I’m writing this in the hospital, sitting next to my son John.
John is a trooper. About 10 days ago he got a cold that settled into his chest. John has suffered from asthma since he was a boy, and he always struggles when sickness gets into his lungs.
Early Thursday morning John woke up at 4:00 with a horrendous cough. Instead of crying for Mom to come take care of him, he quietly got up, got a cough drop, drank a little water, and coughed into his pillow, trying hard not to wake the rest of the house.
Twenty-four hours later he was in the emergency room, struggling to breathe.
Tonight, after driving for 20 hours back from Wisconsin, I came to see John. I brought my oldest son with me and read a little to both of the boys. After I finished I asked John if he wanted me to sleep here in the hospital room with him. He told me I didn’t need to stay, and that he would be fine.
I gathered my things up and got ready to go. As I went to say goodbye, John looked up at me with his big brown eyes and asked, “Would you have fun if you stayed here?”
I was exhausted. I just wanted to go home and crawl into bed. I knew that he would fall asleep within minutes if I left, so I said, “How about this. I’ll take Spencer home, unpack, shower, and then I’ll call the nurse. If you’re still awake, I’ll come back. If you’re asleep, I’ll come back early in the morning.”
He smiled and nodded. I took my things out to the nurse’s station and got their phone number.
I looked back into the room and little John had pulled the sheets up over his eyes. I went back into the room and heard him sobbing quietly in his bed. He wanted so much for me to stay, but he didn’t want to be a bother.
Sometimes when you’re a dad you don’t always know what to do. Other times there isn’t a question. When you're a dad, there are some things that you just do.
“I’ll take Spencer home and come right back, OK John?”
I am crammed into a hospital chair, and will likely only get a few hours of sleep tonight; but that is a small price to pay for the hug I got when I returned to the hospital. John is sleeping well, and on the mend, and that is what is important.