Bell's Palsy - A Candid View
At the weekend I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, the effect of which means I cannot move the right side of my face at all. In effect, I now have an excuse for (half) resting bitch face. However, the practical impact of this is that basic actions like blinking, eating, drinking and reading is pretty challenging.
Aside from the amusement factor of drooling and spitting over those sat opposite me when I eat and drink and looking like Sloth out of the Goonies (“hey, you guuuuuys!”), it’s a pretty sobering illness and truly highlights basic things we take for granted. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
First of all, I've discovered blinking is seriously underrated. I have no idea how many times a normal person blinks in a minute but if one eye doesn’t blink, then it gets pretty sore, dry or watery (depending on the situation). So, manually using your hand or closing both eyes very forcefully to blink is far from ideal. It also looks like you’re constantly winking at everyone like some self-conscious pervy terminator face person (I recognise this description could have been better).
I need to tape my eye closed to sleep, otherwise it automatically opens up on its own accord. Trying to do this as a Chinese person with limited available eyelid is a pretty amusing sight to behold. Imagine dragging medical tape from your forehead down to your (minor) eyelid then pulling it as far down to your cheek as possible. It’s a new kind of sexy that you’ve never seen. It’s certainly livened things up in the bedroom – by that I mean, I make feral noises when I re-apply the tape to the same place for the 58th time that night.
Eating and Drinking
Imagine your tongue constantly tasting like metal (or nothing) and not being able to create a tight seal of your mouth, so anything you put in the useful hole has a strong chance of squirting out again. It’s a pretty delicate situation. My daily dinner date invites have definitely taken a battering.
I am pretty sanguine about the whole illness, so the inevitable ridicule that followed from my sympathetic friends are taken with good humour and it’s been delightful to hear the tenuous comments weaved into our conversations, comments like: “Why have you got the face on?” “That’s a bit two faced” “i have been receiving complaints that you keep winking at the other employees” Please feel free to suggest others for the mild amusement of my “friends”. Douches.
On a serious note, here are some details of the illness from the NHS website in case you find yourself or someone you know suffering the same illness: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bells-palsy/
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