BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – “He said ‘you know I’m done with the ambulance rides, I’m done with the emergency rooms’.”
After Former Governor Edwin Edwards announced he would begin at-home hospice care, many feared he had taken seriously ill. But the zealous politician assures people he will be around for a big 95th birthday bash.
“Monday night he said I want you to go ahead and call the hotel in Baton Rouge with the big ballroom and go ahead and book that for next year’s 95th birthday party. He said ‘I don’t even want people to get the idea that I think I’m dying,” said biographer and family spokesman Leo Honeycutt.
On Sunday, while in his Gonzalez home, Edwards complained of pain in his lung and was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital. After multiple stays in the ER over the years, he decided it was time to have care closer to home.
“He gets pneumonia almost every year and has had to be rushed to the hospital. Almost every year [he] goes to the ER, gets admitted, he stays for 3-4 days and of course you get inundated with press requests,” Honeycutt said.
Honeycutt also said Edwards has already improved since the weekend. When he last spoke to the former governor he was in good spirits.
“I’ve seen him at times when he’s pretty much unresponsive and you think ‘well this is it’ but this is not the case this time,” Honeycutt said.
He explains the main reason for the hospice care is so if he does have continued respiratory issues, it won’t have to make headlines each time. When things happen then he said it’ll all be at the house and Edwards won’t have to worry so much about upsetting a lot of people.
When asked if the move by Edwards was surprising, Honeycutt said:
“That’s classic Edwin Edwards wanting to control the situation. Edwards is just so used to that,”
He likened it to his days in the Governor’s Mansion. Instead of spending day and night in the capitol reading every line of legislation or taking every meeting, he would go room to room delegating what each person needed to work out or get done.
“It’s not that he thinks he’s really about to die, this was his way of consolidating the time,” Honeycutt said.
He says Edwards is weakened and realizes the seriousness of his illness, but he still has the silver tongue he’s always had.
“He’s not walking or certainly not running a foot race any time soon. But as we pulled him out of bed he looked at me and he said ‘you know I’m running again’ and I said ‘What?’ and he said ‘yeah I’m running for the bathroom so get out of the way’,” Honeycutt said.
Edwards turns 94 on Aug. 7 and emphasizes that the hospice care is a matter of convenience and it isn’t his time to go any time soon.