Life with neuropathy

‘Old Fart’ William’s Story

I am 72 years old and live alone in a single family bungalow in Peterborough. I eat too much, drink too much, and get too little exercise. I am a retired teacher and have lived alone since my wife died in 2000. I am a fat old fart who lives a fairly circumscribed life – only partly due to my neuropathy. Right now my sciatica is flaring up and is far more debilitating.

My peripheral neuropathy likely dates back to the early to mid ‘90s. I suffered from falling arches, and for some time I ascribed my foot and leg discomfort solely to that issue. It was only in 1997, when the numbness, burning, and occasional stabbing pain was keeping me awake, that I took the problem to my GP.

It is so long ago that I have little or no recollection of the original process of diagnosis. The story is complicated in my mind by my wife suffering a massive brain injury at that time. She was in an automobile accident in Ottawa, in the summer of 1996. She was in an Ottawa hospital until the spring of 1997, and again for several more visits during the next couple of years. She lived at home until her death in January, 2000. Naturally, at the time, my minor problem was peripheral to hers. It was while she was in the hospital (1996 – ’97) that the burning and tingling got so bad that I went to see my GP.  He referred me to a local neurologist who ran some tests and diagnosed peripheral neuropathy. By that time (1998 – ’99) the loss of feeling extended almost to my knees.

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