The AIDS Activist Project

The Making of an AIDS activist in 5 Parts – Part 2

(photo: Randy in hospital)

I began calling the AIDS hotline and any other place to get more info. I was told that just because he was HIV+, it didn’t necessarily mean he had AIDS. But as the days went by I could now see how sick he was, it was getting worse.
On the day we were supposed to leave for Seattle to visit his family, he was very sick. There was no way we could travel. I called his doctor, he told me to come in right away.It was a rainy day, the doctor’s office was on 6th Avenue and had large windows that looked out onto 6th Ave. When we arrived, the doctor told Randy to wait in the reception area and asked me to follow him to his office. He shut the door and asked me how much I knew, I told him I knew Randy was HIV+. He said, “No, Randy has AIDS, If he doesn’t get into a hospital today, he could get pneumonia and be dead in 3 days.”I hit the floor. I lost it. I didn’t expect this. I was terrified.

The doctor said, “Pull yourself together, Randy doesn’t need to see you like this”. I got myself together and in that instant, became Randy’s caretaker. The doctor said to go home, he would call us in a few hours.

We got home, Randy had to call his family to tell them we weren’t coming.
I will never forget, I can still hear him on the phone saying, “Dad, I have AIDS”.

The doctor called back later that afternoon and said go to the emergency room at St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital, on Amsterdam Avenue and 114th Street. He said since it was raining, it wouldn’t be crowded.

We lived on East 14th Street, so we took a cab up to St. Lukes. It’s on the upper west side of Manhattan 114th Street and Morningside Drive. I asked the cab driver to take the long way through Central Park, not knowing it would be the last time we would see Central Park together. It all seemed like a 1950’s movie. A rainy day, NYC in black and white.

We arrived and sat in the waiting area, Randy gave them his info and we sat back down to wait. When they called his name, we got up and I waited with him for someone to come and get him. When the nurse came to meet us, I asked if I should wait.

She said. “No, he won’t be coming out again”.

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