Defying prognosis, Canadian man wakes from coma and returns home

Doctors did not expect him to survive car crash at 124 MPH

By Dave Andrusko

Don Brunelle waves to family and friends as he arrives at his Olive Road home in Windsor on Aug. 25, 2017 after spending three months in hospital following a car crash. NICK BRANCACCIO/WINDSOR STAR

Don Brunelle waves to family and friends as he arrives at his Olive Road home in Windsor on Aug. 25, 2017 after spending three months in hospital following a car crash.
NICK BRANCACCIO/WINDSOR STAR

When a friend who was driving the car Don Brunelle was a passenger in plowed his brand new Corvette into a cement hydro pole at 124 MPH, the 64-year-old Brunelle “suffered a broken sternum; broken ribs; broken vertebrae; a lacerated spleen, liver and kidney; a collapsed lung; a broken wrist; a crushed pelvis; internal bleeding; blood infections; two brain bleeds; a pulmonary embolism; severe pneumonia and bruises to much of his body,” according to Tamar Harris of the Windsor Star.

Following the May 26 crash, Brunelle was put into a medically-induced coma for weeks. “Doctors did not expect him to survive,” Harris writes.

At the same time Brenda, Brunelle’s wife, called the recovery “a miracle,” she said she never doubted her husband of 22 years would make it. “I refused to believe what all the doctors — and I mean all of them — were telling me about how sick he was,” Brenda told CBC News.

“I asked all of that conversation about him not surviving this crash be taken outside of his room.”

Brenda chronicled Don’s slow, painful and remarkable recovery on Facebook and scores of neighbours and friends were on hand to welcome him home Friday with hugs, balloons and a band. He arrived home to a house outfitted for his wheelchair and a difficult road ahead.

But there was much more to Brunelle’s near-death experience.

Harris writes that Brunelle had been in the medically induced coma for nearly a month

when the image of a man he believes was St. Daniel came to him.

“He gave me a choice, to either go with him or come home. And I would have begged him, if I had to, to come home.” ….

“On some level, I knew I was very close,” Brunelle said. Of his encounter with St. Daniel, he said, “It was just as much of a feeling as it was a vision. I wasn’t afraid at all, but I knew I had a clear choice to make. And I chose to come home.”

There is still plenty of rehabilitation ahead for Brunelle, of Windsor, Canada, but the father of four and five grandkids (with a sixth on the way)is optimistic. After all he had the support of about 100 loved ones and friends and neighbors who greeted the Brunelles when a transport vehicle brought them home last Friday.

“I’m elated with the reception,” Brunelle said. “I can’t tell you how much it’s good to be home. Just fantastic. I never expected this.”

Growing emotional, he added: “I’m where I’m supposed to be.”