“We feel so lucky and are both so thankful there’s dedicated people who are there for us. People who put on these amazing programs to keep us all connected.”
On June 22, 2010, Gordon Jones was bicycling home from work through Victoria. It was congested, people were impatient, and then it got worse. He hit the brakes hard to avoid being hit and flew over his handlebars. In a matter of three seconds Gordon’s life changed forever.
He was airlifted to Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) where he stayed for about two months before being transferred to GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. At VGH, he was the recipient of a revolutionary surgery where his break was accessed through the front of his neck. His surgery included a C5 corpectomy and anterior cage as well as an anterior fusion from C4 to C6.
“I was pretty heavily medicated for quite a long time, and I don’t remember much from the moment I crashed, until months later when I was out of the ICU,” Gordon admits, “What I do remember is my wife, Linda. She was worried about me, and I worried about her. There she was, trying to keep all the ducks in a row: working during the week and coming to Vancouver every single weekend to be with me so she could learn how to look after me. In her spare time,” he adds, “she was looking at either moving our home, or working with OTs to figure out how to modify our house.”
After Gordon’s stay in Vancouver, he was moved back to Victoria and spent six months at Royal Jubilee Hospital. This is where he met Scott Heron. “He’s one of the easiest people to talk to,” says Gordon, “he knows exactly what I’m going through, and he just gets me.”
“Scott opened many doors by introducing us to other people in similar situations,” adds Linda, “our world expanded because of Scott and SCI BC.”
When the time came for Gordon to leave Royal Jubilee, the couple realized that he wasn’t coming home. There was a room for him at a local complex long-term care facility that would be his new home. “It was a heart-wrenching decision for both Linda and me,” Gordon remembers, “Scott was there to talk to—he’s a great listener and a wealth of knowledge. He became our go-to person.”
This year Linda and Gordon celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary. There’s been a lot of changes this last decade, and they’ve have gone through it all together. “Linda’s my rock—I couldn’t have survived without her,” Gordon says. “I look back now and I don’t know how she did it all.”
When the COVID pandemic started in 2020, Gordon’s facility went into lockdown. “We really miss seeing each other in person,” Linda admits, “We miss our social life that included live theatre in Victoria and Chemainus, dining out with friends, trips to Butchart Gardens, and just doing errands together.”
“We also miss Scott’s coffee groups at Boston Pizza—which were a monthly staple for us both,” Gordon says. Thankfully this coffee group and many others moved online to Zoom, and the couple have made friends with people from all over the province. “We’ve really loved the travel series with Ryan, Chris and Teri,” he says. “We’ve “been” to Munich, down the coast of California, to Burning Man in Nevada, to Alaska and Costa Rica, and through the Northwest Passage. It’s been so much fun.”
“We feel so lucky and are both so thankful there’s dedicated people who are there for us,” Gordon adds, “people who put on these amazing programs to keep us all connected.”