Archive for August 2016

RIP Dick Nicoll

August 16, 2016

Dick at Jake Wirth’s before Grand Lodge Quarterly in Boston.

Our good friend Dick Nicoll died on Monday. Dick was a past master of Thomas Talbot Lodge in Billerica, MA and a past district deputy grand master of Massachusetts Grand Lodge AF&AM [ A note to men who are reading this: When was the last time you had your PSA checked? PSA stands for prostate specific antigen and indicates the possible presence of cancer in the prostate.] Early detection is so important in saving lives. Sometimes early detection only delays what is inevitable. For Dick, it probably meant a few extra years to be with his family. Here’s the link to Dick’s obit.

The above picture is the way I like to remember Dick when he was healthy. I would rather not remember Dick as he looked after suffering the ravages of cancer. The picture was taken at Jake Wirth’s which is a pub that is [conveniently] around the corner from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Thomas Talbot masters and wardens would meet there for lunch every quarter for the Grand Lodge Quarterly. Good times indeed.

jake wirth

Whatever Dick did, he was all in. He was actively involved in Lodge, Boy Scouts and Church. Whatever Dick did, he did it with a smile on his face.

Dick and is wife Carol shared many happy years of marriage. Both were very interested in their Scottish heritage. He served as an officer in multiple capacities of the Clan MacNicol Society. Over the past few years Carol and Dick enjoyed several trips to Scotland.

After Dick’s diagnosis, Carol retired early to assist in his care. With his doctors’prescriptions and an exquisitely healthy diet, he was able to live six years longer than his doctors had originally expected.

Dick’s wake and Masonic funeral service will be on Thursday. It saddens me that I cannot be there for Carol. This is one of the problems I have with living on the west coast and friends who live on the east coast. Attending funeral services would be expensive. Air fare, rental car and hotel would cost upwards of $2,000 for the two of us. It’s just not in the budget. In addition to the travel costs, we would have to arrange care for Paula’s mother and that’s not cheap either.

So Dick was 69 when he died (born in January 1947). He was about a year older than I am. It bothers me no end when members of my generation pass away. It bothers me more when friends who were 10 years younger than, I pass away. Living a long life is such a blessing. Of course it is also a curse in that you see your friends die before you.

So mote it be.



August 5, 2016

No pictures today.

It’s been a tough week. On Sunday, Paula and I went to the Chili Cook-off at lodge. Mary decided that she didn’t want to go. Okay, no problem. When we got home at about 8 pm we got Mary up to offer to have some dinner and watch the TV news.

Paula and I both had sat down. Mary gets up from the dining room table and heads for her room. Then she had a whopping dizziness episode and falls on her back. We helped her sit up and we tried to take stock of her condition. She was conscious and didn’t seem to have broken anything. We decided to not call the EMT’s and wait for the morning to call her primary care doc.

So on Monday morning, Paula makes an appointment with her primary at 11:45. Her doctor ordered X-rays. X-ray showed fractured rib (non-displaced). He gave her some kind of strap to help stabilize her rib cage and wrote her an Rx for pain med.

At this point, Mary is noticeably weaker and noticeably disoriented. Paula has been sleeping on the extra bed in her bedroom. She has needed help sitting up and getting up out of bed. We are insisting that she use her walker rather than her cane when walking around our condo. She fought us for a little bit but has come around on the issue. We told her if you don’t use the walker you WILL fall again and next fall will kill you. So she’s on board with walker.

Last night she got up at about midnight when Paula was about to go to bed and she asked “Is it time to get up?”. Paula gives her a big sigh. No.  Paula gave her a bottle of Ensure and put her back to bed.

One good thing happened this week. Her lawyer dropped by yesterday with his notary in tow to sign her new estate docs. She managed to get it done, but she had trouble. Lawyer says to her “put the number 4 here (between August and 2016), initial here and sign here.” She had trouble with those simple directions. Eventually, we got through all of the paper work along with notary stamps. Lawyer will make copies for his file and call us to pick up the originals. We breathed a big sigh of relief to get this task done.

So the docs include updated will, durable power of attorney, health care power of attorney and add Paula and my names to her family trust.

So to finish off the week, we took Mary to get her hair done. Paula got the car and meet us outside the elevator. I started to walk with Mary to the elevator. The distance from our front door to the elevator is about 25 yards. She almost couldn’t make it. Navigating with the walker is very tough for her. While she was getting her hair done, we did the grocery shopping.

So here’s where we stand. At the end of the week she is noticeably weaker, noticeably frailer and much less aware of whats going on in the world. We’re beginning to feel that the end is near. Her internal fuel gauge is pointing at a big red “E”. But then again she might bounce back. We need to make another appointment with her neuro doc to talk about one of her meds. We feel that might be making the dizziness worse not better.

As it stands now, we feel we can’t leave her alone. One of us has to be here. We may start scheduling our caregivers for an evening every other week so that we can go out and have dinner and see a movie. Our goal all along has been to avoid putting her in a nursing home. But after this week, we beginning to think that maybe the time has come to look at that.

We are so looking forward to our trip up north on August 19 to get away for the weekend. We have scheduled our caregivers for the weekend.