Monday, July 6, 2009

Memorial Service Information

I thought I should post the memorial service information for my dad, in case some of you haven't been informed yet. Those of you who know my dad well are aware that he was full of life. Because of this, the memorial is being treated as a celebration of his life and energy. We respectfully ask that you avoid wearing all black, but you can dress as casually as you'd like. The service will be at 6:00 PM on Sunday, July 12th at the Coon Rapids Golf Course on Fairway #1. A meal will follow at the Country Club, where John Richardson and band will be playing music. If you wish to share memories about my dad, you will have an opportunity to stand at a mic and do so on Sunday. If you prefer to share with our family privately, you can e-mail me at or call our home phone. If any of you need our cell phone numbers so you can reach us, feel free to ask via e-mail. Directions can be provided for out of town friends and family if need be. Thanks for traveling on this journey with my dad and our family. We are so, so blessed.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Beginning of a New Journey

First off, I would like to thank all of you for your support throughout the past four months. On Sunday, Dad seemed to be doing better. His oxygen requirements dropped to 85 percent on the ventilator. But when Mom and I went back to Laurie's house, Mom got a call from Dad's nurse saying that he had to go back to 100 percent. They discovered that on top of his back infection, open back wound, and damaged new lungs, his kidney's were failing again and they discovered a fungal infection in his bladder. His skin had begun to break out in a rash and his body looked like it had really taken a toll. Sunday night Mom was sitting at his bedside and asked him if there was only a way he could show her if he wanted to keep going. Shortly after she asked, his respiratory rate plummeted down to 0. At this, the nurse came in and said sometimes the leads come off, so she adjusted it and left the room again, but it still showed zero. Mom asked me what I thought of that and I told her I thought he held his breath and he was telling us he wanted us to let him go. That night, Mom and I discussed our options and yesterday we talked to Dr. Klesney-Tait. She explained that she couldn't make the choice either because she loved him too. However, she explained that if there were a line of 25 doctors, all of them but her would label Dad as hopeless. I still feel like she only said that because she cared so much about him...she didn't want to give up. Last night we made the decision to take him off the ventilator, ending his suffering. We waited for Dad's sister Suzie and her husband Clyde, and my grandma Jeanette. They got at the hospital around 9:30 pm and we got to spend our time with him. It's amazing how much he proved to us how much of a fighter he was. As we were waiting for Dr. Tait to take him off, Mom told him it was okay to go now...that it was okay to finally give up. At this, his oxygen saturations, even at 100 percent ventilator support, began to steadily drop over the next half hour. He went from 92% saturation all the way down to 70%. It was his way of telling us he was finally giving up too. Dr. Klesney-Tait came in at about 10:40 pm and, in the presence of myself, Mom, Heidi, Jeanette, Suzie, Clyde, and Laurie, we watched as she freed Dad of all his cords and medications. Dad was heavily sedated and didn't feel any pain. He passed away after only about 5 minutes of no support. My father, Michael Louis Miller died at the age of 59 at 10:49 pm on Monday, June 29th, 2009. I am honored to have had him as my father and I hope you feel honored to have been his friends and family. The time and location for Dad's funeral is yet to be decided. His wishes included cremation, so we want to take time to discuss and conduct his funeral in a way that he would have wanted. I will let you all know when we set a date and a location both through this blog and through Dad's email address. We would appreciate any stories you would like to share about him. Please send these either to my email at or Dad's email .

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday, June 26th

Mom talked to Dr. Klesney-Tait today (Dad's head doctor). She said that they're going to try to put a scope in to see where the blood clots are all at. Dad's blood pressure was doing good earlier today, but has since lowered some. Dr. Tait said that if Dad's heart were to go out on him, she didn't recommend resuscitation because the chest compressions would be too hard on his bones. At this time though, his heart looks okay, but you never know. He's currently at 100% ventilator support and his O2 saturations are in the low 90's. As Mom described to me, "He's the sickest I think he's ever been." Dr. Tait said she's still holding hope for him and that she's seen patients come out of this, but he is extremely sick right now. They haven't found any infection and he only had a little bit of a temperature today. Again, they're going to try to lay him on his stomach in order to clear up some of the "junk" in his lungs. As much as I hate to use the word "grim" I think it's appropriate for his condition right now. Please, we can use all of your prayers at this time...that's all we can do is hope and pray.

Tuesday, June 23rd - Thursday, June 26th

It's really late, and I work in the morning, but I feel like I need to update you all because I don't want to give false hope with the last bad as that sounds. Just two days removed from the whole 65% ventilator dependency, Dad was back on 95% today (Thursday). His kidneys seem to be pretty much tanking (creatnine levels in the 3's) again. This was really tough on all of us today...Mom left work and headed back to Iowa City this afternoon. There's also blood in his urine, which might be caused by a blood clot in his bladder. That might be part of the reason for his rise in ventilator support as well...still no fever's as far as I know. Dad's head doctor still isn't giving up hope on him, but she's starting to get worried about the lungs and whether they've been permenantly damaged. For the first time since they said he wasn't going to make it, I can honestly say I'm scared. Not worried. Scared. I'm really starting to wonder if he's going to make it out of this. We need some progress. Soon. I'll probably be joining Mom in Iowa City soon if things stay the way they are. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Letter of Thanks

Our family would like to express our deep and sincere appreciation for all of the support, prayers, love, and gifts that all of you have given us. We are so touched by everyone's care and thoughtfulness. Please continue to keep Mike in your thoughts and prayers.

Karen Miller

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wednesday-Monday, June 17th-22nd

Dad got moved back down to the ICU on Friday because they wanted to start him on a new pain/sedative called Propofol. Giving him this drug increases his risk of low blood pressure and the ICU is constantly monitoring that, unlike the 7th floor. When I left Iowa City on Thursday, Dad's oxygen requirements were at 90%. When Mom called in last night he was down to 65%. It's crazy to think that he's only breathing 35% on his own, yet that seems like such a huge leap at this point and time. As far as his kidneys are concerned, the creatinine levels got as low as 1.3, which is nearly back to normal. Yesterday they were at up a little, but that can be due to the newly administered Propofol. Dad no longer gets agitated when he opens his eyes, and hasn't broken a fever in the past 2 days, so those are more steps in the right direction. In speaking with his floor doctor on the 7th floor on Thursday, I asked him what order we should be seeing things getting better, to which he replied, "I don't mean to sound dramatic, but our first step is to keep him alive." That was tough to stomach, but over the past few days he does seem to be improving more drastically then I've seen in the past month. With Father's Day being yesterday, it really made me sit back and fixate on this many people...right now, are taking advantage of the fact that they have a healthy father to spend the day with? If Dad pulls through, I know I'll take full advantage of every minute I spend with him.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sunday, June 14th - Tuesday, June 16th

Over these few days, things have pretty much stayed steady. Dad's still under heavy sedation, is between 70 and 100% dependent on the ventilator, and still has a fever off and on. The only significant change has been his Creatinine level has gone from 3.3 to 1.9. Once again, normal levels are around 1.0 but this is the lowest those have been in recent memory. Creatinine is directly related to kidney function. It's kind of hard for me to explain exactly, but here's a link if you'd like to know more...
I'll keep you updated if anything new happens.