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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.





LittleGiantFudge.com and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.

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



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Placer County News Headlines

Beth Gaines Elected to Women In Government BoardAt its 21st Annual State Directors' Conference, Assemblywoman Beth Gaines (R-Roseville) was sworn into the Women In Government 2015 Board of Directors

Suspected Ebola Patient in the Hospital A patient with symptoms consistent with Ebola infection was transferred to UC Davis Medical Center Thursday morning from Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento

Placer SPCA Announces 2015 Board of DirectorsRoseville, CA - The Placer SPCA announced the election of its 2015 Officers and the installation of two new board members.

Project for Homes Overlooking Lake Tahoe WithdrawnA project that sought to build some 112 residential homes on land overlooking Lake Tahoe has been withdrawn from the review process.

Stand Up Placer Receives $10,000 Grant from Wells FargoStand Up Placer received a generous grant award of $10,000 from Wells Fargo. Stand Up Placer is a local non-profit that provides comprehensive services to domestic violence , sexual assault, and human trafficking survivors

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Life Time Athletic Roseville: Rob Chemaly Named GMHealth and fitness industry veteran Rob Chemaly has been named General Manager of Life Time Athletic Roseville.

Roseville Liquor Store Robbed by GunmanThe Roseville Police Department is asking for the public's help identifying a man who robbed a liquor store and pepper-sprayed the clerk.

Good News for FHA BorrowersRealtor, Julie Jalone, of MagnumOne Realty in Roseville, writes about the recent lowering of the FHA mortgage insurance premiums.

United Auburn Indian Community Invests in Danny Wimmer PresentsDanny Wimmer Presents one of the largest independent producers of destination rock music festivals in the U.S., announced today that it has received a significant investment from the United Auburn Indian Community Development Corp.

Roseville Offers Up Cash for GrassThe City of Roseville is offering up for $1,000 for your grass when converting water-thirsty turf with water smart landscaping

Invented Abundance by Mollie Oblinger in RocklinThe Ridley Gallery at Sierra College presents Invented Abundance, an exhibition of sculpture in which Mollie Oblinger examines California's water issues in response to the historic drought


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