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.


buster said...

Reinventing yourself is good. So is your writing. Nice six, Arthur.

Madam Z said...

You have described this terrible condition in a straightforward, non-self-pitying way. You are writing and still playing the piano. And "despite (your) medical issues, (you're) just fine. You also are an inspiration.

austere said...

No words.

Jp said...

Wow. For all its inelegance, I think the 90s gave us the only way to properly elaborate a response to that: "That sucks."

But the majesty of existence lies in bad things giving birth to the beautiful. Mission accomplished on that end. Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

A strong set of pieces Arthur Daniels. Closing with Peripheral Polyneuropathy and Me,In six sentences you have proved a level of bravery that few people will ever to meet head on.

Anonymous said...

It is not about how you weather the storm,it is how you dance in the rain.so row,row ,row your boat gently down the stream.I will always love you.