Frances: Week 1

Preparing to place flowers in a vase, Paul notices his hand shaking. He goes to the door and is surprised by his new patient Frances, early for her appointment. A beautiful, middle-aged woman, Frances is a well-known actress just past her prime. She has a daughter, Izzy, who has moved in full-time with Frances's ex-husband, Russell.  Years ago, Paul had treated her sister, Patricia, and now Frances is seeking his help. Frances has been having trouble remembering her lines in rehearsals for a Broadway play. She bristles at Paul's suggestion that her issues might stem from growing older and reveals that Tricia has late-stage breast cancer, the same disease that killed their mother years earlier. Tricia wants her sister to get tested for the BRCA 1 gene, an indicator of breast cancer. Paul suggests that Frances may have taken on the play as an escape from all the pressure she's facing-her sister's illness, her daughter's distance, the test-but Frances counters that the play is the problem. She also rebuffs his theory that there's something revealing about Frances's decision to see her sister's old therapist. After she leaves, Paul calls a doctor friend, asking for a referral to a neurologist; he has a few questions about Parkinson's disease.