As I read Hustvedt’s book, I could not help but get lost in her writing. I felt that she was quite eloquent and I could feel her sense of desperation through each discussion of case studies. I could sense her frustration at learning of a new scientific discovery but did not lead her to an answer for her sporadic shaking. I feel that I learned more from her writing than I did from either Noe or Damasio, the latter of which is mentioned a few times throughout her book. Her writing was more personal, even with scientific discourse, and I feel that the desperate undertones could help her better connect to her audience than Noe or Damasio through sympathy and empathy. Additionally, I felt myself hoping Hustvedt would find a cure or an answer to her shaking which, to my dismay, she did not.
Personally (perhaps too personal but hopefully not), I had gone through a similar desperate search for an answer to an issue I had developed when I was 16. I had collapsed alone in my house while on the phone with my mother, hitting my head on the dining table. When I woke, I was in bed with my uncle watching over me, without any idea as to what had happened, how I had gotten in bed, or how my uncle had gotten into my house. Seeing the bruise on my forehead and learning of where I was found, it made sense: I had fallen and hit my head. That would explain the severe headache. I went to the doctor and checked out totally fine. I understood I would have a headache for a couple of days and would be completely fine afterwards, as my doctor had said. However, that headache never did go away. In fact, it lasted for almost a year and was never ending during that time: I woke up with it and went to sleep with it; it never diminished and was always there. Similar to Hustvedt, I went through numerous exams and all of them had clear results: no doctor could identify what had happened or why. To make matters worse, these episodes continued (even through this summer) and I could relate to Hustvedt as I also did research on what could cause these collapsing episodes. It took a few years of tests (some of the very same ones as Hustvedt’s) and several doctors to conclude that I have a relatively rare heart condition but not before learning through several brain scans that I also have a currently benign cyst in my head by my spinal cord. This could have been the source of the headaches but doctors left it alone. Worry arose when a few years after the cyst’s discovery doctors noted that the cyst had grown to be about the size of a quarter. As I read Hustvedt’s book, I could not help but remember my own trials, tests, and tribulations that I went through. However, unlike Hustvedt, doctors were able to diagnose the issue, despite there being no cure. I hope that, with the development of new technologies, Hustvedt can finally find her answers.