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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Nebraska women find support in friendship during rehabilitation

June 05, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (MADONNA)--It’s said that friendship makes the world go around. It can also have positive effects when it comes to healing. For two Nebraska women whose separate lives were interrupted by serious illnesses, an instant bond helped them see the path to recovery.

Lisa and Debbie don't always race their wheelchairs as they travel the halls of Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals-Lincoln Campus, but that doesn’t mean they never do.

Sitting together in one of the open dining areas, they dispute whether a recent excursion was a race or not.

“I still beat you last night rolling down the hall,” Debbie told Lisa.

“Oh, that was a race?” Lisa joked.

The two women from opposite sides of the state say finding a new friend was unexpected, but a powerful part of healing during their time at Madonna.

“We found friendship in a place that we never dreamed," said Debbie.

Debbie says leaving her bed and eating dinner with a stranger turned out to be the best decision she made.

 “One day I finally said, ‘I’ll go ahead and do this.’ And so I did, and ended up meeting a very good friend,” she recalled. "I’m going to cry.”

Outside of individual therapies, the two became inseparable.

“Matching wheelchairs,” Lisa pointed out while they talked about their friendship.

 “They tease us because anything that we do ends up being kind of the same thing,” Debbie added.

It’s all part of the strong bond of support they formed.

 “We talked about the pain that we each had, the hardships we’d gone through. We talked about our life situations at home,” Debbie said.

“Oh, we talked about everything,” said Lisa.

They shared their stories while working on word search puzzles.

“We learned that we both kind of had something each other needed, that friendship,” said Debbie.

Their friendship was also celebrated by their Madonna care teams.

“Because you two have brought such joy and laughter to, not only the staff, but patients,” said Christine Franklin, a Madonna social worker. “We got some T-shirts and we gave you little messages on the back of them to take home with you. And you guys needed a little something to match.”

“It’s hard to say goodbye,” said Debbie as they both prepared for leaving Madonna to return their homes. “The one person I will miss the most is Lisa. A good friend is hard to find.”

A bittersweet farewell as they made plans to stay in touch.

Madonna’s holistic approach to rehabilitation includes support from the Neuropsychology Program. Counselors and neuropsychologists are an integral part of every patient’s care team. Click here to learn more.