Miles is a inter galactic force field who has added sparkle to so many people's lives.
He has been struck by a sudden and terrifying respiratory disease - a bad flu turned suddenly into sepsis turned into lung failure that required an emergency medical evacuation from Nairobi to South Africa. He is now in intensive care in Johannesburg, in a coma, and on oxygen support.
Miles’ hospital bills in Kenya and South Africa are mostly paid for by his insurance. But on a technicality his emergency evacuation has not been covered. The cost of the plane, equipment and medivac team alone is a staggering £176,000 and only 80% of the costs of the doctors now treating him are confirmed as covered by insurance.
We want to support his loving family, incredible wife Jo and courageous daughter Zara by helping them fund raise and cover the exorbitant costs of the medivac and his continued treatment.
If you are able to contribute his family and many friends would be overwhelmed. Any monies received that are not needed will be returned.
May the force be with Miles...
!UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!
21 January 2019
Miles remains in intensive care at a hospital in Johannesburg but the last few days have brought about some extraordinary improvements. He’s conscious and aware, and has begun to respond to basic questions with a squeeze of the hand, a smile, a shrug of the shoulders and even the odd eyebrow raise when he’s not sure about something that’s been suggested.
He’s still can’t breathe on his own and we’re concerned by a continued irregular heartbeat (and he’s still on ECMO and dialysis), but considering that a few days ago, hard conversations were being proposed about life support, where things are now is nothing short of a miracle.
Jo and Zara and the whole team behind them send their heart-felt love and thanks for all your stunning generosity thus far.
We are eternally grateful for and humbled by your kindness.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!
Tomorrow will be seven weeks since Miles got sick and six weeks since we arrived in Johannesburg. He has been in intensive care, lying in a bed for 45 days. In that time, Miles has survived lung failure, renal failure, cardiac failure and viral, bacterial and fungal infections. Today he’s still on ventilation, occasional dialysis and is fighting septicaemia as well as a bacterial infection. He's improved, but he's still really sick.
In the best-case scenario, Miles would be in hospital for at least a few more weeks. Throughout this time, it’ll be important to avoid all the heightened infection threats which could severely harm someone with such a weak immune system. Even a mild infection that a healthy person could fight off easily could seriously set back his recovery. He already has ‘intensive care unit-acquired weakness’ so after we navigate the risks in the ICU, we will need to think about rehabilitation. Its a long road ahead.
Zara has been wonderful. While all she really wants is for her Dad to be better and back home, she’s also brave and strong. Without much complaint she’s absorbed things many of us cry over, like getting on planes going away from loved ones without knowing exactly when we will see each other again. But its been very hard on her too.
What has been amazing is the support that our friends and family have provided. From remarkable financial generosity on our GofundMe (over $100,000); doctors that have flown half way across the continent in thunder storms to pick up Miles, dropped in to check on him even though they are no longer officially responsible; nurses who have painstakingly interpreted his tapped out requests for hot chocolate / to phone me in the middle of the night with a work related question / or unilaterally moved him to a room with a view; friends that have flown to South Africa to take care of us both, who have moved into our home to take care of Zara and keep her life as normal as possible, and UN colleagues--both friends and leadership--who have helped me navigate a complex bureaucracy and worked to solve seemingly impossible administrative problems. Thank you.
An entire village--a tribe-- of friends and family has closed ranks around us. This has been an incredibly difficult time, but it would have been impossible without the unbelievable support from all of you. I feel humbled and awed by your generosity and kindness. Thank you--I am beyond grateful.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!
MILES MAKING GREAT PROGRESS, A LONG ROAD AHEAD
Despite unbelievably challenging obstacles and a series of sequential, life threatening illnesses and challenges, Miles is not only still fighting, he’s getting better. The doctors are still treating some damage from the original infection to give his lungs, heart, kidneys and pancreas the maximum chance to recover. His body is also battling several other health-care related infections at the moment. He’s still very sick, but we’re begining tho think that maybe, just maybe, we’re through the worst of it. Once Miles is well enough that the intensive care is not needed—hopefully in the coming weeks—we will look at moving him to an inpatient rehabilitation facility.
There has also been some really good news from the UN and the insurance company. After a campaign led by UN friends all over the world and some timely support from senior officials, the UN has genrously agreed to continue to support our medevac to South Africa and even given me work leave to be with Miles for three months. The insurance company is working with the hospital to pay their bills in a different, quicker way than usual which helps a lot. This is a huge relief.
The financial issue now will be the costs of extended stay in the ICU and the remaining percentages of individual doctors fees (he's been in intensive care for 54 days and seen cardiologists, pulmonologists, nephrologists, neurologists, gastroenterologists, psychologists, physiotherapists and many many more). Insurance will cover a good portion but the costs will still be high.
My heartfelt and eternal thanks to the almost 500 of you who have contributed so generously to helping us. Thanks to you, we have a fighting chance at paying these costs off instead of going deep into debt. We have also benefitted hugely from the expert advice and ideas of friends who are doctors and from many people who have gone through similar experiences themselves or with loved ones. It is incredibly helpful to hear how so many have managed some of the terrifying things that Miles has been through. And the support in Johannesburg - from old friends and new ones, from the family members and comrades who have flown here to help out (not to mention our extended and unbelievably generous cadre of friends who have helped out with Zara in Kenya) - is astonishing and humbling. Your love, warmth and care leaves me speechless and feeling blessed in the middle of this nightmare.
Since the costs of the South Africa medevac will now be covered by the UN and by insurance company, your generous donations will now be used to pay off the medical expenses and additional costs associated with an extended stay in an ICU in another country and future rehabilitation costs that fall outside of insurance. If anyone is uncomfortable with this please let me know and we will credit your donation back to you immediately.
To all of you, again, thank you for everything. Please keep sending your thoughts, prayers and good advice. Thank you, thank you and thank you again.
Miles, Jo and Zara
Today Miles was moved back to a normal medical ward with his own room and much more lenient visiting hours. Zara and I brought him a picnic lunch and he came outside to sit with us for a while.
Doctors seem to be expecting a few more ups and downs - rather than a simple path to recovery at this point. But for now we’re just happy he’s doing well and Zara is frustrated to be encountering more enquiries about homework than she’d been expecting recently.
A series of ups and downs since I last wrote. At the beginning of last week they thought Miles was stable enough to come and recuperate for a few days outside the hospital, which would have been great for everyone. But by Wednesday he wasn't feeling well again and the doctors put a drain in to help clear the infection. Since then he’s been feeling good - lots of reading, asking for miso soup and dim sum and generally being more of a pain in the butt. Sick again today, though so they are doing another CT scan to check if the drain is having the effect they want--we'll know more later.
Thanks very much for the ongoing love and support.
So looking back, its simply amazing how far Miles has come. Looking forward though, the road still seems long. He's still suffering with his pancreas - he’s still in Rosebank hospital with a recurrent high fever and he's extremely fatigued.
So he’s off the antibiotics and antifungals, but there has been no real deterioration or improvement (so the old drugs probably weren’t working enough anyway) and there's kind of a seeming statis. The overall prognosis is unpredictable because without drugs to help, recovery depends on Miles fighting and beating the inflammation / infection himself. We're doing everything we can think of to try and help him get well. Zara has focused on nutrition-via-smoothie while Miles is concentrating on the physio and occupational therapy side.
Zara is enjoying school and is keen on learning to canoe but is missing her friends from Kenya terribly. But for now, we’re focused on being patient, helpful and inspiring for Miles while we look for things to improve on the health front.
This weekend we had sandwiches in the sunny hospital garden and got to watch the cats and birds playing. It was the first time Miles had been outside in a couple of weeks.
The rest of the time has had its challenges: more fevers, another X-ray, a blood transfusion but that lunchtime sun still felt damn good, I reckon. He’s off all the antibiotic and antifungal drugs now - but he’s still sick so there’s probably a bug hiding somewhere and we’re waiting to see what happens. Hopefully he will start to improve of his own accord or they will be better able to figure out what’s stopping his recovery.
Zara has good at keeping Miles’ spirits up - taking and playing videos of herself doing fun things - climbing and kayaking in beautiful autumn South Africa weather.