Important COVID-19 Information Read More
Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Stroke survivor makes good on his promise to dance with Madonna nurse

June 09, 2017

“Last I remember was life flight coming to pick me up. And I woke up here. Thank God," said Ed.

Here at Madonna’s Lincoln Campus Ed Eilander spent time recovering after a stroke. From the moment he woke up, the Iowa native had one goal with nurse liaison, Madonna Stillmunks.

“I said, I’ll promise you I’ll dance with you because someday I’m going to walk,” said Ed.

The promise to dance started with relearning everyday activities.

“A lot of what we did in therapy was preparing him to do his everyday life activities,” said Betsy.

“ She’s helped me been able to tie my shoes, or get shoes on. Dress myself,” said Ed.

Ed is one of the more than 795 thousand people who have a stroke each year in the Unites States. While recovery can be challenging, his progress was nothing less than incredible.

“ Needing two people to move and then was walking by the end … it was just … we don’t often see that quick of a recovery for some who was as impaired as Ed was, so that was what made it so incredible to see his progress I think, ” said Betsy

“Yep he was walking by himself, well with the walker assist when I come back and I was happy,” said Kandi Eilander, the wife of Ed Eilander.

In order to reach his goal, Ed needed to improve his vision and arm movements as well. 

“We did a lot of vision exercises that were pointing and touching to targets, in order to help integrate his visual system with his motor system with his movement. And so I tried to incorporate using his right arm, in that same ability, so that he could work on the right arm, and the vision at the same time, ” said Betsy.

Through hard work and perseverance, in less than a month Ed proved he was ready to hit the dance floor.

“ They have helped me so much. They have stood beside me. They never gave up on me,” said Ed.

“There’s certain patients that you just always look forward to because of the progress their making and because of their attitude, and he was one of those people” Said Betsy.