Bell's Palsy: Day 7 - A Week Later

Just joining me on this journey? It's Day 7 with Bell's Palsy. So how's it going?

I'm ending my first week since receiving the diagnosis, and since I didn't wake up from the nightmare yet, I'd better take a look ahead.

[First, here's a recap for those of you who just wandered into my world on this post: While visiting my daughter 400 miles from care for her during her recovery from a broken foot...and after a couple of days with deadened taste buds, I awoke on Sunday with a numb sensation on my lip and the top of my tongue. I became paralyzed on the left side of my face rather rapidly, and by late afternoon, I gave all appearances of having suffered a stroke. With fear and trepidation, I went to Immediate Care where I received a diagnosis of Bell's Palsy...and prescriptions for a 15-day supply of a corticosteroid called prednisone and an antiviral called acyclovir. The doctor told me that this could last 15 days...a month...or the rest of my life. With that in mind, I will be posting periodic updates on my latest er, adventure.]

When I spoke with my NC doctor's nurse last week, she encouraged me to continue gentle facial muscle-massage with a warm washcloth, as instructed by the Immediate Care Dr here in KY...but to avoid any exercises yet, as "things are still settling" during the first week. My sweet suitemate from college, KD sent me links to great information about Bell's Palsy (from which she herself has suffered and recovered), including a fantastic website that outlines recommended Exercises:

Well. Week is up. So this morning I started down this path. Because I still have a good bit of jaw pain and neck muscle tension or cramping, I began with a warm washcloth massage to loosen up both sides of my face...not just the paralyzed left side. I thought I'd pick three from the list to focus upon:

1. Compress lips together. Pucker lips & attempt to whistle. [I chose this one because I tried to blow on my hot soup last night...and couldn't. Puckering. Whistling. Blowing on soup. Same difference.]

2. Harden (wrinkle) the chin; "stick out" the chin (like a boxer). [With my chin, this one seemed a, this gave some tension/release action to that tightened neck muscle.]

3. Placing 4 fingertips on the eyebrow rub using a firm stroke up to the hairline. Return downward to the eyebrow. Do the same type of massage in a circular motion on your cheeks and chin, and outward to your ear. [This one feels good, even without a warm washcloth. Slight change on my part...I can only get three fingertips to touch my eyebrows at one time...if you've ever noticed my wicked-crooked little fingers, supposedly the first feature my Daddy noticed when I was born, you will understand my limitations...:~\]

I will also need to practice chewing and swallowing, since I'm still struggling with food. Again, thank goodness for Boost!

Now, I have a decision to make. On the Facebook support page created for Bell's Palsy, I saw several photos posted..."before" and "during" BP...not too many "afters" though. Mr. T and I talked about whether I should take pictures to be able to document my progress. While I buy into the concept with my head, I have had to convince my heart to go along with the idea.

There is nothing beautiful about Bell's Palsy. With or without the eyepatch. I know this sounds awfully vain...especially for someone who takes so little notice of her appearance on a daily basis.

But, I count my eyes as the one good feature in a face that takes after my Daddy too closely (high forehead, square jaw and chin, major gap between my front teeth, major-league overbite and tiny, crooked teeth that never had the benefit of braces). Now? Well, my blue eyes will never be noticed in a sagging, drooping portrait. Sigh.

But, on the Support Group page, I noticed that many of the "first" shots taken to document the extent of the paralysis, were taken at the one-week point. Maybe, they--like I--had become accustomed to how they look in the bathroom mirror after seeing the same, sad countenance for seven days straight. Possibly they--like I--had such high hopes for relatively quick results with facial exercises...and wanted to be certain to capture the nightmare before it came to a blessed end.

Who knows? I do know there are more members who choose NOT to post pictures...but I'm sure they--like I--are ever so grateful for those brave souls that do.

Ok. Here goes. Lights! Camera! Action! Better do this before I lose my nerve.


Estelle's said…
Stay strong Miss P....we may never know what hearts we touch daily....sharing your story is valuable to many. It is a brave thing to do and may God hold you in the palm of his hand as you continue to heal. It always helps to know that others are thinking of you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Miss B! You are so right. I feel the love!

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