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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Daughter’s love fuels mom’s recovery from COVID-19

February 12, 2021

Ardith Griffin is a spirited, outspoken 74-year-old who isn’t about to let COVID-19 take her down. After contracting the coronavirus last November, Ardith, of Topeka, Kansas, lost her mobility and struggled to stay alive at Stormont Vail Hospital. “I was never on a ventilator, but came close,” Ardith said. “I’m a fighter.”

That spirit is a trait that’s carried Ardith through six weeks of intense rehabilitation at Madonna’s Lincoln Campus and one she’s passed on to her daughter, Stacy. The mother-daughter bond became even tighter during her recovery.

For Stacy, the owner of Petal Creations, a Lincoln florist, the convenience of driving a few minutes to visit her mother vs. a three hour car ride is a big plus but Madonna stood out from the competition in other ways. “We chose Madonna because of their reputation and we felt they would give her the best chance of recovery,” Stacy said, who along with her mom, realized it wasn’t going to be a quick fix.

As a complex patient in the Specialty Hospital, Ardith relearned to breathe and swallow in speech therapy. “Madonna staff made that extra effort to keep her off the ventilator,” Stacy said. Her physical therapists encouraged Ardith as she painstakingly moved from sitting to standing to mastering stairs and walking with a walker. Occupational therapy introduced problem solving to boost her cognition and memory while clearing the post-COVID-19 brain fog.

Within a month, Ardith moved to the acute rehabilitation hospital where her care team continues to work toward the goal on her white board: to walk out of Madonna.

With her Feb. 17 goal within reach, Ardith is quick to credit the expertise and encouragement of the staff. They also carefully managed her COPD, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis issues. “I can’t sing their praises loud enough!”

Stacy is proud of her mother for never giving up and continues to marvel at her progress. Every afternoon, she shuts down her business to make the daily trek across town to visit Ardith. To honor her mom on Valentine’s Day, Stacy created a special bouquet – a dazzling arrangement called Love Explodes - celebrating an equally amazing woman.