Ed, one of the main characters in Dangerous Medicine, is a thinly disguised, taller version of me. He has spent his career building bridges between the separate silos of medical, emotional and spiritual care. Part of the story recounts the successes and stumbles that shaped Ed’s work with teens, adults, grandparents and caregivers.
Towards the end, he begins capturing what he has learned in a series of Action Guides, designed to stimulate discussion and the use of community resources by teens, parents and grandparents. Free downloads of these action guides are available below; at Living Well (a website sponsored by the Upper New York Methodist Church) and through the National Forum on Spirituality and Aging (NAFOSA), whose website is currently under construction.
The (mostly true) stories that shaped the development of these Action Guides can be found in these chapters:
- Finding the Holy Land (chapter 7) details a trip that Ed took to the Israel in 1972 to deal with his Catholic guilt. The lesson he learned in an unexpected setting planted the seed for the the Finding More Love Action Guide, highlighting the value of the Greatest Commandment and the Golden Rule, as
taught by all major faiths
- The Boulevard of Broken Dreams (chapter 10) , focusing on a murder investigation at storefront counseling center; and The Fifth Floor (chapter 23), describing what Ed learned as Coordinator of Adolescent Services in Child Psychiatry at Buffalo Children’s Hospital, contributed to five Action Guides: Success with Stress; Meditation and Prayer; and Healing, Hope and Hospitals; Eliminate Abuse ; Stop Bullying and Sensitivity and Satisfaction
- Six Seconds of Silence (chapter 32) describes how Ed failed as his mother’s caregiver, despite being recognized as a national expert in each of the three illnesses she had. This experience shaped the development of: Forgiving Yourself, Others and God; Aging, Sage-ing and Spirituality; End of Life, the Law and New Beginnings; Caring for the Caregiver
- The Retreat Center (chapter 35) describes a three year sabbatical Ed took as director of a Franciscan retreat center to create a consortium that would build better bridges between spiritual, emotional and medical care. It inspired the Prayer and Meditation Action guide
- A detailed summary of the county-wide program, that began at the retreat center and was later recognized by AARP’s Social Impact Award, is detailed in Spirituality and Eldercare – a chapter in “Spiritual Dimensions of Nursing” edited by Harold Koenig and Verna Carson and published by Tempelton Press
To get started, read one of the Action Guides, discuss it with your loved ones, and explore the resources you’ll find listed in each Guide.