This one-hour documentary was shot in the Marlonges palliative care unit in Chambon (Charente-Maritime). It shows with modesty the life of those “that we cannot cure, but that we can always treat”, assures Denis, doctor. Because there are a thousand and one ways to heal. In addition to drugs, it is a voice that soothes, a hand that massages, caresses or combs. It is Denis who sings for Bernard La Non-Demande en mariage by Brassens, accompanying himself on the guitar. “It allows you to establish a slightly different contact, and the music has a calming effect,” he explains. “You leave me speechless,” laughs Bernard. He forgot his pain.
Bernard has just been operated on for a fractured femoral neck and has lost his autonomy. He is there because he suffers from an incurable cancer. His wife explains to the medical team that he requires continuous sedation until death. He is afraid of being a burden on her. The doctor reminds him that his case does not fall within the scope of the law. Everything will be done on the other hand so that he can walk again. Caring also means explaining, reassuring, putting aid in place for returning home, helping to write advance directives…
Appease the elements of suffering, one after the other
Monica wonders about her morphine doses, which have increased. She knows that these more violent pains mean the progression of her disease. She tells the doctor her fear of death, and cries. Michel, he, a philosopher: “I know that this cancer is going to kill me. We’ll all be killed by something. Later, however, he will admit: “I had lied to myself. We are all afraid of death. »
“When we manage to appease the elements of suffering one after the other, the physical, the psychological, the socio-familial by putting aid in place, the request for euthanasia ends up withering away and disappearing”, assures Julien, doctor. Bernard, questioned by Denis, recognizes that his initial request “is no longer on the agenda”. And returns home after four months. Thanks to the rehabilitation sessions, he regained a certain autonomy.
This magnificent and rare documentary shows that a palliative care unit is first and foremost a living space. Softness of gestures, calm voices, correctness of relationships, emotions assumed without pathos or sentimentality, quality of images… The serenity that emerges is surprising. “We don’t just treat or support. In fact, these are meetings, exchanges, ”explains Yolène, nurse. “Here, I feel loved by the nursing staff,” confides Michel.