Do you believe in redemption or second chances? I’d like to. I’ve done a lot of bad in my youth, and I’ve written extensively about my past discrepancies. I own up to all of them. I wasn’t the person that I am now, or who I hope to be tomorrow. I firmly believe that you get out of life what you put into it. I think that’s why when I joined the Army, I signed on to be a medic. I wanted to atone for my sins. I wanted to make up for some of the mistakes I’ve made.
As a medic in the Army, my job was to stave off death. I was good at it. During my first deployment, a few of us were interviewed and a statement from one of the infantry guys stood out to me even after all these years. He told the reporter when asked how he does the job he does, “I can kick in a door and go into a house full of bad guys because I know Doc is coming in on my six. If anything bad happens, he’ll take care of me.”
As a “cherry” medic on his first deployment, after hearing this, I was humbled to the point that tears came to my eyes. At that moment I realized the responsibility I had shouldered by signing up as Doc. It’s a name I don’t take lightly, I didn’t then, and I still don’t.
Serving as a medic changed who I became as a person. It became more of a way of life than just a job. And still, when my friends call me Doc, I’m humbled and grateful for that title. And still, I tend to live my life by the same principles I learned as a medic overseas through multiple deployments.
Sometimes in life, you meet two people who obviously fit together. When you see them interact, you immediately know that they’ll last. They won’t fail. They’ll be the inspiration the rest of us so desperately need. Scott and Susan married in 2013 and they are one of those couples. They just belong together. However, in 2015 they received the news that Scott suffered from an autoimmune disease that was causing his kidneys to fail.
The other day on the golf course, Scott told me about a conversation they had after his diagnosis. The part that stuck out to me the most was that they both felt like they’d just found each other, and had experienced only two years together as husband and wife, and that wasn’t nearly enough as they were planning on a lifetime of memories and love. They felt robbed, shorted, or like they were going to miss out on the uniqueness that is their bond.
A few months ago, I had the distinct privilege of watching Scott teach a Master’s class at The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. It was clear to me at that moment just how many lives Scott has impacted. He makes a difference. People like Scott and Susan make the world a better place. They’re compassionate, empathetic, strong, opinionated, and most importantly, they’re good. They’re who I aspire to be when I grow up. Scott’s Facebook account is a prime example of how many people’s lives Scott and Susan have made a difference in based on the outpouring of love and support they’ve received through this difficult time.
I believe life is all about moments. There are those rare times in life when your actions can actually shape history. You can make a difference. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you have to seize those moments because you don’t know when or if it will happen again. In essence, you have to be like Scott.
Tomorrow I will be lucky enough to have one of those moments. We never know how we’ll react in any given situation until the moment actually happens, but I am proud to say that I seized this particular moment. A couple of weeks ago I spent two days in Memphis undergoing a gauntlet of testing to determine if I am healthy enough to be a living kidney donor for my best friend.
As you can see, the surgery was approved and set for tomorrow at five in the morning.
There are painful dates tattoed on my arm, scars criss-crossing my body that remind me of where I’ve been, but tomorrow will be something else entirely. Tomorrow they will remove one of my kidneys and give it to my best friend to save his life. It might be the most meaningful alteration to my body to date, and I couldn’t imagine it going to a better person.
Scott and I have experienced a lifetime of friendship in the handful of years we’ve known each other. It has been one of the best relationships of my life. More importantly, if all goes well tomorrow, Scott and Susan will get the lifetime together so they desperately wish for.
Scott’s most recent #dialysispics sums up the mood in Memphis today perfectly.
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