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.
Print This Article
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
Placer County News Headlines3 Arrested in Baby Formula HeistPlacer County sheriff's deputies arrested three Bay Area burglary suspects and are seeking a fourth after the group stole a large amount of baby formula from the north Auburn Bel Air store
Sample the Sierra Festival at South Lake TahoeFoodies and wine lovers alike will gather in South Lake Tahoe this Labor Day weekend as Sample the Sierra celebrates its 5th anniversary on Sunday, August 31st
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 Chamber Events September 2014Roseville, CA -- The Roseville Chamber of Commerce featured events for the month of September 2014.
American River Music Festival in SeptemberDip your toes in the river while grooving to world renowned vintage rock, blues, new and old grass, sweet jam and the finest of folk at the 8th Annual American River Music Festival in California's scenic Gold Country
Local Man Earns Inclusion in National Pottery ExhibitionsRocklin, CA-- Sierra College congratulates local sculptor and staffer, Anthony Maki Gill for earning inclusion in not just one, but two national exhibitions this summer
Placer Fish and Game Commission Solicit Grant ProposalsThe Placer County Fish and Game Commission is soliciting grant proposals from non-profit organizations, schools, other organizations and individuals
$7 Billion Water Bond Supported by Sacramento SupervisorsDrought Watch: AB 1471, the legislation placing the water bond on the ballot, asks voters to approve $7.12 billion for projects which will build new water storage facilities, invests in safe drinking water
Gas Prices Under $3 Gallon Coming Soon?Average retail gasoline prices in Sacramento have fallen 3.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.79/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey
Carbon Pollution Limits Can Help Save Lives and Improve HealthFew things are more frightening for a parent than racing to the hospital with a child who can't breathe.
Sierra College Football Hosts 2014 Meet The Wolverines Rocklin, CA -Amid high expectations, the 2014 Sierra College football season kicks off with the annual "Meet the Wolverines" controlled scrimmage and fan-fest Saturday, Aug. 23
Roseville California Crime Brief (8.19.14)Roseville, CA-- The Roseville Police Department Crime Brief Report for August 19, 2014.