Taking My Time May Allow Me to Get More Done

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by Sean Baumstark |

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Last week, my mom and I visited my aunt and uncle, or her sister and brother-in-law. The trip was different from most of the trips I take, and I’m recognizing that my Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) progression is likely to blame.

For starters, although I travel fairly often, I don’t usually stay in someone else’s home. I’ve always been enamored with hotels, but they can’t emulate the love and comfort that oozes through the walls of a house. While hotels often have accessible rooms, nothing beats the atmosphere of a warm, loving home, especially when there’s homemade pie in the oven.

Over the last 10 years, there have only been two homes I’ve traveled to and stayed at for several days, so I don’t often need to worry about accommodations in others’ homes. Of course, I frequent my mom’s house the most, and I’m always comfortable at her place. Although I only visit three or four times a year, she’s constantly thinking about how to increase my comfort and my safety.

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On our recent trip, my mom arrived at my aunt and uncle’s house a week before me, and the three of them put time and energy into making little adjustments that would help keep me comfortable and upright throughout my weeklong stay. From moving area rugs that can easily cause me to trip, to installing a grab bar in the guest bathroom I used, my family seems keenly aware of what does and doesn’t work for me. As a bonus, whenever they are unsure, they ask.

While using the shower at my aunt and uncle’s home, I realized how much my own safety depends on how I move and how much of a hurry I’m in, rather than the actual accommodations. Unlike an accessible room at a reliable hotel, my relatives’ bathroom doesn’t have grab bars on every wall, and the shower can be a little tricky to use. But slowing down and moving intentionally reduces my risk of falling, losing my balance, and losing control of my reflexes. (Actually, the truth is that control over reflexes is nonexistent with FA.)

This is where the challenge surfaces for me. At the end of my podcast episodes, I often say, “Keep living with urgency,” and I’ve written about the need to “take action” and “get stuff done.” These sentiments suggest that we shouldn’t waste time, that we should hurry to create the life we want before it’s too late.

As I showered one morning last week, “take your time” kept repeating in my thoughts. One of the last things I want is to experience another bone-breaking fall. But since that morning, I’ve been asking myself, “Which is it: Live with urgency, or take your time?”

Perhaps when living with a condition that seriously affects my physical abilities and movement, taking my time is a form of living with urgency. After all, if I remain uninjured, I can certainly get more stuff done.

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Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Friedreich’s Ataxia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Friedreich’s ataxia.

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