Friday, March 03, 2006

Art Buchwald

Editor and Publisher has this sad little piece about the last days of Art Buchwald. I found this somewhat arresting:

Renowned columnist Art Buchwald has refused dialysis, and it's only a matter of time, maybe a short time, before he dies. For a man awaiting The Reaper, he's in unusually fine fettle.

I spent two days by his side to find Buchwald doesn't see himself as courageous, nor does he feel shored up by supernatural spiritual strength. To fade away naturally is the decision he made when faced with the alternative of being hooked up to a dialysis machine three times a week, for five hours at a stretch for the rest of his life.

I know it's totally his decision but I think I'd spend the fifteen hours a week to gain the rest of the week, which is 168 hours, after all. Fifteen hours is less than ten percent of the whole week. I figure there must be more to his decision than this?

I know, I know, none of my business. But what would you do?

3 Comments:

At 11:34 PM, Blogger Ralph said...

I am not sure what I would do, but I can certainly understand and support Buchwald's decision.

In a way, he is fortunate. He has the privilege of choosing how he wants to leave the world; he will have plenty of time to say his goodbyes; and he knows he will not be in pain or demented when he dies.

Not a bad deal, all in all. Just my opinion.

 
At 12:18 PM, Blogger Walking to NY said...

My mom made the same decision. Selfishly I wish she had wanted to stick around at any cost but I understand why she did it. The older I get the more I understand. Life at any cost is very romantic but I am getting more and more attracted to physical and emotional comfort.

Dialysis sounds easy and it can be, but the older and sicker you are the more it sucks out of you. 15 hours a week is just the start. There are very strict dietary restrictions (even how much water you can drink), multiple surgeries to establish and then keep replacing the fistula to attach to the machines, infections, huge risks of strokes....the list goes on. For mom the prospect of staying alive but not really getting better wasn't that appealing.

Once she made the decision she actually did feel better than she had in quite a while. She went to a casino (loved the quarter slots) just 2 weeks before she died and 2 days before she sat up late playing cards with all of us. She wasn't in pain, got to eat what she wanted (chocolate) and got to say goodbye on her terms.

 
At 1:56 PM, Blogger Arachnae said...

See, I knew there was more to the story than appeared in the article. Thanks for the perspective, Walking.

 

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