My name is Jim Wetherell, but to most who know me call me “Parky”. This is because of my email address that is firstname.lastname@example.org
My story is very typical, up to a point. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in Nov.’95. My Dr. told me to expect a cure in 5 years, & that my medication would last for 6 years. I spent the next 2 ½ years in a fear state, worried about which would get to me first. This put me into such a pit of depression, that my now x-wife, out of sheer frustration, asked me to leave. To shorten a longer story, she was right; it was the best thing that she could have done for me. Although at the time, it didn’t seem that way.
I tried staying in the same area, but soon learned that the area was too expensive to afford me on what I would draw from state disability. So, for my first major decision, I decided that my only option was to move in with my Mother, in Hemet. This was another slash to my declining dignity. Living with Mom at the age of 55 was not a real ego builder. But I look back now & see that I was lucky that she was there for me. So, in March of 1998 I moved to Hemet, CA.
I have always had a love for cycling, ever since my Dad bought me my first bike, a Hiawatha. I have been a serious cyclist since 1980 when I started commuting to work on a bicycle. I remember when I bought my Schwinn Traveler with a huge 27” frame. The dealer told me to bring it back in 30 days for a tune-up. So, after 30 days I went back, with 455 miles on the odometer.
In 1997 I was finding it very painful to ride my bicycle. It got to where I didn’t look forward to riding. After trying many seat/handlebar combinations, I went “extreme” & bought a recumbent bicycle. This had to be the answer, but it wasn’t. I never could get it comfortably balanced. In the year that I had it, I rode only 225 miles. Then, in June of ’98, I learned why I had fallen off my recumbent (more than once!). At a Dr’s appointment that was to qualify me for SSI, I discussed my problems with balancing my bicycle. I thought it was the radical design of the recumbent bike, but he told me that it was from my PD, & recommended that I find another form of exercise (not cycling). That was where I said “ENOUGH”! I had been diagnosed with a disease that was going to turn my world upside-down. I had been diagnosed with a disease that had taken my career from me, & had forced me into an early retirement. I had been diagnosed with a disease that had taken my marriage. All I had left was my cycling, and now they wanted that!! Luckily, just before the Dr’s appointment, I had been invited to a recumbent rally where I saw a number of trikes. Yes, 3 wheeled bicycles, that don’t need to be balanced.
Another side of my PD is an anxiety disorder, & from past knowledge I knew that I must have some way to burn off some of these emotions. Little did I know that cycling would do much more. Even on my “off days”, when my mobility is limited I can get on my trike & ride. This ability brings joy to me, & fun into my life.
I decided to take a gamble. I emptied my bank account, & took my recumbent bike to where I saw the trikes, & I literally, spent everything I had to buy a trike. This was by far, the smartest decision I’ve ever made.
When I moved to Hemet, some 2 ½ yrs after my diagnoses, I was taking 750 mgs of Sinemet per day, & I had a tremor in my right hand that would no