Peripheral Polyneuropathy and Me

by Arthur Daniels

Once, but now no longer, I was able to run, jog, and walk eight miles a day with my friend Larry (AKA Large Lawrence of Suburbia). Five years ago, after complaining of chronic foot pain, and after extensive electro-muscular nerve conductivity testing (EMG studies), the original diagnosis of simple shin-splints was changed to peripheral polyneuropathy. Since then, the very nature of this condition, which starts at the toes and fingers and works its way inward, randomly targeting and irreversibly demyleanating peripheral nerves along the way, has demonstrated itself to be a progressively disheartening self-fulling prophecy. The beast is literally eating me alive. My hands, arms, legs and thighs, are now a patch-work of areas either of total numbness or hyper sensitivity, so sensitive that should they come into contact with anything, even the most gentle caress from a loved one, the result is excruciating pain. I am afraid.


Arthur Daniels, 58, married with two daughters and four grandchildren, has been everything from a zoo keeper to a sea cook on an oceanographic research vessel. He used to play a lot of Chopin, but since his left hand no longer cooperates, he now plays a lot more like Thelonious Monk: floppy left hand outlining the harmonic structure of the music. Despite his medical issues, he's just fine, and reinventing himself daily.