Bell's Palsy Update - Week 19

Another one of those "not much to report" updates, which is either good or bad, depending on perspective, I suppose. I continue to see infinitesimal improvements, as I continue to see my Speech Therapist.

I still have some lingering paralysis in my lower lip, left of the midline, which means I still have a crooked smile...and trouble pronouncing certain letters. (You'll be able to see it in my "Big Smile" Documentation photo below.) This week, she gave me a page of verbal exercises to do in order to help me with the F sound, which - due to that bit of paralysis - seems to be my main issue at the moment. Say them with me:

1. Phil fell fifty feet.
2. Funny Fanny makes fabulous fudge.
3. Fill the funnel with fat-free batter.
4. The fox fit under the farm's fence.
5. The form failed to fit the false face. (I'm not sure what that means...I just say it...:~\)

You get the idea, right? It sure beats saying ooh-ee-ooh-ee-ooh-ee and la-la-la-la-la.

Oh, did I tell you what happened the other day at therapy? My session was winding down to a close, and I was on the last exercise. It's one where I open my mouth as wide as I can and run my tongue around my lips, more or less in a circle...making allowances for the fact that my mouth doesn't open in a "circle" yet. On this particular day, Tori had moved the second electrode pad to a different spot on my chin, below my lower lip, in order to stimulate the paralyzed part. Well, I ran my tongue over my top lip and started to complete the first circle when...did you ever stick your tongue to the end of a battery when you were a child? Yeah. Same shocking sensation. Needless to say, she and I were both laughing so hard that we had to call it quits. Zapper, indeed...:~\

Now, you will probably think that jolt loosened a screw or two, but I probably have Bell's Palsy to thank for saving my life. No, really. Ready for this?

Remember how my year began...with my unorthodox shortcut down the stairs on my rear end? That little episode eventually sent me to the Back Dr., and the MRI machine, both of which diagnosed an annular tear in a herniated, lumbar disc. And in April, that led me to my first (of potentially four) epidural spinal injection, which was performed in the Dr.'s office and which was described in pitiful detail in an earlier post. You may recall I didn't want to ever go through that while awake again, so I had decided if I absolutely must have more ESIs, to request the next one(s) be done as an outpatient, under anesthesia...meaning at High Point Surgery Center.

Anybody keeping up with the National news lately? Meningitis ring a bell? Specifically meningitis caused by tainted meds, mainly used in epidural spinal injections? Well, dear readers, any guesses where one of those patients who died from receiving a tainted ESI got her injections this summer? Three guesses...and the first two don't count.

But, because I left HPNC for KY in late May, and subsequently got Bell's Palsy in late June, requiring me to take a large amount of steroids orally...and because oral steroids are available in your body as help for back pain as well as jaw pain, I didn't need another ESI for my back when I returned home in August. Ergo, because I got Bell's Palsy, I didn't get meningitis.

Of course, one could say that because Missy M broke her foot, I didn't get meningitis. True, but that doesn't give credit for the oral steroids (which possibly caused my cataract to accelerate, but I digress). And, let's face it. I've been searching for a silver lining about Bell's for months.

130 days, to be exact. Nearly 19 weeks. So, let's just go with "Bell's Palsy Saved My Life." That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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Time to document the wee bit of progress toward full recovery. Here they are...the Photos, "Smile!" and "Big smile!!"




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P. S. Good news from the ophthalmologist today. My right appears to have healed well, so he ordered new lens for me. I still need correction for the left eye, and I still need both bifocals and transition lens for both. But, good news is good news, right?

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