I have Bells Palsy
This morning I felt sort of out of it, but I had a hard time sleeping because I couldn't get comfortable and the side of my face and my ear hurt. I felt better after I got up and started to get ready for work. After my shower I felt pretty good. I left the house for my hour long commute and was looking forward to getting to work.
I got to work and started off the day by cleaning my room up and straightening our little kitchen. I did feel tired and a little out of it, but I thought it was just because I was tired. But the day went along OK, until lunch time when I noticed that I couldn't really taste my sandwich and my tongue felt all big like when you have your mouth numbed at the dentist office. I thought that was weird but told myself that I must have a cold or something coming on because my throat was feeling pretty bad.
I went to my last class and worked with my students on some of their projects but noticed that I couldn't keep my eyes focused on my computer. Then I was laughing and drooling and I realized that I couldn't keep my smile up on the left side.
I then looked on line to see where I might get some urgent care in case it was something serious.
Rely on the People Around You
Just as I was looking up where I should go, one of my wonderful co-workers said to me, "Steve, I want to ask you something personal." "I noticed that when you are talking and laughing, that your mouth is not all working and that when you are blinking one of your eyes is not blinking."
I told him that I had just noticed that something was wrong and that I was trying to figure out where to go. Just then another co-worker came in and when he got the information he said, "Let's go, I will take you over there right now."
I gathered my stuff together and went to the urgent care center.
Checking in at Urgent Care
When I got to the check in counter, I told the receptionist my symptoms and she had a nurse come out to do triage. She took me in ahead of the other patients waiting in the waiting area and put me in an exam room.
They hooked up a ECG up to me and did a brief interview asking a lot of questions about when it happened and when did I first notice symptoms, etc. They began to monitor my oxygen levels and heart rate, respiration and blood pressure.
I laid there waiting for the Doctor to come in and was interested mostly in the machines and monitors and stuff all around me. I even got up to see what some of the buttons were and to see if I might be able to operate the machines.
Soon after that, in came a far too young physician, who by the way looked all business.
Lucky to Have a Good Doctor
The doctor seemed very good and was very thorough with her questions and her examination. She had my heart monitored and then performed various physical examinations including reflex in various parts of my body, and several simple tests to evaluate neurological exams. She then concentrated on my face, lips, tongue, ears, and eyes.
Her conclusion was that there was not something more serious going on and she concluded that I had classic symptoms of Bells Palsy. Including lost of taste in part of the tongue, ear pain, numbness in left part of face including the eye lid, cheek, left lips, and jaw. The throat and swallowing deemed normal.
The doctor's diagnosis: Bells Palsy. Undetermined cause, with unknown prognosis but promising. She said it is not too late to treat and she prescribed prednisone a steroid, Acyclovir an anti-viral and eye drops and eye ointment.
With instructions to:
Continue to do simple exercises such as tightening and relaxing facial muscles, Massaging forehead, cheeks, and lips with oil or cream.
Keep the eyes moist and lubricated and manually close the eye often.
Prognosis: complete recovery in a few weeks to a few months.
Attitude Makes a Difference
The people around you may depend on you to have a good attitude. I am not so good at counting my blessings, but equally I am not a person to drown in my sorrows. I have always had a hard time being depressed, it just seems so funny. I am grateful for my general demeanor and emotional state. I can't help seeing the humor in my set backs and can't get too caught up in my successes.
I have a general glass half full outlook and it has served me well in my life. I have not had to deal with too many down times, and when they come, they are always intense but very short lived. I have a lot to give others and enjoy it every time one of my friends or family is happy because something that I did or said. This my friends is the secret to enjoying life. I am indeed lucky and hope you all see the humor in my photos as I enjoyed them myself immensely.
See Your Doctor
Unfortunately, this article took me two days to complete due to the fact that I cannot look at the computer screen for too long. I will be continuing to write hubs, just slowed down.
I was happy to be able to share this experience. If you have any of these symptoms, please see your doctor or emergency room for a complete evaluation.