Help Boyd Phelps Get Back on his Feet

For: Boyd and Linda Phelps
Seattle, WA
Organizer: Laurie Dana
Help Boyd Phelps Get Back on his Feet (Boyd and Linda Phelps)
of $10,000 goal
35% Complete
Raised by 39 donors

The Story

We are setting up this fundraiser to help our friends Boyd and Linda Phelps get back on their feet, medically and financially, after a recent fall suffered by Boyd caused serious spinal cord injuries.

Boyd Phelps is a beloved jazz musician now living in Seattle who played sax with Stan Kenton, Oliver Nelson, Earl 'Fatha" Hines, Jose Feliciano, Richie Cole, Lou Rawls, and Ernestine Anderson and many others. His wife Linda, also a musician, has a sliding-scale community acupuncture clinic.

In February, Boyd seriously injured his spinal cord and cracked vertebrae in his neck when he fell while stepping off a bus in Seattle where he lives. A few days later, he underwent major spinal cord surgery. He is now in intensive inpatient rehabilitation therapy to recover from paralysis of his arms and legs.

Boyd is determined to relearn to play the saxophone — again. This will be the second time Boyd lost the ability to play saxophone. The first was in 2010 due to strokes that damaged the music pathways in his brain. More info here:

He had the physical ability to play his horn after the strokes but the brain couldn’t “get the music out” to his hands. He practiced for a year to forge new neurological pathways for music. Since then, he moved his practice “room” outdoors to entertain passersby as he sought to relearn the hundreds of jazz tunes that had been part of his repertoire for decades. He became a fixture at Trader Joe’s in the Ballard neighborhood and the Lenin statue in Fremont

Now the paralysis from the spinal cord injury has taken away the physical ability to play saxophone. He hopes physical therapy and daily practice will enable him to play his horn again.

He will remain in the rehab facility until he has regained sufficient physical mobility to live safely at home. Once home, he will require round the clock care beyond what Linda can provide him as Linda has to return to work and she, herself has disabilities due to extensive back and neck injuries incurred from a car accident several years ago.

Boyd and Linda were already struggling financially because of medical expenses and loss of income due to strokes Boyd suffered before his fall, and Linda’s automobile accident. Medicare/Medicaid/ DSHS will not completely cover their needs. Because global aphasia (language disorder) from Boyd’s strokes worsened with the spinal cord injury, Linda has lost weeks of income since Boyd’s accident in order to assist with communication between Boyd and his medical team.

We are establishing this fund to help Linda and Boyd overcome both their medical and financial challenges. 100% of your funds will go into their Paypal account to help cover their expenses. You don't need a Paypal account to donate. You can use your credit card if you prefer.

(There may be a small fee for paypal, credit and debit transactions, charged by the credit card companies that will come out of the donation amount, when encountered. The YouCaring donation fee is optional, and can be adjusted. )

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on June 19, 2016

Posted on June 19, 2016

Boyd and Linda appreciate all the support their friends have given them the past couple months after Boyd's fall. Your contributions to this fund have and continue to be very helpful. They aren't out of the woods yet, medically or financially.

HERE'S AN UPDATE FROM LINDA:  Complications of a urinary infection (UTI) caused severe pain elsewhere and multiple organ issues, among other things. It took a week to determine just what was going on after the UTI was diagnosed. He's better now and was released from hospital this evening. Spinal cord injury patients tend to have recurrent UTIs and associated issues. Now that we know how UTIs can affect Boyd and what treatment protocols worked for him, I hope we can nip it in the bud in the future. I'm glad this terrible week is over. It's really hard to see my guy go through this awful stuff.

They started an antibiotic and tested for UTI when I noticed a fever and diagnosed infection via Chinese pulse diagnosis. Boyd hadn't developed other symptoms by that point. MD diagnosed UTI when the culture results were back the next day, at which time they switched to a more effective antibiotic because this strain of bacteria is resistant to the first one.

Posted on June 11, 2016

Posted on June 11, 2016

Update from Linda:  "Boyd's care team and I have decided that it would be best for Boyd to transfer to an assisted living facility. It is both a relief and a disappointment for me. Boyd and I both want for him to be home, but he needs much more care than I can provide. We now await Medicaid approval, followed by likely getting on waiting lists for facilities near our home. The reason for the wait is because those places have limited units earmarked for Medicaid residents. Boyd will remain at QAH in the meanwhile. Once moved into the assisted living facility, Boyd will continue PT and OT. He will probably go back into speech therapy, too. His global aphasia has not returned up to his baseline since the cord injury.

Posted on June 7, 2016

Posted on June 7, 2016

Thank you to all of you for your prayers and contributions to Boyd and Linda’s medical fund. They still desperately need financial assistance, and your donations are much appreciated.


Sorry for the delay in posting this update. I was laid up with illness nearly all of the month of May and struggling before that. Feeling better now in that respect and would like to bring y’all up to speed. As Boyd continues to improve a little each week, I am struggling and failing to keep us afloat financially. That is a huge concern. I’m unable to work more than 9 hours/week, which doesn’t cover my cllnic’s overhead expenses. Our only other income is Boyd’s small monthly social security check, which does not cover our living expenses. We have no savings because we’ve been leap-frogging each other with serious illnesses and debilitating injuries throughout the last 27 years, beginning with my cancer and associated major surgery in 1989, and followed the next year by Boyd’s heart attack.

Boyd was home for a few days at the end of April. The rehab facility Queen Anne Healthcare (QAH) had discharged him on the evening of April 27 because he could move without needing to be lifted by someone else. He needed “stand by assist”, which means he needed constant supervision and a hand ready to catch him whenever he was not seated or lying down, despite his need for a walker or wheelchair. I had to be with him at all times, including during my work hours. I had to bring him to work with me. It proved to be an extremely difficult task for me to take care of both of us. Before Boyd’s spinal cord injury in Feb., he and I were mutual caregivers for each other. He took on daily physical tasks such as cooking and washing dishes 20 years ago after my car accident that screwed up my back and neck because those tasks, along with other normal daily activities, caused too much increase in back/neck pain for me. We had forgotten how difficult those tasks are for me until Boyd was home in late April/Early May, and I had to to everything. Plus, I no longer had down time to rest my back during the day. It sent my back/neck into the worst relapse I’d had in years. I had to readmit Boyd to QAH on May 3. The plan since then has been for Boyd to continue in physical and occupational rehab there until he was strong enough to be more independent at home, and I could have home caregiving help set up.

He is now ready to be discharged again from QAH this Saturday, June 11. A potential problem is that, although he is stronger, he still requires standby assist, and he does not qualify for any no-cost home caregiving service other than the 12 hours per week that Medicaid will provide. Boyd’s physical and occupational therapists (PT and OT) and I all concur that we need 20-30 hours/week home caregiving service. It is uncertain whether or not Medicaid will approve coverage for Boyd to go to an adult day center for several hours during the day. If the latter cannot be arranged at no cost to us, then the only other option — if Medicaid will cover it — would be for Boyd to live in an assisted living facility. Neither option is ideal. Since we have no financial means to hire a home caregiver, we are stuck with the limitations of Medicaid. There is a conundrum about getting more help at home. If Boyd were to come home, he could then have an in-home assessment for Medicaid to determine if the 12/hours a week is sufficient. PT and OT told us that it’s likely the home assessment would indicate that more hours are needed. However, QAH won’t release him home unless greater caregiving at home is already set up. I wouldn’t be able to take care of him while waiting for such assessment. He wasn’t home long enough in early May for the home assessment to take place. So that’s where we stand. I am worried about bringing him home to live because it will cause problems for both of us with only 12 hours/week of outside help. With my constant back/neck pain, I can barely take care of myself. Our financial troubles make it more difficult for me.

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