Sisters man home after health ordeal

 

Last updated 8/2/2022 at Noon

CODY RHEAULT

Friends gathered in a fundraising celebration at Sisters Depot, as Hawaiian Mike Alayon left the hospital after weeks of arduous treatment for kidney failure and necrotizing fasciitis. A long recovery lies ahead.

Mike Alayon a.k.a. (“Hawaiian Mike”) refers to his medical journey as a rollercoaster, full of twists and turns to hell and back. After 52 days in the hospital, though, he’s now a free man and back home with his family in Sisters. Shuffling out of the hospital with a walker on the morning of July 29, he says the world looked anew.

“I’m still on cloud nine,” he said, recalling the moment.

Hawaiian Mike isn’t out of the woods yet, but his journey to recovery continues to reach important milestones. On Wednesday, June 7, Mike was diagnosed with kidney failure and necrotizing fasciitis, a rare and dangerous bacterial infection that requires surgery and intravenous antibiotics. Multiple surgeries and weeks in the hospital ensued.

He predicted his return home for September, but his improvement astounded doctors, and led to a quicker discharge than anticipated. He had to meet physical therapy metrics, such as a timed six-minute walk with a measured distance. The week of his discharge his distance improved two-fold from the week prior indicating excellent steps towards healing.

After 13 surgeries his left leg lost enormous muscle mass and function, but doctors found his progress sufficient for release. Mike can now stand upright, painfully and delicately with the aid of a walker, but the road ahead is long.

“It’s just the beginning, I still have a long way to go,” he says.

His story is one of overcoming, and being a fighter at heart. He channeled the warrior spirit from his native Hawaiian culture, often playing Hawaiian music in his hospital room to keep his spirits up. Friends and family sent prayers and love but he gives the most credit to “keakua”, a Hawaiian term for God.

Sepsis, kidney failure, and invasive surgeries took their mental toll. But returning home to his family lifted his spirits. Mike didn’t see this happening so soon and there were moments where he wondered if it would ever happen at all. But his heritage pushed him through.

“People think of Hawaiians as beach bums. But that’s not us. No, we’re fighters. So that’s what I did,” he said.

The exact numbers are still unknown, but medical bills are predicted to be large. The GoFundMe campaign in his honor has doubled in the month of July to more than $30,000. And Mike is still a long way out from working again. On Saturday night, the family hosted a fundraising Luau at Sisters Depot. Ticket sales directly benefit their financial situation, and they sold over 90.

Mike spent the night respectfully — and cautiously — standing for every guest greeting him, giving them a firm hug, handshake, or fist bump. The generosity and show of love were overwhelming at times, bringing tears to his eyes.

“I’m only one man, I don’t deserve this,” he said wiping his eyes. “I’m speechless at the generosity. The only thing I can really say is mahalo, thank you.”

 

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