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 .