10-31-11: To Be Honest
Dudley Clendinen is an award-winning author and journalist who lives here in Baltimore. A former reporter and editorial writer for The New York Times, he found out in November, at age 66, that he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, more popularly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
There is no known cure for ALS, and once a person is diagnosed, they usually live between 1.5 to 3 years.
Over the past few months, Dudley has been speaking with Tom Hall about living with ALS. In this conversation, he talks about how he has the urge to tell people exactly what he thinks. But some times, he stifles that urge. “Those of us who are dying get impatient. We don’t have so much life left, and we’re aware of it. It’s what I call the Great Aunt Edna syndrome. She [was dying of cancer and] did not suffer fools gladly…you can’t always have the influence you would like to, even if you’re trying to be helpful.”
“You find it helps you to be honest, at least if you’re trying to be helpful to someone. It helps you to clear the decks, if you can find a way to do it. Not necessarily Great Aunt Edna’s way, but some way.”
You can listen to all of our conversations with Dudley Clendinen at this link.