Valencia resident and respected clinical professor of neurology at UCLA‘s School of Medicine, Dr. Lance Fogan is using his recent novel, “Dings,” to reach out to families and patients affected by epilepsy.
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Fogan worked with Kaiser Permanente for 26 years and retired in 1997. He has since turned to teaching and writing.
“Dings” was released in March 2013 and chronicles the struggles of 8-year-old Conner, who is failing third grade because of undiagnosed epilepsy.
It is written for the epilepsy community in general, which includes at least one percent of the population, and any family members and friends who deal with the disease on a daily basis.
He initially intended the Conner to be the main subject of the story, but recalls that an editor said to him, “I don’t think it’s the boy who’s the important one. It’s the mother.”
Like many parents of epilepsy patients, Conner’s mother must deal with the stresses and disappointment surrounding her son’s condition, while learning what an epilepsy diagnosis means going forward.
Fogan hopes the book will raise awareness about epilepsy in general, which can go undiagnosed because not all epileptic seizures look like convulsions.
The book has already been recognized by the Epilepsy Foundation of America, which defines epilepsy as “a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions… Seizures can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. They can have many symptoms, from convulsions and loss of consciousness.”
Fogan said that if you witness an epileptic seizure, the best thing to do is keep the victim from falling and turn them on their side to prevent saliva or vomit from blocking their airway.
Another “risk for anyone touched directly or indirectly by epilepsy occurs in taking baths and showers,” Fogan said.
Never leave someone with epilepsy alone in the bathtub or shower, as drowning during seizures has been reported.
It is also important that epilepsy patients talk about driving with their doctor. California is one of six states in the nation that requires physicians to report patients who could be a danger to themselves or the public.
But Fogan also said that an epilepsy diagnosis need not be debilitating. With the right medication at the right dosage, many patients have infrequent seizures or none at all.
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Source: Santa Clarita News