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
As ever, two steps up and one step back this past week. With great optimism and no small amount of stubbornness, Miles moved to the physical rehabilitation ward last Monday. He started intense physiotherapy and occupational therapy but as the week progressed he got more tired with fever and sickness each evening.
Over the weekend he was diagnosed with an inflamed pancreas and moved back to a medical ward for increased care.
While this is disappointing, we always knew that recovering from so many life threatening illnesses and so long in ICU would be tough. And that there would be ups and downs.
On the rehab side, the physiotherapists said despite being sick, Miles had progressed a lot in the past week. On the medical side, the doctors said we will wait to see if Miles can heal himself before deciding whether any intervention is needed.
So more patience and determination is required now. Zara’s learning more about hospitals than she would want and less about schooling than I’d want. But it’s important for us to be all together during this challenging time, I think.
It’s been 66 days since Miles was first put into the intensive care unit at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi. He’s now been in three hospitals in two countries this year and till now has been critically ill for more than two months and unconscious for long periods. Today though, he was transferred from Johannesburg’s amazing Milpark hospital to the care of the impressive rehabilitation team at Rosebank General Hospital. While here he’ll work physiotherapists and occupational therapists to rebuild muscle strength and stamina, and improve his balance and fine motor movements. The immediate goal is to get Miles moving and eating as much as possible and so that he can gain weight and strength.
It’s been an incredibly difficult time and the truth is that this rehabilitation from this level of immobility and sickness is demanding, difficult and draining. We – and every doctor we have spoken to – are amazed at his progress, but we are not underestimating how far we have to go.
Zara is here for a short while and we’re working hard to keep up to date on school. We stayed with friends this weekend - from dawn to dusk she must have spent 75% of the time in the beautiful pool. She even somehow managed to topple our wonderful host into the water with her at one point.
From now on, I will write if something happens rather than every day but never less than once a week. I am planning on staying here in South Africa for a while.
Thank you all for your amazing support.
Love from Jo
Zara arrived here in Johannesburg today, for the second time. She got to see Miles looking SO much better than he did last time and got to see him finally without tubes and even a bit more mobile. They had a light supper together and talked about Zara getting onto the swimming team. We are hoping that he’ll be transferred to the physical rehabilitation centre by early next week. This depends both on bed availability and also on whether Miles still has infections. I’m planning to take Zara out of town for a short break this weekend, and be back in time to oversee any transfers that might happen next week. It’s so good to have her close!
They were pushing Miles to do more today. He’s lost 10 Kg of muscle but nevertheless, if things go well he could be moved to a physical rehabilitation center as soon as next week.
They removed the central line which reduces the risk of infection and also means he is just on oral drugs and food now.
For the moment the visitors are providing nourishing food and gentle chit chat. I’ve read out the fabulous WhatsApp messages which Miles loves, but it’ll still be several weeks before he can reach out directly.
We’ve come such a long way. And still have a really long way to go.