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 jmiller7@iastate.edu or Dad's email clubdr@crmu.net .


  1. Wow, Jason you are unbelivable for having the courage to blog every detail throughtout all of this and now..... your dad is proud and at peace. He put up one heck of a battle.... Thanks for keeping us all updated I was a faithful follower.... please tell your mom and Heidi hello and I am thinking of all of you!!!
    Take Care!
    Holly (Shirbroun) Namanny

  2. My deepest sympathy goes out to Mike and all of his beloved family...he put up the greasest fight anyone could ever imagine and so did you believing,encouraging,loving and supporting him.
    We are all better people for knowng him.
    I can only imagine the pain in your hearts right now, it is never easy losing a parent no matter what your age. Hold close the love he had for all of you and the pride he felt for helping to raise 2 great kids.
    He will always live in your heart and minds.
    God Speed Mike! You are free at last!
    Jane Slaybaugh

  3. Jason - Your Dad fought long and hard, and it doesn't seem fair that things didn't go according to plan; but he was strong enough, and secure enough in the love of his family to know when the time was right to let go. He is pain free and at peace now, and was able to spend his last moments surrounded by the people he loved and who loved him - I hope you and your family will be able to find peace in knowing how much your love surely helped him.
    Trish and Dean Jackson

  4. My oldest friend is gone. Your sadness to all of you Jason. Your sadness is shared. My blessings and prayers to you all. Craig Nelson

  5. Karen,Jason and Heidi you have my deepest sympathy. If there is ever anything I can do to help you please say so. He is at peace and hopefully someday you'se can be too. It will take time. He fought hard and he had your love and he felt your presence. Karen what a trooper, Anita

  6. My sympathy to all of you. Words cant express my feeling the loss of Mike... He's known me for 50+ years and never let me forget our friendship. Our last coversation not long ago, was his plans to bring you to visit Arkansas. I know how proud he was of his kids and Karen, you have more strength and courage than I will ever have. GOD BLESS YOU, Audrey

  7. A piece of my heart has broken off and I am not sure what to say right now. It is said that the good die young and I feel as if losing Mike has yet again made this saying seem too true. I cannot imagine what it was like for those of you nearest to him to make the hardest decision we make these days about someone we love. I want you to know I support you and am crying alongside you right now. Jason, you are right, this is the beginning of a new journey, one which we will all embark on in splendid fashion having known Mike Miller! Now I gotta go get a Spam sandwich and curl up to remember the good times with Mike...
    Susan Holt Sass, TCA Class of '81

  8. Our hearts ache for you all at this time. We want you to know you are in our thoughts and prayers. Mike fought a good fight and with all of you by his side helped him so much. Hold on to the memories - God Bless you all. Teresa & Scott McClellan & Family

  9. Karen, Jason, and Heidi: Our heart breaks for you. Mike was and still is a wonderful person. I know he is watching over you. He was a fighter and had tried so hard. You are an amazing family. You will always be in our prayers. Peg and Rick Hyndman, Coralville

  10. Sorry I did not get the news until this morning as I was checking my email quickly before heading out to work. I was out of state for a business trip and did not have access to check messages.

    I am truly saddened by the news and my heart goes out to all of you. This was a long battle Mike went through and I understand how hard it was to let him go. He was a good friend to me and I will miss his emails and phone calls. He knew how to keep optimism through everything he had to deal with and always made me laugh when I was down. I will never forget him.

    Todd and Mike are probably joking around about the old college days at DMACC right now.

    Karen, Heidi, and Jason; hang onto each other, keep his memory alive, he loved all of you very much.