Two Artists, a Singular Friendship, and a Six-State Quest for a Diagnosis
Hadley Ferguson and Catherine Armsden, a painter and a writer, have each spent years seeking a diagnosis for their troubling symptoms. When they are finally diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, they meet in an online support group and quickly become long-distance friends. But for Hadley, the shared diagnosis is still not correct. She embarks on a traumatic, six-state odyssey that Catherine documents in vivid detail.
Part critical commentary on the American healthcare system and part primer on Parkinson's disease, An Alert, Well-Hydrated Artist in No Acute Distress tackles many topics beyond Hadley’s and Catherine’s personal experience, such as the causes and treatment of Parkinson’s; navigating the doctor-patient relationship; so-called cognitive errors made in diagnosis; and the role of empathy in healthcare. This moving memoir will resonate with anyone who's had difficulty getting a diagnosis or lives with chronic disease, but will also inspire all readers with Hadley’s and Catherine’s ultimately victorious parallel quests to achieve the most fulfilling creative work of their careers.
Awards, Reviews, and Coverage
in Parkinson's Disease
"Catherine Armsden’s wonderfully insightful book should be read by anyone who’s ever received a difficult diagnosis as well as anyone who’s delivered one. ... The book is dedicated to those who don’t look away, and An Alert Well Hydrated Artist in No Acute Distress never does."
—Dave Iverson, journalist and author of Winter Stars: An Elderly Mother, an Aging Son and Life’s Final Journey