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<v Patrick Everhart>So I'm going to die, I'm going to die. I'm going to be comfortable. <v Patrick Everhart>I don't want to be in pain. <v Alfred Dodd>He came right out and said you have pneumocystis pneumonia. <v Alfred Dodd>And I asked him what that was and he said AIDS. <v Kathleen Donehy>I've heard a few comments from various residents saying like God, we're <v Kathleen Donehy>so glad to have people who want to look after us. <v Bernie Costonola>I think your time will be soon. <v Bernie Costonola>What do you think? <v Bernie Costonola>You hope so? I think you hope is going to be realized real soon. <v Chris Brownlie>To me, our emphasis is not on the on <v Chris Brownlie>the dying. It's on the living of the last days. <v narrator>Chris Brownlie Hospice lies in the hills of Elysian park near downtown Los
<v narrator>Angeles. It opened on the day after Christmas in 1988. <v narrator>It has 25 beds, a staff of 40 and many volunteers <v narrator>and all of its residents have AIDS. <v narrator>They also have families and friends and loved ones and unfinished business. <v narrator>They have every reason to care about life, but none of them has more than a few months to <v narrator>live. They have turned away from aggressive medical treatments, choosing <v narrator>to die perhaps a little sooner than they might at a hospital. <v narrator>But with dignity and in peace. <v narrator>Already, more Americans have died of AIDS than were killed in the Vietnam War, <v narrator>and the annual toll is expected to increase steadily. <v narrator>Our story covers a month in the spring of 1989. <v narrator>It is set in a world where life and death go hand in hand. <v narrator>Here, AIDS withers dreams and mocks ambition, but it also
<v narrator>unlocks courage, compassion and love and sometimes brings <v narrator>new richness of experience and understanding. <v narrator>Bernie Costonola, a Franciscan priest, is Brownlie's social worker. <v narrator>Today, he is meeting for the first time with Everett Wooden, who came to the hospice <v narrator>three days ago. <v narrator>Everett was a school teacher in Los Angeles for 13 years and then went into the <v narrator>restaurant business. <v narrator>He learned a year ago that he had AIDS. <v narrator>Within six months he had become too ill to work. <v narrator>At first, he pursued medical treatments to prolong his life. <v narrator>But now he's changed his mind.
<v Everett Wooden>I just said, I don't want to do this. I dont want to live this kind of life. <v Everett Wooden>I'd rather die. <v Bernie Costonola>What was it that moved you in that direction? <v Everett Wooden>I just got to the point where I just couldn't stand the feeling any longer of just <v Everett Wooden>being pumped full of all of this stuff. <v Everett Wooden>I know that it was supposedly designed to help me, but <v Everett Wooden>I was getting well, not necessarily weaker, but I was just <v Everett Wooden>I was not myself by any means. <v Everett Wooden>And I developed like a Parkinsonian state where he was shaking and so on, like <v Everett Wooden>that and drooling and everything. <v Everett Wooden>And it was just a reaction to all the different drugs. <v Everett Wooden>And I had IV's in both arms and if you had to go to the bathroom. <v Everett Wooden>It was always a hassle. <v Everett Wooden>And I just decided that I didn't. I knew that if this was going to be a regular part of <v Everett Wooden>my life, that I wasn't going to live that way. <v Everett Wooden>I just couldn't live that way.
<v Bernie Costonola>Everett is he lets you in and he let you close and lets you know <v Bernie Costonola>and he's wanting to cry or afraid. <v Bernie Costonola>I think he's going to be someone that we get really attached to. <v narrator>Every week Brownlie's staff meets to discuss the residents. <v Vick Pimento Habib>I stopped by his room. He asked me. <v Vick Pimento Habib>He said, when I was walking by, do you talk about death before we die? <v Vick Pimento Habib>I said, Yeah. That's a lot of what we do. <v narrator>Vick Pimento Habib is the bereavement counselor at the hospice. <v Vick Pimento Habib>I really sense he's finishing his business with all his relationships. <v Vick Pimento Habib>And he said to me, my ex-wife is coming in tomorrow and he did have a concern about how <v Vick Pimento Habib>long will it be. He said, do you know, is it is it a surprise or can you tell? <v narrator>A week has passed and though Everett's condition seemed stable when he arrived, it <v narrator>is now suddenly worsened. <v Kathleen Donehy>He said Friday before I went off, I'm going to try and be gone by <v Kathleen Donehy>Sunday. I'm going to will myself. <v Kathleen Donehy>And he's doing a really good job of it. I mean, within two days, he's really, really
<v Kathleen Donehy>deteriorated. <v Bernie Costonola>How are you feeling? <v Bernie Costonola>Do you have any pain? <v narrator>Kathleen Doheny is Brownlie's head nurse. <v Kathleen Donehy>Within this hospice is the first one that I've come across. <v Kathleen Donehy>That's really willed himself. <v Kathleen Donehy>Even more people I've seen them will themselves, but they lose it after a day or two. <v Kathleen Donehy>They they can't continue it. But he's really carrying it through. <v Kathleen Donehy>He's determined. And I think why he can do it so well is because he's so <v Kathleen Donehy>ready for it. And he's at total peace. <v Bernie Costonola>Are you ready? You think for yourself. <v Bernie Costonola>To let yourself go? <v Bernie Costonola>You want to die? <v Everett Wooden>Yea. <v Bernie Costonola>That feels okay in here for you. <v Everett Wooden>Yeah. <v Kathleen Donehy>You can't wait, Everett, can you? <v Bernie Costonola>Everett, when you think about dying, what kind of feelings do you
<v Bernie Costonola>have? Is it okay? Is it scary? <v Bernie Costonola>Is it peaceful or a mixture? <v Bernie Costonola>All of the above. <v Bernie Costonola>I think your time will be soon. <v Bernie Costonola>What do you think? <v Bernie Costonola>You hope so? I think your hope is gonna be realized real soon. <v narrator>By the next day, Everts is close to death. <v narrator>Staff members visit him frequently. <v narrator>Ever. But he no longer responds to them. <v Bernie Costonola>Are you having pain? <v Bernie Costonola>His breathing is a irregular. There'll be times when he stops breathing for <v Bernie Costonola>a moment. Then he starts again. <v Bernie Costonola>He's in that in-between. It's hard to even describe what he's at right now, except <v Bernie Costonola>for he's just waiting. To not breathe, I think.
<v Bernie Costonola>Can you hear me? <v Bernie Costonola>Can you hear me? <v narrator>During the night, 11 days after arriving at the hospice, Everett Wooden <v narrator>died. <v narrator>AIDS ran its course more quickly with Everett than it usually does. <v narrator>On the average, people with AIDS survive two years after their diagnosis before <v narrator>succumbing to a complex of wasting, multiple infections, and cancers. <v narrator>Sometimes the disease attacks their minds as well as their bodies. <v narrator>Drugs may prolong their lives, but none has yet been able to save them. <v narrator>The founders of Brownlie Hospice intended as a model of care for people in the final <v narrator>stages of AIDS. The hospice tries to make the last weeks of life as comfortable <v narrator>as possible for its residents and to help family members and loved ones deal
<v narrator>with their loss. <v narrator>The hospice is named for Chris Brownlie, a gay political activist who has AIDS. <v narrator>Early in 1987, Brownlie had an attack of AIDS related pneumonia and lay <v narrator>on a gurney in an admitting ward at Los Angeles County Hospital for three days because <v narrator>no bed was available. <v Bernie Costonola>In some ways, this was a little moment as one person's little struggle with AIDS. <v Bernie Costonola>But it but it, you know, acquired a certain kind of significance because of the time <v Bernie Costonola>in which it happened and the particular conjuncture of forces that were around at the <v Bernie Costonola>time. <v narrator>Brownlie and a group of fellow activists had been protesting the poor quality of care for <v narrator>people with AIDS. His experience gave a new urgency to their work. <v narrator>Within months, they had started an organization called the AIDS Hospice Foundation. <v narrator>Brownlie Hospice is its first facility. <v narrator>Most of the funding for launching the hospice came from state and local governments, <v narrator>which understood its economic advantage.
<v narrator>Care at Brownlie costs $200 a day as opposed to a thousand dollars a day <v narrator>at a hospital. <v narrator>In the two and a half months since the hospice opened, 19 residents have died, <v narrator>but few welcomed death, as Everett Wooden did. <v narrator>And the real day to day business of the hospice is living, not dying. <v Kathleen Donehy>Walk into the frame, Robert, before you. <v narrator>Robert Childs, head of collections at UCLA Museum of Cultural History, <v narrator>was working until he entered the hospital six weeks ago for tests. <v narrator>The hospital discharged him to Brownlie. <v narrator>He came here a week before Everett, gravely ill, unable to walk and mentally <v narrator>confused. But he has gradually improved. <v narrator>And now questions whether he really belongs here. <v Robert Childs>As a place, it's gorgeous, the staff is wonderful. <v Robert Childs>The food is extraordinarily good, but I want out <v Robert Childs>as soon as possible. I want to be out on the street.
<v Robert Childs>This, after all, as wonderful it is as it is, <v Robert Childs>is a dying house. And it <v Robert Childs>it just has a bad connotation to me. <v Robert Childs>You know, the last, I gather two or three weeks, six people <v Robert Childs>who died and that <v Robert Childs>they came somewhat as a shock when I found out about that today. <v Robert Childs>I mean, I knew, you know, that has to happen. <v Robert Childs>But it's one thing to know that it has to happen. <v Robert Childs>Another thing to see it happen. <v narrator>Most residents are not as reluctant as Robert to accept being at the hospice. <v narrator>The majority come here knowing they will stay and they make few plans. <v narrator>Rich Kushner is Brownlie's medical director. <v narrator>He trained in San Francisco during the early days of the AIDS epidemic. <v narrator>He takes two days of each week away from his private practice to come to the hospice. <v narrator>And today he is seeing a 25 year old man who has just arrived and is having trouble
<v narrator>sleeping. <v Rich Kushner>Patrick. Hi. I'm Dr. Kushner. <v Rich Kushner>What do you think is keeping you up the most? <v Rich Kushner>You know, just a change in environment again and...? <v Patrick Everhart>No, it's a mental thing of having AIDS. <v Rich Kushner>Uh huh, uh huh. And, you, and you've had problems sleeping for a while? <v Patrick Everhart>I- I. All the time. <v Rich Kushner>OK. It's not the foot pain, though. That's keeping up. <v Rich Kushner>You know-. <v Patrick Everhart> It's that and it's everything. <v Rich Kushner>Ok, because maybe if we get that under control and some other things. <v Patrick Everhart>And then I tried to kill myself. I went through a big mess with that. <v Rich Kushner>When was that? <v Patrick Everhart>About a month ago. <v Rich Kushner>This is why you were in one of the hospices? <v Patrick Everhart>No, this is when I was home. <v Rich Kushner>This is when you're at home, uh huh. <v Patrick Everhart>I couldn't sleep. <v Rich Kushner>OK, now I can give you something stronger. <v Rich Kushner>I don't want to psych you out, though, either. <v Rich Kushner>But I mean, if you just get a couple. <v Patrick Everhart>That's what I want to be, I want to be zonked out, I need to be zonked out. <v Rich Kushner>All the time or just at night? <v Patrick Everhart>Just at night, zonked out, you know? <v narrator>Patrick Everhart has been in and out of various facilities.
<v narrator>Lately, he'd been living with his mother, but when she had to rent out a room in her <v narrator>apartment to make ends meet, she found that nobody wanted to share quarters with a man <v narrator>with AIDS. And so she arranged for Patrick to move to Brownlie. <v Patrick Everhart>They expect me to go downstairs and eat in the morning and I get up and I'm nauseated and <v Patrick Everhart>I'm dizzy because I haven't had enough sleep. <v Patrick Everhart>You know? <v Rich Kushner>So you're getting up later. <v Patrick Everhart>That's what it's from, no sleep. I keep te- I keep telling these doctors I see <v Patrick Everhart>something mental is gonna go wrong, I'm going to get dementia or something. <v Patrick Everhart>I'm gonna drive myself crazy. <v Rich Kushner>OK. Alright, we'll break that cycle. That seems to be one thing that's really bothering <v Rich Kushner>you. That hasn't been addressed and then we can move on from there. <v Rich Kushner>Interesting enough. This is his according to him. <v Rich Kushner>Third hospice placement. <v Rich Kushner>From what I can gather, one of the hospice is obviously closed. <v Rich Kushner>And then another one from what he told me that <v Rich Kushner>he was kicked out or didn't get along with the people.
<v Rich Kushner>I don't know whether there was anything dealing with substance abuse or or other things. <v Bernie Costonola>He told me what it was. He was saying he used to hustle and he <v Bernie Costonola>had brought this out to one of the people from the hos- at the hospice. <v Bernie Costonola>And for that reason, they said they just pushed him away. <v Rich Kushner>Even though he wasn't behaving in that form in the hospice? <v Bernie Costonola>Just because of what he had done, which is his- which <v Bernie Costonola>is his way. You know why he thinks he's sick to how he thinks he got it. <v Bernie Costonola>But he said, as soon as I let people know this about me, they just turned their backs on <v Bernie Costonola>me. <v Kathleen Donehy>He's had, three- tens attempts. <v Kathleen Donehy>Suicide. <v Rich Kushner>That's another thing that's come forward, that he's had some suicidal attempts. <v Rich Kushner>He's not demented. <v Rich Kushner>He's pretty clear. <v Rich Kushner>He's apparently ambulatory. <v Kathleen Donehy>He's ambulatory. He's quite lethargic. <v Kathleen Donehy>He's like basically we just want to say he's wasting away in there in his room smoking, <v Kathleen Donehy>we need to watch him smoking. <v Kathleen Donehy>Burned many blankets now with Patrick.
<v Kathleen Donehy>And he needs plenty of encouragement to get up. <v Kathleen Donehy>Come downstairs and mix in with the rest of the residents. <v narrator>A week has passed and Robert Childs has gained strength. <v narrator>He's replaced his walker with a cane. <v Robert Childs>The cane is enormously liberating. <v Robert Childs>I can climb stairs, for instance, which <v Robert Childs>absolutely is impossible with a walker. <v Robert Childs>And it just frankly looks more elegant than a walker. <v Bernie Costonola>So why don't I have ginger touch base with you? <v narrator>Robert has now told the staff that he intends to leave the hospice. <v Bernie Costonola>You're thinking about what your goal is that you'd like to... <v Robert Childs>Go back to my apartment. <v Bernie Costonola>You need to talk with your physician about that. <v Robert Childs>And then I want to go back to work at UCLA <v Robert Childs>so I can profitably work
<v Robert Childs>there right now, because uh, <v Robert Childs>I don't have to move around. I can do all the work that I would do <v Robert Childs>sitting down. <v Robert Childs>It just would be easier if I could move around a little more. <v Bernie Costonola>I will be the first one sprung from here. <v Robert Childs>Really? <v Bernie Costonola>I mean out the front door. Yes. <v Robert Childs>The front door. Yeah. <v Bernie Costonola>Yeah. <v Robert Childs>Great. Great. Love to establish records like that. <v Bernie Costonola>You'd be like a pioneer. <v Bernie Costonola>Now, my question is this. <v Bernie Costonola>I really believe that as much as he's alert and intelligent <v Bernie Costonola>and pointed, that he is a dementia progressing. <v Bernie Costonola>And I think that that's clouding his ability to really <v Bernie Costonola>set realistic goals and objectives for himself. <v Bernie Costonola>Every once in a while you just see this change and this euphoria. <v Bernie Costonola>It's almost a little bit like a manic depressive, you know, type of a syndrome. <v Bernie Costonola>And then he starts laughing and he's such a happy, such a beautiful person.
<v Bernie Costonola>However, I think I'd like to have him nipped in the bud <v Bernie Costonola>if he is indeed not gonna be able to go home and not gonna be able to go back to work. <v Rich Kushner>I haven't wanted to take away his denial. <v Rich Kushner>He has said to me things when I've spoken to him. <v Rich Kushner>Boy, you're really doing better. You're you're you're you're using the walker. <v Rich Kushner>You've moved upstairs. That's great. <v Rich Kushner>And he'll look at me and he'll say, you damn right, because I want to get out <v Rich Kushner>of here. And that's why I'm fighting. <v Rich Kushner>Now, I still haven't, you know, that kind of <v Rich Kushner>feistiness I'm not going to argue with. <v Bernie Costonola>Part of what's going on is you feel a little bit better. <v Bernie Costonola>It's hard to believe that you're sick. <v Bernie Costonola>And one of the ways maybe you feel a little bit better is to cope by putting things out <v Bernie Costonola>of your mind or denying that it's happening right now. <v narrator>Susan Musuaka has worked with Robert over the past 10 years. <v narrator>She remembers when he first told her that he had AIDS. <v Susan Musuaka>Well, when I heard it, it was just I gasped.
<v Susan Musuaka>And it was something that, you know, you could see him losing weight and we could <v Susan Musuaka>se- knew that he hadn't been well. But it's something you just don't want to believe <v Susan Musuaka>about someone that you care about. <v narrator>A year after Susan learned that Robert was ill, he asked her to join him in preparing a <v narrator>museum show on a family of Mexican folk artists. <v narrator>He had been working on the project for some time. <v Susan Musuaka>He said, I don't want to be morbid about this, but he says, I'm just facing reality. <v Susan Musuaka>I know you'll finish. <v narrator>Robert no longer talks about not finishing his project. <v Susan Musuaka>This fighting spirit has come to the surface and you can really see <v Susan Musuaka>him fighting for everything. <v Robert Childs>Once I am allowed on the streets, then I <v Robert Childs>will start work immediately. <v Robert Childs>Now, if if that weren't a possibility, that probably <v Robert Childs>would really depress me. <v Robert Childs>It would mean I'd probably want to just sort of hang out in bed,
<v Robert Childs>vegetate, die. <v Patrick Everhart>It's not frightening me. A lot of people are frightened about it, but I'm not. <v Patrick Everhart>So I'm going to die. I'm going to die. I want to be comfortable, I don't want to be in <v Patrick Everhart>pain. And that's the promise you hear. <v Bernie Costonola>Patrick. Patrick, When I pass his room, looks like he's dead maybe six <v Bernie Costonola>times a day. His eyes are rolled back and he's just laying there. <v Bernie Costonola>But there's nothing to his life. <v Bernie Costonola>I mean, there's no quality. It's just. <v Daryl Woods>Patrick stays up all night long and nearly all day during the <v Daryl Woods>first part of the day. And around 3:30, 4 in the evening, he starts perking up. <v narrator>Daryl Woods is a nurse and Brownlie's admissions coordinator. <v Daryl Woods>At that point, but he stays up all night long. <v Rich Kushner>The question is, there really wasn't a very high quality in his life before he got ill.
<v Rich Kushner>So, I mean, it's like you can't create what wasn't there. <v narrator>Despite Bernie's concern, the question of how to improve Patrick's life goes unresolved. <v Bernie Costonola>That's what concerns me. <v narrator>Six residents have died in the past two weeks. <v narrator>It's time for one of the periodical gatherings of staff, residents and loved ones <v narrator>at the hospice has decided to call celebrations rather than memorials. <v narrator>The celebrations are part week, part family get together, part ritual leave <v narrator>taking people talk about their memories of the dead. <v narrator>They cry or laugh and they write notes that will be placed in a balloon and released <v narrator>over the hospice. <v Bernie Costonola>I remember Guadalupe, actually, I want to remember. <v Bernie Costonola>And one of the things he told me when he first came here, I asked
<v Bernie Costonola>him if he had any family or anybody, and he said no, that. <v Bernie Costonola>Then he told me, later on, he had very few in Mexico, but he <v Bernie Costonola>didn't want them to know because he felt ashamed. <v Bernie Costonola>But then he looked at me and said, I wonder if anybody will ever know that <v Bernie Costonola>I lived. So it's important for me to remember him. <v Bernie Costonola>I don't think I'll ever forget his name because he was so concerned that his name would <v Bernie Costonola>be forgotten. <v Carol Lee>It's really hard to let go. <v narrator>Carol Lee's brother Phillip died at Brownlie just a day after he was transferred here <v narrator>from a hospital. <v Carol Lee>Just been a few days, well, he passed away Saturday morning. <v Carol Lee>He struggled for a long time. He was in the hospital <v Carol Lee>five weeks and we knew it was coming. <v Carol Lee>But still, it's very, very difficult.
<v Carol Lee>I was really worried that he was going to die alone. <v Bernie Costonola>He really didn't. <v Carol Lee>I really feel good about that. Really re-assured, it just. <v Carol Lee>So much better than dying in a hospital. <v narrator>Though the celebrations were originally intended for staff members, only a handful <v narrator>of them usually attend. And of those who do, most remain silent. <v Daryl Woods>From my own standpoint, I don't see staff members going to make a point of coming back <v Daryl Woods>to refresh pain. <v Daryl Woods>I don't like it because I do shed the tears, because I remember not not sad times <v Daryl Woods>all the time, but I remember some of the way he smiles or the way he was
<v Daryl Woods>looking just depends on what kind of death they had, whether it be the empty look <v Daryl Woods>of eyes that's asking for help. <v Daryl Woods>Still, even at the point where they're fixing to die or whether it was, you know, the <v Daryl Woods>smile of saying, I'm going home now. <v Daryl Woods>I don't know, I don't I don't handle that very well. <v Daryl Woods>I don't know how to cope with that. <v Daryl Woods>Because you're empty, it's an empty feeling. <v narrator>Until a year ago, Darryl worked in Mississippi as a psychiatric nurse. <v narrator>He knew little about hospice care until he joined the staff here. <v Daryl Woods>Since I've always been scared of death and dying. <v Daryl Woods>I've never even wanted to know what it's about. <v Daryl Woods>You know, I wouldn't even work with geriatric patients because of the dying process. <v narrator>Like many of the staff, Daryl has had to learn to face the hospices steady stream of <v narrator>deaths. He had never even seen an AIDS patient until he moved to Los Angeles. <v Daryl Woods>Honestly speaking, the first guy that I saw who had AIDS. <v Daryl Woods>Yeah, I cried. It- it just devastated me because
<v Daryl Woods>this isn't how humans look. <v Kathleen Donehy>I've heard a few comments from various residents saying like God, we're <v Kathleen Donehy>so glad to have people who want to look after us. <v Kathleen Donehy>I've seen nurses literally gown up from head to toe as if they were going into <v Kathleen Donehy>exterminate a room full of termites to look after <v Kathleen Donehy>AIDS patients. And glove up everything to be seen but the eyes. <v Kathleen Donehy>So the contact the patient would have with that nurse would be eyes and that would be it. <v narrator>For the staff, each new resident represents a new set of possibilities. <v narrator>Some maintain strong connections with their former lives, but others seem to begin their <v narrator>lives afresh when they come here. <v narrator>Quintae Brown came to Los Angeles from Memphis to live with an aunt when he was fifteen. <v narrator>Now he's 27. He's known for several years that he has AIDS, but he <v narrator>got little medical attention until he spent five weeks in County Hospital early in 1989.
<v narrator>From there, he came to Brownlie. <v Bernie Costonola>Before you went to County Hospital, where, were you living <v Bernie Costonola>kind of on the street or were you? <v Bernie Costonola>Where were you living? <v Quintae Brown>I wasn't on the street. I was in a warehouse. <v Bernie Costonola> You were living in the warehouse? <v Bernie Costonola>What about trying to find your mom? Would you like to try and [Quintae Brown: No] you're <v Bernie Costonola>interested in her? <v Quintae Brown>I wouldn't hope my mother would see me like this. <v Quintae Brown>If I could, you know, if that- if I did self-consciously <v Quintae Brown>have pressures on me, that that would probably break everything, I did everything. <v Bernie Costonola>OK. It's whatever you want. <v Bernie Costonola>Some people do and we help them to find somebody that they've been out of touch with. <v Bernie Costonola>Some other folks don't want to. It's whatever you want and we respect. <v Quintae Brown>She wants to see me but I don't want to see her. <v Quintae Brown>She's I-. <v Bernie Costonola>You don't want her to see you? <v Bernie Costonola>How- do you feel like your body has changed a lot? <v Bernie Costonola>See, I didn't know you before you got sick. <v Quintae Brown>Yes. <v Bernie Costonola>His option for him at the time of discharge from the county was to come to us or back
<v Bernie Costonola>living on the streets and dying on the streets. So he was happy to be coming here. <v Bernie Costonola>He doesn't want me to contact his mother in Memphis. <v Bernie Costonola>And the reason he told me is he doesn't. <v Bernie Costonola>So many of our residents say this. I don't want her to see me like this. <v Bernie Costonola>So the issue of shame, which is very unique to this disease, <v Bernie Costonola>again, sticks its head up. <v staff member>Do you know if they know that he is in hospital? <v Bernie Costonola>No, they have no idea. <v narrator>Staff members know that AIDS has unpredictable and ups and downs, sometimes it backs <v narrator>off for a while and turns a person into a long term hospice resident. <v staff member>The man in red. <v narrator>Terry Muncey, was an air conditioning and heating mechanic until his illness forced him <v narrator>to stop working two years ago. <v narrator>He's just turned 40. <v Terry Muncey>A lot of people, when they turn 40, go through like a traumatic experience, <v Terry Muncey>midlife crisis or whatever. <v Terry Muncey>But I was looking forward to reaching 40
<v Terry Muncey>and I did. I made it. <v narrator>Terry arrived at Brownlie a month ago, prepared to die. <v Terry Muncey>I was feeling so bad and I didn't think I was gonna get better. <v Terry Muncey>And I felt it. So I was going to be a burden on my family. <v Terry Muncey>And I just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. <v Kathleen Donehy>He could hardly breathe. He could hardly talk. <v Kathleen Donehy>He could never manage a smile, he was always wincing. <v Kathleen Donehy>Everything was always wrong. <v narrator>Very slowly. Terry's condition began to improve. <v Terry Muncey>Seems like a married couple. I didn't have the will to live, now I. <v Terry Muncey>It's hard for me to sleep because I look forward to the next day. <v narrator>Today, Terry, with the help of his brother, Wally, is moving to the second floor. <v narrator>Because of a fire regulation. Only residents who can get around on their own can live <v narrator>upstairs, moves between floors, consequently have great symbolic significance <v narrator>for all residents. <v narrator>The upper floor is farther from the end.
<v narrator>Besides the improvement in Terry's health, Wally sees other changes in him as well. <v Wally Muncey>He was a kind of to himself guy emotionally. <v Wally Muncey>You know, if you got him to say some about how he really felt about things once a year, <v Wally Muncey>every year or two was really something. <v Wally Muncey>And then as part of this experience here at this hospice. <v Wally Muncey>He has opened up so much he can say, I love you. <v Wally Muncey>He can cry. <v Wally Muncey>He can do all those things. <v Terry Muncey>The family has just been beautiful. <v Terry Muncey>I have a lot more support than I ever dreamed I was going get. <v narrator>Some of the diseases associated with AIDS, like pneumocystis pneumonia and <v narrator>the skin cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma can be held at bay, at least temporarily <v narrator>with drugs. But when the HIV virus that appears to cause AIDS <v narrator>enters the central nervous system, few treatments are effective. <v narrator>Many of Brownlie's residents are here because they have reached that stage of the <v narrator>disease. Alfred Dodd is one of them.
<v narrator>Two and a half years have passed since Al first learned that he had AIDS. <v narrator>He soon had to stop working. But he remained at home until a month ago when he had <v narrator>what appeared to be a stroke. <v narrator>When the doctor at the emergency room said nothing could be done. <v narrator>His lover, Fred Zeeman, transferred him here. <v Fred Zeeman>There's been times where I have felt guilty about doing that. <v Fred Zeeman>You know? And later, you know, but it was I couldn't handle him at home. <v Fred Zeeman>I couldn't share phone at home, and I certainly couldn't care. <v Fred Zeeman>Hire a nurse for 24 hours a day. <v Fred Zeeman>I couldn't afford that. <v Alfred Dodd>It's very nice. You know, you're getting, you're getting <v Alfred Dodd>sent to the hospital, gave you. <v Alfred Dodd>That's when they give you the <v Alfred Dodd>wake up time, well wake up time, get a shot, drink ?inaudible?. <v Alfred Dodd>It's time to go to bed, and you know, just any other. <v Alfred Dodd>Here we can stay up and watch TV here, till dawn.
<v Alfred Dodd>And. <v Alfred Dodd>I like that, can you? And it's not the idea, I like that it's just the idea that <v Alfred Dodd>I like the part where I can do what I want to hear you telling me what to do what <v Alfred Dodd>you want me to do? <v narrator>Fred has been with Al for a long time. <v Fred Zeeman>I'm in love with him. They've been lovers for 10, over 10 years. <v Fred Zeeman>So I come three times a day. <v narrator>Al seems resigned. <v narrator>But the staff worries that Fred isn't ready to face the fact that Al will soon die. <v Fred Zeeman>You want to go home? Is that a yes or a no? <v Fred Zeeman>You do? Ok I think we're going to make arrangements sometime the first week in April. <v Fred Zeeman>I keep fooling myself all the time by saying, you know, you're going to get better. <v Fred Zeeman>You're going to get better, what else you say to a dying patient, you <v Fred Zeeman>know? Well, you've got three more hours to live. What do you want to do?
<v Fred Zeeman>You know, I mean, they don't want to hear that. Their want-. <v Fred Zeeman>I wouldn't want to hear that. I'd like some encouragement. <v Fred Zeeman>Whether it's even if it's a lie, lie to me. <v Fred Zeeman>I wouldn't want- I wouldn't want the truth about that. <v narrator>It's been three weeks since Patrick arrived. <v narrator>He continues to be troublesome for the staff. <v narrator>They think he expects to be waited on too much and doesn't want to do anything for <v narrator>himself. <v narrator>They're also afraid that his smoking in bed could lead to a fire. <v narrator>They have now decided that Patrick's medication should be reduced to make him more alert. <v Rich Kushner>I know the guy is dying. But it doesn't give him a license to be disruptive <v Rich Kushner>and destructive. And, you know, and anti-social and everything. <v Rich Kushner>I mean, he's still in a home-like environment where there are other residents and he <v Rich Kushner>has to respect that. That's how I feel. <v Rich Kushner>And he's not going to get away with all these things just because he's dying.
<v Bernie Costonola>Number one, why the hell doesn't he come down to meals? <v Daryl Woods>Because they cater to him upstairs. They don't make him come downstairs. <v Bernie Costonola>Mean, we'll see if he can. <v Rich Kushner>He's gotten a free ride here. <v Rich Kushner>Yeah. <v Bernie Costonola>He's been social interaction in terms of helping him to cope. <v Bernie Costonola>Because what happens here is the residents really become the support system and they help <v Bernie Costonola>each other to cope. If he could get into that. <v Bernie Costonola>I mean, we I don't believe anything is more effectively what they're doing for <v Bernie Costonola>themselves. So that would perhaps be what we could do to replace all the <v Bernie Costonola>drugs, is to get him into more of a social milieu with some of the residents and some of <v Bernie Costonola>the, you know, just basic stuff. <v Vick Pimento Habib>My suggestion is to explain this to him. <v Vick Pimento Habib>Hospice is the residents having a say in their care. <v Vick Pimento Habib>And I wouldn't just walk if I was a CNA. <v Vick Pimento Habib>I wouldn't just walk by and say lunch is downstairs or dinner's downstairs. <v Vick Pimento Habib>I would sit down and say, what we want is really for you to come downstairs. <v Vick Pimento Habib>And we want that because such and such, you didn't get anywhere? <v Kathleen Donehy>I sat in there with him and you know, conscionable with in a nice diplomatic
<v Kathleen Donehy>firmament as I felt way and he said, just don't have the energy to come downstairs. <v Kathleen Donehy>I don't have the energy to do it. <v Speaker>He has the energy. <v Rich Kushner>I've seen him run down the stairs. <v Rich Kushner>So it's total bunk. And you can you can give that back to him and say, <v Rich Kushner>well, that's not consistent. <v Rich Kushner>You're not telling the truth. You're not being honest. <v Rich Kushner>You're not being real. <v Bernie Costonola>That's hard to do. <v Rich Kushner>Sure it's hard to do. <v Kathleen Donehy>It's because he looks at you with these mournful eyes and I go, alright. <v Bernie Costonola>It's called manipulation. <v Kathleen Donehy>I know. <v Rich Kushner>How are you? I want to talk to you. <v Rich Kushner>Yeah, I hear you have some plans. <v narrator>Robert Childs is still pressing the hospice about his desire to get back to work. <v narrator>And today, Mitch is trying to assess whether this is realistic. <v Rich Kushner>What's your understanding of your condition now and and <v Rich Kushner>the future? The possibilities for the future? <v Robert Childs>Oh, OK. My understanding of my condition now is that it's real good,
<v Robert Childs>especially in comparison. <v Rich Kushner>In comparison. But do you think in other words, are you saying that you don't feel like <v Rich Kushner>you have the infection anymore? <v Robert Childs>Oh, no, no, nothing like that. <v Robert Childs>It's just I'm not ambulant anymore. <v Rich Kushner>OK. Your connection is definitely improved. <v Robert Childs>Yeah. It's improved. <v Rich Kushner>To add, without any real medications or anything. <v Robert Childs>Right. Exactly. [Rich Kushner: OK.] Not that, you know, by no means <v Robert Childs>that the primary cause is gone. <v Robert Childs>And I have no illusions of that. [Rich Kushner: OK.] You know, I have HIV. <v Robert Childs>I have ark. and I have a limited time. <v Robert Childs>It's just that I. <v Robert Childs>It's not as limited as it's looked like it was going to be. <v Robert Childs>[Rich Kushner: Possibly.] Yeah. <v Robert Childs>You know, I thought actually, what, a month ago <v Robert Childs>I thought I was dead now. <v Robert Childs>And since I've been here, since I could walk and <v Robert Childs>I have some independence.
<v Robert Childs>This is this assessment has completely changed. <v Robert Childs>And... <v Rich Kushner>You know, maybe you do have, as you say, a lot more time than you thought and a lot <v Rich Kushner>more time than a lot of the physicians thought. <v Rich Kushner>I mean, you certainly continue to prove it. <v Rich Kushner>The other extent I want you to be prepared with this. <v Robert Childs>Turn around and fall right over. <v Rich Kushner>Well, there are a lot of falls and then recoveries. <v Rich Kushner>And this is this is often very much the course of this illness. <v Rich Kushner>And one thing you came in with there, they did diagnose some problems with your vision, <v Rich Kushner>with your eyesight. Have you noticed have you had any [Robert Childs: Oh yea] changes in <v Rich Kushner>that since you've been here? <v narrator>When Robert first came to the hospital, he was so ill that an AIDS related eye infection <v narrator>called CMB retinitis seemed relatively unimportant. <v narrator>Now, it may be significant. <v Rich Kushner>But if the retinitis have progressed, well, it's it's again, like the disease itself. <v Rich Kushner>It can be yes. It can go to blindness and it can go very quickly in a matter
<v Rich Kushner>of days. Or it could just be a very slowly progressive thing for months, a year. <v Rich Kushner>You know, it can be that kind of thing. <v Robert Childs>Unfortunately, the eye thing would sort of screw up all the other things. <v Rich Kushner>Yes. Yeah. <v Rich Kushner>There's always something. <v Robert Childs>There's always something. <v Robert Childs>Yeah. I might be able to walk around and look at the artifacts, but if I can't see them, <v Robert Childs>that sort of kills it. <v narrator> There is an experimental drug for treating CMB retinitis and Robert <v narrator>may qualify for it. He and Mitch decide that he should see an eye doctor for further <v narrator>tests. <v Rich Kushner>Good. All right. See you later Robert. <v Rich Kushner>OK. <v Robert Childs>Oh, wonderful, blindness. <v Rich Kushner>He might temporarily be one that goes out the front door. <v Bernie Costonola>But you've, how about dementia to you feel any dementia is going on? <v Rich Kushner>Right now I think he's pretty clear and pretty understanding of what's going on.
<v Bernie Costonola>What I find sometimes is his emotions <v Bernie Costonola>are inappropriate to the topic that he dealing with. <v Bernie Costonola>He'll be talking about, of course, I'm dying and laugh. <v Bernie Costonola>Well, I'm not sure if it's a way of coping mechanism. <v Bernie Costonola>It's the affect being affected by that by the dementia. <v Rich Kushner>My impression is that it's his personality. <v Rich Kushner>Some people will sort of giggle and chuckle when they're really fearful. <v Rich Kushner>I get that impression from him because even though he meant something about blindness, <v Rich Kushner>he he chuckled. But you knew very well. <v Rich Kushner>He's very fearful of that and aware of that possibility. <v Rich Kushner>I've made him aware of that. And I think he's kind of very conscious of that. <v Rich Kushner>So that's not really where his dementia comes through. <v Rich Kushner>I think the dementia comes through more with his forgetfulness, his attention <v Rich Kushner>span. We think it's a milder dementia then what you're suggesting. <v Rich Kushner>Yeah.
<v narrator>Although Los Angeles is second only to New York and the number of its AIDS cases <v narrator>during these early weeks of operation, Brownlie has yet to fill all its beds. <v narrator>The staff has found that many doctors are reluctant to tell their patients that they have <v narrator>only a little time left to live. <v Rich Kushner>I had a private patient that I thought was appropriate for the hospice <v Rich Kushner>and it was very difficult for me to talk to him about that because <v Rich Kushner>he was really wanting to fight and continue to fight. <v Rich Kushner>Although I felt that it really he reached a point where it was really useless <v Rich Kushner>for him. <v Rich Kushner>First, let me have you sit up yeah, and I want to take a good listen <v Rich Kushner>and see what you sound like. <v Rich Kushner>It's very difficult to sit down with someone, a young man, and tell them <v Rich Kushner>that there's nothing more that can be done and that they'll probably be <v Rich Kushner>dead. <v Rich Kushner>Real deep. <v narrator> In spite of having heard the worst about his condition, Quintae is cheerful
<v narrator>and optimistic about pulling his life back together. <v Quintae Brown>They said that within two to five years. <v Quintae Brown>You're supposed to show some signs and I have been no different <v Quintae Brown>in everything that I've felt before I even, you know, got the disease, <v Quintae Brown>which I got it by doing intravenous drugs. <v Quintae Brown>I want to be like I was before I started doing drugs and stuff. <v Quintae Brown>All I wanted to meet is a soda and the and death, you know. <v Quintae Brown>And I was happy I'm just sip on that soda all night. <v Quintae Brown>You know, go back to the dance floor. <v narrator>Here Quintae has new friends and a home away from the street. <v Kathleen Donehy>That's why you're always on the go. <v Kathleen Donehy>In an acute facility here, it's a much slower pace and <v Kathleen Donehy>you can sit down and be that bit more relaxed. <v Kathleen Donehy>And unless you really force yourself, you're gonna become attached to
<v Kathleen Donehy>a certain amount of residents, even though they have AIDS. <v Kathleen Donehy>And I'm aware of it. I don't come in every morning thinking I'm gonna <v Kathleen Donehy>look after a bunch of AIDS people today. <v Kathleen Donehy>It just doesn't cross my mind that way. <v Kathleen Donehy>Like, for instance, Terry Muncey, you know, Quintae as well, <v Kathleen Donehy>I come in and I see them as kind of all paths, really, and try and help them out. <v Kathleen Donehy>But I don't look at them and say he's got AIDS until I'm sitting down <v Kathleen Donehy>with them and they suddenly want to talk about it. <v Kathleen Donehy>And want to talk about their condition, what they did in their life. <v Kathleen Donehy>And then it kind of burns me up inside. <v Kathleen Donehy>It's awful disease. <v narrator>Jeff Hutchinson is one of Brownlie's nursing assistants. <v Jeff Hutchinson>A lot of the patients get real close to the ones who come in <v Jeff Hutchinson>and stay awhile. <v Jeff Hutchinson>Some are more like my children and the others are like my my brothers <v Jeff Hutchinson>are my fathers, even. Of course it breaks your heart when they die.
<v Jeff Hutchinson>When you think of them as your family, which they are, they feel like my <v Jeff Hutchinson>family. <v Fred Zeeman>I think he refused to shoot earlier, didn't he? <v Fred Zeeman>They've been very, very caring. <v Fred Zeeman>I don't see how they do the job. <v Fred Zeeman>To be honest with you. To me, it's the most depressing place there is <v Fred Zeeman>in the world. When you see them roll them in, roll them out. <v Fred Zeeman>I mean, I've seen come sad cases come in. <v Fred Zeeman>I just can't accept that. <v Fred Zeeman>I just can't. <v Fred Zeeman>Maybe one of these days I will, but right now I can't. <v narrator>Fred Zeeman is constantly by Al's side. <v narrator>But in spite of his encouragement, Al grows weaker and weaker. <v Fred Zeeman>He told me last week, you'll be glad when it's all over. <v Fred Zeeman>So he stopped fighting now, it's like part <v Fred Zeeman>of me going. <v Fred Zeeman>I tried to do whatever I can to help him.
<v Fred Zeeman>But what's- what? There's nothing I can do except be there for him. <v Fred Zeeman>You know, try to console him, and sometimes I do little <v Fred Zeeman>things that the nursing staff doesn't have time to do it. <v Fred Zeeman>You know, like brushing his teeth. <v Fred Zeeman>Now he's reached a point where the virus has entered the brain. <v Fred Zeeman>Sometimes, he'll know me, sometimes he won't. <v Fred Zeeman>His energy level had it gone down so far that he can't hold a pencil or a pen. <v Fred Zeeman>He can't. He has to be fed. <v Fred Zeeman>And of course, he eats very little because he's not hungry. <v Fred Zeeman>Too much. <v Fred Zeeman>This is the last one. I always try to say there's a ray of hope somewhere. <v Fred Zeeman>Things might make a turn for the best. <v Fred Zeeman>It doesn't work that way, but not in certain diseases. <v Fred Zeeman>Anyway, that are terminal. <v Bernie Costonola>I have great concern for Fred. <v Bernie Costonola>And here's my concern. <v Bernie Costonola>Al has been his life and actually was happening. <v Bernie Costonola>He is dying himself along with Al, and
<v Bernie Costonola>he is being very self-destructive. <v Bernie Costonola>Yesterday, he ate five different sweets between 8 9 in the morning. <v Bernie Costonola>We're talking a bit of diabetic insulin. <v narrator>Staff members have invited Fred to counseling sessions, but he has turned them all <v narrator>down. <v Kathleen Donehy>He really gets to me from the family side and the mental anguish, it's <v Kathleen Donehy>too much. <v narrator>Three days later, Al's ordeal ended. <v Daryl Woods>Al died real, real peaceful last night. [staff member: did he?] Yeah, they got real <v Daryl Woods>concerned about Fred. <v Daryl Woods>You know, when we went through the rituals of a <v Daryl Woods>compulsive list for inspiration, heartbeat, did a BP on him. <v Daryl Woods>And I told him, he's dead, and he started crying and I said, are you gonna be okay? <v Daryl Woods>And he says, No, I'm not. And then I said, Do you want to spend some time alone with him? <v Daryl Woods>He said, Yeah. I said, well, when you get through just let us know.
<v Daryl Woods>And he took off, I mean, haven't heard nothing from him since. <v Speaker>I wanted to be here and I was hurt that I was not. <v Speaker>And he didn't wait for me to be here and um, <v Speaker>I'm able to say goodbye this way. <v Speaker>Cleaning his room and feeling where he's been. <v Speaker>Feels calm in here and feels like <v Speaker>he didn't suffer. He had no pain. <v Speaker>So I think we've done our job. <v Speaker>Now I can clean this room and say goodbye. <v Speaker>Since I didn't get a chance to tell him goodbye in person. <v narrator>Today's celebration is for Al Dodd and three other Brownlie residents who have died over <v narrator>the past 10 days. <v narrator>The staff hoped that Fred would join them today, but he has stayed away.
<v narrator>Al had been at the hospice for two months, longer than any other resident. <v Chris Brownlie>I thought he was very gentle and my last memory of him, actually the last <v Chris Brownlie>two memories of him were with him and Fred two weeks before he died, <v Chris Brownlie>and then the week before he died, he told twice, he told Fred to close the door <v Chris Brownlie>in his room and he literally pulled his ear, Fred's ear over and just <v Chris Brownlie>whispered in Fred's ear that he loved him and he thanked him. <v Chris Brownlie>I thought, you know, this big guy to do that was such a <v Chris Brownlie>incredi-. That's the memory that I will keep of him and big <v Chris Brownlie>Al. <v Speaker>Yeah. Al was real good. And a ?inaudible?. <v Speaker>And I really appreciate your friendship because it grew while <v Speaker>I was here. <v Speaker>It's so good. A good man.
<v narrator>Celebrations only briefly interrupt the staff's work with the living residents. <v narrator>Daily life quickly resumes. <v narrator>After last week's staff meeting, Patrick was persuaded to leave his room at mealtimes. <v narrator>But his indiscriminate smoking continues to be a problem. <v Speaker>I feel that a lot of it is probably an attention-seeking behavior, the manipulation. <v Speaker>Definitely attention-seeking. <v narrator>Patrick keeps his staff off balance. <v narrator>He has just asked to be moved downstairs so that his meals will again be brought to his <v narrator>room. <v narrator>No one is sure whether or not it is best to comply with his many demands. <v Daryl Woods>And so that's where he is. You know, he's he's loving that because there's confusion not <v Daryl Woods>with himself, but with staff members. <v Daryl Woods>And and in these meetings, they discuss it. <v Daryl Woods>We're going to do. But nobody follows through. <v Kathleen Donehy>It was followed through, Daryl, last week and it was actually working. <v Kathleen Donehy>But it's what I'm saying is, is that the way it should be done or should <v Kathleen Donehy>we not give him the benefit of the doubt?
<v Daryl Woods>But, you know, to live his life, to invest his abilities, <v Daryl Woods>some of it is gonna hurt. <v Kathleen Donehy>Yea but who are we gon- who are we to decide, you know, I mean, he can't. <v Speaker>Didn't want to go downstairs. Don't follow us. <v Kathleen Donehy>I'd like to make him happy. Basically is what I want to do, and comfortable <v Kathleen Donehy>and yet to save this place from being burnt down. <v narrator>In the end, Patrick got his way. <v narrator>The staff agreed to move him downstairs. <v Patrick Everhart>When I first came in here, I thought that a fish that's worth <v Patrick Everhart>three to six months. <v Patrick Everhart>And that's the way I feel now. <v Patrick Everhart>I just sort of go with it. I don't want to leave. <v Patrick Everhart>I'm having a problem eating. <v Patrick Everhart>I can't eat food. <v Patrick Everhart>And I'm sitting here trying <v Patrick Everhart>away. <v Patrick Everhart>I'm sure dying can be better, better than life.
<v narrator>Death seems to have forgotten Terry. <v narrator>Almost every weekend he goes to visit his family and this weekend he'll be staying with a <v narrator>friend in Palm Springs. <v narrator>It'll be his most ambitious venture since he came to Brownlie two months ago. <v Terry Muncey>I won a couple really big battles here, <v Terry Muncey>you know, being able to walk with your goals are <v Terry Muncey>they seem to be smaller now and just from one <v Terry Muncey>day to the next instead of long term goals, because <v Terry Muncey>you don't know what it's going to happen. <v Terry Muncey>I was looking forward to death. <v Terry Muncey>And now that I've had a taste of life again, <v Terry Muncey>you want to look forward to it, but you still <v Terry Muncey>know that you're gonna have another episode down the line. <v Robert Childs>It was you the other day who asked me why you want to come back to work.
<v Robert Childs>I thought about it. It's true. <v Robert Childs>But I, I'm in love <v Robert Childs>with that place. <v staff member>Sounds like you're very passionate about it. <v Kathleen Donehy>Yeah. <v Robert Childs>Yeah. I mean, I really want to be a part of it. <v narrator>Robert's eyes have been examined by a specialist and found not to be an immediate danger. <v narrator>Now, it has been agreed that he will return to work while living for a while longer, at <v narrator>least at the hospice. <v Bernie Costonola>You won and we failed. <v Robert Childs>A spot out there in the world. <v Robert Childs>I'm going to get to it. <v Bernie Costonola>I think what we see in Robert is an extremely strong will to live <v Bernie Costonola>and survive. Many of the people who come here have had that same sense <v Bernie Costonola>but have grown tired of fighting and surviving is not <v Bernie Costonola>the quality of life isn't there for them. <v narrator>Robert knows that he is certain to die of AIDS, but he has no interest in preparing
<v narrator>himself for his death. <v Robert Childs>I've never been ready to die. I've never been ready to hurt- hurt. <v Robert Childs>And if I'm not ready to. <v Robert Childs>What bloody my thumb. <v Robert Childs>And I'm certainly not ready to bloody bloody my thumb. <v Robert Childs>Then why should I have to be ready <v Robert Childs>to die of AIDS in order to die of AIDS? <v narrator>Like Robert, Quintae thinks about his old haunts. <v narrator>Last weekend, a volunteer from the hospice took him on an afternoon outing. <v narrator>Quintae, had his choice of where to go, and he decided to return to the streets of <v narrator>downtown to see how everybody was. <v Quintae Brown>I spoke to who I wanted to speak to. <v Quintae Brown>And then they asked me, when am I coming down here? <v Quintae Brown>And I said, Oh, I'll be back. <v Quintae Brown>But unfortunately, I don't want to go back for a long time because they not <v Quintae Brown>helping theirselves. The same thing they were doing when I left.
<v Quintae Brown>Sleeping on the street, you know, and smoking cocaine and <v Quintae Brown>that's no good at all. <v Quintae Brown>And where I am, I finally got peace of mind. <v Quintae Brown>And I'm here. And everything and I'm enjoying myself while they destroy <v Quintae Brown>theirs, you know, so I wouldn't trade <v Quintae Brown>it and everything to go back down in that madness. <v Quintae Brown>You know, I like it here. Everybody's nice. <v narrator>Brownlie Hospice is only one small battlefield in the worldwide struggle with AIDS. <v narrator>Here, the virus has claimed 12 more lives in the past month. <v narrator>In the eyes of its founders, the hospice is succeeding in its work. <v narrator>But the relentless rhythm of deaths makes some people see the hospice as a symbol of <v narrator>surrender to AIDS. <v narrator>Chris Brownlie has felt that reaction. <v Chris Brownlie>Well, I had friends who have written me nasty letters. <v Chris Brownlie>I mean, almost hate mail because I was participating in the building
<v Chris Brownlie>of a place which would remind people of their death and of the inevitability thereof. <v Chris Brownlie>To me our emphasis is not on the dying. <v Chris Brownlie>It's on the living of the last days. <v Chris Brownlie>I am sure, morally sure that what we're doing <v Chris Brownlie>is is the right thing, that people are dying from this disease. <v Chris Brownlie>They've been dying in hallways, at hospitals or on the street that we've created <v Chris Brownlie>a place where where they will die as comfortably as they possibly <v Chris Brownlie>can. Surrounded by those who love them, who will be a part of that process, who will be a <v Chris Brownlie>part of that experience. <v Chris Brownlie>You know, it's the best we can do. <v Kathleen Donehy>I always said you can never really get used to somebody dying. <v Kathleen Donehy>But I thought I could cope better.
Living the Last Days
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KCET (Television station : Los Angeles, Calif.)
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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"Living the Last Days chronicles a month in the lives of five residents of a Los Angeles AIDS hospice. The five -- none older than 46 -- are people of widely different backgrounds, from a street dweller at one extreme to a university curator at the other. None has more than a few months to live. "Their reactions to impending death are diverse. One is irritable and demanding; another persuades himself that he is in better condition than his doctors think, and can put off the final moment; one finds new richness and love in his unexpectedly prolonged life; another is tired of fighting, and awaits death with impatience. "Living the Last Days also offers insight into the lives and feeling of hospice staff members, each of whom must find his or her own way of coping with the deaths of residents without withdrawing or becoming hardened. "Living the Last Days deserves consideration for a Peabody award for two reasons: First: it provides the viewer with a vivid portrait of a relatively little-known alternative to hospitalization, and enhances the public's understanding of the possibilities of preserving the quality of life even at the threshold of death. Second, it gives the grim statistics of the AIDS epidemic a human face. If the general public is still largely untouched by AIDS, feeling it to be the nemesis of certain stigmatized groups, Living the Last Days brings home the fact that people with AIDS are as worthwhile and deserving of empathy as any others."--1989 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Producing Organization: KCET (Television station : Los Angeles, Calif.)
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Chicago: “Living the Last Days,” 1989, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “Living the Last Days.” 1989. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Living the Last Days. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from