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Dings by Lance Fogan


by Lance Fogan

280 pages
A neurological mystery behind a child's failure in school.

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Category: Fiction
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About the Book
Named Summer Reading Recommendation by Epilepsy Life Links (ELL).

DINGS tells the story of a mother’s struggle to support and defend her son midst his mysterious and unrecognized condition. The school believes Conner is not ready for the third grade. His teacher recommends that he repeat second grade. Conner’s dad is on a combat tour in 2006-7 Iraq. The adults assume that Conner’s stress and anxiety over his father at war have interfered with his school success. Sandra is embittered that she must deal with her son’s problem alone.

Conner’s condition eludes the adults. He has blank outs that are not appreciated. His friends think that he acts “weird” sometimes. A psychologist identifies his client’s anxieties and works to alleviate Conner’s stress.

Sandra's husband returns from war, yet not all is well. Sam has changed. She recognizes his PTSD symptoms: he drinks more, he snaps at the family and has bad dreams, but he denies anything is wrong. Sandra is under mounting emotional stresses; she is uncertain that she can keep her family together.

One night, Conner gets a high fever and has a convulsion. At the E. R., he has a brain CT scan and gets a spinal tap. The doctor lists epilepsy as a possible cause of the convulsion and refers Conner to a neurologist. Sandra interprets the mere mention of epilepsy as a personal affront. How could her son have such a stigmatizing and debilitating disease? He has never had any seizures before. But, all of their lives change when they meet the neurologist.

The reader will accompany the family as they travel their fascinating joint clinical and emotional journey to help their son.

A practical epilepsy glossary is appended at the end of the novel.


Dr. Fogan has something important to say and he says it well. Parents, grand-parents , teachers - even family doctors or other healthcare professionals - anyone who works with children will benefit from this book. It is an eye-opening book, a good read and a seminal work to raise awareness about epilepsy in children and offer hope at the same time. I especially liked the treatment of doctors as real people with real foibles and emotions. It is a book you will not soon forget. Thank you Dr. Fogan for this important book!
- Xberk
The story is compelling, draws you right in, and keeps you engaged. I really like the story, it's well told and I enjoyed it. It's a book that gives hope that "epilepsy" is not necessarily a "life sentence" by any stretch of the imagination.
- Nilay Shah
This novel will pull at your heartstrings at every turn. If you know little or nothing about Epilepsy - then you should read this book, because afterwards your understanding of the disease and its associated problems will certainly make you more compassionate towards those affected.
- RCS (Wales, UK)
This book is well written. I hope that the people who need it read it.
- Jerome Engel, Jr.
Your hairs will rise on the back of your neck with this sympathetic journey into epilepsy and its effects upon its victims and the victims' families.
- M.C. Gardner
DINGS...on the must-read list of anyone in medical school, to provide a Dr. O'Rourke as a role model for the physician they hope to become. Thank you very much Dr. Fogan for caring so much for your patients that you took the time to write this little gem.
- Ira
Told in a realistic but page-turning manner, DINGS plays out as a medical mystery. At the conclusion, the reader is left with the impression of how difficult it is for someone to be diagnosed with epilepsy and take on the role of having to educate everyone around you when you are struggling as a parent and patient to grasp the situation. The reader appreciates how the word "epilepsy" seems to serve as an imaginary dividing line in the lives of all of the characters. Once that word is uttered as a diagnosis, patients and families are left to grapple with the enormity of the situation, so much so that one's life can be divided between BE (before epilepsy) and AE (after epilepsy). My wife and I both loved this book.
- Joseph I. Sirven, MD, Editor-in-Chief,
Dings is a short novel, well written and nicely includes a useful glossary…. Its characterization is strong—including patient parents and professionals (at hospital and at school)…. It employs a mother’s voice to recount the story of diagnosing…epilepsy in her son. DINGS contains great humanity…and reinforces important points about life with epilepsy and…demystifying this most mysterious of diseases.
- Dr. Rhys Davies, The Walton Center NHS Foundation Trust



About the Author
Lance Fogan Lance Fogan, a retired neurologist in Southern California, teaches neurology at UCLA. He has participated in a weekly literature/writing class in order to get “educated” since 2000. Current pursuits include documenting his two young grandsons’ lives and the memories they spark within him.



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