On the 31st of May 2015 I received a book written by Dr. Lance Fogan. He had been in touch with me the week before and told me he wanted to send a free, signed copy for me to read. He was inspired to do so after he read about me. I was delighted. As I opened it up, I read the message “For Emily, a champion in raising Epilepsy awareness, Lance May 31 2015”. I was so happy.
I read it straight away and I didn’t want it to end! The book is titled ‘Dings’. It is a short novel about the chronic Neurological condition, Epilepsy. Lance is a retired Neurologist and he wrote this book with the intention of reaching out to people in order to raise awareness. The book portrays the voice of a mother whose 8 year old son begins having seizure-like symptoms. As a reader, you get the chance to accompany the family in the story as they travel their fascinating clinical and emotional journey to help their son. At the end of the book there is a practical epilepsy glossary, which is useful for the reader.
The novel begins with Conner suffering from a generalised attack. Not all seizures can be easily defined as either focal or generalised. Some people have seizures that begin as focal seizures but then spread to the entire brain. Other people may have both types of seizures but with no clear pattern. This is what makes the book even more enlightening; you get the chance to learn about different types of attacks.
Conner is rushed to the emergency department as he experiences a prolonged post-ictal phase. You may have heard of this as I have suffered from this state many times. Post-ictal state is the altered state of consciousness after an epileptic seizure.
The family goes through hell with Connors health and it really hit home for my own family. I found the story so relatable and I am so thankful that this book was written, as I truly believe it will help many people around the world. Conner’s dad, in the novel, is on a combat tour in Iraq. The doctors and teachers assume Conner’s stress and anxiety over his father at war have restricted his school work, and they don’t take into account is seizures. His mother, Sandra, is resentful that she has to deal with her son’s problem alone. Conner then begins to have blank outs that are not understood or appreciated. His school friends think that he acts strange sometimes. A psychologist identifies the boys’ anxieties and works to help Conner lower his stress levels.
Later on in the novel Sandra’s husband returns from Iraq, she can’t wait to have him back, not only because she misses him but because she will finally have some support. Things don’t get much better, She recognizes Sam’s PTSD symptoms: he begins to drink more, he snaps at the family and has bad dreams, but he denies anything is wrong. We follow the family’s journey, do they manage to work things out to keep the family together?
A Novel for Everyone
Dr. Fogan had something important to say and he said it incredibly well. I know for sure that parents, teachers, children, friends, and anyone who works with children will benefit from this amazing novel. For my Mum it is an eye-opening book, and even so for me as I live with the condition myself. It is a good read; not only does it raise awareness, but it also offers hope.
It is a book that I will never forget. Thank you Dr. Fogan for this amazing book & gift.