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Jesse Plemons Gushes Over 'Amazing' Fiancee Kirsten Dunst

Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst have yet to tie the knot, but they’re clearly already in the honeymoon phase.

Speaking to ET on Wednesday night at the premiere of the comedy-mystery Game Night, Plemons, who plays a creepy police officer neighbor in the film, praised his fiancee for being a grounding influence in his life.

“I feel very fortunate to have someone that keeps some sense of reality,” he told ET at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. “And, you know, I’m very lucky. Shes amazing.”

The two have been engaged for more than a year and subject to more than one question about when the “big day” will happen. But, they’ve remained mum on a wedding date, with Dunst telling ET last year, “We have a time frame, but that’s private!”

What isn’t private is Dunst’s desire to be a mother. Last May, she opened up to Marie Claire U.K. about motherhood, saying, “It’s time to have babies and chill.” By December, pregnancy rumors reached a frenzy when a friend was spotted rubbing her belly as they walked in Santa Monica, California.

Finally, last month, the cat was out of the bag when Dunst appeared in a photo shoot showing off her baby bump for the first time.

Watch Dunst talk engagement (and show off her huge ring) in the video below.

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A hospice story: The 'amazing' last days of Diana Fitzharris

In October 2000, they met and fell in love. Mark Fitzharris was a musician and Chen Hsiang-Shan was a businesswoman. Her English name was Diana, after a childhood teacher in Taiwan.

They married and three years later Diana gave birth to Gwendolin. They bought a house in North Gower, Ont., and opened a bead and jewelry store.

Life was good.

Diana Fitzharris

Fitzharris of North Gower, Ont., was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2014, and given only a few years to live. (Jean-Francois Bisson/CBC)

Then in 2014, a customer noticed that Diana was limping. Her foot kept dropping when she walked. 

A couple of months later, Diana learned that she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — a disease that would gradually kill her nerves and paralyze her muscles.

She was given two to five years to live. 

“Oh gosh, I am shocked,” Diana said of her initial reaction. “Huge shock. I think, ‘That’s impossible, that’s not me.’ But two and a half years later, now I have to admit, I am bad luck.”

Caring for Diana

Mark Fitzharris

Diana’s husband Mark describes ALS as, ‘Fast, fast, fast – it never slows down. It’s terrible.’ (Joe Fiorino/CBC)

Mark, a nurse, had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 16 years earlier. Nonetheless, he threw himself into caring for his wife.

“You can’t make sense of anything,” Mark said, describing their experience with ALS.

“All you can do is follow the path the disease is setting for you. But it’s fast. Fast, fast, fast – never slows down. It’s terrible.”

When Dr. Louise Coulombe met her in August 2017, Diana’s body had deteriorated to the point where her family had to use a sling to move her from her bed to a wheelchair. The muscles surrounding her lungs were barely moving and she needed a machine attached to a tube which, when put in her mouth, pushed air into Diana’s lungs. She had to use it every few seconds.

It was clear that Diana was close to death.

Diane and Mark Fitzharris

Diana sits in the sling needed to transfer her from her bed to her wheelchair at their home. Her husband, left, was her sole caregiver for two years after she was diagnosed with ALS. (Diane Grant/CBC)

Dr. Coulombe, a community palliative care physician in Ottawa, has been visiting dying patients in their homes for the past 20 years. She is a legend in the Ottawa area, with a unique record: 80 per cent of her patients die at home. 

The national average is quite different. Seventy per cent of Canadians die in acute care hospitals, 15 per cent in hospices, and another 15 per cent receive varying degrees of palliative care and die either at home or in a palliative hospital ward.

“All of us are getting older and there’s going to be a lot of people who are going to go through this process of life, and there are not enough hospitals and there are not enough hospices,” Dr. Coulombe said.

“We need to do as much as we possibly can to understand what the process is and to take care of each other as well as we can. If we can do it in the community, bonus; win for family, win for patient and win for the medical profession.”

May Court hospice

Diana and Gwendolin Fitzharris

Diana and her daughter Gwendolin spend time together at their home. Gwendolin presses Diana’s hand to her cheek the way her mother liked to do before her paralysis set in. (Diane Grant/CBC)

Initially, Diana resisted the suggestion of going to a hospice. She wanted to be able to see her daughter every day and spend time in her garden.

But Diana was starting to experience periods of panic in the night.

“The air cannot get in, so of course I cannot breathe well, and then I cannot sleep,” she said. “That is why I have anxiety.”

Diana’s 14-year-old daughter Gwendolin was also anxious, watching her mother’s agonizing deterioration. Gwendolin told Dr. Coulombe she was afraid one day she’d walk into her mother’s bedroom and find her dead.

Dr. Coulombe managed to find Diana a bed at the May Court, a beautiful hospice with nine private bedrooms looking onto a stunning perennial garden on the banks of the Rideau River. She would have nurses and volunteers monitoring her 24/7.

Diana relented. 

Scarcity of beds

Not all palliative care patients are able to make the choice Diana did, simply because beds are often unavailable.

Unlike the U.K., where hospice care started back in 1967 and is now widespread, Canada has just 88 residential hospices, the majority in Ontario and the Montreal region. The rest of the country’s 28 hospices are spread mainly through B.C. and Alberta. Newfoundland and Saskatchewan have none.

Dr. Louise Coulombe

Dr. Louise Coulombe, Diana’s palliative care physician, says there are not enough hospitals and hospices to cope with the growing number of ailing seniors in Canada. (Joe Fiorino/CBC)

Most of Canada’s hospices need to raise 50 per cent of their operating costs privately.

And without the estimated 25,000 to 30,000 volunteers who support palliative care programs, hospices would be nonexistent.

This is despite the fact that palliative home care and hospices generally cost the health care system much less per patient than admitting them to acute care hospitals. According to the 2015 Ontario Auditor General’s report, the cost of a residential hospice bed is $ 460 per day as compared to $ 1,100 in an acute care hospital.

There are also enormous quality-of-life benefits for patients and their families.

Dr. Andrew Mai, the medical director of Hospice Care Ottawa, puts it simply: “If you can’t make an environment at home where a person can be cared for, then a hospice is the (best) option for people who are dying.”

‘I feel like I’m a queen’

Within hours of Diana being admitted to the May Court hospice, she was sitting in a comfortable wheelchair eating a meal of fried rice and stewed beef. Vibrant flowers surrounded her and the Rideau River sparkled in the sunlight at the bottom of the expansive lawn.

Her relief was immediate.

“I feel like I’m a queen,” she said. “They do everything for me. So comfortable. Amazing.”

Diana and Gwendolin Fitzharris

Gwendolin and her mother share a laugh in Diana’s room at the May Court hospice. (Jean-Francois Bisson/CBC)

Initially, Gwendolin was “freaked” by the fact that her mother was in a bed where someone had died days before.

But before long she was lying with her mother and spending time as they had at home.

As Diana’s medical concerns were met, the family began to relax. One day Mark and Gwendolin were even overheard giggling and teasing Diana about her terrible driving record and the time it took her 45 minutes to park their car.

“It’s a wonderful place,” Mark said, smiling. “It’s getting me rest, and it’s giving Diana maybe a little extra pampering and she deserves it.”

Diana Fitzharris

Lydia, middle, helps Gwendolin colour Diana’s hair in the garden of the hospice. Purple hair was something Diana said she had always wanted to try. (Jean-Francois Bisson/CBC)

Gwendolin asked her mother often if Diana wanted her to be there at the time of her death.

Diana wasn’t ready to imagine dying and how her daughter would have to cope.

Instead, Diana lived each moment at the hospice intensely. She joked with volunteers and welcomed her friends. They played cards, made jewelry.

On the last day of August Diana asked her best friend, Lydia Wang, to dye her hair purple. Lydia remembers Diana had asked her to do this before but there was never enough time in their busy lives.

Diana Fitzharris

After having her hair dyed, Diana is taken through the hospice garden by Gwendolin and Lydia. (Jean-Francois Bisson/CBC)

“She told me years ago,” Lydia recalled, “I want blue, I want green, I want to colour my hair.”

Diana delighted in the beauty of the hospice’s shaded garden on that sunny day and let Gwendolin and Lydia fuss over her. As her hair was turned shades of blue, pink and purple, Diana took a big puff of air from her machine and shouted out with glee, “Let’s go out dancing!”

Three days later, on Sept. 3, 2017, at 12:45 a.m., Diana Fitzharris passed away at the hospice in her sleep. She was 56 years old.

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Puerto Ricans slam Trump's claim of 'amazing' aid after Maria: 'It's going to be unbearable for everyone'

Perched on the roof of his grandparents’ house in the hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rican city of Guaynabo, Luis Sanchez-Longo, 21, finally found a cell signal on Sunday to call his worried mother Iara Rodriguez in Florida.

Hurricane Maria decimated much of the island last week, making it look like it had been bombed, her son told her.

“It was like Hiroshima,” Sanchez-Longo told his mother, who said in an interview that she had tried to reach him for days.

Sanchez-Longo was out of cash and gasoline. His grandmother needed a fan to cool herself without air conditioning. The rest of the household — his siblings and step-grandfather — needed more water, more food and more batteries.

“Where is the marines? Where is the air force?” Rodriguez asked. “We’re Puerto Ricans. We’re born American citizens. And we need help.”

Courtesy Iara Rodriguez

Iara Rodriguez, centre, is lying on family members in a portrait taken at her parents’ home in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. While Rodriguez lives in Florida and escaped the devastation of Hurricane Maria, most of her family remained at the San Juan house. (Courtesy Iara Rodriguez)

Most of the 3.4 million American citizens on the island remain entirely without power, as the federal government fends off criticisms that its response to the humanitarian crisis has been slow and inadequate, particularly when compared to recent relief efforts on the U.S. mainland in Texas and Florida.

Reached by cellphone in the capital of San Juan on Tuesday, Andres Lopez, 46, said the devastation was “apocalyptic.” Together with his wife and two children, they were depleting their stockpile of bottled water. Thirsty rural residents were reportedly drinking from streams, risking illness.

“We’re husbanding resources. We still have some bottled water, but we’re now going on day six or seven,” Lopez said. “If this level of scarcity extends for one week or two weeks, it’s going to be unbearable for everyone.”

Life on the island, he said, has become about survival and waiting. There are hours-long waits at gas stations, ATMs, pharmacies and bakeries. Waits for the re-establishment of vital telecom services to restore communications to the world. It could take six months for power to return in some rural areas.

“And now we’re waiting to be treated equally as our fellow Americans who suffered in Texas with Hurricane Harvey, or Florida with Hurricane Irma,” Lopez said. “There just doesn’t seem to be the same equal level of concern.”

Iara Rodriguez Son

Luis Sanchez-Longo, left, is a 21-year-old student at the University of Puerto Rico. (Iara Rodriguez)

U.S. President Donald Trump announced he will tour the U.S. territory on Tuesday, and also stop over at the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the White House’s Rose Garden, he boasted: “Everybody has said it’s amazing, the job that we’ve done in Puerto Rico.”

‘Totally inefficient’ response

Clearly not everybody feels the same.

In Washington, lawmakers of Puerto Rican descent and legislators representing large Puerto Rican constituencies slammed the Trump administration’s response so far as “totally inefficient.”

Overnight tweets from the president bringing up Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy only darkened the island’s collective misery, Lopez said.

Puerto Rico has already been buckling under the weight of financial strain.

STORM-MARIA/PUERTORICO

People in San Juan, Puerto Rico, line up to buy gasoline at a gas station after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria on Sept. 22. (Alvin Baez/Reuters)

While Trump tweeted that Texas and Florida were “doing great” after federal help, he wrote that Puerto Rico was in “deep trouble” following Maria. Trump added that “billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks” would, “sadly,” still have to “be dealt with.”

Rodriguez said she felt “insulted” by Trump’s remarks.

“That was the most insensitive, horrible thing. It’s like if you have had a cousin who gets cancer and your reaction is ‘Well, he just declared bankruptcy, so he might as well die.'”

When Lopez learned about the tweets, he thought, “We don’t need him on the ground here if the version of the president that’s going to show up is the one that tweeted those awful unmentionables.”

Dire as his situation has become, Lopez is among the lucky few with a reliable phone signal. Although the U.S. Federal Communications Commission confirmed more than 90 per cent of cell towers are down in Puerto Rico, it was by an accident of geography that Lopez lives in a pocket of the suburb of Miramar that still has service. He has been charging his phone with his car cigarette lighter.

Andres Lopez

Andres Lopez, a lawyer living in San Juan, says his family has stockpiles of food and water for now, but ‘we’re waiting to be treated equally as our fellow Americans who suffered in Texas with Hurricane Harvey, or Florida with Hurricane Irma.’ (Andres Lopez)

Trump said Tuesday “top people” from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had been on the ground passing out “massive loads of water and food and supplies” on an hourly basis.

He told reporters that, unlike the logistics of sending quick aid to Florida and Texas after recent disasters there, reaching Puerto Rico was “tough stuff” because it’s an island that can’t simply receive truck deliveries.

“This is a thing called the Atlantic Ocean,” Trump said.

Former FEMA director James Lee Witt dealt with a similar circumstance after 1995’s Hurricane Marilyn slammed into the Virgin Islands while he was running the agency during the Clinton administration.

“It took us a few days to get C-17s and C-130s there after the airport was blown apart, the control tower was gone and you had to get it all set up,” Witt said. “Puerto Rico’s an island, so everything has to be brought in by air or ship, so it does take longer.”

Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria

A family washes clothes on the side of the road, utilizing water running off the mountain in Montebello, Puerto Rico, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, on Tuesday. Many of the more than 3.4 million U.S. citizens in the territory are still without adequate food, water and fuel. (Gerald Herbert/Associated Press)

“If you’re a victim in a situation like that, an hour or two hours in a day feels like an eternity,” Witt added.

Jacob Remes, a disaster historian at New York University, countered that waiving a century-old law restricting ship access could at least alleviate aid delivery concerns. The so-called Jones Act favouring U.S. ship-building decrees that only U.S.-flagged ships crewed by Americans can bring supplies from one American port to another. Economists argue the law is stifling Puerto Rico’s recovery.

On Monday, the White House said it would not waive the restrictions for Puerto Rico, as it had following Harvey and Irma.

As for Puerto Rico’s island geography being a challenge, Remes pointed to the American response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Though not a model for disaster response, he said, “it’s clear when the U.S. wants to mobilize to do things logistically that are far away, we manage.”

To Lopez, still awaiting more aid in San Juan, it doesn’t feel like urgency is driving the federal government. Puerto Rico’s population is larger than Iowa’s 3.1 million, yet he senses that the island’s colonial history somehow paints Puerto Ricans as second-class citizens.

Trump tweets

Donald Trump tweeted about Tuesday’s Republican primary in Alabama as much as U.S. territory Puerto Rico in recent days, with tweets about the protests during the national anthem dwarfing all other subjects. (CBC)

“We need a lot, but what we need more than anything else right now is calls to Congress and pressure to bear on them,” he said. “Because right now, this doesn’t feel like a first-class response.”

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