A friend of Will’s from his Hereford days has raised £998 by running 13 miles in the Brecon Beacons as part of the Midnight Mountain Marathon.
I am so grateful to Chris Munton for doing this and all the money is being donated through the YouCaring donation page for Will.
A brilliant effort Chris!
Chris met Will through his sister, Lou, who worked with him at the Oddbins in town. This is what said when I asked him how he knew Will….
“My sister Lou kept telling me about this great guy she’d started working with in Hereford at Oddbins. It wasn’t long until Will was inaugurated into our ‘gang’ and we bonded over a mutual appreciation of music & gigs, history, theories on this and that and pubs. Several years of merriment and high-jinks ensued. When Will turned 50 I had the honour of DJ’ing at his party. His friends Ray and Pete lent us their rare Soul records for the bash and we had a real blast. Will has a knack of always spinning life in a positive way and is real sweet too. I remember him helping me to decorate our house just before my daughter was born, we blasted Apex Twin at high volume whilst drinking tinnies. The small things that really count in a friend.
Shortly after, Will left for St. Maarten and left me to fatherhood! All the messages saved on my Facebook feed from him are about meeting again – and I’m not losing hope on that.”
Cheers Chris!!! You’re a stella chap √ If you feel like following in Chris’s footsteps and organizing a sponsored event for Will, time is of the essence as we focus on continuing physical therapy, neurological check ups and more Omega 3’s.
Imagine going to sleep knowing a certain world exists and waking up months later to find that the world you knew is no longer. On this first day after Brexit, or the British Independence Day as some are calling it, Will lies in a care home in Peru unaware that all this mayhem is unraveling.
In some way, this seismic moment in British politics makes no difference to Will, but what will it mean for him coming back and what will he think of it? Maybe nothing will change but I hope it will be for the better in terms of his ongoing care and rehabilitation user the NHS.
Will had a new visitor on Wednesday, a lovely man who is British, Irish and American called Carlo (or Charles), along with his wife Lilli and Penny. He is a member of the Anglican church in Lima where I went last Sunday to visit with Rosemary and Penny who are also members of the congregation. We were fast friends as Carlo has had similar experiences to Will and has traveled an adventurous road before his time in Lima. He lives nearby so will be able to go in once a week to play Will some books on tape (the first one being the Great Train Robbery, which should please him!).
Carlo reported that Will was asleep when they first arrived but opened his eyes after 15 minutes of them being there – he must have felt the presence of the 3 people in the room. I have no new pictures or video to offer you but if there is any significant improvement I have asked whoever is there to take some and upload it to me.
Just like the future of Europe, we will only thrive if we work together and look after our mutual needs with tolerance and understanding. Thank you for continuing to support our efforts in keeping Will part of our future.
Most of you have seen the video I put up on Facebook yesterday immediately after I captured Will looking around for the first time this trip. He had not opened his eyes in the 7 days I had been visiting. If you haven’t seen it, go to my previous Facebook post as it is too large to upload to the blog.
This is my last full day here before I leave at 10:20pm tonight and arrive back in San Francisco at 10:00am tomorrow morning and go straight in to work! I will be with Will this afternoon and allowed to stay a little longer before I head off to check in at the airport.
I am hoping that I see some more eye opening and other signs of Will coming round and I would like to think that the Omega 3 fish oils are helping him. The effects of his brain damage, according to a UK based neurosurgeon, are still severe and he has a long road to relearn the basics. There is considerable brain damage anteriorly in the frontal lobes and in the temporal lobes, with the development of atrophy. The frontal lobes are involved in personality, drive, social skills and intelligence, the temporal lobes with language and memory. He is going to be left with a significant deficit from which there may be very limited recovery, so we must be prepared as even though he may improve to a degree for up to twelve months, whatever he is like now gives you a reasonable idea of how he may be.
In the opinion of the local doctor, it is highly likely that he will remain unable to move his arms or legs, as he was not reacting to the usual tests, even though he does flinch when I touch his feet or knees. This means (in terms that scare most people and elicit a heart stopping response) he would be classified as quadriplegic. I know this is hard to hear but although the spinal cord was not severed he sustained significant damage to his brain to affect the motor functions, so unless there is a miracle and he is somehow able to ‘reconnect’ to them, he will remain this way. Sorry, but this is the harsher physical reality alongside his recent awakening.
We must all hold him in our hearts and minds as the Will we all know. And choose to see him healed and making progress in every way.
The doctor didn’t come on Wednesday due to a personal emergency (?) so she came yesterday and stayed for about an hour checking Will over and communicating via Denise.
His organs are all working normally – kidneys, liver, waterworks and elimination and his pneumonia is keeping at bay, with normal secretions from the lungs. He does cough it up regularly which is a little hard to watch as he looks in discomfort but he is not in any pain.
He will need to continue his physical therapy for arms and legs and keeping being turned although the anti-bedsore mattress is working well with no signs of bedsores (he had a few from being in the ICU and the main ward until we got the mattress).
I will be taking Rosa in today to see him. You may remember that she was the first person to take me into the emergency ward when I first arrived back in April and her father was a Naval doctor who wrote a lot of the text books that most doctors still train from here in Peru. She doesn’t speak English very well so won’t be a regular visitor as I need Will to hear English voices as much as possible reading him stories and current affairs.
We have a neurologist visiting on Monday (subject to the normal Peruvian wiggle room) so we can get a report on his condition for presentation to any airline that may be able to take him on a commercial flight.
And to lighten the spirit and remind us of the funny man he is, here is a photo of Will musing over two pears!
Arrived yesterday to find Will staring straight up at the ceiling with both eyes wide open. He was in kind of a daze when I stood over him so I spoke to him softly and he followed the sound with his eyes and then promptly closed them! Was it something I said?!
Denise translated for me as I went through the various supplements just to make sure Elisabeth understood me when I was trying my best attempt at ‘Spanglish’ previously. We then spent time exercising his arms and legs and flexing his feet, talking to him, playing a message from Richard from Devon and playing some Stylistics and Pretenders. As we left I put him on his frequencies which have been designed to help keep his muscles from atrophying so much. He is very thin and has lost a lot of weight from his face, arms and legs. This will be a shock to him when he gets his first look in the mirror but I must say that his complexion is looking as good as it was in his 20’s.
I put up a couple of pictures to remind him of his lifespan from the 80’s to a few days before he left for Peru (thanks Claire T). Some of you may recognise yourselves!
And lastly, here is a picture of the care home – he is in the upper right hand window of the greenish coloured building. The heavy metal gates are normal in Lima for security and privacy.
We will be joined by a local doctor at 2pm today to go over his vital signs and give us any more tips on keeping his pneumonia at bay along with any other recommendations. We will also be showing him the scans of his whole body to ensure that there are no other undiagnosed conditions resulting from the fall. It still amazes me that there were no broken wrists, elbows or other bones from his fall and amazes me even more that he survived the fall if all the impact was taken by his skull.
The time is approaching for the next monthly payment for his care. We hand over around $700 on June 19th for the next month and will need to keep donations flowing in to cover this each month and leave enough for repatriation as soon as he passes the medical requirements of consciousness to be allowed on a commercial flight.
Thanks for your prayers, comments and donations – keep them coming, especially your messages to read out to him.
Lima is nearing its winter solstice in a few days time, being south of the equator, so the skies are grey and the temperatures are way below what they were when I first arrived back in April. It makes it easier to get through the day and today was a tough one after so little sleep.
After checking in to an AirBnB, which is spacious and secure, I gathered up most of the supplements and jumped into an Uber and travelled the 45 minutes to Will’s care home in San Miguel. It’s not an horrendous neighbourhood but it wouldn’t be good for a non-Spanish speaking solo visitor, but there is adequate security measures to keep our boy safe.
He looks well kempt, if not a little thinner, and has pictures on his wall which Denise kindly printed out. I would like to add more so if any of you have pictures of you and him together, to remind him of you and his friendship with you, I would like to receive them by email and collate them.
I arrived and was welcomed by Elisabeth and went up to see him and brief her on the extra supplements I would like him to receive each day. As a context, I do a part time job at a health store at the moment and I received a training from Nordic Naturals on their Omega 3 fish oil called Ultimate Omega. This supplement is a blend of Norwegian Cod liver oil and high quality sardine and anchovy oils, which by amazing coincidence come from Peru! Part of the training was about a study on providing Omega-3s after a brain injury which may help provide the nutritional foundation for the brain to begin the healing process. I learned that Dr. Michael Lewis, President and founder of the Brain Health Education and Research Institute is an expert on nutritional interventions for brain health, particularly the use of Omega-3 fatty acids for the prevention, management, and rehabilitation of concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI). He founded Brain Health Education and Research in late 2011 upon retiring as a Colonel after a distinguished 31 year career in the U.S. Army. Dr. Lewis is board-certified and a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine and the American College of Nutrition. He completed post-graduate training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Johns Hopkins University, and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and is consulting with the US Army regarding TBI and PTSD protocols.
I told the trainers at Nordic Naturals about Will afterwards and they very generously donated 6 bottles of Ultimate Omega in liquid form and dropped them off to me the next day, in time for them to be carefully packed to bring them down. Thankfully they all survived the trip in tact and will be added to his new supply of raw organic protein shake from tomorrow morning, following the recommended protocols. Although it is a little late in the game to start them, improvements have been noticed in the health of ex-American footballers in their late 50’s who have sustained blunt head trauma from earlier in their careers. Other than the occasional slightly fishy burp there are no contra-indications so it is worth following.