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.
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 Teens Arrested in Burglary and Vandalism of Country ClubA Placer County Sheriff's detective apprehended three juveniles Thursday in connection with recent burglaries and acts of vandalism at the Auburn Valley Country Club.
Roseville Author Releases New Book NationwideROSEVILLE, Calif. - The new book "Resonance," a stimulating new book by Roseville author Emily Elaine is now available nationwide.
Genderally Speaking LGBTQ Exhibition in RocklinRocklin, CA--The Ridley Gallery presents "Genderally Speaking", photography by Ron Williams in conjunction with Sierra College Pride Days (November 4-6).
Rocklin History Series Presents Julia Morgan's GoldThe Rocklin History Series continues on November 16, 2014 with a live presentation by Julia Morgan Historian Karen McNeill Ph.D. at 2 pm at the beautiful Old Saint Mary's Chapel
Free Identity Theft Prevention Class in AuburnThe Placer County Sheriff's Office is offering a free identity theft prevention class on Monday, October 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Auburn Justice Center.
Loomis Students to Learn About Pediatric Iron Lung for World Polio DayIn recognition of World Polio Day, Rotary Club of Sunset Loomis will bring a pediatric iron lung to Loomis Grammar School and Loomis Basin Charter School
Esteemed Roseville Historian DiesLeonard "Duke" Davis, considered by many the foremost authority on the history of Roseville, passed away on Friday, October 10.
Michaels Store in Auburn to Open November 16thMichaels, North America's largest arts and crafts specialty retailer, announces the grand opening of its new Auburn store, featuring an inspiring new design, located at 2785 Bell Rd
Janina VanVooren at Patrons Club November 3rd Rocklin, CA - The Patrons Club, a volunteer arm of the Sierra College Foundation, invites the public and those interested in becoming members of the organization to attend
Roseville Men's Tennis Team Edged Out in National ChampionshipsThe men's tennis team from Roseville, Calif., representing the USTA Northern California Section, finished second at the USTA League Adult 18 & Over 2.5 National Championships
Dermatomyositis: Woman Battles Weakness, RashIn 1993, and only two weeks after having given birth to her second child, Becki Lanser of Cary, North Carolina, was experiencing severe muscle weakness and fatigue.
Jeep Grand Cherokee: More Refined Than EverA 2014 "refreshening" has given the Grand Cherokee a more modern, sophisticated look that will have admirers giving it the double take.