I have a wheelchair and I busted it out over the weekend. It was kind of a big deal. I’ve never ridden around in a wheelchair before. We’ve talked about it before on the podcast that I’ve got the wheelchair, but also that I’m kind of apprehensive about riding around in a wheelchair. But I did it. I was with my family. I had gone to see my cousin Amy in the hospital where she’s recovering. We talked about that last episode. And then my wife who had been in nanny in San Francisco was like, “There’s a playground right around here in Golden Gate Park and kids love it. Let’s go there.” And I thought, “maybe I’ll ride my wheelchair around.”
Thank you for tuning into 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 and podcaster. I have multiple sclerosis so I made this podcast to share what I’m going through. What’s the Matter With Me is an MS podcast and it’s also about other things. I’m not a medical professional. Don’t take this for medical advice. And. If you need medical advice, ask your healthcare provider.
Last episode, I was processing grief and trauma. Hear the plane going overhead. I’m outside again, 6:45 in the morning right now so all the airplanes are landing here in San Jose, I guess. And all the cars are going. We’ll probably hear some cars start up, people going to work. I’ve been having a hard time. Last episode it was grief and trauma, going through a lot of causes of grief and different traumas in my life. And now in this episode, it’s about 10 days later and I’m thinking more about levels of reactions.
Unpacking the real reasons
I’m having a lot of trouble separating, still, separating the implicit impulses, thoughts, anxious thoughts, from what is real trauma and grief. We went over that last episode, but now what I’m starting to figure out is that a lot of this trauma I’m experiencing because of an implicit reaction. I’m upset because my cousin was in an accident or my friend is ill, but it’s really that I think those upsetnesses don’t have to do with them, they have to do with what I’m going through with MS. So I’m starting to just try and unpack, “what am I really upset about?” What are the real reasons that I’m having these negative thoughts and feelings?
And I thought, “maybe I’ll ride my wheelchair around.”
I’m out here in the garden right now. This is a power spot for me amongst the plants and birds. I’ve really loved them and I love it here. I love to be in nature. I have a wheelchair and I busted it out over the weekend. It was kind of a big deal. I’ve never ridden around in a wheelchair before. We’ve talked about it before on the podcast that I’ve got the wheelchair, but also that I’m kind of apprehensive about riding around in a wheelchair, but I did it. I was with my family. I had gone to see my cousin Amy in the hospital where she’s recovering. We talked about that last episode. And then my wife who had been in nanny in San Francisco was like, “There’s a playground right around here in Golden Gate Park and kids love it. Let’s go there.” And I thought, “maybe I’ll ride my wheelchair around.”
We went riding
So we went for it. I was able to get the wheelchair out of the car and then we were off. There were slides, a bunch of slides, a whole thing of swings, climbing structures and play structures like a giant green wave the kids could climb on. It was cool. It was called koret playground at Golden Gate Park. It was fall in San Francisco and even though I had a scarf and a hat and a jacket, my hand still got cold because when you’re in a wheelchair you’re just kind of sitting there so you have to bundle up. I learned that one on my first ride. I think that’ll come in handy later to bundle up.
Then the next day we went to the rotary park bike path where my kids loved to ride their bikes here in San Jose. And there’s a big bike path the Guadalupe River Trail, it’s kind of, you know in San Jose there is a lot of residential homeless here and so you just… It’s their house outside there. So you know you’re going in there. If you’re bringing your kids, you’re kind of like, I’m not sure what I’m going to run into.
So I’ll tell you we ran into. So it was cool. It was easy to get my wheelchair out there. It’s a lot of space. It’s very accessible park so they did a really good job making rotary park accessible. And it’s kind of weird, I have to admit for the first time to be in a chair and have a joystick that like moves you round. It definitely is different than walking. I mean, for sure. But at the same time it was a lot of positive emotions because I was able to go on a walk with my kids. They could get on this bike path on their bikes and bike around and I could walk with their mom right next to me and we could go on a walk together.
A Wonderful thing
Usually walking is something that kind of hurts and is difficult and dangerous for me. So to be able to do it, it really felt like kind of new echelon, a step up, or a paradigm shift moving forward. It was great. I want to do it again and I can’t wait to go out. I haven’t been out walking through nature because walking is so difficult. Just looking at the leaves and the plants, I only really get to do that in my backyard where I am now. But to be able to do it and explore was so wonderful. Really a wonderful thing, a total blessing. My family loved it. My kids loved being out somewhere with me and on a journey. I love going on a journey and it’s something I really miss. But the wheelchair helped us go on a journey through Golden Gate Park, which is like a big ungainly winding path type park. It’s a big sprawling experience and so to be able to do it was wonderful.
Then we were on the rotary park bike path. Same thing, I’m in nature. That’s what I thought when I was going through there. I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m riding through nature. I missed this so much.” I could cry right now. It’s really nature, it’s like being with plants and animals and it’s so important. Anyway, to be able to do it was wonderful.
All right, I’m not to get too emotional here. I’m in my backyard. It’s 7:02 in the morning. I got to get my kids up in half an hour so I got to wrap this up. But what I saw on the bike path, we saw something kind of sketchy, weird and dangerous and very downtown San Jose. We were riding, I was in the wheelchair, my wife walking, my two kids on bikes and this guy goes past us, he’s riding a bike. He’s not too old, he’s younger than me. He’s probably in his ’20s and he’s riding along with a machete. My wife was like, “Yo, that guy has a machete.” I’m like, “Oh, great.”
So the kids are up ahead. I’m like, “Hey, kids pull off the path.” The guy comes by and he was holding the machete kind of like it’s a sword, like he’s ready to strike you down. But then as he came by us, he kind of politely tucked his machete under his arm and I guess that didn’t feel that threatening because of how he tucked it under his arm. But then when he rode off past us he went down this way that, of course, I was like, “We’ll go that way. We don’t need to follow the machete guy under the bridge.” But, so, as he was riding off, then he took the machete out like it was a sword again.
You have no idea of what people are doing. You live a life, you see things. And we saw a guy with a machete on the bike path and he politely putting it away, but then took it out of into the active position as soon as he passed us. Sketchy. But anyway, I rode a wheelchair for the first time. It was a great thing. It was kind of felt awkward and I’ll admit that and I was ready for that. I wasn’t going to be like, “Oh, this will be just like going for a jog.” No, this will be odd, but I did it and you know what? It was so positive. I got to be with my family and I got to be in nature.
Right now I’m still having a lot of sleep disturbances. I’ve been waking up around 3:00 AM, 3:30, sometimes as early as 1:00. I have a lot of struggle with anxiety and panicky thoughts and negative thoughts and just really struggling to go back into my breath and be mindful. But I’m glad that I went on a wheelchair with my family. We had that experience together. I feel really lucky and I can’t wait to do it again and I think there will be more in my future.
All right, that’s it. I just want to wrap this up. I wanted to let you know I got in the wheelchair. I’ve rode it and I had positive experiences. And I’m still struggling with the brain medication imbalance. It’s making me upset in the mornings, but it’s not at all bad. things are pretty good. Things can be good.
All right, that’s it. I’m going to pack it up here. Thank you for listening to the What’s the Matter With Me podcast. Past episodes are available on whatsthematterwithme.org and on Apple Podcasts. It’s on all of these other podcast services too. You get it where you get it. You should listen to the What’s the Matter With Me? Podcast.
Shoot me (an email)
A lot of people shot me an email. I want to give a shout out to all of those people, hold on a sec. A lot of supporters emailed me. I talked to a lot of supporters trying to get a hold on my emotions, so I want to just list them out. Give shout outs to Aunt Barb and Uncle Chris. Shout outs to Rocky. Shout outs to Hannah Bellmer, Jeanne and Paula, Matt, Colleen, Joe, Jack Tar, Mary and Nat.
Nat Murray, Nathaniel Murray, he’s a painter in Taiwan, I think, is where he is. He’s got MS and his paintings are cool. You got to support other artists with MS so shout out. Check out Nathaniel Murray. He says his paintings are doing pretty good. He’s getting shows. So more power to you. Way to go Nat. Good luck.
So shoot me an email, I’ll give you a shout out. My name is John Hoppin. You can get me via the contact form at whatsthematterwithme.org. Say what’s up to me. I really appreciate everyone giving me a shout out and talking with people since the last episode. It’s helped me a lot.
Thank you for listening
All right man, What’s the Matter With Me podcast, another one in the books. Thank you for listening. Got to give a shout out to the universal worldwide global cosmic sponsor of What’s the Matter With Me podcast, Hoppin Hot Sauce. (singing).
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What’s the Matter With Me? podcast. Thank you for listening. Tune in next time.