“I knew that I had lost my sanity,” the Bangor native confessed to this Modern Philosopher. “I didn’t want to worry my family, though, so I told everyone I had the flu and isolated myself in a spare bedroom.”
All the while, though, Robichaud was fretting the undeniable truth. The frigid, snowy Winter weather was wearing on him, and having lost his sanity, he was on the verge of going mad.
“I’ve got a wife and three sons, and I feared that I would hurt them,” Robichaud told me sadly, as he avoided eye contact. “It was so cold, there was so much snow, and I just wanted to snap. The weather was really getting to me. Normally, I’d have my sanity to keep me from doing anything weird, but since I’d misplaced it, I couldn’t be trusted.”
Ironically, it was the very Winter weather that had left him teetering on the precipice of madness that proved to be his savior.
“I was getting cabin fever from being holed up in that room all day,” he quietly explained as he tapped his foot nervously against the floor. “I decided to go outside and shovel a path through the backyard from the house to the garage. There were drifts over three feet high and I figured the mindless work would be good for me.”
Robichaud was about halfway to the garage when his shovel hit something. “I thought it was a rock, but it made this weird sound when the blade struck it. Not being right in the head, I then assumed I’d come across treasure, and I got down on my knees and started digging through the snow with my hands.”
Before long, his fingers fumbled upon the item he had been so desperate to find. “It was my sanity. Buried under three feet of snow. The frigid temps and the snowy blanket had kept it in perfect condition.”
The patient was rushed by ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center. There, a team of surgeons and an Acadia psychiatrist reunited Robichaud and his sanity.
“He was lucky,” Dr. Franklin Steiner, one of EMMC’s top surgeons, told me. “When any part is separated from the body for that long, it usually cannot be reattached. The snow and freezing temperatures made this possible. Had the weather been nicer, the patient’s only option would have been a donor sanity, and you never know if that kind of transplant is going to work.”
Since Robichaud was feeling better and had finally come clean to his family about what had happened, I was dying to ask him a question that had been gnawing at me. Was Chuck his actual name and Charles his nickname, or had he just given me that information incorrectly at the start of our interview?
“Nope, my given name is Chuck and kids at school called me Charles as a gag, and it just stuck I guess,” he told me with a sheepish shrug of the shoulders.
Maine s a magical place, Modern Philosophers. At times, though, it can be a really weird, mind boggling place as well…