Monday, August 17, 2009

The good days continue

I'm continuing to feel good and strong (of course, this is relative--strong for me means making it to the bathroom and back without feeling totally knocked out). I think it might be, in part, because of the ten day course of antibiotics I recently finished. As it's been explained to me, my lungs are a perfect breeding ground for infection, which I'm always carrying around some degree, and which occasionally get totally out of hand. But I'm not going to look too deeply into why I feel so good; I'm just going to enjoy it.

I was delighted this morning when I opened the Boston Globe and found that they'd published my letter at the very top of the Letters to the Editor column ( I'm really angry about the way the right wing has distorted a perfectly simple and reasonable provision to provide voluntary end of life counseling into the mythical "death panels." The whole subject of impending death is difficult enough for sick individuals and their families; often the subject remains the mythical elephant in the middle of the room that everyone ignores. But one result is that people end up getting treatments they don't want, which don't contribute to their quality of life, and they die in intensive care units surrounded by machines, instead of in the comfort of their homes (where, research shows, most people would choose to die).

We're down to the home stretch for Thursday. Marty, who has put unbelievable amounts of effort into every aspect of the event, is putting together a booklet of some of the amazing e-mails and letters I've received from people over the past few months. Sally Zinman and David Oaks are sending videos which we're going to screen at the event, and Tom Behrendt and Tina Minkowitz are going to speak in person. When I look over the list of people who will be coming, I see names of people whom I haven't seen in ten or more years! And the whole event will be videotaped.

I'm conserving my energy; I can't guarantee that I'll continue to feel like this, but I'm going to do everything I can to continue to feel good.


  1. Hi Judi...Imagine my surprise when, wandering around the internet reading about hospice and end-of-life issues, I came across your blog. I am a REALLY "old" (figuratively and, increasingly, literally)friend. We knew each other in high school, when you were Judi Rosenberg and then Judi Ross, and my name was Martha Kammel. We stayed in touch for many post-high school years. I have happy memories of our friendship and of you as a wonderfully bright and interesting person. My last specific memory of spending time with you is of you leaving (baby) Julie with me and my son (baby) Erik while you went off to be a contestant on "Jeopardy". I believe that you were a two day champion, and remain impressed by that feat. This was certainly a very long time ago, as Baby Erik is now 40 years old, and Baby Julie sounds like a very grown up woman.

    It sounds as though you have had an interesting and productive life and career. Knowing you, I would have expected no less. I hope that there has also been lots of joy and plenty of fun. It sounds as though you have a wonderful family...aren't grandchildren the best gift ever!!! I have now read your blog from its inception, and really admire your willingness to use your own experience with this chronic and debilitating disease as an opportunity to educate and enlighten others.

    I live in the Philadelphia area, and had toyed with the idea of driving to Boston to attend your event on Thursday. As it happens, my youngest son's long-awaited baby is scheduled to be born on that very day, so I will not be able to do so. I hope that it turns out to be a spectacular day for you, and look forward to reading about it. If you feel up to it, I would love to hear from you. If not, I will continue to follow your blog, and will think of you often and hope that you continue to have good days.

    Martha (Kammel Blanc Aserinsky)

  2. Martha...what an amazing delight to hear from you! I often tell the story of leaving Julie with you when I went off to be on Jeopardy (in its original, Art Fleming, phase)...because it was the first time I'd ever left her and she started crying as I went out the door. You told me later how you went up to her--she was lying on the floor screaming--and asked her if she wanted lunch (I had told you that "lunch" and "Sesame Street" were good bets to get her attention). You said she stopped screaming, picked up her head and asked, "Yunch?" To which you replied that you would go make her lunch and meanwhile she could watch Sesame Street, to which she happily commented, "'Treet" and from then on everything was fine.

    I'd LOVE to talk with you, but can't figure out from the information you left how to get in touch with you. You can e-mail me at and we can take it from there.

    How amazing this interactive age is! I'm so glad we're going to be in touch after all these years (lots of catching up to do).

    The event will be videotaped and we'll figure out how to post it for all the people who wanted to be there but couldn't make it for various reasons.

    Oh, yes...happy baby!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Hi Judi,
    Tomnorrow is the big day, hope you have a good time.'
    Look forward to the video.
    Came by to say hello and wish you well.
    Hope you are having a good day.

  4. Judi, I am sending my love to you - Human to Human. I want to pick your brain about Secondary Trauma for Direct Service Providers. I just picked up the book Trauma Stewardship, it is good material. Where do you go for more info - Oh great resource woman. Thank you so much for considering my request.
    Susan Phipps - now in Anchorage Alaska.

  5. wowee Judi - the event will be videotaped! I am so happy I can get to see it even though I can't be there!!!

    lots of love from Jan in England