KINGMAN – A longtime resident afflicted with epilepsy wants to find out how many other people in the community also have the chronic disease of the nervous system and whether they want to start a support group.
Jean Dalton, who was born in Cincinnati, has lived here for more than 30 years.
She was diagnosed with epilepsy more than 20 years ago following an accident at Kingman Airport, where she worked as an airline employee.
"I was unloading baggage from the wing locker of a Cessna 402 when the door came down and hit me in the head," Dalton said.
"I got a concussion immediately and eventually received a financial settlement and then began having seizures a year later."
Dalton contacted the education department at Kingman Regional Medical Center about a month ago and learned there is no support group for epileptics.
"Hers was the first call we've had about an epilepsy support group," said Jamie Taylor, director of development and public relations at KRMC.
"We need to find enough people interested to make a support group feasible.
We can provide facilities for free and have support staff available to help lead meetings, but until there is enough interest we can't do it for one person."
Support groups usually run themselves once they are formed, Taylor said.
Members decide what format to follow.
The hospital's education department usually helps arrange guest speakers.
Dalton said she is a self-taught reflexologist.
When someone is in pain she locates certain nodules that enlarge and does muscle massage of a person's hands to bring relief.
"I was very good at it until the last batch of seizures," she said.
"Now I can't remember where to find the nodules for message zones telling where a person hurts and how bad."
She has been on many epilepsy medicines over the years, which worked for varying times.
Dilantin and Lamictal are medications she has taken for the past two months, Dalton said.
Dalton said her last seizure episode came within the past two weeks.
She had five seizures, one of which lasted 10 minutes.
"I had 27 (seizures) in one day 20 years ago and came out of them with total amnesia," Dalton said.
"I could not find my way around the block without drawing a map, let alone remember where I was born or who I was.
"Now I can't drive or recognize people.
When someone says 'Hello, Jean,' I play let's pretend (I know that person) and hope I don't trip myself up."
Not knowing how many other people in the area have epilepsy is discouraging to her.
Having others to talk to would be a good form of therapy, Dalton said.
Anyone afflicted with epilepsy may call Dalton at 681-2566 or the KRMC education department at 692-4640 to inquire about starting a support group.