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Multiple Sclerosis: Understanding and Communication Important



The National Institutes of Health defines multiple sclerosis (MS) as "an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. It can range from relatively benign to somewhat disability to devastating, as communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted." Most people with MS have muscle weakness in their extremities, and balance and coordination difficulties. Half of all people affected ultimately have cognitive impairments.

In 2011, Jeff Gallatin, began the process of grieving after the passing of his 72-year-old mother Carol, who had chronic progressive multiple sclerosis. Carol had been a choir director, a hospice "clown" for children, a storytelling guild president, a Northwestern University marketing graduate, and the community affairs director for a division of Rockwell International in Cleveland.

"It's still an emotional subject for me," said Gallatin, an Ohio newspaper associate editor, of discussing his mother's death. "My mom had polio as a kid, but had always been able to overcome (her physical difficulties). In the mid- to late- '90s, little physical challenges began cropping up with her. She went from using a cane to a walker to a manual wheelchair. In 2001, I moved in with her."

Doctors apparently had trouble diagnosing her, maybe because MS usually first affects people between the ages of 20-40. One day about two months after Jeff moved in, Carol couldn't get out of her rocking chair, which moved a friend to suggest more tests that finally yielded a diagnosis.

"Then they said my mother would never get out of the nursing home (because of MS)," said Gallatin. "But they didn't know my mother." After 18 months there, Carol moved back in with Jeff until her passing in 2011. At the end, she had paralyzed legs.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of being his mother's caregiver ten years was in having to watch her use a wheelchair. She had been such a proud, professional woman, who had raised two children on her own as a divorcee.

As for advice to other caregivers of parents, he said, "Be sure to talk and communicate with (the parent). For example, our Saturday morning was sacred to us. We'd talk and catch up. She was a wonderful sounding board."

Gallatin said he wasn't a perfect caregiver. What helped him a lot was having good bosses, who allowed him to occasionally leave work to help out his mother.

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Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.

Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com




Placer County News Headlines

California Fires Update Summary (8.23.16)Last week firefighters across California battled nearly 250 new wildfires containing most to a small acreage. Since the beginning of the year there have been over 4,900 wildfires that have burned over 417,000 acres.

Nevada City Hosts Festive Celebration September 10-11NEVADA CITY, Calif. - The 50th Annual Nevada City Constitution Day Parade tops a full weekend of family fun Sept. 10-11 in this colorful Gold Rush town.

Humboldt Pilot Program to Track and Trace CannabisWith the state of California on the verge of approving the recreational use of marijuana in November, at least one company is ahead of the curve

Sierra College Supports Former Foster YouthRocklin, CA - As the school year begins, Sierra College is taking an extra step to ensure that one group of students gets off to a good start.

Roseville Man Arrested on Suspicion of MolestationRoseville, CA- Christopher Blaine Odom, age 43 of Roseville has been arrested on suspicion of committing lewd and lascivious acts

Honda Accord Remains Top-Notch HybridRoseville, CA- The Honda Accord Hybrid is back for 2017 and frankly better than ever.

California Fires Update Summary (8.22.16)Over 10,000 firefighters are battling 6 large wildfires in California. Near normal temperatures have helped firefighters gain ground on many of these blazes

Roseville Gas Prices Move Off Summer LowsRoseville, CA- Roseville gas prices have risen this past week during a summer which has seen falling prices. Motorists growing hopes for gas under $2 per gallon were dashed

Autism Speaks Exec Speaks Lorri Unumb of Lexington, South Carolina, is vice president of state government affairs at Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization.

Fill the Pack Donation Drive in Roseville August 27thRoseville, CA- Similar to the "Fill the Boot" efforts of firefighters, all of our search and rescue teams will be at two Roseville locations on Saturday, Aug. 27, to "fill the pack"

Cap and Trade: Riverfront Streetcar Receives $30 Million GrantSacramento, CA- The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) announced the selection of the Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar for $30 million

August is Child Support Awareness Month in Placer CountyAUBURN, Calif. -- The Placer County Board of Supervisors have proclaimed August 2016 as Child Support Awareness Month


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