Chris Munton run for Will

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!

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Chris Munton running the 13 mile Brecon Beacons event.

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.

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June 24th 9am PST

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.

June 21st 8am Lima

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.

IMG_4047This 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.

This is our Will.

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June 17th 10am Lima

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!
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June 15th, 8am Lima

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.

IMG_3805I 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!

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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.

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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.

June 13th, 7pm Lima

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.

Thank you to Nordic Naturals for their kindness and generosity.

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More tomorrow 🙂

 

June 13th, 6:30am Lima

I’ve just touched down in Lima after a flight via Dallas Ft.Worth, where I spent a little time with my sister and brother in law. (I used to live there for a while back in the early 80’s).

I will be meeting up with Denise to go to the care home to bring the suitcase full of supplies and see Will for the first time since I left. I will update this evening.

Blood donations

An account by Denise Crisanto-Clark on the blood donations ‘owed’ to the hospital for Will.

“On Saturday 11th of June, Lima is holding a Blood Donation Day event linked to World Blood Donation Day 2016 on June 14th. By chance, one of my friends who volunteered in the mission to replenish the two blood units we ‘owe’ for Will’s stay at Hospital Dos de Mayo has chosen to attempt to donate on Saturday (you will understand why I say ‘attempt’ as your read on).

According to the Ministry of Health, voluntary donation in Peru is very low, only 0.5% of the population donate blood. Only 5% of this 0.5% donate voluntarily, thus the main source of blood supply is by ‘reposición’, or immediate replacement (in some instances you will not be treated until you bring your replacement donor/s, or in the last instance you will not be allowed to leave the clinic/hospital until you bring your replacement donors or pay a high fee/fine. This encourages risky donors because many resort to paying financially needy people for this service, or friends and family might lie about their health in order to help their acquaintances with a Speedy solution). According to the WHO, in order to measure the efficiency of a system of  national blood provision, blood units obtained from voluntary donors should be equivalent to 2% of the national population in order to satisfy demand.

Back to Will. When Will arrived at the Hospital Dos de Mayo on April 7th,  he was given 2 units of blood, something that was brought to my attention while sorting out the last bits of paperwork for his discharge from hospital – processed and stamped (the latter being a big thing here in Peru).  The day Will was being discharged (18th of May) I had managed to get all of his discharge papers sorted after  joining 3 different queues in 1.5 hours (the photocopy queue to get a pile of papers copied for me and hospital, stamp queue, signing off queue.

IMG_3272This had been a common routine while he was at hospital (getting pieces of paper stamped and ‘processed’ on a daily basis before any procedure could be done). I asked whether I needed to process anything else and was told ‘no’. I asked again because I know my fellow Peruvians and something is always missing or more complicated than what it should be, but I was told ‘no’ twice more after my prompting. So I waited for another couple of hours until the ambulance personnel arrived to transport Will to the care home (the social services lady got this sorted out for us free of charge – it could’ve been very costly), and when the ambulance crew arrived, sharp on time,  someone on reception approached me and asked whether I had got the ‘exit paper’ (the shock of the moment has probably made me forget the name of the piece of paper). I froze; at that moment I knew I  would have to go and join another queue. So I breathed in deeply before telling someone off, sent the ambulance personnel away and went on a mission to get a last piece of paper before Will could finally leave the hospital. I joined a queue, then a second one where I was told Will owed 2 units of blood, so unless we paid something over S/500 soles on the spot, he would not be discharged. To cut the story short, I managed to get the social services lady release us by signing a ‘guarantee’ letter stating that I would bring in 2 people to donate blood within 15 days. I got a fantastic response on Facebook – 5 local friends/acquaintances willing to donate to help Will’s case.

IMG_3289Last week one of the volunteers Luisa took time off work to go in to the hospital only to be told that they didn’t have any reactives, so the hospital was unable to take blood from anyone that day.  Thank you Luisa for your time! an hour each way in daytime traffic.
I need to remind anyone reading this that Hospital Dos de Mayo is located within an area of the city centre well known for its danger, where traffic is chaotic and buses release copious amounts of diesel fumes. If you don’t work in the city centre, traveling in and out of it can become a noble mission in itself!

IMG_3326Last Monday 2 other friends went into the hospital to attempt  to donate. I went in with them because they needed ‘a piece of paper’ from the social worker and it was easier for me to find that piece of paper than making them spend an extra precious half hour or so figuring out how to obtain that piece of paper and during which the donation queue could grow larger. After collecting the piece of paper we managed to get Monica and Cristine through the first part of the process without any problems, but we could only be informed – after 2 hours – if they were fit to donate. So we waited over coffee, and after rejoining the process two hours later, Monica and I were met with a little surprise:  we had ticked one of the boxes incorrectly and were about to be sent by an insistent receptionist to sort out the paperwork  in a different part of the hospital! Thankfully he was  understanding and agreed to tick the other box for us. It was as simple as that! It was being made more complicated than it was. After a big sigh of relief we walked to the blood donation area where Monica was given the go-ahead to donate.  Cristine had been told within the first part of the process (but after making her fill forms and then have an interview with the doctor) that she couldn’t donate because she had had a vaccine within the last three months. Why that was not listed under the restrictions list in the first place was beyond belief!  We are nevertheless used to flaws in communication in Peru, so we just looked at each other and raised our eyebrows.

The whole procedure took 6 hours, from 10am when we left our meeting point to 4pm when we got to our next destination. This timeframe for things is quite common and of no surprise for Peruvians, especially if one is dealing with a national, bureaucratic, sometimes Kafkian institution.   It can be incredibly frustrating at times, to say the least!

So my feelings about sending another friend to donate the other pending unit of blood and experience this kind of setback to his day were rather mixed, until my friend pointed out that an event for World Blood Donor Day is being held throughout Lima on Saturday, the day he had initially chosen for donating not aware of this event, and that in turn magnifies this purpose in positive ways.  Good luck to Alvaro on Saturday and thank you!  Will has brought people from all over the world together in acts of love.”

And we think the NHS can be frustrating!  Thank you to Denise and her friends for stepping up and giving their time and blood. If you haven’t done so yourself for a while, maybe now would be a good time in Will’s honour. I will be leaving very early on Sunday to arrive Monday to see him for the first time in the care home and meet with the team.

June 6th, 7:00 PST

This time next week I will just be arriving in Lima to see Will in his care home for the first time.  You may remember that he got transferred out of the hospital just after I left in May so I will be signing financial papers taking over responsibility for his monthly upkeep as well as bringing down supplements and reading material.

I will be visiting him each day until I leave on Tues June 21st so I will get a good 8 days with him as well as meet the other women who have been visiting and giving them your thanks and praise.

There are encouraging signs but it is still too early to tell what pain he may be in as he comes round or what motor skills he will have and we must be prepared for him to react emotionally to ‘being back’ and discovering what he can and can’t do.

Let’s keep praying for miracles.