Youth, Individual & Couples Counselling  

 Brian E. Brumwell, BSc, MTS, 
  [email protected] 

Blog & comments

My struggle can help you.

Posted on 26 June, 2016 at 11:50

My life was fairly typical growing up. Two loving and supportive parents that gave me every opportunity to succeed at my chosen career path. I went to high school fairly successfully, playing sports and having fun with my friends.

After grade 13 I went to a one year bible school in upstate New York, Word of Life Bible Institute, where I graduated on the Dean's list. I then returned home to pursue a university degree at York University.

At York U. I was intent on pursuing a Physical Education degree and eventually teach high school Phys. Ed., the classes I enjoyed most as a student. I had just finished my 3rd semester there and enjoyed every class and extra curricular activity I could. I was getting grades for playing volleyball and swimming, I worked weekends at a fitness centre and life was great !

I took a summer job with Canada Dry in order to save more money for school and still enjoyed the fun of playing church league slow-pitch & shooting hoops to keep up my athletic interests and everything was going as planned.

Then in May of 1987 everything changed. While working that job and sitting in my car at a red light, I was broadsided by a careless driver in a cube van. I was on CTV news and the picture of me unconscious and bloody being cut from my car by firefighters was in the Toronto Sun, not the way a young man wants to become famous but nevertheless, there I was.

I was rushed to Sunnybrook Hospital and miraculously had no internal injury but I remained under observation in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit in a comatose state for 18 days. As an only child I'm sure my parents spent many sleepless nights worrying about my outcome. My mother came to the hospital every morning before 7 a.m. and faithfully sat with me all day until my father joined her in those evenings until visiting hours ended.

When I became more stable after 5 weeks, I was moved to Riverdale Hospital (now Bridgepoint). Now aware of my circumstances, I appreciated my parents continued visits for long hours 7 days a week as it wasn't safe to even allow me to visit my home yet. As I slowly began my physiotherapy it became very apparent that things were very serious. I couldn't walk or speak and had to be strapped in a wheelchair during the days and to my bed at night to prevent me from causing myself more harm. I couldn't swallow solid food and my muscle spasms prevented me from feeding myself or even writing my own name. At just 22, an active, athletic, happy go lucky man with the world on a string, became trapped and isolated.  

Slowly I grew stronger, I was allowed to go home on weekends and after 5 months in hospital I could sit up in a wheelchair and swallow solid food and finally I got to go home. I began physiotherapy at Toronto Rehab Institute on Bayview Ave. in Toronto twice a week and eventually 5 times a week. I worked with them in physio, occupational & speech therapy for over 2 years then started university again on a part time basis. Then I worked with Interaction Rehab for a while. After doing a couple of courses at York University again and struggling with logistics of transportation and winter weather, I transferred to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

I eventually completed my Bachelor's degree in May 1993 in Radio & Television and returned to Toronto where I got an entry level position at The Sports Network (TSN) a dream job for someone that loves sports as I do. I ended up giving up on it even though they were willing to work with me & my limited mobility.

I struggled with unemployment for a few years before deciding to pursuing a Masters degree at Seminary, unsure of what track to follow. In my first Introduction to Counselling course I knew right away that this was what I was meant to do. I recalled the excellent physiotherapists, doctors and nursing staff that helped me repair my physical body but I became aware of the fact that little or nothing was being done to address the emotional side of the man I now was. I wanted to bridge that gap. I know what it's like to experience tragic loss from the inside, to become someone different, to be at ground zero and have to start again. That's my story.

As a survivor I understand in a way that few people can. Now I have the professional credentials to offer a service that can meet the needs of people and families at the lowest points in their life. I want to hear your story and give hope and support to you. I know there is a better life for you and I can help you find it.

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