Bell's Palsy Update: Day 11

Is it my imagination? Am I so desperate to awaken from this nightmare that I'm willing to believe that I'm experiencing some signs of healing...when it's just my getting used to the symptoms?

No. The changes are evident, even to a not-so-casual observer. Mr. T commented this morning on my speech...which he thinks is definitely becoming clearer and easier to understand. I know that my jaw is less painful today and seems to be loosening up a bit. I can even yawn! Perhaps the paralysis is receding? One can only hope...

Yesterday, for our July 4th celebration meal, we were excited to have received our Corky's order (photo of its arrival on Tuesday). Thanks to Internet ordering, the miracle that is dry ice, and that other Memphis champion, Federal Express, we were able to enjoy Memphis BBQ, three different ways: ribs, pulled pork shoulder, and chicken.

Speaking with all due modesty [ahem], I think my own homemade baked beans, potato salad, and cole slaw are a tad sight better than any restaurant (well, since the original Bozo's went out of business in Mason, TN, that is...:~\), so I was determined to do my part for our Fourth's Feast. I was also excited about using the tiny new potatoes from our HPNC garden (skins on) in my potato salad recipe [below]. I'm happy to report that I got all my To Do's done (check!) before exhaustion set in, and I headed for a pre-meal nap.

I actually hadn't intended to nap...I went into the bedroom to rest from the kitchen activities and to do some deep breathing and meditation. You see, I chose to add that as my "exercise" for yesterday (see previous posts about the six Facial Exercises I am doing). I had chosen as my mantra to bring about relaxation the phrase:

Breathing in: A calm mind...
Breathing out: ...enhances good health.

I read that recently...or something close to it...attributed to the Dalai Lama. It "spoke" to me and my current situation. Thought I'd give it a go. And it must have worked...perhaps a bit too well, since I went off to sleep for a couple of hours! Ah well...

While I was sleeping, Mr. T...who had the "run to the grocery with all the other nuts for the last minute and forgotten items"...brought home fabulous fat ears of sweet corn and a plump, juicy watermelon, and our menu was complete. He took over the cooking duties from there, and we were ready to dig in by 6:00.

Ribs? Corn on the cob? Uh, how do you eat either of those with half of a mouth, you may ask?

Well, it takes two steps, granted, and determination plays a big role. Missy M was the first to suggest that I cut the kernels off the cob with a sharp knife...and that worked really well. Then, because the ribs were so tender, I pulled the bones away from the meat. Of course, I ended up with as much BBQ sauce ON me as IN me, but I think that would happen, regardless of the Bell's Palsy...:~\ The BBQ fold-over sandwich wasn't quite the same success as I'm still working on the combination activities of getting my mouth open wide enough to receive a sandwich...and then closed back enough to chew it. And bread all tastes like PlayDoh. No matter...I was happy with the results...and full for the first time in a week.

Alas, last night was not the best around 1007, mainly because everyone...and I'm not the neighborhood and three blocks away (except us) shot off fireworks from mid-afternoon until midnight. The dogs were ALL in various states of distress...and between their excited barking and the extended booming, well, I can definitely report that enhanced sensitivity to sounds is still with me. Sigh.

But let's not focus on what's wrong today; let's focus on what's right. Feeling does seem to be returning to my mouth, my lower lip, and the right side of my tongue. I am almost too hopeful for my own good, I suppose; but, I'm now daring to believe again that this may retreat by that 15-day deadline...which looms large on my calendar. This coming Monday, to be exact.

Altogether now: 15 days...15 days...15 days...15 days...15 days...15 days...!

July 4th Potato Salad

2-3 pounds of new potatoes, skins on
2 T. vinegar (or 1 T vinegar plus 1 T sweet pickle juice
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt (I like seasoned salt)
1 tsp ground pepper
1 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
1 T Dijon mustard
2 tsp prepared yellow mustard
2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 small green or red sweet pepper, diced
8-10 sweet pickle slices (I like homemade!) or gherkins, more or less, diced

1. This is best if allowed 4-6 hours to chill. Cut the new potatoes into bite-size chunks and boil in salted water until fork-tender. When done, immediately drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Put cooked potato chunks in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the vinegar (or vinegar and pickle juice) to the cooked potatoes; toss gently. Add other diced ingredients and seasonings (salt, pepper, sugar, etc.). Toss again gently.
3. In a separate mixing cup, blend the mayonnaise and mustards into a dressing consistency. Pour this over the potato mixture and mix gently to incorporate thoroughly. Chill thoroughly to enhance flavors.
4. Prior to serving, check to see if salad could use a bit more mayonnaise. Potatoes can soak up the dressing, so add more if it appears dry.
5. Enjoy!


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