For Our Buddy

How a friend taught me what's important in this life

During my junior year in college, I ran myself ragged. I took a full load of classes, ran the sports department of our college radio station, worked part time at an internship, and attempted to have some kind of social life. I was active in our campus ministries group as well, though that often took a back seat to all the other things I had going on in my life.



I had two roommates that year, Scott and Dave. Scott was a giant, about 6 foot 4 and 200 pounds of solid muscle. He played rugby and spent lots of time at his girlfriend's. Dave was the polar opposite. About 5'7" and maybe 100 pounds, Dave was plagued by diabetes and a heart condition. He had to closely monitor his diet, and he added about six or seven pills to his daily regimen of food as well. Dave never complained about his lot in life; in fact, he was a stand-up comic. The times I spent with him were sheer joy. Sometimes we'd laugh at dinner until the food got cold. Dave performed at the local open-mike nights, and I tried to go to support him as often as I could, but it was difficult to do with all my other commitments.



I was oblivious to most of my roommates' day-to-day activities. I was often on the road with different sports teams, "calling" the action for the radio broadcasts back to our school's fans. It was exciting to be always on the go, yet something seemed to be missing.



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The year flew by as I popped a steady diet of Tums to keep up with the stress of job and schoolwork. My grades were mediocre, and my relationships were less than that. I talked little to my family and even less to God, even though I attended Mass weekly at the University Church.



My wake-up call came the next year. I had moved into a new residence hall with other friends. It was in my new suite that I got the call from Dave's new roommate, Joonmo. Dave was headed to the hospital. "Something with his heart." It didn't look good.



"Dave is dying?" I thought. "That can't be! He's only 20 years old!" Stunned, I raced to the hospital.



The doctors gave Dave one chance of surviving and that was to have an operation to put a defibrillator on his heart. The device would send an electric charge to his heart if it started to beat too fast or too slow, and the charge would correct the problem. Dave mulled it over and decided it was worth the risk.



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Mike Hayes
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