Caregiver: A Love Story 2020
Distributed by Good Docs
Produced by Jessica Zitter, MD and Kevin Gordon
Directed by Jessica Zitter, MD and Kevin Gordon
Streaming, 24 mins
College - General Adult
Caregiving/Caregiver; Hospice; Psychology
Date Entered: 10/08/2021Reviewed by Danica R.
Caregiver: A Love Story follows a caregiver named Rick Tash and his sick wife Bambi. Bambi has had terminal cancer for four years and after countless treatments, she decided to stop her treatments and live her last days in Oakland, California. Although Rick supported Bambi’s decision, he did not expect the caregiver burdens he needed to overcome for nine weeks and beyond.
The main strength of this documentary is describing the rewards and challenges of caring for a loved one in a hospice. The documentary captures a lively beginning with Bambi’s family singing and expressing the couple’s adoration towards each other with what little time they have left. Bambi shared her optimism about making the difficult decision to stop her treatment. She wanted to have a less painful, yet more meaningful life rather than prolonging her death with the treatments.
The documentary transitions to Bambi’s hospice care for the first two weeks. It features Bambi's friend, Jessica, who is an end-of-life care doctor who has been providing proper medication and monitoring Bambi’s lifestyle and diet. However, during her decline, Bambi has shown symptoms from shortness of breath, exhaustion, and communication issues with Rick. After six weeks, the mood of the documentary shifts with the couple’s struggles becoming more evident with less support from friends and family and institutions. Rick, with little caregiving experience, went through emotional turmoil as he watched the decline of Bambi’s death. He was overwhelmed with duties he did not sign up for and tried to balance other commitments. There are times when he does not know what to do, or who to turn to, with limited professional help and resources to take care of not only her, but himself as his own health deteriorates. Then, with a powerful and bittersweet end, Bambi dies in her sleep and the documentary proceeds to show Rick’s two years after Bambi’s death as he attempts to move forward without her.
Rick Tash’s story is one among many intimate and heart wrenching caregiver stories. This documentary is a call for action to acknowledge an invisible public health crisis. It sheds light on American caregivers who are struggling physically, emotionally, and financially with rare access to professional help and resources. Various institutions have assisted in Bambi and Rick’s lives, yet there have been even more missed opportunities to make Rick’s life easier to care for Bambi. There is a need for change in the workplace, healthcare system, friends and familial relationships, and in government and community.
This is a documentary for university students who are pursuing the health/medical profession and/or interested in exploring caring in a hospice environment. Academic librarians will find this documentary helpful in support of their library collections.
Awards:Best Documentary Short 2020, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival; Competition Winner 2020, National American College of Physicians Abstract Competition
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