It’s hard to keep anything rolling in the same direction during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were pretty close. 72 years last July 21st,” Maynard Lamack says.
But at Good Samaritan Society – Estherville in Iowa, good luck stopping 89-year-old Maynard Lamack.
You see, at the end of this walk, one he takes every day despite bad knees, sits the love of his life and mother of their five children.
“He comes in the rain, the snow, freezing cold,” activities supervisor Kristi Radke says. “It’s just a true love story.”
Maynard’s wife Ina lives at the Society and has dementia.
“Morning, honey. Can’t hear me of course,” Maynard says as he sits on a bench for a window visit.
Seeing her through the pandemic without being able to touch has been a challenge.
“I love you honey. I love you, I love you, I love you. Right? That’s what she says and I say,” Maynard says.
Whether it’s icy out, like today, or 20-below, Maynard shows up. Sometimes several times a day.
“She misses me if I don’t and I miss her too,” Maynard says.
Maynard’s strong heart
Not even a heart attack from a few weeks back can sideline the man.
“I was over here with the walker and I was walking on the sidewalk and I felt a little funny right here on the right side,” Maynard says.
After a second visit in the afternoon he made an appointment at the doctor.
“They said you’re going to Sioux Falls. My main right artery was 95% blocked. They put a stent in it,” Maynard says.
As you might have guessed, Maynard is known for having a strong heart.
“Are you ready, Maynard?” Radke says.
After a year of physical separation, the couple is in for a long-awaited reunion.
“It was a surprise,” Radke says.
Surprise touch visit
With masks on, Maynard rounds the corner for a date he’s been dreaming about.
“It’s nice. Nice to touch one another again isn’t it?” Maynard says. “Your hands are warm. Mine are cold, right?”
Visits like this are now allowed under new guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“He looks so cute in his little hat,” Ina says.
Ina can’t be happier responding to why she cherishes Maynard after all these years.
“I have to tell you the truth? I think he’s a wonderful guy. I love him to pieces,” Ina says.
She adds he’s not so bad on the eyes.
“Well he’s so very, very handsome,” Ina says.
Handsome and dedicated.
“I hope my husband visits me like Maynard visits Ina,” Radke says. “He is stubborn and loves her. He wants to see her and make sure she’s doing OK.”
When Ina came down with COVID-19 recently, her husband was worried.
“Yes I was. I didn’t figure she’d make it if she got it,” Maynard says.
Ina was worried too.
“That’s so scary, doggone it,” Ina says. “Awful, awful, awful. Just awful.”
Thankfully, she made it through.
“The old boy upstairs helped us out again, didn’t he, honey?” Maynard says.
On this day, it’s safe to say they both couldn’t be better.
“You just got to be patient and hope for the best and wait it out. We figure it’s going to be over with one of these days and things will be better. It’s tough while it’s going on,” Maynard says.
No matter what’s going on, Maynard will be here at the Society checking on his love.
“I think we’re going to get to do this more often, honey. I hope so, too. We’ve been waiting for it, haven’t we? Both been waiting for it,” Maynard says.
- Family visits allowed more often as COVID-19 cases drop
- COVID-19 Q&A: Visitors matter to long-term care residents
- Looking back: One year of COVID-19 at Good Samaritan Society