A Fractured Hip Has Slowed Me Down but I Can Still See the Silver Lining

Sean Baumstark avatar

by Sean Baumstark |

Share this article:

Share article via email
push, avoiding distractions, self-care, what matters

The topic of this column might be my ultimate excuse for not writing. Before I explain, I want to remind readers that I am an advocate for taking care of your health and prioritizing rest.

I’m also a proponent of identifying for yourself the difference between a “reason” and an “excuse.” Everything we do is tied to a choice, and we must take responsibility for the choices we make.

So what may be an excuse for me might be a reason for you — and vice versa. We should provide a positive ID for each scenario. Excuses and reasons are not one-size-fits-all T-shirts.

For the past five days or so, I have been taking advantage of an opportunity to remain in bed and sleep as much as possible. Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) zaps my energy every day and causes me seemingly relentless fatigue. However, what’s keeping me in bed right now is a fractured hip.

While on a trip to attend the fundraiser rideATAXIA and participate in a patient panel discussion at the 12th Annual Friedreich’s Ataxia Symposium, I slipped on a tile in my hotel room after a shower. Unfortunately, my right hip was the landing pad.

I went into surgery approximately 20 hours later. Those 20 hours were possibly the longest of my life so far. I’ve come to respect the significance of every bone in my body, particularly one as central to movement as my hip.

I’m no medical professional and have little knowledge of orthopedics. However, I’ve learned that every bodily action, including going to the bathroom, laughing, breathing, and sleeping, relies on the hip to bear the impact of each movement. So heed my advice: Take every precaution to avoid breaking your hip.

Thankfully, I’ve had a few days to get through some of the initial challenges of my injury. I feel caught up on rest and have the ball rolling with my employer and disability paperwork. I’ve also maintained communication with loved ones. With those important elements of my recovery lined up, I feel as if I have no good excuse not to share some of my experience.

This entire injury is a huge bummer, but right now I’m leaning on the words of the author, doctor, and scientist David Fajgenbaum and “creating a silver lining” in this situation.

I’m grateful that this injury took place near Philadelphia, the epicenter for research into treatments and a cure for FA. It’s also the home city of many amazing friends who have made my far-from-home injury more bearable by keeping me company and well-supplied with Nabisco animal crackers.

I may be unable to stand alone or walk yet, and I’ve still to face the grueling process of physical therapy, but I recognize the silver lining in my situation. My personal value and hopes for a better tomorrow are undiminished.

I still have work to do.


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.


Matt Lafleur avatar

Matt Lafleur

Love reading this man. You're definitely right: you still have plenty of work to do. Thanks for being there for me -- both as an inspiration and as a friend. Sorry I missed you in Philly, but I'll see you soon, cool?

Sean Baumstark avatar

Sean Baumstark

Of course, thanks for reading Matt! I was bummed to miss out on connecting with you and so many other friends and FAmily!!


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.