Christmas was different this year. My parent's decided to stay in Twin Falls rather than brave the roads (or another bus ride...they just can't quite get comfortable with that loss of independence). As a result, we had a quiet Christmas morning. Ethan had previously asked Santa for only two things: A Transformer Devastator as well as a Wii game. Santa obliged! Ethan was a bit concerned about how Santa would fit down our chimney. I also took Ethan to the Elk's Club's Christmas for Kids event where one of our exalted members (A Scotsman with a happy chuckle seemingly reinforced at the bar!) dressed as Santa and greeted the kids. Ethan's reaction? "Daddy. I don't think that's the real Santa. He must be one of his helpers."
After Christmas, I decided to go to the Fiesta Bowl to watch the Boise State Bronco's take on the Horned Frogs of TCU. I missed the bowl three years ago, and I had a great time along with thousands of other BSU faithful who made the trek to Phoenix after the new year. The only downside? Garmin GPS has no way of knowing when road construction closes roads and causes detours. As a result, I did spend one morning, in the dark, trying to get back to my hotel after dropping off a buddy at the airport. Oh well. Considering Garmin has been in the news lately for stranding at least three users on snowy mountain roads, being stranded in Phoenix could have been worse. Plus we won!
When my plane landed back in Boise on January 5, Ethan was sitting in his customary spot right outside the security doors in the Boise airport. He grinned, and ran into my arms, kissed my cheek, and immediately demanded we go play video games. The standard Ethan airport greeting. Later that night, he started to cough a bit. Heather and I had been discussing that he seems to have a chronic cough and that perhaps we should seek alternative opinions. Fate intervened. He spent that night coughing and then vomiting. The next morning, the pediatrician sent Ethan and his mom to St. Lukes Hospital where he spent two days (one night). It is now apparent he has asthma, and our next step is an allergist to see what triggers the attacks...although this was the first tangible one. Perhaps he's had mild attacks before? Who knows? We've been pretty lucky with him. No childhood ailments really, and countless friends have now indicated they "had it as a kid and out grew it."
By the end of that second day, Ethan was Ethan. He seemed fine. However, confined to a hospital bed in a cramped room, when I entered the room after work, he put on a brave face though his bottom lip quivered and his eyes watered as he said, "Daddy? I'm just unhappy. I want out of this place. I want to go home." I know there will be a time when he doesn't want to hang out at home. I know there will be a time when on a Saturday morning he doesn't pile onto my lap in a cloud of blankets content to watch cartoons with Daddy for a couple of hours. I know there will be a time when he is out of breath not from an unexpected bout of childhood asthma but from running out the door with his buddies. So, as Heather and I spent countless hours hovering over our little boy who celebrates his fifth birthday in a week, I also realized that these are really special times.
And, now that we know he's out of the woods (and the hospital), I couldn't help but consider that the hospital stay happened 6 days into a new insurance deductible. Ah...timing!