There's Good News and Bad News

Well, I suppose that title sets the tone for this post, doesn't it? Without further ado...let us begin with The Good!

Lookie! Mr. T sent this photo of the first potato harvest from two of the six potato Grow Bags, which we got at Gardener's Supply...and which we are trialing for 2012. We also have a "regular row" of spuds, but he didn't raid it. I had suggested that he see if the potatoes were developing inside those bags..."just poke your hand in there to see if you can find a few 'new potatoes'" to go with the huge mess of beans he harvested. Well, he found more than a few, didn't he? "We're having potato soup," he wrote. I cannot wait to taste them!! And based on how easy these babies were to harvest, I'm already giving the Grow Bags two thumbs-up and 5 stars!

Wait. "I can't wait to taste them"? So that means either I'm going to them or the potatoes are coming to me, right? Right. They are coming to me, sooner rather than later. Mr. T is headed this way. And there's a good reason for this change in plan.

So, here comes the Bad News part...

For the past few days, I had noticed that I had lost my sense of my taste buds had all gone to sleep on my tongue. Then, yesterday morning, my lip felt I had been to the dentist for a filling and a shot of Novocain..but only on the left side. By noon, Missy M decided my face looked swollen and said "have you developed an allergy to strawberries?"


"Well, maybe you have."

No. I refuse to be allergic to of my favorite foods in the world. Not gonna happen. No way, no how.

"Uh, Mom. I don't think you get a choice."

No, no, no. Period. Hey, I can be just as childish as the next adult.

"Well, you'd better take a Benadryl because you look like you are allergic to something."

OK. I'll take a Benadryl. And that means I'll go take a nap. It'll be better when I get up.

Afraid not. Worse. Much, much worse. By the time I got up at 5:00, the whole left side of my face was numb and appeared to be sliding off my skull. "Drooping" doesn't quite do justice to my appearance at this point. And, my left eye, which wasn't blinking as it should, was constantly tearing up, making it difficult for me to see properly.

"Mom. The Urgent Care is open until 9:00 tonight. You'd better go, don't you think?"

Great. Now I have to set a good example for my daughter. Just 5 weeks ago, we had a similar conversation on a Sunday night, when I repeatedly begged her to go to the ER about her foot. So, I didn't have much room for protest, did I? Plus, by now, I was getting more than a wee bit concerned.

So, she gets the address to the Immediate Care and maps it on my phone...and I head out the door. I know the general area I am going, and she has given me great verbal instructions: "it's on the same side as the Chinese take-out place, only several more blocks toward the interstate...and it's easier to access if you turn at the light."

Did I mention I was driving her car...and that I can't see very well at this point? Right.

Well, I am here to tell you that you get very speedy service if you present at a medical facility with all the appearances of suffering a stroke. I was ushered back and seeing a doctor even before they had completed the paperwork! (But not before having my insurance card verified and paying my co-pay...:)

The Good News inside this Bad News: I definitely did NOT have a stroke. After what he called a neurological check, the Junior Dr. (hey, he looked like Doogie Howser's twin brother, OK?) tells me he believes I have Bell's Palsy. He then asks if I have ever taken prednisone and had any adverse reaction to it? Yes, I took prednisone earlier this year during a Bad Back episode, and No, no adverse reaction. Then he excused himself for a minute.

Soon, he returns with the Senior Dr. He, too, asks all the same questions (remember, it is difficult for me to speak clearly, as I am slurring my words pretty badly by this time), and he does all the same neurological function checks as Doogie had done. They nod to each other, and Senior says, "I agree...looks like you have Bell's Palsy." Doogie smiles, and they both leave the room...without closing the door completely. So I can hear the following exchange out in the hall...went something like this:

Senior: The drooping facial appearance, the slurred speech, the lack of blink reflex, the inability to raise her eyebrow or smile on the left side...what led you to Bell's Palsy and away from a stroke diagnosis?
Doogie: She doesnt appear to have diminished hand or arm strength on the left side, and she gave good answers to all my questions. There appears to be no diminished capacity in her brain function.
Senior: Good call! She appears to have a classic case of Bell's.
Doogie: Cool! I've never seen one in person!

I kid you not. He said "cool," and sounded pretty happy about it. Then what sounded like two of the nurses joined into the discussion, and my trip to the Urgent Care became a teachable moment. Hurrah!

I am glad that I have known one person who had Bell's Palsy...back in the 80's when I was the Training Manager at Leader Federal, one of my trainers had it. She was out 3 months on disability, so I knew that I might be in for a long ride.

When Doogie returned, he gave me scrips for prednisone (a corticosteroid to act as an antiinflammatory and relieve some of the pressure on the facial nerve) and the antiviral drug, acyclovir. While there isn't a definitive known cause for Bell's, there is some link to the same virus that causes chicken pox and shingles. He then says, "I'm writing these for 15 days and we'll see how that works for you. This could last 15 days...or a month...or the rest of your life."

I pick 15 days. 'Cause just like I refuse to be allergic to strawberries, I refuse to believe my face is going to be frozen on the left side for the rest of my life.

Wanna hear some more good news? If all this happened yesterday, that means it may only be 14 more days of this silliness. You know me...gotta seek the silver lining. Always looking for the Good in the Bad.


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