89-year-old machete attack victim continues to recover in Vancouver Island hospital

Bob Plumb likely to lose sight in his left eye after assault in Courtenay

Eighty-nine-year-old Bob Plumb will likely lose sight in his left eye after a vicious, unprovoked attack in downtown Courtenay July 31 by an assailant with a machete.

His granddaughter, Janelle Karatsikis, said Bob is handling everything as well as can be expected, and continues to recover in hospital.

“Considering everything that has happened, he is in pretty good spirits,” she told Black Press. “He has already had two surgeries, but he is still able to laugh and joke with us, even despite the fact that he is probably not going to have vision in that left eye again.”

RELATED: 89-year-old man attacked with machete in downtown Courtenay

Bob was transferred from Courtenay to Campbell River for his latest surgical procedure (plastic surgery), performed Thursday night. He was transferred back to Courtenay Friday.

“It sounds like that went OK but we don’t know,” said Karatsikis. “He still can’t open his eye at this time, so we don’t know what the prognosis is. But they said slim to none, that he will regain vision.”

Karatsikis said he is likely to need more surgeries, and added the concern after Bob is discharged will be his own independence.

Bob Plumb, resting in hospital after one of the numerous surgeries to repair damages to his face as a result of a vicious assault in downtown Courtenay Wednesday morning. Photo by Janelle Karatsikis

“The biggest thing is his driving; we aren’t sure where that will go,” she said. “We obviously don’t know whether he will be able to drive and that would take away his independence completely. The day before this happened, he drove to Qualicum [from Courtenay] to visit us while we were camping. He goes to Tim Hortons every day. He goes to Sieffert’s Farm. To be able to do that at 89, there are a lot of 89-year-olds who can’t function in their daily living, let alone delivering papers and driving from Courtenay to Qualicum.

“If he can’t drive, his independence will be hugely affected.”

Bob was attacked at 4:15 a.m. Wednesday in downtown Courtenay, while waiting for the drop-off of a newspaper bundle. It was a routine he performed every day, delivering a daily publication to the various Comox Valley businesses.

“That job was not for money at all – it was actually my grandma, who used to deliver papers for as long as I can remember. They met about 17 years ago and he just did them with her. She never drove, but he had a licence so they were able to do some things together in the car. Then when my grandma became ill, my Auntie Dianne took over the route, and Bob just continued to help. It was something he just enjoyed doing. He was up at that time of day, anyway. It was just some independence, and socialization for him, and to help my aunt out.”

Karatsikis said the crowdfunding campaign has been overwhelming. A gofundme page has been set up at https://bit.ly/2YnrkiH (Bobs Recovery). As of Friday morning, nearly $25,000 in donations had been collected.

“It’s just amazing to see the [generosity of the Comox Valley],” said Karatsikis. “After such an inhumane act occurs, you start to doubt things and doubt people. Bob would give the shirt off his back for any person, and when you see the community rally behind him, it just brings back faith in humanity. We appreciate everything.”

RELATED: Crowdfunding campaign started for victim of machete attack

Karatsikis said while Bob’s recovery is ongoing, there is still concern regarding his well-being.

“Obviously, each surgery that he has is putting him more at risk. Being 89 and going under general anesthetic, there is always significant risk. We are hopeful that he can stay healthy and not get pneumonia, not suffer any complications. So far he has done amazing, So our hope is to get him back home and care for him there.”



terry.farrell@blackpress.ca

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