What's The Matter With Me? Podcast

I have multiple sclerosis, trigeminal neuralgia and I made this podcast to share what I’m going through.

Pain / Withdrawal Cycle

Pain / Withdrawal Cycle

Swallowing Evaluation AKA Diagnostic Fluoroscopy

Had pain and went to the Nurse Practitioner ..

Medication (mis-)management traps me in the the pain & withdrawal cycle. Read more for my visit to the nurse practicioner, diagnostic fluoroscopy, postlude with John John & more.


JOHN HOPPIN: Welcome to the What’s the Matter with Me Podcast, season three, episode 11, the pain withdrawals cycle. I’m always in some kind of recovery. I saw the nurse practitioner, now I’m medicated. I had a swallow exam, that’s a diagnostic fluoroscopy. It was weird. Stay tuned.

Welcome to the, What’s the Matter with Me Podcast. My name is John. I’m 40 years old. Husband, father of two, small business owner, radio DJ, podcaster and I have multiple sclerosis. I made this podcast to share what I’m going through.

Past the episodes can be downloaded on Apple podcasts or from whatsthematterwithme.org, or wherever you get it. I’m not a medical professional. Don’t take this for medical advice and if you need medical advice, ask your healthcare provider.

It’s true. I think the diagnostic fluoroscopy, that has to be one of the weirdest exams, that they make you swallow all kinds of weird stuff. Stay tuned.

First, let’s recap.

s3e10 recap
Recap of S3 E10

Last episode, I talked about project euphonia and that’s Google’s project to help speech recognition for people with impaired speech. I had pain and drug withdrawal. What else? Like every episode. Last episode, shout outs to Rocky. Check out the last to episode, disability technology. It’s on whatsthematterwithme.org, and Apple podcasts. Stream up, beam up, turn up and learn up.

I had pain again

I thought I was in recovery last episode. It started hurting. I went to the nurse practitioner. I was trying to tell her what happened, what was going on, but it hurt to talk. That’s why I haven’t been on What’s the Matter with Me? Or talking at all really. And so it hurts to talk.

So trying to tell her what was going on. I started crying and it made me emotional because it hurt like hell. She ended up, she gave me some more pills. They thought I wasn’t yet in the pharmaceutical range where the medication was affected. Somehow my bloodstream, we did some blood work and I still wasn’t up to the level where it’s providing pain relief, obviously.

So I had pain and went to the nurse. I cried, she gave me more pills. Now I’m in recovery. And it’s this crazy cycle I’m still in. I have pain and then I get recovery because they increase medication. Then I start taking down the other medication, medication B and I go into withdrawal. They gave me some more of that and recovery. Then I start having pain again because medication A, I’m still not in that pharmaceutical range where it helps me. And so I go into recovery.

End result, right now I’m drugged.

note card 3
I’m drugged

How long will the pain relief last? When am I going to go back into this cycle? I’m in recovery. It’s too much. It’s very heavy medication. So I’ve told my nurse, and we’re even looking into robosurgery. It doesn’t even always work for people, but at this point I’ve got to leave this cycle behind.

All right, so I don’t want to be in that cycle. That’s pretty easy to understand.

Diagnostic Fluoroscopy

Diagnostic fluoroscopy

“Eating fluorescent stuff”

Another thing that my doctor ordered, kind of back a couple of months ago, but the exam rolled its way around, and a couple of days ago, yesterday I had a swallow exam called the diagnostic fluoroscopy. So what does that mean? I’m eating fluorescent stuff that they can see on their tests and they’re checking out my swallow area.

So first thing they did, set me down in the chair and it’s just this X-ray, so that it’s going through, I’m sitting next to a kind of x-ray sheet, and they’re shining through my neck, like through my trachea. And they’re having me eat stuff, so swallow things. So there’s a tray with a bunch of different cups in it, little plastic cups. And the one on the left is thin, and the nurse tells me it’s chalky medicine. I’m like, “What is that?” She’s like “Pepto Bismol think Pepto Bismol.” I was like, “Okay, Gotcha.”

They were small cups, like couple ounces.

Drink it

The one on the left was like thin Pepto Bismol, and I found out contrast dye and that’s with fluorescence, so they can take the X-ray, they make a movie of me swallowing. So she gives me this thin, Pepto Bismol. She’s like “Hold it in your mouth. And when I say swallow, swallow it.”

So we do that and the cups progressively get thicker. So there’s like a thicker Pepto Bismol. Eventually it’s like crackers broken up into pudding. And all of these are kind of weirdly purple because they have contrast dye in them. This is not an appetizing situation. There’s strings and you take…the thicker stuff requires a spoon. And there’s strings hanging down from the spoon, like half an inch. And I tried to shake them off and they wouldn’t come off. It was nasty. It was just like, I don’t know what.

So I eat these crackers and pudding. It’s just not… I give this restaurant zero stars. Zero stars. Work on that. It’s not a restaurant. So they took pictures of me swallowing.

X-ray movies of that… she could watch them live and she’d be like, “Can you swallow again. You have kind of some residue on top of your windpipe and your epiglottis. It was just a whole throat, epiglottis, soft pallette. It was a lot of fun. What do you say to indicate it was lot of fun, but that you actually mean that it was it was really terrible? It was just gross and nasty. That’s all, it was nasty.

Okay. Diagnostic fluoroscopy was nasty. I went to the nurse. They gave me more meds. I’m in recovery. It’s a mixed bag. I don’t feel pain, but I’m drugged. I can’t drive. I live in a car culture. Thanks for listening.

Thank you for listening to the What’s the Matter With Me? Podcast.

Past episodes can be download at Apple podcast, whatsthematterwithme.org, or wherever you get it, wherever podcasts are available. Shout outs to the worldwide universal sponsor of the what’ss matter with me? podcast, Hoppin Hot Sauce.


Hoppin Hot Sauce is a movement. I’m telling you check it out, hoppinhotsauce.com. Thank you for listening to the What’s the Matter With Me? podcast. Season three, episode 11, the pain withdrawal cycle.

(John John postlude)

JH: Okay, John, John, you ready? Say something into the mic. Come here. Come on. Yeah, go ahead.

John John: What do I say?

JH: Yeah, but that’s the whole thing. I don’t know what to say, either, but I’m just saying it.

John John: I’m saying what I want say?

Koko: Mama I did it. Mama I did it.

JH: Koko’s so loud, you can hear her off the mc. Come on, be loud. Speak from your chest, stand up, be counted, say your thing.

John John: Hi, my name is John. craackling plastic bag

JH: That thing is louder than you. If you hold it right… come up in the mic, don’t be scared.

John John: Hi, my name is John and I’m… How tall am I?

JH: You’re almost four feet tall dude. You probably weigh five…

John John: I’m a five year old. I’m in summer break and I like to watch TV and I speak Spanish and English because I go to a Spanish school. That’s it.

JH: Good, man. That was really good. You want to hear it back?

John John: Yeah.

Let’s hear it. You want to hear back?

John John: What?

JH: Come on, you want to hear it back?

John John: Yes.

JH: All right.


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