Catherine Armsden

Catherine Armsden grew up in coastal Maine and was educated at Brown University (AB, Art) and Harvard University Graduate School of Design (MArch). In 1983, she moved to San Francisco with her husband, the late Lewis Butler, where they co-founded Butler Armsden Architects. Catherine was less active with the firm after 2000, eventually abandoning it altogether when she became possessed by an idea for a book, inspired by her work designing houses for her clients. Dream House: A Novel was published in 2015. In 2009, when she was 54, a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease provided Catherine with the inspiration for her bestselling second book, An Alert, Well-Hydrated Artist in No Acute Distress. To nourish her lifelong love for making art and supporting artists, Catherine has served on the Board of Directors of Southern Exposure, Emergent Art Space, and the Lewis W. Butler Foundation.


An Alert, Well-Hydrated Artist in No Acute Distress

An Alert, Well-Hydrated Artist in No Acute Distress

$22.99eBook: $6.99

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.

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