Posted 23 June 2016
Irene here to finish the story: Michael’s last post was June 9th, when he went on hospice, choosing to be sent home from the hospital, rather than endure more intervention that had scant chance of helping. It was a difficult decision to make, but Michael had always been adamant about his desire to end his days at home, not a hospital.
He did get his 2 units of blood on Friday 6/10, and that did seem to make him somewhat stronger, but when they tested his hemoglobin after the transfusion, it had brought it up to 7.5, which is still very low. It was clear that he needed more.
Sunday 6/12 Michael’s dear friend Mark, whom he has known since 7th grade, came to visit with his wife Pattie. We had a wonderful time with them. Because Michael has been so candid in his posts, I will share this: Saturday and Sunday brought another development that was pretty disturbing to see, Michael’s amazing brain was now really compromised. He tried to complete some work for Webvanta that normally would have taken him an hour or two to accomplish. I watched him struggle for hours and finally was able to talk him into allowing someone else to complete the task. It was very, very hard for him to admit defeat, and very hard for me to insist.
Hospice agreed to pay for another blood transfusion and they scheduled it for Wednesday 6/15. Monday and Tuesday he was very weak, and sleeping a lot, but still able to talk and think, with a little help to keep his thoughts on track. We were so hopeful that more blood would bring his energy level back up. During this period of time Michael was still counting on having a big Garden Party to which many people from his Microprocessor Report days were invited, as well as local friends and family. His family and I were becoming more and more certain that he wouldn’t be well enough for such a thing. On Thursday, it became apparent that the transfusion had not helped. His body was beginning to shut down.
We decided to cancel the big party, and just invite friends and family to come. By Thursday afternoon Michael was sleeping most of the time, with brief moments of wakefulness and clarity of thought. Friday was much the same, and by Saturday it was clear that he had few days left. The gathering on 6/18 was lovely. Many close friends and family came by and took turns being with Michael to say goodbye and tell him of their love and appreciation of him. We’re hopeful that he was able to hear and take in the words and love he was given. It was a great opportunity for people who were close to Michael to connect with each other, again, or for the first time. I was able to just dip in and out of the party, taking breaks to cry or sit quietly, while others kept food and drink flowing.
In the early hours of Sunday, 6/19/16, Father’s Day, Michael passed away in his sleep. A great mind and generous heart has passed from this world. Though his last week saw a precipitous slide in his condition, I am aware that it could have been so much worse for him. Michael faced this cancer journey with such grace and courage, but his biggest fear was what he called “the End Game”. He was worried that he would be in great pain and would linger long in that state. Thankfully, his pain was easily controlled by his meds, and his last days were mostly peaceful.
RIP, my love, Irene