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Columnist
It's the little things
By Ruth Gesmer Silverman | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 7/28/2008 12:03 AM

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Most people don't give the "little" things a second thought, until they become bigger things.

In the past couple of weeks, I've moved to a new "facility" - the in-lingo for nursing/rehab living spaces. Everyone has an opinion on what makes one better or worse than another. They factor in food, furniture, activities, staff and myriad other yardsticks by which they measure to come to their conclusions.

This place had no furniture, so I had some of my own moved from my house into the apartment. The pieces were familiar, but they did little or nothing to make it "home."

My art collection and family pictures helped.

I bought a hospital bed to make it easier to sit up and transfer to a wheelchair. It worked just fine until a housekeeper disconnected the control. Speaking little or no English, she smiled as she patted the bed. It took the head of maintenance to figure out what was wrong.

He solved the problem after I had spent a sleepless night. Fortunately, my physical therapist got me going again. As we cruised the halls. I was using a walker and he was holding the wheelchair - just in case I couldn't make it the whole way. I did, and had enough energy left to do some strengthening exercises, essential to further steps.

Joking, I asked him when those steps might include stairs.

He grinned as he suggested we concentrate on flat floors for now.

One constant has been the members of my congregation, an adult-oriented, discussion-driven, multi-denominational group.

Members actually pick me up every Saturday morning, stowing the wheelchair in their car trunks, so I can join them as we all sing the entire service. Since we have no rabbi or cantor, we do our own teaching and singing.

Equally helpful, though harder on them, has been the assistance and support of my kids. They call regularly and fly in to spend time helping me to get organized. Their father has also been helpful.

Having my own computer at hand has been invaluable. I can write these columns, touch base with scads of online family and friends, and feel like I'm still living a normal life.

I must get dressed so I can get to my home to fetch a few items. They are just "little" things, but they will make their own impact on my daily life.

Ruth Gesmer Silverman of Buffalo Grove learned in March 2007 that her breast cancer, originally diagnosed in 2002, had spread to her bones. Her column about living with the disease appears every other week in Health & Fitness.