James Jepson is recovering from open heart surgery that will leave him unable to work for several months and could cost him his Langley City home. (James Jepson/special to Langley Advance Times)

Following open heart surgery, Langley City resident faces loss of home

James Jepson isn’t allowed to work, and hasn’t had a response to application for disability benefits

James Jepson said the aftermath of his quadruple bypass surgery reminds him a little of the aches and pains he used to experience after an intense workout, only a lot more intense and in every body part.

“I feel like I’ve been hit by two Mack trucks,” Jepson said of the Dec. 27 operation at Royal Columbian Hospital that left a long line of medical staples closing the incision that runs down the middle of his chest.

He was transferred back to Langley Memorial Hospital to recover.

Doctors have said Jepson isn’t allowed to work for at least six months, and that has him worried about paying his rent.

“I might not even have a place to go to [after I leave hospital],” Jepson told the Langley Advance Times.

He has been approved for basic income assistance of $780 a month, but he said that isn’t enough to cover his rent, let alone his living expenses.

Jepson said he is “definitely grateful” to the people who have contributed to an online GoFundMe campaign to help him bridge the financial gap, even though it has come up short of its $10,000 goal.

“It’s going to help me stay another two months, if I’m lucky,” he estimated.

Jepson, 49, is a brain injury survivor who suffered a violent assault 25 years ago that left him with memory issues and PTSD and qualified him for financial disability assistance.

His mother, Catherine Hiller, said after his traumatic brain injury, her son decided he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life on disability.

“He said, ‘I’m not lazy,” Hiller recalled.

Hiller said Jepson worked hard to recover, get a job and get off disability.

“He’s fought all along the way.”

He was able to train for work as a security guard and get off disability.

Jepson’s heart problem was discovered when he ended up in the Langley Memorial Hospital psychiatric ward with severe depression.

He called it “a semi-blessing.”

READ MORE: Heart patient facing loss of home says depression may have saved his life

READ ALSO: B.C. cities top the list for most generous in Canada on GoFundMe

Now, he has applied to have his disability benefits reinstated, at least until he is well enough to work again, but has yet to hear a response.

Donna Patterson, a family friend who describes herself as a “adopted sister” to Jepson, set up the GoFundMe page with the title “man needs open heart surgery but will have no home” in the hopes of raising enough money to help cover his expenses

“Most of us are only one pay check away from being homeless,” Patterson commented.

“I want to thank all those who were compassionate enough to donate and give him a little time with his cat Chester once he is released from the hospital.”

Patterson said the family only wants enough funds to cover his “recovery time his rent, hydro, laundry and special diet he must follow.”

Anything left over “will be happily donated back to LMH and RCH where he has received outstanding care, to say the least,” Patterson added.


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