My son is just about to finish his first semester in college.
I have never had to make an unexpected evening drive to college to help Claire.
After last week, I have done that twice for Alek.
No two kids are the same.
My first trip was when Alek's arm pain was getting worse, and he made the tough decision to give up baseball because his arm had already quit on him.
Last week, I got a call from Claire that Alek had blacked out, fallen backwards and hit his head on the floor. He had no short-term memory.
Wayne, Neb., has never seemed as far away as it did when I had to make that drive.
Claire and her boyfriend, Trevor, took Alek to the ER, where the doctor determined he suffered a mild concussion.
The doctor could only speculate that the dizziness that caused him to fall was brought on by dehydration or a drop in his blood-sugar levels.
The latter seems more plausible to me, since it kind of runs in the family, if that's possible.
By the time I got to Wayne, he was back at my daughter's apartment, memory restored and hungry.
After I calmed down, not knowing if I should hug him or wrap him in bubble wrap, we grabbed something to eat, and I left him at his sister's where she could keep an eye on him overnight.
The next day he reported no headaches and said he was feeling fine.
Needless to say, it was a scary night for all of us, especially for Claire and Trevor, who were there when Alek fell.
Of course when things like this happen, you count your blessings that he was OK; that he managed to miss the kitchen table and chair he fell by; he wasn't alone in his dorm room where, if he had hit the corner of a table, it might have been much worse.
Raising kids means going through some emergencies — big and small — but when they get a little older, you kind of assume things like this are past them.
You worry more about them driving to and from college, especially in bad weather, but you hope once they get to college, they are safe.
Who's to say what caused Alek to get dizzy and pass out? He said he felt like he stood up too soon, then blacked out.
I don't think dehydration is an issue, but I did lecture Alek on making sure he is eating and eating properly.
He's still a kid. And heck, many adults, including myself, don't always eat properly, so I don't expect him to completely avoid junk food.
But he does need to eat, and hopefully, that will help prevent anymore of these episodes.
I will drive to Wayne State anytime to see my kids, but I really don't want to have to make any more unexpected evening drives to college because something's gone wrong.
That bubble wrap is sounding better all the time.
Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.