be as prepared as you can.

    Hugs for you all – and prayers that the monster will stay at bay.

    (This post is so moving, btw). <3

  2. Steph

    Of our 4 kids, only Kiera had life threatening croup. My stomach still turns over as I recall the drive to hospital, her in her car seat and seeing the look on her face when he wind pipe closed all the way. The loss of control, having no way to help, when all the tricks run out is just a parents worst nightmare. I am happy to say that as the years went by it gradually became a thing of the past. She is now a healthy 16 year old, croup ending at about 9.
    Keep up the vigilance, the prayers! I’m sorry you too are walking the nightmare path Amanda! Parenthood is not for the faint of heart eh? I hope this passes sooner rather than later…

  3. TheFeministBreeder

    Both my boys are just getting over croup. It’s awful. Thankfully we didn’t have any really serious breathing problems, but they’re both toddlers now and the Ped said it’s really only dangerous for small babies. Sorry about all your troubles with it. I certainly wouldn’t wish it on any mother.