This true story was written 10 years ago. I think it is still relevant. Because it is so long, I am posting it in 3 sections. Here is Part 1. Watch for the other 2 parts in the next week or so.

I discovered that I couldn’t blink my right eye at 11:45 PM on the Saturday after Christmas. As I stared at my face in the mirror, I realized that when I tried to smile, the right side of my mouth didn’t move either. I couldn’t ignore the vague symptoms of the past two days any longer.

First, there was the strange experience with my sense of taste — even my toothpaste tasted weird. I thought something was wrong with my dental work, but decided whatever it was could wait till Monday. My right contact lens had been bothering me too, but I was busy editing my book and did not want to take time out to see my optometrist.

When we were preparing for the holiday party, I noticed that I had a hard time putting on my makeup. Somehow, I couldn’t blot my lipstick. I had trouble eating, too. My mouth felt sort of wooden.

On the way home, I had mentioned the symptoms to my husband. We knew they were neurological, and were both worried, but not panicked. It couldn’t be a stroke, I reassured myself, things were developing too slowly. Then I thought about symptoms of brain tumors, and my uneasiness grew.

Now, recognizing that my face is partially paralyzed, I head downstairs and calmly tell my husband that I think I had better call “Ask a nurse” before we go to bed.

The nurse is not reassuring. “You should be seen by a doctor, as soon as possible. You might want to check with your own doctor before you go to the emergency room.”

By now it is midnight and I just want to go to sleep and cope with this in the morning, but I am scared. When I describe my symptoms to my doctor’s associate, he says confidently, you have Bell’s Palsy.

The information that you can find at this link was not available to me when this happened in 1997.

He then explains that this is a well-known syndrome that is not dangerous. It will probably go away by itself in a few weeks, months, or years. He says that he will call in a prescription for prednisone (a powerful anti-inflammatory drug that I know has many unpleasant side effects) to my pharmacy immediately so that I can get it in the morning.

He then tells me that some physicians don’t believe this does any good, but it is all they have to try. He says not to expect rapid improvement, and gives me instructions to keep my eye from drying out. (He knows, but I do not, that my eye will not close completely.)

Weak with relief that I am not seriously ill, but terribly upset and confused because of my understanding (as a holistic psychotherapist) that my body, mind, spirit, and emotions all influence each other, I try not to blame myself for my problem. I try to calm myself with meditation. Meanwhile my practical husband searches the Internet for information about Bell’s Palsy. (To be continued.)
Is this you? “I don’t need therapy, but I could use some advice about…”
[tags]Relationships, Self Help, Self-Improvement,Personal Growth[/tags]