Hospital Time is a memoir about friendship, family, and caregiving in the age of AIDS. Amy Hoffman, a writer, lesbian activist, and former editor of Gay Community News, chronicles with fury and unflinching honesty her experience serving as primary caretaker for her friend and colleague, Mike Riegle, who died from AIDS-related complications in 1992. Hoffman neither idealizes nor deifies Riegle, whom she portrays as a brilliant man, devoted prison rights activist, and very difficult friend.
Hoffman became central to Riegle’s caregiving when he asked her to be his health-care proxy, and although she willingly chose to do this, she explores her conflicting feelings about herself in this role and about her involvement with Riegle and his grueling struggle with hospitalization, illness, and, finally, death. She tells of the waves of grief that echoed throughout her life, awakening memories of other losses, entering her dreams and fantasies, and altering her relationships with friends, family, and even total strangers.
Hoffman’s memoir gives voice to the psychological and emotional havoc AIDS creates for those in the difficult role of caring for the terminally ill and it gives recognition to the role that lesbians continue to play in the AIDS emergency. A foreword by Urvashi Vaid, former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, offers a meditation on the politics of AIDS and the role of family in the lives of lesbians and gay men.