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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.




Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.

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

Rocklin Charts Course for Defunct Sunset Whitney Golf Space The Rocklin City Council is scheduled to consider an opportunity proposed for the former Sunset Whitney Golf Course land at the March 28 Council Meeting.

Spring Eggstravaganza April 15-16 at Fairytale TownSacramento, Calif. - Celebrate spring with egg hunts, puppet shows, hands-on activities and more at Fairytale Town's annual Spring Eggstravaganza

Gardens of the Hills Fundraiser Tour and Crafts FairEl Dorado Hills, CA - The Assistance League of Sierra Foothills presents their 8th annual Gardens of the Hills Fundraiser Tour and Crafts Fair

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Roseville Moose Lodge Charity Golf Tournament May 20thRoseville, CA- The Roseville Moose Lodge will be holding its second annual charity golf tournament Saturday, May 20 at Whitney Oaks Golf Club in Rocklin

Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital Foundation welcomes new president and board memberAuburn - Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital Foundation announces the appointment of a new board president, Robert Frew and board member, Suzi deFosset.

Lincoln MKZ: Luxury sedan has lots to offerRoseville, CA- We test drove the 2017 Lincoln MKZ recently for a week and came away impressed.

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American Sign Language Bicentennial Celebration at WJUROCKLIN, Calif., - William Jessup University's American Sign Language (ASL) club will host "ASL Day for All" on Saturday, April 8 at 9:30 a.m. at the growing university

Chicago the TRIBUTE to play Opera House Saloon in Roseville(ROSEVILLE, CA) - Chicago the TRIBUTE, a 9-piece tribute to the band with the horns and hits will be playing the Opera House Saloon Roseville on Thursday, March 30

Roseville Criminal Activity Heats UpRoseville, CA- As the weather heats up, so does Roseville criminal activity. The Roseville police log digest update for the ten-day period covering March 10-20, 2017.


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