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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.





Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn.




Placer County News Headlines

WINEderlust Renegade Wine Festival August 26thPLACERVILLE, CALIF. - El Dorado Winery Association is proud to present its first-annual celebration of renegades, rebels and rabble-rousers at the WINEderlust Renegade Wine Festival

Roseville Flash Crime Report (7.21.17)Digest summary update of Roseville police activity for the period covering July 6- 17, 2017.

John Adams Academy Expanding with Lincoln CampusLincoln, CA - Officials from John Adams Academy (JAA) charter school announced they have secured a site in Lincoln to house their public charter school program

WJU Athletics Sign Jaydon ClarkROCKLIN, Calif. - The Warriors men's basketball program led by head coach Lance Von Vogt welcome freshman Jaydon Clark to the 2017-18 recruiting class.

Santucci Memorial Golf Tournament slated for SeptemberRoseville, Calif., - The 14th annual Bill Santucci Memorial Golf Tournament will take place Friday, Sept. 29 at Sierra View Country Club in Roseville.

PlacerArts Presents the 24th Annual Auburn Art WalkAuburn, CA - The annual Auburn Art Walk presented by PlacerArts will take place on Friday, Aug. 4

Celebration for New Roseville Center for Sierra CollegeRoseville, Calif., - Sierra College invites the public to see its state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities at the new Roseville Center location in the heart of Roseville's Town Square

Paul Bancroft appointed to Sierra College BoardTruckee, CA -Kings Beach resident Paul Bancroft has been appointed to the Sierra College Board of Trustees. Bancroft will represent Area 2 and replaces Dave Ferrari who retired

Walmart Pays to Resolve Allegations of Violating Federal False Claims ActSACRAMENTO, Calif. - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has paid $1.65 million to resolve allegations that it violated the federal False Claims Act when it knowingly submitted claims

Viva la Tomato at the Midtown Farmers MarketSACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Midtown Association (MA) is pleased to announce exciting special activities happening in July - many designed to celebrate Sacratomato Week

Woodcreek Oaks Boulevard Expansion in RosevilleRoseville, CA- Expect delays for the next few months if you plan on traveling down Woodcreek Oaks Boulevard.

Granite Arch on Alzheimer's Memorial Wall a Tribute to President Ronald ReaganSacramento, CA - East Lawn Memorial Park is proud to unveil a granite arch on its historic Alzheimer's Memorial Wall on Saturday, July 22 at 10 a.m


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