Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Best Program on Television

Gabriel Byrne from HBO's "In Treatment"
If you haven't tuned into HBO's In Treatment yet, you are missing the best program ever on television.  The new season started last night.

Don't expect action-packed adventure, violence, or sex. Do expect fascinating insight into the world of a Dr. Paul Weston, a  psychologist, played by the brilliant, Irish actor, Gabriel Byrne (r).  Now just starting its 3rd season,  "In Treatment"  consists of a series on 30-minute, back-to-back episodes, twice a week for seven weeks, that examine the relationship between the complex and troubled Dr. Weston and his clients through the duration of their treatment.

Like Al Pacino, Gabriel Byrne  acts brilliantly just sitting in a chair and having a conversation with someone.  With a range of facial expressions and  perfect timing,  Byrne mesmerizes us  as he struggles with provocative patients and challenging personal problems of his own.

And this season, in the first episode, It appears Dr. Weston might be battling Parkinson's Disease, which killed his father last season. Haunted by the relationship with his father, Paul Weston, in the 1st episode this season, tries to pick up the handset of his office phone, but his hands have started shaking. For an agonizing few seconds, he loses his grip on the phone, drops it, juggles it, then finally regains control and makes his call.

As the season unfolds, we will learn if he indeed has Parkinson's, and much that factors in to one-on-one patient-doctor relationships and how he will manage his disease.  Whatever happens with this character or his patients,  the program is a must watch. And I have to add the personal observation, that it is so very refreshing to watch the critically acclaimed  60-year-old Byrne and find a heart throb with [possible] PD for mature audiences.

But there's that one line from last season--recaped at the beginning of this season--that will always drop kick us into reality: "He [the father] DIED of Parkinson's Disease."  The question of dying FROM Parkinson's VS  dying WITH PD came up at our  Symposium last week. Someone else in the audience sent our panel of doctors a question about seeing in the obituaries [oh no, has it come to that? Are we reading obits now?]  that people are listed as having died from Parkinson's.  Unfortunately, our panel couldn't answer that question to everybody's satisfaction, but they did say there are so many new approaches to managing PD that there's hope and tomorrow is another day.

Let us promise each other to do more that just live until the next day.  We don't know what's ahead, but we do know exercise and humor  relieve stress, keep our complete bodies in motion, and possibly make those meds more effective.

I want to close with  the beautiful words of the beautiful Hebrew prayer, Mi Sheberach, for the healing of our bodies, our souls, and our minds:

May the One who blessed our ancestors --

Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah --

bless and heal the one who is ill:

________________ son/daughter of ________________ .

May the Holy Blessed One

overflow with compassion upon him/her,

to restore him/her,

to heal him/her,

to strengthen him/her,

to enliven him/her.

The One will send him/her, speedily,

a complete healing --

healing of the soul and healing of the body --

along with all the ill,

among the people of Israel and all humankind,



without delay,

and let us all say:  Amen!

The prayer in Hebrew transliteration
Mi Sheberakh

Avoteinu: Avraham, Yitzhak, v'Yaakov,

v'Imoteinu: Sarah, Rivka, Rachel v'Leah,

Hu yivarekh virapei

et haholeh/haholah _____________ ben/bat ______________

HaKadosh Barukh Hu

yimalei rahamim alav/aleha,





V'yishlah lo/lah bim-hera

r'fuah shlemah,

r'fu-at hanefesh u-r'fu-at hagoof,

b'tokh sh'ar holei Yisrael v’holei yoshvei tevel,

hashta ba'agalah u-vizman kariv,

v'no-mar, Amen!

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