[Update as of March 28, 2023 by Mouse Bird, Organizer
“Blow the trumpets and thank the roses, Stoney Bird has arrived back to his home in Bellingham. He fell on 11/21/22, moved to the nursing home on 1/13/23, and came back home last Wednesday, 3/22/23. Those are some fancy numbers. He stepped out of the passenger seat of my car onto the grassy curb with no assistance, used his hemi walker to walk the twenty feet to the outdoor stairway entrance to his home, climbed the seven steps to the front door, walked inside and sat down on his very own hospital bed. The house-sitter and I were there with our hands gently on him to give his nervous system some nurturing co-attunement. Shaky wobble for sure, but such an amazing achievement for this quadriplegic man. He has been planning out and practicing the route from the car on the street to the inside of the house for months in rehab with his therapists. At last! At last!
“We want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has responded to our plea for support. Y'all are 200 strong and have given nearly $30,000. It means the difference between separate and whole, scarcity and abundance, individual and interwoven community. It is such a blessing and an honor to get to witness and receive y'all in cradling this beautimous man and our family. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And please, if you haven't already shared the fundraiser, please do so on your social media networks, newsletters, however you do. We still have many funds to gather.
“After we sent out an appeal to search for an in-home care giver we received two applicants, and have decided to hire both of them! They are both highly competent and compassionate, and each brings a unique skill set and dynamic presence. They both love to cook and I am SO GRATEFUL that in this next chapter of Stoney's healing journey he will be fed vibrant, colorful, nutritious, delicious, lovingly prepared food!! For the first two weeks in the hospital he was given nutrition solely through IV. Corn syrup and soy proteins. Then he moved to a feeding tube straight to the stomach with something not much better than the latter. And then after 6 weeks began to slowly incorporate thick fluids and mashed foods, all prepared in the industrial-institutional complex, yum! So the day after he arrived home after four months away, I went to the grocery store and made the largest purchase of my life. Please know that he will be well-fed, and that the two care-givers will be blessing him with food medicine wisdom and love.
“Auntie Tippy, Stoney's sister, arrived from Virginia on Wednesday as well. She has been a steady presence and anchor through the whole fiasco, and has been here in Bellingham with Stoney to support in this major transition home. She has been tending to his care, establishing the new routines and adjustment into the home. There are so many parts and pieces to this. Medical insurance, liability insurance, the government, and SO MANY different health-care organizations and companies, contracts, advanced directives, power of attorney, lawyers, money, lists upon lists upon links upon links, banking, bills, communication communication communication, zooming, fundraising, packing boxes, changing changing changing, planning, educating, manifesting, caring, tending, grieving, buying lots of strange things, meeting lots of new people, confusion, hope, denial, ebbs and flows, eddys and floods. One step at a time. Prioritizing. Releasing. Thanking the stars for being in creation relation with y'all. Oh life. Oh love.
“The focus is really on healing still. Slow and steady. Water, nourishing food, movement, rest, sunlight. Movement with his right arm is beginning to show signs of improvement after hanging like a swollen sack at his side the last four months. He's played the recorder for the last 50 years and one of the goals is that he might be able to play again one day. He's moving around the house in tiny little spurts, mostly from the bed to the chair to the commode. The energy is low and there's not much reserve in the body to pull from. This guy is skin and bones right now. In a couple of weeks we may begin to take visitors in the afternoon, but want to let the transition settle. It's been a major push the last couple of weeks, and will continue to be as the new caregivers are trained and life at home begins to have structure and support. One day soon the streets of Bellingham will be blessed with the presence of Mssr. Stoney Bird.
“He is able to easily communicate via text, phone call, and email, so if you have his contact information, don't hesitate to reach out with some encouraging words or just to say hello. Reminders to drink water, exercise, and eat lots of food would be welcome.
“Thank you!!! And please share the link to the fundraiser in all the ways you can imagine.”]
[Update as of March 2nd. An additional $10,000 has been contributed since the appearance of this article two days ago when the total stood at $7555. We would like to think that we assisted in growing the fund for Stoney but whatever the reason we are glad to see the generosity shown. The fund campaign continues with a goal of $80,000 so there is still a way to go. Thanks to you all.]
Original article of Feb. 28 - The following is the text from a GoFundMe page for Stoney Bird, one of NWCitizen's long-time journalists. You may remember his articles on Ranked Choice Voting, opening our streets to pedestrians and bicycles, and creating a community bill of rights. Stoney continues to be involved as a member of the board of Washingtonians for Public Banking even as he works on his recovery. We at NWCitizen (Deb, John, and Dick) invite you to respond to the eloquent request from his daughter, Mouse Bird. Click HERE for more information and to donate.
My name is Mouse Bird and I am organizing this fundraiser for my father, Stoney Bird.
On the evening of 11/21/22, I got a call from my brother who told me that the paramedics were on the way because he had come home to find Stoney in the dark at the bottom of the stairs, his face smashed up against the wall, unable to move, confused, with blood pooling at his head. The paramedics took Stoney to the emergency room at St. Joe's in Bellingham and he was then flown to Harborview in Seattle. We learned that he had fallen down the stairs, broken his neck, and been paralyzed with an incomplete spinal cord injury. At Harborview, he had surgery to fuse cervical vertebrae 2 through 6. The injury and surgery left him nearly completely immobilized, without the ability to swallow, breathe well, and move anything aside from his left leg. He lost forty pounds during his stay at Harborview.
He was at Harborview for seven weeks of intensive care and acute rehab. Midway through January he was moved to a skilled nursing facility in West Seattle. He will remain there for an indeterminate amount of time, most likely another four or more weeks. Since the traumatic incident, we have been living through the recovery process day by day, unable to determine short-term or long-term timelines or outcomes. He has been able to recover motor skills in both legs and his left arm, with nearly no improvement in the right arm. His breathing has improved and he has reclaimed the ability to swallow, meaning that he can drink water and eat food! With his left hand, he can manage his digital devices, feed himself (with assistance), and brush his teeth. Most of the day he is either laying down or resting in his wheelchair, with visits from physical and occupational therapists. With assistance he can get out of bed, stand, walk, and climb stairs. He is gaining strength and dexterity and will continue to make improvements in the weeks and months to come. It is unclear how long he will be living in a wheelchair.
When he leaves the nursing facility, he will be returning to his three-story duplex in the York Neighborhood in Bellingham. We are being stretched to our capacities as we are determining how to restructure his home to accommodate his disabilities, find the social and financial resources to support this major life transition, and find a person to live with him as a caregiver. We have found a lot of support from social workers in the hospital and at the nursing facility, and through spinal cord injury groups in Whatcom county. Stoney has Medicare with no supplemental insurance. Most of his stay at Harborview was covered, but there's a lot yet to pay. Medicare covered the first 21 days at the nursing facility but he is now being billed $200 per day. When he makes the transition back home, he will still need 24-hour care for at least a month, and continuing care to a lesser extent for the foreseeable future. We are trying to be creative in finding a way to get him the care that he needs with limited financial resources and keep his affordable living situation which is utterly impossible to find in Bellingham these days.
Stoney has devoted the last twenty years of his 78-year-old life (he turned 78 four days after he broke his neck) to being in service to planet earth, social activism, and dismantling the corporatocracy. He has volunteered thousands and thousands of hours in community organizing, public transportation, and political campaigns for nature and human rights, and peace demonstrations. His current attention is focused on establishing public banking and ranked-choice voting. He gave away his car in 2002 and has ridden his bicycle, walked, and used public transportation since. He lives a modest and frugal lifestyle, rarely buying anything at all let alone new things. He is a kind and generous man who has been blessed with an incredibly strong will to survive and thrive.
All funds raised will be used to pay for medical bills, restructure his home, and pay for caregiving and medical equipment that he will need. We will be putting a call out soon to look for a live-in caregiver.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Click HERE for more information and to donate.
Comments by Readers
Satpal SidhuMar 01, 2023
Dear Bird family,
We are with you at this time of grief and care. I have always appreciated what Stoney had to say.
Liz MarshallMar 02, 2023
I hope for Stoney’s additional rapid improvement. I didn’t know about the accident. It must have been very difficult for Stoney and his family - I cannot imagine. I made his acquaintance when he was an activist in Mount Vernon and am grateful for his persistent exceptional environmental advocacy.
Carol FollettMar 04, 2023
The Follett family is very sorry to learn of Stoney Bird’s unfortunate accident. He is a wonderful local and world citizen; we have appreciated all of Stoney Bird’s dedicated work for the betterment of our community over many years.
We are sending our best wishes for his continuing and speedy recovery.❣️