Roy Mass knows what it is like to push through the pain when your mind tells you to stop. Like his previous grueling Ironman Triathalons, on race day he relied on his “bank” of training and his commitment to his wife Nicole. However, the race in Boulder, CO had a dramatic difference: Nicole wasn’t holding her artsy sign or cheering encouraging words.
“It was strange because I’ll never have her there with me again to support me,” Roy said. “I had motivation to race for her. On the run it boiled down to reminding myself I was doing it for Nicole.”
In fact, the words “For my Nicole,” were written on top of a blue rose on Roy’s jersey to raise awareness for ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Thankfully, with support from Abode Hospice & Home Health, Nicole’s deteriorating health did not keep her from watching Roy’s race.
“A Hospice volunteer and her husband spent all day cheering me on and taking pictures and videos,” Roy said. “They posted videos and pictures to my Facebook (page) throughout the race for Nicole to see while she was at home … Since Nicole couldn’t make a sign for me, I made a sign for her and at miles 7 and 19 I got to see the sign.”
Besides bringing community awareness of ALS during events such as Roy’s Ironman race, Abode has provided skilled nurses, certified nursing assistants (CNA), medical social workers, volunteers, and holistic, home healthcare services for Nicole.
As a fulltime, certified dietary manager in the Army, Roy relies on exceptional support, specialized, and loving care from Abode.
“When I was on 24-hour duty, Abode rotated someone through every hour to help me, from nurses to chaplains to social workers, “ Roy said. “Every hour, someone new came, just to make sure someone was in the house with Nicole. Volunteers kept Nicole company, just so I could get out of the house and work or get something done.”
For 24 years Roy and Nicole have built a life together. They have enjoyed fast-paced hockey games, strolls through the top zoos in the country, marveled at sceneries like Alaska, and explored other sweet spots coordinated around Roy’s racing plans.
Roy’s nearly 19-year stint in the Army often kept them apart, but Nicole made sure their marriage stayed solid.
“She (Nicole) always did a really great job taking care of people,” Roy said. “During my deployments, she would go to the dollar store to pickup little toys and send care packages every month, tailoring them around holidays. She knew what seasons she could send chocolate. She always sent another jar of peanut butter. She knew the soldiers’ favorites.”
Now, the tide has turned, and Abode is helping Roy take care of Nicole. Abode offers comfort, and relief to her body, mind and spirit. The Abode nurse comes out everyday to do physical assessments, wound care, order medical supplies, manage her pain and even paint her nails.“Abode manages her health needs very well,” Roy said. “They give her baths, help her get ready for bed and provide general hygiene. A specific volunteer comes out and reads to Nicole or they watch a movie with her and just talk.”
Nicole has developed friendships with Abode employees and everyone at Abode knows who she is and makes a positive difference in her life.
“Currently, Tracy the volunteer is reading the Wizard of Oz,” Roy said. “Nicole didn’t care for the first book. Tracy the volunteer, told Linda the nurse that she made a funny face; she didn’t like it. She also loves watching Minon and Whinny the Pooh.”
Before diagnosed with ALS, Nicole was working on her RN degree. She enjoyed scrapbooking, creating beautiful, handmade cards and taking care of her family.
“Nicole has had some great CNAs from Abode. Especially since it’s her field, Nicole knows right off the bat if the nurse knew what he or she was doing. Can’t fake competence with Nicole,” laughed Roy.
Roy and Nicole are thankful for Abode’s interdisciplinary teamwork and reliable communication skills.
“The biggest thing is Abode hospice can really reach out and help you in sticky situations,” Roy said. “They helped cover me until I got someone over one time, and they have a lot of resources that they can put you in touch with.”
To find out more about Abode Hospice services can benefit your loved on, contact us.