Carmen Brozic – In late June of 1998, our nightmare began.
Submitted by Carmen Brozic
The day before Canada Day, my little brother, my father and I were in a devastating car accident. I was eight and a half months pregnant, my little brother Emil was only 15 years old, my father was in the passenger seat.
We had the green; we proceeded through the intersection like millions of drivers do every day of their lives. In the other direction, a distracted driver didn’t notice the red light.
I recall the deafening crush of metal as her car rammed into the passenger side of our vehicle and threw us to the other side of the road. Within seconds, we were trapped in the tangled wreckage of metal, glass and fuel. I remember the excruciating pain in my abdomen and looking to see if my father and brother were alive. The only door in the vehicle that opened was my brother’s door. It is ironic that my brother who suffered the most serious injury initially seemed just fine. But head injuries are like that. We were relieved when Emil stepped out of the car with nothing more than a cut on his forehead. I couldn’t have imagined what would take place in the next few hours.
We went in separate ambulances and later I learn’t that the situation had turned grave. At Credit Valley Hospital my parent’s had to choose who they were going to stay with, me and my unborn child or my brother who was being transferred to Sick Kids in a coma.
The events that took place on that day changed the lives of our family forever.
Head injuries are insidious. The effects of Emil’s injury have been physical and psychological. A bright and engaging young man before the accident, Emil now has trouble communicating and connecting with people. He thinks differently; perception and impulsive control seem like such small things but when they don’t function properly it causes huge problems. This bright young man was robbed of an equally bright future with the impact of that crash and since, our family struggles to cope with Emil’s special needs.
Most people forget about the accident or discount Emil’s challenges because they can’t see an injury. Merely a scar and indentation on his forehead. But the injuries inside his head are profound.
This was understood best by Thomson Rogers. It is because of the hard work of the associates and partners at Thomson Rogers who worked on our case that Emil is able to support himself and contribute to our community and our family to the extent he does. The fact is that Emil will never live completely unassisted, but thanks to Thomson Rogers, his needs are covered and our family functions better as a result.
It’s been more than twelve years since the accident; my baby survived, Max is now 12 years old. But our experience with Sick Kids didn’t end there.
In 2007, I was eight months pregnant with my third son Oliver when we ended up in the corridors of Sick Kids again. Our middle child, Felix, at three years old, was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia. Once again, Sick Kids built a support unit around my family and helped us cope with Felix’s diagnosis and treatment.
Looking at my son in his hospital bed during treatment was reminiscent of watching Emil recovering at Sick Kids 12 years ago. At first we couldn’t believe that we were back there, in another life threatening situation, making those dreaded phone calls to friends and family. Not a situation anyone would like to be in but our experience with the medical community and hospital’s in dealing with the car accident and Emil’s situation was a pre-cursor to Felix’s trials and tribulations. Felix recently finished his treatment and is being monitored for relapse or other complications. His prognosis is strong.
People often comment how “lucky” we are that things happened a certain way and I inwardly cringe when I hear it. Even now I have trouble thinking that we’ve been ‘lucky’ when I consider the heartache, the stress and the struggle. But there are two areas that I DO consider myself and my family very lucky indeed. 1. We are lucky that we had Sick Kids to treat us. 2. We are lucky that we had Thomson Rogers to help us get the support we needed to cope with our challenges.
Well, we move forward and onward in life with hopes for the future.
Being immersed at Sick Kids again has shown us the importance of sharing ones struggles with others in devastating circumstances and creating opportunities to remember and thank the ones who have helped us in the past.
We wish to pass on the hope and encouragement to Thomson Rogers’ present, past and future clients with our story.