Originally created 03/08/06

Buchwald: 'Best time of my life' at hospice



WASHINGTON - Columnist and humorist Art Buchwald says he's having "the best time of my life" after deciding to refuse dialysis treatment and stay in a hospice.

"So far things are going my way. I am known in the hospice as The Man Who Wouldn't Die," wrote Buchwald, 80, in a column published in newspapers Tuesday. "I don't know if this is true or not, but I think some people, not many, are starting to wonder why I'm still around."

"In fact, a few are sending me get-well cards. These are the hard ones to answer," he wrote.

Buchwald, who won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1982, moved into a hospice in late January after kidney and vascular problems forced doctors to amputate one of his legs just below the knee.

The syndicated humorist wrote that he refused lifelong dialysis treatment after deciding it would be "too much" to handle after losing his leg.

"I talked to my doctor, Mike Newman, and he said, 'It's your choice. You're the only one who can decide what you want to do.' Which was, I thought, a good answer."

"When I got to the hospice I was under the impression it would be a two- or three-week stay," Buchwald wrote. "But here I still am, six weeks later, and I've gotten so well Medicare won't pay for me anymore."

He described a life of comfort at the hospice "where I can have anything I want and I can even send out to McDonald's for milkshakes and hamburgers."

"Everybody wants to please me," Buchwald wrote. "How long they allow me to stay here is another problem.... But in case you're wondering, I'm having a swell time - the best time of my life."