Gunnar's room is a shrine to NFL quarterbacks, festooned with the autographed
jerseys of Favre, Manning, Brady and Carson Palmer. College is still two years
off, but Gunnar already knows this: "I want to go somewhere with a stadium
that seats at least 50,000, so I can be a fan."
While Gunnar surely
knows more about biology than he ever wanted to--bacteria and antibiotics and
pathogens--he's partial to history. College will present a new series of
challenges. Kids with CF tend to neglect their treatments when they leave the
nest. Self-possessed as Gunnar is, will he spend his customary three hours a
day with the nebulizer and the vibrating vest that loosens the phlegm, when his
parents aren't there to stay on top of him? "Also, you know how everything
is supposed to be clean and free of bacteria?" Gunnar says. "I hear
that doesn't always happen in a college dorm room."
It's a funny line
that draws a chuckle from the adults at the table. But Gunnar isn't laughing.
His father immediately picks up on his discomfort. He taps the table, and then
with the clarity and calm of a quarterback in the huddle, Boomer Esiason says,
"Don't worry. We'll figure something out--won't we, Gun?"