Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

EEG Video Monitoring Symbol Analysis

EEG Video Monitoring Symbol Icon

One of Susannah's major concerns is the fact that she doesn't remember anything but hallucinations from her month in the hospital. To remedy this and to help her piece together what happened, she describes several scenes from hospital monitoring footage. These videos are the only unbiased evidence Susannah has of her time in the hospital (compared to the personal narratives of her friends and family, or doctors' interpretations as expressed in their notes on Susannah's charts). In this way, the videos come to symbolize the only real “truth” and unbiased record of what happened in the hospital. Similarly, the videos allow Susannah a window into the mind of the person she sees in the videos, a person she barely recognizes as herself. To this end, the videos are also physical representations of Susannah's split identity.

EEG Video Monitoring Quotes in Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

The Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness quotes below all refer to the symbol of EEG Video Monitoring. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon and Schuster edition of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness published in 2012.
Chapter 35 Quotes

The raw panic makes me uncomfortable, but the thing that truly unsettles me is the realization that emotions I once felt so profoundly, so viscerally, have now completely vanished. This petrified person is as foreign to me as a stranger, and it's impossible for me to imagine what it must have been like to be her. Without this electronic evidence, I could never have imagined myself capable of such madness and misery.

Related Characters: Susannah (speaker)
Related Symbols: EEG Video Monitoring
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 47 Quotes

The girl in the video is a reminder about how fragile our hold on sanity and health is and how much we are at the utter whim of our Brutus bodies, which will inevitably, one day, turn on us for good. I am a prisoner, as we all are. And with that realization comes an aching sense of vulnerability.

Related Characters: Susannah (speaker)
Related Symbols: EEG Video Monitoring
Page Number: 227
Explanation and Analysis:
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EEG Video Monitoring Symbol Timeline in Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

The timeline below shows where the symbol EEG Video Monitoring appears in Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 15
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
...four-person room 24 hours per day, and two cameras hang above each bed. This provides video evidence of seizures for the hospital, and Susannah tells the reader that these videos were... (full context)
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
Susannah describes an EEG video in which she lies in bed in the fetal position looking upset, fiddles with her... (full context)
Chapter 18
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
Susannah describes an EEG video in which she pushes her help button. She's on the phone, though it's not clear... (full context)
Chapter 21
Love and Family Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
Susannah describes an EEG video in which Mom stands by the window, dressed for work. Susannah crawls into bed and... (full context)
Chapter 25
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
...tap at the beginning of Susannah’s third week in the hospital. Susannah describes an EEG video in which she lies in bed with Stephen, asleep. Susannah wakes and starts inhaling rapidly,... (full context)
Chapter 28
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Susannah describes an EEG video. She reclines on the bed, gets up, and haltingly walks to the door. Mom, off... (full context)
Chapter 35
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
...with her name into her player and watches footage of herself from the hospital. The video captures unhinged, raw panic in her face, and she realizes that she can barely imagine... (full context)
Chapter 47
Identity and Illness Theme Icon
Storytelling, Memory, and Emotion Theme Icon
Responsibility and the Medical System Theme Icon
For Susannah, the hardest part about writing the article is handing over her EEG tapes to the photo editor of the paper. She has to help him open the files... (full context)