For Whom the Bells Toll

I’m fairly alarmed right now.

In The Year From Hell, I contracted Bell’s Palsy. For those of you unfamiliar with this particular illness, it’s basically paralysis of half the face. In my case, I lost any use of, or sensation in: my left eyelid, my left cheek, my left nostril, the left side of my mouth. I also lost all sense of taste.

Eating/ drinking becomes a challenge when your mouth doesn’t close. Even if you use a straw, you still have to tilt your head to one side and let gravity do the work, or whatever you’re drinking ends up in your lap. I had to wear an eyepatch because I couldn’t blink on the left side. Of course, speaking under these conditions becomes a challenge as well.

I had the worst of it for about 3 months. I never completely recovered – to this day I cannot purse my lips well enough to whistle, and when I get tired, my left eye droops, making me look like an idiot, or at least like Sylvester Stallone.

In The Year From Hell, the precursor to the Bell’s Palsy was a severe sinus and ear infection. The doctor theorized that the infection got to my cranial nerve, triggering the palsy.

I’ve been very lucky, because reoccurances are common.

Well, I’ve been quite sick with some kind of very strong head cold the last few days.

Sometime today, I noticed that the tip of my nose is numb. I’m faily alarmed. I ran to the mirror, and everything is still working correctly. I did the “raise both eyebrows” test, the “smile with mouth closed” test; it’s all still working.

But last time, it hit overnight. I just woke up, and my face had stopped functioning. I have no idea how long it took for the paralysis to kick in: I was asleep.

I’ll let you know tomorrow whether I’ve once again become a drooling, drooping, incomprehensible fool. Some of you probably are thinking to yourselves, “How will we notice?” That’s not funny! Well, yes it is, but like I said…

I’m faily alarmed right now.

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7 Responses to “For Whom the Bells Toll”

  1. Kat Coble Says:

    I get that you’re alarmed, but you needn’t necessarily be. I often get a numb nose–not only from a cold but from other pains as well. It has something to do with the nerves in the body, is all my doctor can tell me.

    Anyway, I’ll still pray for you.

  2. Lynnster Says:

    Aww. Hopefully it’s nothing. Will keep good thoughts for you anyway tho.

    As for the head cold, from this viewpoint it looks like half the Middle TN blogging community has come down with something, sorry it got you too…

  3. Misty Says:

    I had this condition in High School. I haven’t had a occurrence (and that was 10 years ago). However, I can still tell a difference in my left eye, which was the side effected, especially when tired. Mine struck over night as well, on Christmas day no less. I woke up with half my tongue numb. The funniest part was when my mom said, maybe you slept on it wrong.

    Hang in there, I hope it isn’t a re occurrence

  4. Kate O' Says:

    Hope you’ll be OK. I’ll be thinking of you.

  5. John H Says:

    Here’s hoping that your malady is what Kat described.

    Sorry that you have to be going thru this..

  6. Joe Says:

    My wife was 8 mos pregnant with our son, and, like you, woke up one morning with Bell’s Palsy. We did eye patches and all too. It stayed acute until the baby was born, then subsided rapidly down to a very barely noticeable effect.

    Two years out, she’s had a few scares (slight numbness or tingling) but no recurrence of paralysis.

    The nature of this thing, though, is that it can strike again. The cold-causing virus (a form of herpes that (they think) lives deep in the spinal cord, and could very well indeed be responsible for deterioration on the 7th cranial nerve) is thought (but not proven) to be linked to BP.

    But, hang in there, and it will likely subside. Sometimes the aggravation caused by a cold flares it up just the tiniest bit, and then it goes away again.

  7. newscoma Says:

    You take care of yourself.
    Sending you good thoughts.


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