Cards, prayers and visits boost spirits during long winter

Susan Manzke
Bob with some of the cards he has received, a patchwork quilt from the HCE Country Apples and the green/grey quilt from CP Fox Cities.

Who would have guessed we had so many friends? Countless cards and prayers from column friends have come our way — we can’t keep up. We can’t say enough how thankful we are for all the special people out there. You all are great.

I’m at Bob’s side. It’s where I want to be.

When the cancer started again it came so fast I didn’t think we’d have Bob with us long. Well, he’s still here and feeling better than those horrible first weeks. It must be all the prayers and good wishes — that and the medicines he’s taking.

One day not too long ago things went wrong for us.

During the blizzard, Bob fell in the bathroom. We both worked for a long time trying to raise him up. I couldn’t lift him and though Bob tried, he couldn’t help himself. That evening he was just too weak — earlier he had such a good day he talked about switching to a cane instead of using the walker.

In the end, I slid him out of the tiny bathroom into the dining room. There we managed to get him on a cot mattress. I brought him blankets and a pillow. Bob wasn’t hurt. He could spend the night on the small mattress on the floor.

We decided not to call for help. Sending anyone out in such horrendous weather was out of the question.

Susan dressed for winter heads out to take care of chickens and get mail.

In the morning, I dug out our backdoor and then called our neighbor. With Dan, me and Bob working together we got Bob up off the mattress and onto his feet again.

I was afraid it might happen again. Rachel came after the storm and spent three days with us. Together with Rebecca, our girls helped take their father to the doctor’s office. At that appointment, the doctor advised us to remove some of Bob’s old medications. Now, days later, with those medicines gone, Bob seems a lot less shaky.

Thanks to neighbors, we didn’t have to worry about plowing snow from our driveway. In fact, a few people have taken trips through snow drifts around our yard, making sure we are not stranded.

When it’s just the two of us, I sometimes follow Bob around like a puppy, dogging his footsteps even when he doesn’t need me. I keep track of his pills and encourage him to eat — everyone brings him yummy food so he doesn’t lose more weight. (I have the problem of not putting on more weight as all the food is so good).

There are still a few chores to do. When it’s time for me to go out to feed our nine chickens (some who are molting and don’t look like they will survive this winter), I tell Bob I’ll be outside for a little while. At this point, I make sure a phone is near for him to grab. I also make a point to put my cell phone in my pocket. If I happen to slip on an ice patch, fall and break a leg, at least I could call him.

Susan and Bob Manzke

Of course, Bob wouldn’t be able to come outside and help me, but maybe he could call for help. At least he would know where I was.

If I did fall, I know I’d be better off dialing 911, but I think I’d have to tell Bob first.

Today was another good day as Russ came up with his family to spend the weekend. The excitement of having our little grandson, Harrison, here perked up our quiet home. Company on a cold winter day is always welcome — actually company is greatly appreciated no matter the weather.

Today we’re below zero, but as the paper arrives at your home a taste of spring will be at our door. Bob and I can’t wait for the greening of the countryside and time together outdoors.

Again I want to thank everyone for their kind words, stories, and prayers. Getting mail helps more than you know.

Susan and Bob Manzke N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;