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A Crooked Smile and a Dodgy Eye

husband, father, tech enthusiast
This is a post from April 2024 about my experience with Bell’s Palsy, from my archive over at my old Scribbles blog.

Yesterday morning, I woke up with my eye feeling weird. That is not the first time that happened. I have pretty severe allergies and I’ll often wake up with crusty, itchy eyes. I chalked it up to that very thing. However, later in the morning when I went to brush my teeth, I noticed I was having trouble forming my mouth to properly spit out the toothpaste. I went to my wife and said I think the right side of my face is numb. She informed me that I was only blinking with one eye.

I did some research, and given my age and symptoms, found that it was likely a case of Bell’s Palsy. This is a temporary numbness or paralysis of part of the face due to an inflamed nerve on one side or the other. But just to be sure I wasn’t having a stroke, I opted to go to the emergency room. So after dinner I headed over to the hospital.

Five hours later, the doctor called me in and confirmed that it was Bell’s Palsy. He explained to me that the most common causes are Lyme disease and a reappearance of the chicken pox virus, which lives dormant in your body for your entire life. (I was born before the vaccine so I had chicken pox as a kid). They took blood to run the Lyme disease test, and prescribed me an antiviral medication for the chicken pox virus.

Despite the extremely long wait, I have to give credit where credit is due. Every person I spoke to was kind and patient. They knew immediately what I must likely had, even the nurse who checked me in. Everyone was knowledgeable and willing to explain everything. It’s not their fault that it was a busy Friday night and they’re understaffed. Healthcare workers really are the unsung heroes.

So here I am with half my face weaker than the other half. Blinking is a bit more challenging, as is eating and drinking, but I’ll survive. I’m thankful it’s not something more serious. It will clear itself up in a matter of weeks. So until then I’ll just be laughing as I’m drooling. 🤤 😂