Sometimes the journeys that we take—the places we go—are not very far. And if we pay attention, even if they are doozies, we learn a lot.
On Friday I noticed my right eye was “leaking.” I wondered if I had an eye infection and made a note to call for an eye appointment on Monday.
On Saturday the water, which we have filtered to remove the chlorine and other chemicals, tasted horrible. Everyone else said it was okay.
On Sunday it felt like I could not open my mouth right. Yet when I pushed it, it seemed to be open widely and normally. Weird. I noticed there was a little minor annoyance, not pain exactly, but you know the level when you feel something you usually don’t feel, in my jaw on the right side. I figured I better make a dentist appointment.
This morning when I woke up and looked in the mirror it was pretty startling. No, I didn’t have luscious long blonde hair. What showed up was a face that looked like it had had a stroke.
As I took my morning meds I dribbled the water in the best Novocaine-induced fashion, but in reality my mouth was not numb. But obviously the muscles were not working right.
Graham looked at me and pronounced his diagnosis based on someone he knew years ago. Bell’s Palsy.
Yikes! So I went to the Internet and read what it was, running through the symptoms:
Symptoms of Bell’s palsy include:
- Sudden weakness or paralysis on one side of your face that causes it to droop. This is the main symptom. It may make it hard for you to close your eye on that side of your face. Check!
- Drooling. Check!
- Eye problems, such as excessive tearing or a dry eye. Check!
- Loss of ability to taste. Check!
- Pain in or behind your ear. Well, now that you mention it, check!
- Numbness in the affected side of your face. Not numb..phew!
- Increased sensitivity to sound. Nope, thank goodness.
The cause is some virus, not entirely identified yet.
So, armed with this info, I called my doctor’s office and they had me come in during their lunch hour. The doc ordered some steroids to help reduce the inflammation quickly and some anti-viral to knock down the bug. She heartedly endorsed the discussion I had had earlier with my accupuncturist and herbalist to put me on an herbal concoction as well.
So, the important questions were next-how long was this going to take to get me better and since it was caused by a virus would it haunt me during my life?
Her answer was important and this is why I am sharing my aches and pains with you, not to just get sympathy and hugs. The important message is because I acted on it so quickly not only should it get controlled quickly (2-4 weeks) but it most likely will never bother me again.
People who develop Bell’s Palsy and do not get attention for it very quickly may have it for life.
So, pay attention to your body. When something happens significantly different from your normal aging aches and pains, GET MEDICAL HELP!!!
Oh, one last word…..I am thankful I am not a professional musician. My embouchure would be affected big time!