It’s no secret that I don’t take care of myself and I’m not really good at listening to my body... Well, I listen... but I don’t pay attention.
My tongue started talking to me first.
I noticed last weekend that it had gone numb on the left side. I chalked it up to being five years late for my last scheduled dentist appointment. By Wednesday, I was starting to worry, when the inside of my cheek joined the chorus. It sort of felt like when you put Anbesol on a toothache.
I really noticed that something was wrong yesterday afternoon, during my weekly McDonald’s lunch with D-man. It felt like my mouth wouldn’t fit around my Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, which isn’t such a bad thing, but alarming nonetheless. I promised myself that I would mention it to the girlfriend (not that she’s a medical expert or anything, but I rely on her to steer me in the right direction).
Before I had a chance to say anything, she too noticed that something was wrong.
“You don’t look right Six,” she said. “Your face is crooked or something.”
I ran to the mirror and began making ridiculous facial expressions, which were made all the more ridiculous because the left side of my face wasn’t moving.
The Girlfriend immediately contacted her friend, a registered nurse, and I called my boss, a longtime EMT. Both agreed that I should get my ass to the ER as soon as possible.
“I need to take a shower first.”
“Dude, this can’t wait,” she argued.
“I don’t care,” I replied. “What if they have to operate and strip me naked? We had sex last night and I pooped this morning! NO ONE wants to be around all that.”
In the shower I began to fear the worst. What if I’m dying? I’m not ready! I just got through telling The Girlfriend that, with Nana’s estate nearing the end, I was looking forward to our future together... I wanted to create new memories that the boys will cherish, like the one’s I’ve been cherishing since her death.
I wasn’t ready and I was more afraid than I let on.
The trip to the ER seemed to take forever and I smoked my brains out the entire way, which is a little ironic considering the fact that if it WAS a stroke, it would be the quarter-century of smoking that did me in.
The ER staff was amazing and got me in rather quickly. Within minutes of simply “talking” to the doctor, he seemed to know exactly what was wrong.
I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy.
For the uneducated, Bell's Palsy is a disorder of the facial or 7th cranial nerve which controls movement of the facial muscles. The virus cases weakness or paralysis of these muscles.
To be safe, the doctor ran some tests to rule out a stroke or a tumor. I was prescribed medication for Lyme disease (Bell’s Palsy is a common symptom and we live at Ground Zero for tick-borne diseases), some steroids to help my muscles, and some eye-drops.
Once I learned that the palsy will eventually go away with little to no permanent damage, I felt a hell of a lot better mentally... and then the hilarity ensued.
“I’m gonna start calling you Droopy Dog," The Girlfriend declared.
“Not funny,” I said laughing.
“Oh my GOD, I can’t look at you when you laugh.”
“Because, only one side of your face moves. You look like Popeye.”
Of course, this made me laugh harder and look even more ridiculous, which in turn made HER laugh even harder.
“If your face droops anymore, I’m not sure I can be seen with you in public. I may need to find a new boyfriend.”
“Fuck. What if the steroids make my dick shrink? I can’t afford to lose any more.”
“That’s gonna be a deal breaker right there.”
So, what causes Bell’s Palsy?
The Girlfriend began reading from a handout.
“The inflammation may be caused by a virus and there is some evidence that the virus is often herpes simplex virus, the same virus that causes cold sores and genital herpes...”
“Why the fuck are you staring at me like that?”
“You’re a dirty whore.”
“Oh my GOD. Stop! I do NOT have herpes.
“I’m just sayin.”
“Well quit sayin and keep reading.”
“HIV infection, Lyme disease, middle ear infection, Sarcadosis, the Chickenpox virus...”
“Fuck. What are the symptoms?”
“The face will feel stiff or pulled to one side and may look different,” she said. “Well, THAT’s obvious.”
“Difficulty eating or drinking. Food falls out of one side of mouth. Drooling,” she paused again and looked at me. “That’s a deal-breaker.”
“I already drool.”
“True. Problems making facial expressions. Twitching. Dry eye.Dry mouth. Headache. Loss of sense of taste... Oh, you poor thing.”
“Whatever, I don’t taste my food anyway. I eat too fast.”
The good news is that the most cases go away completely within a few weeks to a few months.
Sadly though, it is apparent that it is gonna get worse before it gets better. By this afternoon, I could no longer drink my coffee without a straw. I learned that the hard way and, when someone brought us cookies at work? It became apparent that I can no longer eat without biting my lip.
|That's MISTER Popeye to you, bitch!|
I’m also developing a slight lisp!
Well, as my Nana always said, at least its not cancer.
I’m just gonna make the best of it.
A friend on Facebook suggested that I pursue a career as a character actor.
That’s not a bad idea.
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