Picks and Pans Review: The Broadcast Tapes of Dr. Peter
updated 07/05/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 07/05/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT
This video diary by Peter Jepson-Young, a Vancouver physician aired in segments on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's evening news from July 1990, when doctors told him he had AIDS, through November 1992, when he died at age 33. By that time, Jepson-Young was blind (a virus destroyed his retinas), disfigured by Kaposi's sarcoma (a cancer that penetrated to his lungs) and exhausted by chemotherapy and radiation.
When the Tapes segments, most of them only a few minutes long, are seen stitched together into a single to-minute narrative, Jepson-Young's deterioration becomes especially jolting. But his spirit remains unwavering. He is tenacious about getting on with the business of life (he continued to ski even after he went blind, using a voice guide, and met a new boyfriend) and matter-of-fact about explaining the latest stages of illness and treatment. He also touches, with the same directness, on how he felt growing up gay. One deeply moving moment: Jepson-Young and his parents visit the wooded cemetery that will be his grave.
These videos put AIDS into perspective as a day-to-day struggle. They seem to be the legacy Jepson-Young wanted to leave.