Rick’s Story

Site created on April 20, 2017

On Tuesday, April 18th after about 3 hours of work an acute pain developed to such a degree that I had to go home.  From there Diana took me to the local Swedish ER.  I have been receiving treatment for BPH (Benign prostatic hyperplasia) for about 18 months and the symptoms were similar, yet different.  The ER doctor did a good job of eliminating issues and ordering  tests.  The final test, CT Scan with contrast confirmed that I no longer need to be treated for anything that is Benign.  

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Journal entry by Rick Oates

I am one that finds meaning when events and memories cross in my experience.  This is just such a day.  I woke up this morning and reflected on Memorial Day and all that it means, and then as I write this my final two bags of chemotherapy drugs are flowing into my body.  Then an old memory came to my mind from  the requirement to memorize a poem in a public speaking class.  I was assigned the poem "Laus Deo" By John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) and now can only remember the first line.  Yet due to the wonders of the internet I was able to read the whole poem for the first time in 35+ years and it really does express in a magnificent way many of the feelings I am feeling this day.  Whittier was an abolitionist, he begins “Laus Deo!“ with the following note: "On hearing the bells ring on the passage of the constitutional amendment abolishing slavery."


It is done! Clang of bell and roar of gun
Send the tidings up and down.
How the belfries rock and reel!
How the great guns, peal on peal,
Fling the joy from town to town!

Whittier ends with:

Ring and swing,
Bells of joy!  On morning’s wing
Send the song of praise abroad!
With a sound of broken chains
Tell the nations that He Reigns,
Who alone is Lord and god!

 

Tomorrow I will be ringing a bell that on the hospital floor to signal the end of my chemotherapy.  To be honest I really struggle with such celebrations, yet I was told that I had to ring the bell, as it was important for the staff.  Which is very true.  The nurses, PAs and doctors have all made a point of coming by to offer congratulations and greetings, when they heard that I here for my last time, especially if they are not going to be here tomorrow.  The Hematology teams of doctors and PAs even gave me gift to commemorate the event. 

So tomorrow when I ring that bell I will be doing so in the spirit of the words written over 150 years ago:

Ring and swing,
Bells of joy!  On morning’s wing
Send the song of praise abroad!
With a sound of broken chains
Tell the nations that He Reigns,
Who alone is Lord and god!
 

I cannot even imagine what the chains of slavery were like, yet in my life this day does feel like I am being unbound. 

This will be a Memorial Day that I never forget.  Laus Deo, comes from the old Latin Mass and means "Praise be to God!" – AMEN! 

Thanks for Listening,

Rick

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