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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

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.

Sierra College Patrons Invite Public to MeetingRocklin, CA-- The Sierra College Patrons, a support group of the Sierra College Foundation, invites the public and those interested in becoming members of the organization

California Fires Update Summary (8.24.16)Over 10,000 firefighters are battling 8 large wildfires in California. Two new large fires were reported yesterday in Tulare and Alpine counties on National Forest land.

Napa's Uptown Theatre: On LocationNapa, CA- Band of Horses trekked into Napa's Uptown Theatre last night for a stop along their "Why Are You Ok Tour".

California Fires Update Summary (8.23.16)Last week firefighters across California battled nearly 250 new wildfires containing most to a small acreage. Since the beginning of the year there have been over 4,900 wildfires that have burned over 417,000 acres.

Nevada City Hosts Festive Celebration September 10-11NEVADA CITY, Calif. - The 50th Annual Nevada City Constitution Day Parade tops a full weekend of family fun Sept. 10-11 in this colorful Gold Rush town.

Humboldt Pilot Program to Track and Trace CannabisWith the state of California on the verge of approving the recreational use of marijuana in November, at least one company is ahead of the curve


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