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Jeff’s Ordeal



As much as this is a sports blog (yayyyy Datsyuk finally awoke from his coma and scored me some fantasy points), it’s also a personal blog.  Today is personal stuff, so if you’re looking for sports, time to re-direct, homie.


A few months ago, my brother Jeff broke his femur.  You may think that for a guy already in a wheelchair, that’s not a huge crisis, but he still has to transfer in and out of bed, the shower, vehicles and a million other places.  It’s a big deal for more reasons than we need to get into.

The brace he had on to steady the leg left his ankle with some sores, so he’s been going shoeless Joe Jackson.

When Jeff goes to get groceries, he rips over in his powerchair, because imagine trying to wheel yourself carrying bags of food.  Not cool.  This Sunday, Jeff had taken the powerchair to the store, then was stopping in at his neighborhood pub to meet my cousin, and probably to meet a pint of Okanagan Spring’s 1516.

With patchy sensation (mostly none) in his legs, he didn’t feel when his foot slipped off the footrest and onto the ground – he was heading up a cement ramp in that powerchair, and sheared four of his toes to the bone – and then some.  An ambulance ride and the grossest picture you’ve ever seen later (thanks for that one, bro), Mom and Jeff went home to monitor the toes.

As poorly circulated ground beef is bound to do, it started to look bad.  Mom immediately took him back to the hospital the second they noticed a negative change, where the surgeon said he’d have to amputate three toes before the infection spread, like ASAP.  Jeff has had a ton of surgeries (somewhere in the mid 30′s), but this was a new one to all of us.  Aesthetically, he was bummed, but it wasn’t going to change his lifestyle any.

For long surgeries (I’ll try not to get tooo into the details here), they put a catheter in.  After the surgery, it was blood that came out.  Jeff started seizing.  And you need to understand – Jeff is no invalid.  He can sit there and BS and go fishing and play sledge hockey and call me a toolbag, whatever – this was a complete shock.  Then he stopped breathing.  They called Code Blue and rushed him to the ICU.  Then, miraculously, he started breathing again.

And then it happened again.

I’m tearing up writing this.  My Mom had to sit there and watch and try to get as much help in the room as possible.

And we all just waited (Dad was here visiting Brianna and I).  He stabilized, so they told her, and Mom sent us to bed, a continent away. 

By the time my Mom went to bed and got a few hours sleep herself, we were all up and waiting on more news.  I drove to my fiance’s work because I was such a wreck I literally didn’t know what to do.  I was walking in… and he called me.

I cried man… boy did I cry. 

He laughed. 

“Dude…I’m fine dude”.  And then he re-assured me with lies “my foot looks good” (his foot looks like the crusher-claw of a lobster) “I feel good” (he only lost about a small human’s worth of blood) and “we’ll have a blast when I’m there in a month” (he’s having no fun, because I’m beating him within a foot of his life… that inch stuff isn’t as funny any more).  And here we are.

Here’s the stupid picture of his dumb life-size face that he sent me.

Jeff after code blue

(Clearly there was some psychological damage – apparently, upon being given a second chance at life, “The Freshmaker” has the power to induce happiness.  Wires got crossed somewhere)

When I asked if I could write this story today, he text back “no problem, let the seven-toe jokes begin”.

And how’s this for a two-toed kick-in-the-ass: while the surgery was going on, and Mom ran to the OR to see what was happening… someone stole Jeff’s bag.  Laptop, wallet, everything.  Is there anything lower than seeing an unguarded laptop at a hospital and taking it?  Eff forgiveness, if that person is by some crazy odds reading this, I hope you die an awful death on your way to hell.

So.  On the heels of all that… how’s your day going today?  :)

Jeff is on the mend – texting me jokes all morning – and alls well that ends well.  And hey, Jeff – three toes less means you’re closer to that weight-loss goal you set, right?  Congratulations!


And if you reeeeallllly want sports, here’s the link to USA Today’s Power Rankings. (Though from the looks of the player picks, my opinions were not shared. Pronger is having the best season in the league as a d-man? Is he really?)


36 Responses to “Jeff’s Ordeal”
  1. Scottkoe says:

    Hey Justin,
    So sorry to here about Jeff’s accident. Tiffany and I are very glad he’s doing ok. Hope you and Bri are enjoying the warm weather. It is a nice 1 degree here in Calgary

  2. AK Chick says:

    Whew! Got your tweet and thought, oh crap! Don’t know you or your brother. Followed you while volunteering at UAA hockey games at stat table. Always loved hearing Lyle announce your name, you know Bourne Identity, etc. Yeah. I’m cheesy. Anyhow, I’ve been following your blog ever since Doyle Woody sent me the link. You are hysterical. I tweet people to read it and tell my friends about it. My husband thinks you’re hysterical as well. So happy to hear your brother is okay, sense of humor obviously intact. Were he my brother, I would deliver the same “within a foot of his life beating” when I saw him again. And then I’d hug him for dear life. Whew!

  3. shant says:

    Best of luck to your bro, hope he feels better soon…

  4. zyllyx says:

    Now that he’s feeling better, I guess a good inappropriate joke might help to lighten your mood… to wit:

    Man, your brother really took Jim Balsillie’s “Make It Seven” campaign seriously, didn’t he?

    (Seriously, I’m glad he’s doing better.)

  5. jtbourne says:

    HAHAHA, that’s effing hilarious. Ahhhh, you win the seven-toe-joke contest so far. Though I will consider other entries. Jeff can have the final vote.

  6. ms.conduct says:

    Wow, your poor mom! She’s a tough cookie dealing with all that by herself. Love the “minty” resilience, Jeff. You guys are great and I’m so glad everything turned out okay (apologies to the 3 piggies who might disagree with that assessment).

    And a hearty FU-hope-you-get-VD to the bag thief from me as well.

  7. Tiffany K says:

    Hey honey, OMG!!! Scott told me this morning that he read about Jeff on Facebook yesterday and now I hear all that happened, honey I am also crying right now sitting at my desk at work, but thank you for writing this because although I am not as far away as you physically, sometimes I feel just as far and want to be home and able to help as well!! Luv you all and I will be calling my Janabelle and Jeffrey later to give phone hugs!! take care :-) Tiff

  8. Sally says:

    Oh man. Glad to hear your brother’s doing better.

  9. Deirdre says:

    I’m fairly sure the hospital would not appreciate a mentos & coke experiment in the rooms. Though really, how hard could they be on the guy?!?

    You might look into getting a simple pressure sensor and putting it on the footpad of his chair…set it up so that if his foot slips off it rings a bell, or flashes a light…or kills power to the chair though that’s much more complicated.

  10. jtbourne says:

    Or, he could go back to wearing shoes. Thanks for the suggestion though, and I don’t mean for this to sound condescending, but we got this, thanks.

  11. Pete says:

    yeah, that’s great, glad to see pavel got back on track this frigging week.

    i’m still looking to paint this blog pink, dammit!

    hope all is well.



  12. Frank says:


    I am so happy to hear your brother is doing better. He sounds like a tough and great guy given what he’s been through.

  13. Joan B says:

    Hey Justin, Just talked to Glenn last night for the first time in ages and he told me about the fresh hell Jeff is going through along with your poor Mom. Wow, what a horrible ordeal. Loved the photo of Jeff with his mentos and coke…just like the energizer bunny…takes a licking and keeps on ticking (oops wrong commercial…that would be a Timex watch…duh) Oh well you get my drift! Give him our best wishes for a speedy recovery from all of us!
    Been meaning to send a message to you for a while now. Two things, first, congratulations on your engagement to Brianna. I look forward to meeting her someday. Second, I really enjoy your blog. You always had a quick wit and just look at you getting all famous and everything with that sharp tongue of yours! Keep it up. We wish you all the best!
    Dave and I were just down in Encanterra looking around at Glenn and your Mom’s new home away from home. Maybe we’ll see you down there this winter?? No checkbooks have been produced yet, but we are thinking about it.

  14. okay, maybe put a disclaimer on this “NOT TO BE READ AT WORK”
    i’ve had a few students come in and ask me why i’m crying….
    ah, man…i don’t even know what to say…..
    you two have such an amazing relationship!
    i’m SO unbelievably grateful and thankful he is doing okay…..

  15. jtbourne says:

    Thanks so much Joan, that’s awesome that you guys came down to check it all out! It’s great down here. The perfect little escape from dreary winter. Let me know next time you’re coming down, it’d be fun to see you!

  16. John says:

    The fact that they stole your brother’s bag while he was fighting for his life is not only disgusting…it’s newsworthy. I don’t know what paper covers Kelowna, but if you contact them regarding this it seems like a no-brainer to run a piece on it. Something like this should even get a spot on TV news. Hell, maybe the person who bought the laptop from the dirtbag thief will even see it and do the right thing. Who knows?

  17. ann says:

    Glad to hear your brother is doing well and getting back to normal. Definitely some scary stuff there.

    Unreal that some idiot would take your brother’s bag in that situation. Just when you think people can’t get any lower, some does something jerk-ish like that. I agree with John, though – our local station down here would jump all over something like this happening….

  18. Patti Jennens-Ansell says:

    Hi Just and Brie:
    Happy doesn’t really cover it. Mom called me yesterday morning to fill me in. Honestly, we were just a mess. And now look at that brother of yours. That Jeff has so many lives doesn’t he??? The photo of him at KGH is the best. Made me smile from ear to ear. Once again he bounces right back. A little harder on the older generation!!!Time to cut down on the drama!! Too much going on in the Bourne family.
    You will have a wonderful time with Mom, Glenn and Jeff when they come to Phoenix next month. Hope Brianna’s job is going well. My daughter Corry is an OT as well. Your blog is great. Fun, fun to read.
    Keep happy and well. We might even stop by to see you all when we head to Mexico. Planning on leaving on the 10th of November from Kelowna and have Mom and Glenn’s address in Phoenix.
    Love, Patti

  19. Jeff Bourne says:

    Hey all, it’s Justins brother Jeff. Still in hospital but doing better thanks.Great article bud.

  20. Patty B says:

    Glad to hear that your bro is on his way back to getting healthy!

  21. smoboy says:

    With the spirit your brother seems to possess, he’ll make it through anything. Next time I’m at my local, I’ll tip back a 1516 in his honour.

  22. Aunt Kathy says:

    Beautiful commentary…I couldn’t be prouder of both of my nephrews.

  23. Steve Harms says:


    Jeff’s entire life can be summed up in one word: Courage

  24. Cousin Connie says:

    Hey Justin ,

    Great article. You are very good at what you do wether it be about sports or writing about family which is obviously so very important to you. Keep up the great work.

  25. Tom Curran says:

    I have a dream……
    A douchebag walks into Sturgeon Hall and brags about the new laptop he “found” at the hospital.
    A very hungry Mr. Louisville Slugger who hangs out behind the bar gets to taste teeth and knees again!
    Hey, we all have to have dreams!
    Talked to your Dad today about Jeff and needless to say I can’t wait to buy that tough S.O.B. a beer
    and a Burger(or just another beer!)
    This may be a sports blog, but it;s stories like Jeff’s that put sports in a proper perspective, don’t it?
    Joke from Bernie:
    What’s the similarity between Mike Komasaric and Thunder Bay?
    By Christmas they will both be -25!

  26. Officer Koharski says:

    Man, reading the first part about the toes made me ‘Yeeeaaarrgghhh’ in real life. That sounds horrible.

    He’s gotta be a tough bastard to withstand all that abuse. You don’t have to skate to be a power forward. The man looked death in the face and said “NOT TODAY ASSHOLE”

  27. minnesotagirl71 says:

    Jeff – you’ve got a great attitude! Keep it up – that’s part of the battle on your road to recovery.

    Justin – you’ve shown your readers that you can write about a whole variety of different topics with insight, humor, passion and compassion. I don’t read your blog for just hockey. You bare your soul here – it doesn’t go unnoticed. “Compelling” is the best I can come up with.

    You Bourne brothers seem to be two very brave men!

  28. pat says:

    Justin I hope Jeff is feeling better soon and that the asshole that stole his laptop gets hit by a BUS!!!!!!

  29. Will77 says:

    Glad to hear the good news, hope things continue to get better.

    So now, was saying you’re going to beat him within a FOOT of his life an intentional pun? lol

  30. The Grisons says:

    A brother’s love is so precious, Jeff is lucky to have such a carring one. Great article Justin! Jeff, hope you are up and atem soon! Glad you are okay! Take care Bourne family!

  31. Christina Aaron says:

    I went to see Jeff on Tuesday (not knowing anything about the code blue stuff yet!) After filling me in on what happened we shared some hugs etc and then later he was asking me if I was still planning on coming for a drink for his birthday. Nothing changes this guy! Love him so much.

  32. Kelly Kalp says:

    Jeff-You are a remarkable person for all that you have had to deal with in your life. I pray for a speedy recovery from this recent incident. You also have a great sense of humor. DON’T ever lose that. BTW-This little piggy went to market takes on a whole different meaning now. I know, I have a BAD sense of humor.

    Justin-We miss you in Alaska, but I’m glad that you are doing well and have finally been able to unpack. I try to keep up on your posts, but I usually end up reading a month at a time. Thank you for your insiders view and amusing posts. It gives the fans a different perspective of the world that is hockey.

    To the both of you-I am so envious of your relationship. I have an older brother who I did not grow up with. He is mentally challenged and lived with my grandparents until their deaths. He is now in a group home on the East Coast. Never forget how important you are to one another. God bless the both of you!!

  33. Ralphie says:

    Great article Justin! Jeff glad to hear you’re doing good. People say music can cure all and after reading this one song came to mind, Jeff this ones for you.
    Authority Zero “Courage”
    So you say you’re on your own
    And nothing’s going right
    Fist to fist and heart to heart
    You get back up and fight

    And now…
    Your torn like a flag on a battleground
    Stepped on and beaten down
    But somehow, yeah somehow
    You still manage, yeah you manage to survive
    You manage to survive.

    It’s your courage
    Take ‘em on, take ‘em out
    Take a stand, take a bow
    It’s your courage
    Take ‘em on, take ‘em out
    Take a stand, take a bow

    So now you’re thinking it’s the end
    You’re stuck in your self doubt
    And if a picture says 1000 words
    Take ‘em till your words run out
    Well it’s a new chapter in your life
    In your broken soul, your broken bones
    Your broken heart, your broken bonds
    But you still fight to make it right
    In your broken soul, your broken bones
    Your broken heart, your broken bonds
    But you still fight to make it right
    to make it right

    It’s your courage
    Take ‘em on, take ‘em out
    Take a stand, take a bow
    It’s your courage
    Take ‘em on, take ‘em out
    Take a stand, take a bow

    It’s last call, last chance
    Line ‘em up and let’s make it last
    Why wait when the days go fast
    Make the call don’t let it pass

    It’s your courage
    Take ‘em on, take ‘em out
    Take a stand, take a bow
    It’s your courage
    Take ‘em on, take ‘em out

  34. Ballgame says:

    Wow JB sorry your brother is dealing with this. Make my issues seem like nothing.

    I’m glad you posted his story. He has a hockey player mentality.

    Courage by The Hip is playing for him

  35. Ballgame says:

    I cried reading that.


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  1. [...] (which I’ve often wanted to do for my own brotherly reasons).  Sadly, Jeff when through a tough time after visiting me here in Phoenix, and had an extended stay in the [...]

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