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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's Return-to-Prison Rate FallsThe rate at which people return to prison has consistently trended downward since fiscal year 2005-2006 when the rate was 67.5 percent.

Rocklin Flash Crime Report (8.26.16)Rocklin, CA- Police activity digest update in Rocklin for the period covering August 15- 21, 2016.

Food Truck Cinema Sept. 16 at Woodcreek Golf ClubRoseville, CA- Woodcreek Golf Club in Roseville will host its inaugural Food Truck Cinema on Friday, Sept. 16 at its driving range.

Sutter Roseville Medical Center Foundation Benefit Golf TournamentRoseville, Calif. - On Sept. 9, Sutter Roseville Medical Center Foundation will host its 30th Annual Benefit Golf Tournament and Dinner

Hope for Less Invasive Tests for Bacterial Infections in Babies(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) - Physicians from Children's Hospital of Michigan, UC Davis Medical Center and Nationwide Children's Hospital, in collaboration with 19 other pediatric emergency departments

Legislature Votes to Extend Emergency Tax ReliefSacramento - Legislation sponsored by Board of Equalization Member George Runner and fellow BOE members cleared the Legislature yesterday when the State Assembly

WJU School Year Begins Amidst Continued GrowthROCKLIN, Calif. - William Jessup University began its 2016-17 academic year August 22 with the largest enrollment in the university's 77-year history.

Molly Ringwald at Rocklin's Quarry Park September 17thRocklin, Calif. - Golden Globe nominated actress and jazz musician Molly Ringwald descends into Rocklin's Quarry Park Amphitheater on Saturday, September 17

Roseville to Host Barbara Boxer FarewellRoseville, CA - The Placer County Democratic Party in partnership with the Nevada County Democratic Party and El Dorado County Democratic Party will be hosting a Fond Farewell

Roseville Skatetown to Host International Curling BonspielRoseville, CA - The Crush Bonspiel, which began in 2006, is back this Labor Day Weekend at Roseville's Skatetown Ice Arena after taking a one year hiatus.

County renews $10 Million Emergency Services ContractThe county board of supervisors OK'd a $10.6 million contract for fiscal year 2016-17. The contract will provide fire and emergency service for about 52,000 residents.

Roseville Flash Crime Report (8.24.16)The Roseville Police Department's latest activity and crime log digest update covering the period of August 12-21, 2016.


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