Really getting things in perspective. I have been stressed out about getting things organized for this movie, and letting the smallest things bother me. Then I go to work and see such courageous people trying to deal with inoperable brain cancer, making decisions to have an entire arm removed so that they can live maybe a month longer, and families praying for miracles. It sure puts my worries into perspective. We so desperately need to improve our care for the terminally ill and dying. They have hours sometimes days when they are aware and need to feel valued and special. This movie is so important to get the stories out about how important it is to make what time we all have special, and for those providing the care, they need to know the importance of pacing themselves, and how to refocus to celebrate the small victories. I hope this film will help a lot of people on a lot of different levels.
I will be doing more lecturing on improving care of the dying and sharing a tool I developed that addresses the most common symptom management needs of the dying. Through an extensive literature review, I found they were Comfort, Airway management, Restlessness and delirium, Emotional and spiritual support, and Self-care. Take the first letter from this list and you have the acronym CARES. My tool has been well accepted and is in the process of being translated into Portuguese, Finnish, Spanish, and Chinese. It seems no matter what culture, sex, or age; our bodies shut down in a similar fashion. When you consider that 60% of the population die in a hospital setting, it doesn't make sense that we are not teaching care of the dying in our nursing and medical programs, yet alone to the community. I really think a huge barrier is our fear of death and being around the dying. Resilient Hearts was written to show that we are missing out on an amazing opportunity to make a difference for others and to grow as human beings. There is nothing high tech about caring for the dying. It is all about compassion, listening, and hopefully some playfulness. Our ability to laugh is what makes us human, it requires the ability to feel and react, So much of that is taken away as we are forced to become something less than human as we die. I want to help to change that.