Olivia’s Story

A terrible car accident marked the start of a long, difficult journey for Olivia. Donors like you were there alongside her, every step of the way.

On the evening of January 30, 2014, Olivia, 62, was in a car with her mother and a friend travelling home from visiting her niece. As they travelled through an intersection, a van travelling at full speed crashed into the passenger’s side of the vehicle. Olivia bore the full impact of the oncoming vehicle.

An off-duty nurse was the first to come upon the wreckage. Just eight minutes later, an ambulance arrived. After being brought to the emergency room in Belleville, Olivia was immediately transferred to the Kingston General Hospital  (KGH) site of Kingston Health Sciences Centre.

Olivia suffered a skull fracture, rotated shoulder blade, broken clavicle and head trauma. When she arrived by ambulance at the emergency department at KGH, she was in a deep coma.

“I was nearly dead. The medical teams that worked with me knew what they were doing and did their best,” she said.

Olivia doesn’t remember the car accident, or any of the time she spent in the Intensive Care Unit. She only remembers the final days of the month she spent at in the ICU at KGH site.

“Everything was painful. I remember trying to get out of bed. I didn’t know how to walk. I had to remind myself to breathe and put my feet on the ground.”

With the help of a physiotherapist, Olivia was able to take the first few painful steps. After a few more days in recovery, Olivia was ready for rehabilitation care at Providence Care’s St Mary’s of the Lake Hospital – now located at Providence Care Hospital.

But she was facing an uphill battle.  Olivia’s skull was severely fractured in the accident. She was suffering from visual issues, cognitive issues and hyperacusis – a condition where sensitivity to sound is greatly increased.

This was especially challenging for Olivia, who had always been a very independent person. A teacher for more than 30 years, she had worked in regular classrooms, with high-needs students, gifted students, had lectured at universities and had been very physically fit.

“It was difficult. I could hardly read. Anything could cause dizziness. I had a feeling of falling out of my body – I would fall because of not knowing where I was in space.”

Olivia visited Hotel Dieu’s ophthalmology clinic several times for issues related to her vision. Her eyes were fine – but her brain was having difficulty interpreting what she was seeing. Olivia continues vision therapy today.

“Everyone who worked with me cared deeply and were amazing professionals.  They lived their vision of care and their mission of care.”

During Olivia’s care journey, donors like you were there every step of the way. The ICU was redeveloped several years ago thanks to the support of donors.  You made it possible to renew the ophthalmology clinic at Hotel Dieu Hospital. You supported the purchase of rehabilitation equipment, and you even helped build the new Providence Care Hospital!

Olivia is fortunate to live in Kingston, where the hospitals and care providers work closely together to ensure the best care possible for their patients.

Today, Olivia still struggles with the effects of her brain injury but she continues to remain hopeful and optimistic.

“I still have issues, many issues to work through, to heal from; which I am working through. But I have caring help, and I have a heart and mind full of gratitude.”

Donors like you make it possible to access life-saving care right here in our community! You can support more patients like Olivia on their care journey with your gift today.

Yes, I’ll give!