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Buchwald in hospice care

Writer chooses to discontinue medication

“Having a High Time Where You’d Least Expect It,” an article by Art Buchwald, appeared in Tuesday’s Washington Post. Buchwald, 80, now living in a hospice in Washington, D.C., underwent surgery to amputate his right leg at Christmas. He suffered kidney failure and had been on dialysis. However, Buchwald did not want to continue that three-hour, four-times-a-week process and it has been discontinued. By his choice, he says he has also discontinued medication. “I don’t want to do it.” He has been receiving calls from friends such as Ben Bradlee, George Stevens Jr., members of the Kennedy family, Tom Brokaw and Alain Bernheim, with whom he wrote the movie “King for a Day” — over which they sued Paramount. “When I got to the hospice I was under the impression it would be a two- or three-week stay,” he wrote in the Post. “But here I still am, six weeks later, and I’ve gotten so well Medicare won’t pay for me anymore.” When I spoke to Buchwald on the phone at the hospice, he laughingly admitted his piece in the Washington Post is “a little tongue in cheek.” But without the dialysis treatment or medications, the prognosis is obvious. He said he’s still writing “stuff” and spends time watching movies. He watched the Academy Awards on TV and his comments would have made for another good column. He wrote one — for more than 50 years — having started his career writing for Variety from Paris in 1950. His books include “I’ll Always Have Paris,” “I Am Not a Crook,” “While Reagan Slept,” “You Can Fool All of the People All of the Time,” “Lighten Up George,” and “We’ll Laugh Again.” He won a Pulitzer for commentary in 1982. I last saw Buchwald at the Kennedy Center Honors in December. As always, he held court regaling everyone with his inimitable sense of humor — and with his inimitable delivery. “So far things are going my way,” he wrote in the Post. “I am known in the hospice as The Man Who Wouldn’t Die. … In case you’re wondering, I’m having a swell time — the best time of my life.”