Last Sunday, I spent three hours in the emergency room due to a droop on the the left side of my face. I’d gone to the local urgent care, who took my blood pressure, examined my face and told me I needed to get to the ER. A possible stroke was her biggest concern. After blood tests, two exams and a head MRI, the diagnosis – Bell’s Palsy.
Basically, the cranial nerve that moves the muscles on the left side of my face is inflamed. The left side of my face literally froze from my forehead to the bottom of my lip. It feels as if I’ve had dental work done and my mouth is still numb. Thankfully, I can now blink and close my left eye. I can eat as long as I use a fork and drink with a straw. Still pain from the ear to my nose. Cheek and jaw muscles remain tight – even with massive steroids for the past week. Not being able to smile is hard.
The prognosis from the ER and my primary care doctors was quite positive for a full recovery. I have a follow-up appointment later this week with the neurologist just to make sure everything is okay. I’m also curious as to the cause of this episode. Was it just a combination of random factors or was the major culprit – stress? My white blood cell count was super high with no indication of an infection. The nurse informed me that it was also an indicator of extremely high stress levels. I was strongly encouraged to spend the summer relaxing and doing massive amounts of self-care. I was also advised to learn ways to better manage my stress.
So, in keeping with the doctor’s orders, I am taking the entire month of June and most of July off. My plans include nothing more strenuous than relaxing near a body of water with sand between my toes, a good book in my hands and a glass of wine by my side. Oh – and maybe a small project to stitch on Crystal or Juliette (my beloved Singer Featherweights) when the weather outside gets a bit too toasty.