Wife of Spokane comedian frustrated with rehab facility’s handling of communication between the couple

SPOKANE, Wash. — The pandemic has forced us to separate ourselves from the ones we love. For some people, communicating has been a challenge.

A Spokane woman is frustrated with the Royal Park rehab facility where her husband has been since June 30. Her husband is Jay Wendell Walker, a long-time Spokane comedian.

He broke his femur, got surgery and started therapy at Royal Park. After a few weeks, Elizabeth Thielen got a phone call.

“They told me that one of the workers that work there had tested positive for COVID,” she said. “They told me there were no patients [with COVID] at that time.”

The week of July 19, she got another call. The facility told her they were testing all the patients.

“The middle of last week, this last week, they told me that there were 25 patients now that had tested positive,” Thielen said the facility told her. “My husband tested negative, so he still doesn’t have it.”

4 News Now reached out to Royal Park for comment, but they have not yet heard back.

She said they moved Walker to another area of the building where there were no COVID-19 infections.

“They put him in a wing that’s for long term care patients and now he has no phone in that room,” Thielen said.

She questioned why there was no phone in the room as his previous one had it. Thielen said the facility told her the room is a cheaper one and it has no phone in it.

With little to no communication, she took another blow.

“But now you can’t have window visits because of COVID,” Thielen said.

She said she only had two window visits with her husband since he started his therapy there.

To communicate with him, she has to jump through hoops.

“I call the facility and then they contact a nurse and a nurse takes him a cordless phone,” Thielen explained.

Thielen is happy they’re forthcoming about the information regarding COVID-19 in the facility, but is still frustrated with the lack of communication her husband has access to.

“He’s doing OK, but he was angry about not having a phone in his room,” she said. “It’s very painful, especially in a place when I know he’s in a place where COVID is running rampant.”

Walker is supposed to get out on Thursday, but Thielen doesn’t know if that will happen because of the virus. Walker endured multiple health problems before the facility. She’s afraid that if he gets COVID-19, he won’t make it.

“This might be the last one,” she said. “You know, it’s very worrisome.”