1-30-12: I Wouldn’t Have Missed It

January 30, 2012 at 8:00 am 5 comments

The team behind "Living with Lou."

Host Tom Hall, producer Stephanie Hughes, and writer Dudley Clendinen. Photo by Stewart Lippe.

[audio http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wypr/local-wypr-1002107.mp3] A full transcript of this conversation is available here.

For almost a year now, Tom Hall has been speaking every couple of weeks with the writer and journalist Dudley Clendinen, a former national correspondent and editorial writer for the New York Times and the author of four books. In November of 2010, Dudley was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Dudley used to come to the studio, but for the past few conversations, Tom has gone to visit him in his home.  Dudley is becoming much harder to understand, so sometimes Tom provides additional clarification.

In this final conversation in the series, Dudley talks about what the interviews have meant to him, and his thoughts on the past–he says, to quote Ogden Nash, he “wouldn’t have missed it.”

You can listen to all of our conversations with Dudley Clendinen at this link.

Entry filed under: Health, On Air. Tags: , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. David Eberhardt  |  January 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    trying to find the written out transcript

  • 2. mdmorn  |  January 31, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    The first link on this page should take you to the transcript. The link is https://mdmorn.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/dudley-clendinen-i-wouldnt-have-missed-it-1-30-12.pdf. Thanks for listening!

  • 3. Jennifer Kraus  |  January 31, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    So, I’m sure that Mr. Clendinen realizes that he dies for us now, earlier than he chooses to do so himself. I am glad that is so, that we have only a partial grief, having heard (a few, not all) of these interviews over time now, which involves an attachment to the courage of this extraordinary man to face his death straight on. We can experience this as a disppearance, spared the true ending which will come. Regrets: we have them but hopefully spend as little psychic energy on them as possible, once we have learned their lesson, as he so wisely said we must do. We have all made so many mistakes, or else we have probably lived very tightly, like sticks fearing the wind, its own regret. I hope that life gives us the right to choose how we die, who is there if anyone at all, the final opportunity to choose what we need, what we want, without etiquette constraining us at this final moment. I think that you have given other last words, beyond “I wouldn’t have missed it”: Your wish to die alone, with your friends at a party elsewhere, celebrating you. Final orders. May you have your death the way that you want it. You have lived as you wished and should die as you have lived.

  • 4. Susan Talbott  |  February 26, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I have heard two of Tom Hall’s interviews with Mr Clendinen and I was so moved by Tom’s sensitive and gracious style. Hearing Mr. Clendinen’s nurse speak about ‘a good death’ and about how she works with patients to help them decide what they want as ALS steals their ability to speak- to live their lives, was very moving. I salute Mr. Clendinen for his willingness to share with the WYPR radio audience what must be a terribly painful time in his life. Listening to him confirms for me the importance of planning ahead, for discussing with my care givers and family how I want to live my life if I have to face a fatal illness such as ALS. Thank you Mr. Clendinen – I plan to share what I learned from you and your nurse with my family, friends and colleagues about how one might deal with the prospect of being diagnosed with a fatal illness.

    Very sincerely,

    Susan Talbott, RN

  • 5. James Sprott  |  March 10, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I recently came across these an am sure that it is the Dudley one year ahean of me at Vanderbilt and in the same fraternity. As an oncologist who has seen a lot of patients with fatal illnesses and haein been active in Hospice, I found tjhem very inspiring, although I am sad for Dudley.


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